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Sub-Saharan Africa contains some of the poorest countries in the world, with average per capita income of just $600 per year.

Because of high population growth, African economies have to grow faster than in many parts of the world to increase average incomes. In the past year, growth has accelerated to over 5%, but the average conceals big differences between those countries which export oil, who have benefited from high prices, and others.

Some of the smaller African oil exporters, like Gabon, have some of the highest incomes, as does diamond exporter Botswana. South Africa and Nigeria account for nearly half of Africa's GDP. But Switzerland, with 7 million people, produces almost as much as the whole of Africa, with 726 million.


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