The overall social situation in Africa has continued to deteriorate. This is evidenced by the rapid rate of population growth and the pressure of urbanization and rural emigration, the decay in educational and health infrastructure, growing malnutrition and poverty, the worsening plight of refugees and displaced persons, and widespread unemployment and underemployment. Severe cutbacks of expenditure on education and emphasis on cost recovery and cost sharing continue to affect adversely the education sector, evidenced in falling gross enrolment ratios, haphazard attendance, high attrition and repetition rates, low moral and exodus of teachers from the profession. In some cases, pay disputes between governments and teachers' associations as well as political tension or strife have contributed to the closure of many educational institutions. As with the educational sector, so with the health sector. Cost recovery programmes as well as pay disputes have interrupted the demand for health care in many countries. The only positive developments in the social arena in 1994, perhaps, were in the democratization process, culminating in the establishment of popularly elected governments in a number of African countries.

Women, children and youth bear a disproportionate burden of the social crisis in Africa, who constitute 70 to 80 per cent of refugees, and a preponderant share of the unemployed and participants in the informal economy. African women experience the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, while the level of illiteracy among them is almost unsurpassed anywhere else.

This chapter analyses trends in selected social aspects of development, focusing on such key areas as the demographic situation, employment, health and nutrition, women in development, refugees and displaced persons.

A. The demographic situation

Africa's rate of population growth in the last 40 years is above that of any other major region. The region's demographic profile is characterized by unacceptably high fertility levels. Current estimates indicate that the average number of children per women is 6 in Africa compared to 3.21 in Asia and 3.05 in Latin America and the Caribbean. At the current population growth rate of 3 per cent per annum, the African population, estimated at 744 million in 1995, is expected to double in the next 23 years. This rapid population growth has made overall rational management of resources difficult, as population pressures exerts unsustainable pressures leading to environmental degradation both of which in turn, accentuates poverty.

Even more astounding is the unusually high rate of urban population growth in Africa, estimated at around 5 per cent per annum during 1970-1990 compared with the corresponding rates of 3.43 per cent for Latin America and 3.97 per cent for South Asia, the other two regions of high growth. The level of urbanization in Africa, at 35 per cent, is comparable only to that of East and South Asia, which have been estimated at 29.4 and 29 per cent respectively. The estimated urban population of 217 million in the region in 1990 is expected to reach 544 million by the year 2010, and 783 million by 2020 - an almost four-fold increase. By 2020, half the population of Africa, about 54 per cent, would be living in urban areas.

Such phenomenal rates of urban population growth will have profound consequences on the economies of African countries and the lives of the city dwellers. They will culminate in: (a) intolerable pressure on already overstretched infrastructure, especially housing, water and sanitation, health and educational facilities; (b) growing unemployment and underemployment; (c) the misery of urban slums, shanty towns and peri-urban areas; (d) rapid environmental degradation; and (e) anti-social behaviour.

In Africa's exploding cities, intense congestion and increased pollution, with its hazardous effects on the health of the population, pose immense health problems to a population already burdened by primary poverty and a protracted process of economic adjustment and reforms.

Since 1980, Africa's total fertility rates (TFR) have been on the decline, albeit very gradually. Kenya, for instance, which had one of the highest TFR rates in the world - almost 8 births per woman - is experiencing a decline, thereby reducing the average for the Eastern African subregion. Contraceptive use, education (particularly at the second and third levels), increased labour force participation by women and the impact of population policies, are among the most important instruments in the campaign to reduce fertility rates in the region. The percentage of the population using contraceptives, however, is among the lowest in the world: it ranges from 9 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa to 36 per cent in North Africa.

Despite the emphasis in many of the seminal documents and plans of action, emanating from Africa on the importance of population factors in development planning, most governments have yet to formulate concrete population policies geared to lowering the high population growth rates, let alone implementing such policies. By 1992, only 15 to 20 African countries had explicit population policies geared to reduction or even stabilization of the rate.

Important as population policies are in the harmonization of the demographic trend with development, they do not suffice to halt population expansion, let alone bring about the desired transition. Poverty, the slow pace of economic growth and the extreme neglect of critical issues relating to social development are at the heart of the population problem. Indeed, rapid economic development is an essential condition for the slowing down of population growth. As reiterated in the United Nations International Conference on Population and Development, held in Cairo, from 5 to 15 September 1994, the inexorable link between poverty and sustainable development is such that the eradication of poverty must be viewed as central to any policy for slowing population growth and for achieving early population stabilization. Increased investment is imperative in fields where it is important for the eradication of poverty, for example basic education, health, sanitation and drinking water, housing, adequate food and nutrition. In addition, the Programme of Action on population and development, endorsed at the Conference, underlines, among other things, the goals of promoting education, especially for girls; gender equity and equality; infant, child and maternal mortality reduction; and identifies investment in human resources development, employment generation, women's rights, family planning, primary health care (PHC), democratization and popular participation, together with the problem of refugees and population displacement, as key factors to socio-economic recovery and long- term structural transformation. In short, the objectives and goals of the Programme of Action are consistent with those of the Dakar/Ngor Declaration on Population, Family and Sustainable Development, which was Africa's input to the Cairo Conference.

