Conference name, dates, place

International Conference on Contemporary Development Issues in Ethiopia, August 16-18, 2001, Kalamazoo, Michigan

Document Type


Presentation Date



Despite the various efforts made to promote sustainable economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa, there had been little achievement in terms of progress in standard of living and poverty reduction in this part of the world. Given the absence of a perfect strategy to overcome these problems, most Sub-Saharan African countries have tended to place undue emphasis on export promotion in the context of worldwide economic liberalization and globalization. Moreover, as a result of opening up their economies in the 1990s, especially in the export/import sector of these economies, it has been reported, some Sub-Saharan African countries have experienced some positive economic growth rates. A cursory examination of the literature around the quarters of the IMF and the World Bank in the late 1990s reveals this same tone (see also, Collier and Gunning, 1999). For example, one such publication states "…whereas per capita real GDP increased in 16 [Sub-Saharan) countries in 1990-94, twice as many countries registered positive growth rates during 1995-97" (Basu et al., 2000). While reforming the external sector is a good start, this strategy (targeting the external sector) may not be the vehicle for long-term economic growth. And, while the positive growth rates experienced by same of these countries may be undeniable, these gains, which are largely due to the lifting of trade controls and exchange rates (and usually accompanied by no substantial reforms), are unsustainable. In this paper, we show that the euphoria is premature and the gains are short-term.