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By Vijay S. Makhan (auth.)

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Extra info for Economic Recovery in Africa: The Paradox of Financial Flows

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This means that low-income countries were not investing enough even to meet replacement needs, let alone to create new production capacity. Africa’s lacklustre investment performance reflects the sharp decline in public investment, especially in infrastructure, which arose from the tight fiscal policy of governments seeking to reduce budget deficits. As public sector investment declined in the 1990s, private investment became dominant, accounting for two-thirds of domestic investment in 1997. 16 This is an encouraging further affirmation of the important contribution of policy reform to the recovery.

Less encouraging, however, was the fact that with the exception of Mauritius, increased production and/or prices of primary commodities drove all the fast export growth economies. Given the outlook for commodities, the diversification of exports must be an essential element of the response to Africa’s development problem. While the average export–GDP ratio for the region remained at about 22 per cent, performance varied considerably. The most export oriented countries – Angola, Botswana, Congo Brazzaville, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Mauritius, Namibia, and Swaziland – register export-GDP ratios in excess of 40 per cent.

The macroeconomic fundamentals in Africa improved substantially throughout the 1990s, but the fiscal balance came under pressure in 1998 due to adverse economic conditions. 1. Better fiscal management has gone hand in hand with improved monitoring and control of public expenditure, ongoing public enterprise reform, accelerating privatization, as well as tax reforms which improved revenue generation and made collection more effective. 4 Fiscal responsibility has contributed to the creation of a more stable macroeconomic environment.

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