B. Is health for all achievable by the year 2000 in Africa?

Sixteen years after the Alma Ata Conference, the decay in health infrastructure, and the failure to fully implement primary health care (PHC) have had catastrophic consequences on the health status of most people in the region, especially women, children and the poor. The combination of severe socio- economic crises and a lack of serious orientation and implementation of health programmes have regrettably culminated in the erosion of past achievements in the health sector, and the recrudescence of previously controlled diseases. Large outbreaks of diphtheria and measles continue to affect children who could be protected if immunization programmes were given sufficiently high priority, as they deserve. So would the provision of sanitation and safe drinking water to the population at large reduce dramatically mortality and morbidity from such endemic diseases as cholera, dysentery and diarrhoea, while widespread use of oral rehydration therapy (ORT), which is extremely cheap and easy to administer, can save millions of lives among children.

More than anything else, however, it is the rapid spread of the HIV/AIDS disease which has brought untold havoc to the African health landscape in recent years. The HIV destroys the immune system, thereby making patients more susceptible to HIV-related infections and complications. A case in point is the recent resurgence of tuberculosis (TB) which, in some cases, has doubled or even tripled since 1985. Recent data indicate that up to half of the people newly diagnosed in Africa as having pulmonary TB are also HIV-positive. Untreated sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are also heavily implicated in the spread of HIV. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated in 1994 over 10 million cases of HIV infection in Africa and projected a staggering 14 million cases by the year 2000.

The pandemic has been most severe in cities of Eastern, Central and Southern Africa, where up to 25- 30 per cent of all adults are infected and over 20 per cent of all hospital beds are encumbered by AIDS patients. In addition, findings from a number of other studies indicate that HIV/AIDS, which currently has no cure, tends to affect disproportionately the groups with the highest levels of productive skills and human capital. The economic consequences of the epidemic are already reflected in the declining levels of labour productivity and in a significant reduction of labour supply, especially in the most seriously infected areas of Eastern and Central Africa.

To contain the HIV/AIDS pandemic a number of modalities have been adopted by some African countries, especially in the Southern and Eastern African subregions. They include media campaigns; community mobilisation programmes; person-to-person education; condom promotion; and control of STDs. To some extent, those strategies have helped to change the sexual behaviour of some segments of the population, particularly in the severely affected areas. However, widespread dissemination of information, education and communication, on which so much hope of reducing the pandemic is contingent, has nevertheless proved ineffective for the most part. In addition, denial, complacency, poverty and stigmatisation of infected people have combined to slow the effects of those measures of prevention and control. Consequently, there is need for aggressive social mobilization, directed towards community participation, co-opting community opinion-leaders as the central pivot and agents of the campaign to bring HIV/AIDS under effective control. Success, however, will obviously depend on the political and financial support of African Governments, which is by no means assured at present.

There is another growing health hazard in Africa emanating from the devastation caused by the innumerable landmines in the conflict and post-conflict areas. In the Bulletin of the WHO Pan-African Centre for Emergency Preparedness and Response (Vol. 2, No. 1), landmines in Africa have:

"wide and long-lasting consequences for the population, the health services and the socio- economic fabric of the affected countries. Besides killing and disabling people, landmines preclude access to water, farming land, firewood, markets, schools and health facilities with a dramatic impact on the natural environment the life of the communities, and the economy of a country... And the fact that the civilian casualties of the landmines are mainly women and children adds to the magnitude and gravity of the tragedy. One woman killed or mutilated represents higher risk of illness or malnutrition for the entire family, one disabled child represents a long-term burden to the health services of the society at large. In war and in its aftermath, landmines, besides the workload represented by the wounded and disabled persons, pose a threat to Health mobile-teams, logistics, etc: the outcome will be reduced coverage and effectiveness for all PHC activities. Health will lose personnel, equipment and supplies; funds will be diverted into tertiary care and long-term hospitalization, as well as towards staff insurance and disability allowances."

Compounding the decay in health infrastructure and services, and the new threat from HIV/AIDS and landmines, has been the staggering number of malnourished people on the continent. Because of the region's annual population growth rate of about 3 per cent per annum and poor economic performance and per capita food production, the number of chronically under-nourished people has increased dramatically from 101 million people to 168 million between 1969-1971 and 1988-1990. Even by the year 2010, the FAO projects that chronic under-nutrition is likely to remain rampant, with some 32 per cent of the population (approximately 300 million people) in sub-Saharan Africa affected.

According to WHO and UNICEF, nutritional deficiencies, most of which can be averted at a relatively low cost, are the main cause for stunting, blindness, low-birth weight, goitre and impaired and irreversible mental and physical development among children. Apart from that, nutritional anaemia and vitamin A deficiency increase morbidity and mortality in young children. Over 30 per cent of children in Africa suffer from moderate to severe malnutrition. The existence of such a huge number of malnourished children has profound ramifications for Africa's long-term growth and development. Thus, the improvement of nutrition has to be recognised as one of Africa's principal and urgent tasks. Political commitment and a predilection for PHC remain the most viable options if the crisis attendant on such high levels of severe malnutrition is to be contained, the more so since data indicate, for example, that severe malnutrition can be prevented for as little as $2.50 health care expenditure per child.



