Africa Notes: The World Bank's Africa Update - February 1990
February 20, 1990
Sub-Saharan Africa: From Crisis to Sustainable Growth, published in November 1989, is the World Bank's most comprehensive assessment to date of Africa's postcolonial economic performance and future imperatives. The 300-page volume includes a vast array of specific information on Africa's achievements, failures, current problems, and future challenges. A wide selection of options and recommendations for policy changes and government actions to promote economic recovery and future growth is also presented. Although not a riveting read (what public document is?), the report is written in straightforward prose with a minimum of technical jargon.
The combination of information, analysis, and statistical tables (and the manageable price of $12.95) makes this a widely useful document. To say that the report is useful is not to say that it provides answers to the many issues raised in the formidable table of contents. The reader, having scrutinized a mass of data and analysis relevant to Africa's economic problems and needs, is left unsure of the Bank's view of the continent's long-term development prospects; what priority actions must be taken to promote that development; how countries of vastly different sizes, economic endowments, and levels of development should proceed; and what will happen if the myriad suggestions and recommendations in the report are not implemented.One way of organizing the report's contents is to draw on the traditional folk advice given to a bride about what to wear at her wedding: "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue."