AP/Washington Times 'reports' below.
Failed to note that the West could help by
diverting Israel and
Jul 20, 7:46 AM
U.N. Calls Attention to Sub-Saharan AfricaBy SUSANNA LOOF
Associated Press Writer
VIENNA, Austria (AP) -- Reversing economic decline in sub-Saharan Africa is the most pressing development challenge the world faces, a U.N. development agency said in a report released Tuesday.
Between 1981 and 2001, the percentage of sub-Saharan Africans living in extreme poverty rose from 42 percent to 47 percent, the U.N. Industrial Development Organization said in its report.
Sub-Saharan countries need to foster macroeconomic management and good governance, and to sharply boost agricultural production, the report said. They also need to focus on creation of institutional and social capabilities and diversify their economies, it found.
"Only along this path will sub-Saharan Africa be able not just to break out of the vicious circle of poverty, but also to move on to achieving economy-wide productivity growth," the Vienna-based agency said.
If the sub-Saharan countries are to halve the number of people living in extreme poverty by 2015, as set out in the U.N. Millennium Development Goals, they must have per capita growth rates near 5 percent, the agency estimated.
With current growth rates, the countries won't halve their poverty rates until around 2060 unless they reduce income inequality, the report said.
Some growth would come if other goals on health, nutrition, education and other social issues were met, the report said.
The organization recommended using advanced technologies to catch up.
"As illustrated by community telecommunication centers and prepaid mobile telephones, it is possible to bring advanced technologies profitably to poor regions using the right mix of services and a basic level of infrastructure," the report said.
The report included an index that ranks countries by their ability to produce and export manufactured goods that are competitive. Singapore topped the index for 2000, followed by Ireland and Switzerland. The United States ranked 11th, up from 14th in 1990.
© 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.