El crecimiento "correcto" para Africa

Africa tiene el mayor nivel de pobreza en el mundo y es una de las dos regiones donde la pobreza no ha disminuido en los últimos veinte años. Como lo muestra el Informe económico sobre Africa 2005 que está por publicar la Comisión Económica para Africa de las Naciones Unidas, la proporción de pobres -aquéllos que viven con menos de un dólar al día- se redujo a la mitad entre 1980 y 2003 a nivel global, de un 40% a un 20%. Pero en Africa, el número de pobres se incrementó ligeramente de un 45% a un 46%. La tasa de pobreza en Africa en 2003 excedió la de la siguiente región más pobre, el sur de Asia, por 17 puntos porcentuales.

Reconociendo el vínculo entre el crecimiento económico y la reducción de la pobreza, quienes fijaron los Objetivos de Desarrollo del Milenio de las Naciones Unidas (ODM) estimaron que para reducir a la mitad la pobreza en Africa hacia 2015 se requiere que los países alcancen una tasa mínima promedio de crecimiento del 7% anual. El que los países africanos vayan a alcanzar o no este objetivo es una pregunta abierta.

Desde mediados de la década de 1990, las economías africanas han registrado tasas de crecimiento más altas que las de la media mundial. De acuerdo con el Banco Mundial, la tasa de crecimiento promedio para el período de 1996-2002 en Africa fue de alrededor de 3.6% comparado con el promedio mundial de 2.7%. En 2004, el crecimiento en Africa promedió 5.1%, el más rápido en ocho años. Las tasas de crecimiento para este año y para 2006 se estiman en un 4.7% y 5.2%, respectivamente.

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