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     Home | World economy footer | Economy of Africa

The economy of Africa consists of the trade, industry, and resources of the people of Africa. , approximately 922 million people were living in 54 different countries. Africa is by far the world's poorest inhabited continent. Though parts of the continent have made significant gains over the last few years, of the 175 countries reviewed in the United Nations' Human Development Report 2003, 25 African nations ranked lowest amongst the nations of the world. This is partly due to its turbulent history. The decolonization of Africa was fraught with instability aggravated by cold war conflict. Since the mid-20th century, the Cold War and increased corruption and despotism have also contributed to Africa's poor economy.

The biggest contrast in terms of development has been between Africa and the economy of Europe. The African Economic Outlook report specifically mentions that Africa’s trade with China has multiplied by 10 since 2001, reaching over USD 100 billion in 2008. The economies of China and India have grown rapidly, while Latin America has also experienced moderate growth, lifting millions above subsistence living. By contrast, much of Africa has stagnated and even regressed in terms of foreign trade, investment, per capita income, and other economic growth measures. Poverty has had widespread effects, including low life expectancy, violence, and instability, which in turn have perpetuated the continent's growth problems. Over the decades, there have been many unsuccessful attempts to improve the economies of individual African countries. However, in recent years this has begun to change in many countries. Data suggest some parts of the continent are now experiencing fast growth. The World Bank reports the economy of Sub-Saharan African countries grew at rates that match global rates. The economies of the fastest growing African nations experienced growth significantly above the global average rates. The top nations in 2007 include Mauritania with growth at 19.8%, Angola at 17.6%, Sudan at 9.6%, Mozambique at 7.9% and Malawi at 7.8%. Many international agencies are gaining increasing interest in emerging modernizing African economies, especially as Africa continues to maintain high economic growth despite current global economic recession.

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