By Economic Commission for Africa
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Additional resources for Transforming Africa: An Agenda for Action
There are at least six critical challenges that we must address and cure if we are to have a chance at success. Let's begin with the most fundamental development challenge in Africa today: poverty reduction. Although the data are widely known, let me remind you of some of them. With 4 out of every 10 people living on less than US$1 per day, Africa is the poorest continent, despite being one of the most richly endowed. 'The continent includes 25 of the world's 30 poorest countries, and Sub-Saharan Africa is host to 32 of the 48 least developed countries.
Today, we are able to begin focusing on poverty reduction. Our political and economic commitments are at turning points. We face our abyss: the prospect of high population growth gobbling up our natural resources. 'The abyss can only be avoided through sufficiently strong and broad-based growth. 'There are real prospects for success, but there will be staggering costs if we fail. he compact would be with Africa, not for Africa. If the rich countries are willing to invest their resources, including aid, debt relief and market access, to give African economies the jump-start they need, then much of Africa should be able to put in place the necessary political and economic reforms to ensure that their economies take oE'Ihere would be a substantial,but carefully agreed upon and phased injection of official development assistance,which would be linked to performance indicators agreed by both sides.
Just in the last decade there has been nearly a 25% reduction in the deaths of these children in all developing regions of the world-except for Sub-Saharan Africa, where the drop has been only 3%. In absolute numbers the mortality rate for children under five in Africa is two to three times higher than in any other region of the developing world, and 25 times higher than in the OECD countries. In 1995, the World Food Summit set goals to accelerate the reduction in malnutrition and child mortality.