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Last Updated:  Monday, 3 March, 2003, 11:40 GMT
Africa to miss anti-poverty targets

Mark Doyle
BBC World Affairs correspondent

Tea pickers in Kenya
Prices for many cash crops are falling
Most African countries will fail to reach UN targets for poverty reduction because of the impact of poor commodity prices, poor governance and Aids, a report has warned.

The UN Millennium Declaration in 2000 set a goal of halving the number of people with incomes of less than $1 a day by 2015.

But a report published by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) says most African countries are unlikely to reach this goal, although some will make progress towards it.

It says the millennium goals are unlikely to be reached because of the current absolute levels of poverty and poor projected growth rates.

Commodity prices

Primary commodity markets are the key to most African economies and the OECD says the overall trend is unfavourable.

The world price of cotton, a major export for countries such as Sudan and Egypt, is less than half what is was in 1995, and tea and coffee prices are also low.

Cocoa has been an exception, with relatively high prices.

But the world's major producer of cocoa, Ivory Coast, will not get the full benefit of that because of the civil war which broke out there in September.

The OECD report stresses that good governance is a prerequisite for poverty reduction.

It concludes that domestically-generated crises, such as those in Madagascar, Zimbabwe and Ivory Coast, have more of an impact on Africa's economy than the international economic environment.

But it adds that disasters beyond most African governments' control, such as drought and Aids, are also major factors.

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