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Trends in Sustainable Development – Africa

Since the beginning of the new century, Africa has enjoyed faster economic growth than for several decades, thanks in part to improved economic management and strong global demand for key export commodities, a new report by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs found.

The 2008 Trends in Sustainable Development – Africa report also found that despite such success, achieving the Millennium Development Goals remains a challenge for sub-Saharan Africa, due to widespread poverty. The publication was launched at the 16th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, which tackled pressing issues such as agriculture, drought, and desertification that impact many rural African economies.

 
A Snapshot of Trends:
  • Between 2001 and 2005, 10 non-oil producing countries registered annual GDP growth rates above 5 per cent, including such agricultural nations as a Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Mali.

  • About 20 per cent of sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP is generated by agriculture. In at least 20 countries, more than 70 per cent of the labour force works in the sector.

  • More than one quarter of African exports were headed to Asia in 2005, compared to 9 per cent in 1990 and 14 per cent in 2000.

  • The proportion of people living on less than US $1 per day in sub-Saharan Africa – 41.1 per cent of the population – has been falling, but less rapidly than in other developing regions. That figure is still more than twice the level seen in the developing world.

  • More than 500 million sub-Saharan Africans lack access to modern energy. Per capita electricity consumption in South Africa is about 100 times the average consumption in Sahel countries.
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April 2008