Trade and Development Report 1998

Financial Instability - Growth in Africa

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A valuable resource for those involved in international business and economic development, the Trade and Development Report 1998 (TDR), issued by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), examines current performance and prospects in the world economy. With the main theme of 'International Financial Instability and the World Economy', this illuminating publication offers a special focus on the East Asian crisis, addressing the global impact of the crisis, its causes and its consequences, especially on developing countries. It discusses how financial instability continues to prevail, underlining the 'systemic' nature of the repeated bouts of financial instability at roughly two-year intervals. The Report also focuses on African development. The analysis brings out the failures of the structural adjustment programs and advocates, among others drastic steps, lifting the external debt burden and giving African countries leeway in terms of the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. TDR98 reveals that the prospects for the years ahead are extremely uncertain and puts forward recommendations on how future crises might be prevented.




After about a decade of relatively satisfactory growth, economic performance worsened in most countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA)* in the second half of the 1970s; with few exceptions, the region as a whole experienced thereafter two decades of almost continuous economic decline. Since the early 1980s, many countries have adopted economic policy reforms under structural adjustment programmes sponsored by the Bretton Woods institutions. Emphasis has been placed on a reduced role for the State, greater reliance on market forces and a rapid opening up to international competition as the keys to unlocking Africa’s growth potential. However, despite many years of policy reform, hardly any country in the region has successfully completed its adjustment programme with a return to sustained growth.


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