The nutrition programme that was initiated in 1982 in the Iringa region of the United Republic of Tanzania with the assistance of UNICEF and WHO has since become the harbinger of similar schemes in other parts of the country, and replicated in many African countries. The scheme, which centres on the concept of 'hidden hunger' and its alleviation through a range of food production, infant physical growth monitoring and health- related activities, took its evolutionary cue from the emerging realities in the United Republic of Tanzania at the village level. Its emphasis was on information, advocacy and women mobilization, and the capitalization on these critical parameters for the improvement of child care habits, feeding and welfare.

As a result of the scheme, the various communities and villages in Iringa region set up their own day-care centres for the feeding and general welfare of children while their mothers were away on the farms; the villagers paying for up to 70 per cent of the wages of the day-care attendants from their own resources, and in general putting in place a surveillance system. In the space of four years, the incidence of moderate, i.e., hidden, malnutrition dropped from 50 to 37 per cent, and that of severe malnutrition from 6 to 2 per cent. Attendance at the weighing clinics rose from 25 to 80 per cent.

The success story of the Iringa nutrition project is not only in changing the thinking about nutritional policy in the United Republic of Tanzania and current perceptions about the capabilities of self-help on the part of village women, but in demonstrating in general the value of self-help programmes at the rural level.

Source: UNICEF, Girls and Women in Africa: A UNICEF Perspective for Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage, pp.12-14.

Though substantial efforts are already being made by a good number of African countries to improve the health status of their citizens, it is clear from the foregoing discussion that the general health of the people can only be described as unsatisfactory, with vulnerable social groups such as children and women being the worst affected. Unfortunately, with only five years to go and no significant changes in sight in social policy and planning, it is doubtful that "health for all" will be achieved in the region by the year 2000.

C. The employment situation
To have a deeper insight of the deteriorating state of Africa's socio-economic milieu, it is necessary to take stock of the appalling problems of unemployment and widespread underemployment. Open unemployment in urban areas has increased without abatement over the past two decades, growing from 7.7 per cent in 1978 to 22.8 per cent in 1980 and is projected to reach 30 per cent by the year 2000.

Youth unemployment is already also a critical problem facing many African countries. The trends in the employment situation point to three imperatives for the future, all on account of the labour force continuing to grow at a rate which cannot be accommodated by the African economies in terms of the provision of opportunities for productive employment: (a) a greater reliance on the informal sector for job creation; (b) a larger proportion of youths joining the ranks of the unemployed and underemployed; and, (c) a lengthier period of time to find a job. To reduce youth unemployment, action is required in reforming the educational systems and programmes so that they respond better to labour market requirements. It is imperative also to establish modalities for reducing the mismatch between the supply and demand for skills, i.e., to create skills that are really crucial for the restructuring and socio-economic transformation of the African economies.

In the past two decades, women have made significant gains regarding their participation in the labour market. Nevertheless, their unemployment rate remains on the whole three times as high as that of men. Women remain a disadvantaged part of the labour force, being frequently considered merely as a part of the "contingency" work force. Jobs held by women are usually in the less prestigious sectors of the economy, of the most temporary duration, and obtained under precarious contracts. That state of affairs explains the preponderance of women in the low productivity sectors of the informal economy. Despite the efforts made to increase the number of women in the modern sector of the economy, the share of women in paid employment in African countries remains relatively low compared to their share in the total labour force.

Owing to the limited ability of the formal sector in the provision of gainful employment, the informal sector has evolved as a sponge of the unemployed, especially, with large-scale retrenchment in the public sector and the lack of adequate compensatory schemes for employment creation. Projections by ILO's Jobs and Skills Programme for Africa (JASPA) show that, although the informal sector would need to generate 93 per cent additional jobs in urban Africa in the 1990s, it would, even if successful, absorb only 23 per cent of all entrants into the labour market. As is well known, the jobs in the informal sector offer low wages with little job security; and the growth in the size of the labour force in the sector has generally been at the expense of a failure to improve productivity or of rising underemployment, or both.

D. Refugees and displaced persons

The problem of refugees and displaced persons in Africa remains serious and alarming, not just because of the human tragedy and the incalculable sufferings to which the refugees and displaced persons are subjected, but also on account of the adverse impact of their movements on socio-economic and environmental development and stability in the region. Today, the number of refugees in Africa is in excess of 7 million refugees or approximately one third of the total world refugee population. About three times that number are internally displaced in various parts of the continent. These are people who have been forced to flee their homes and countries as the result of a combination of civil wars and internal open conflicts rooted mostly in ethnic tensions and violation of human rights; and/or as a consequence of the impact of political instability and environmental degradations aggravated often by poverty and a legacy of economic stagnation and inequalities of access to resources. But only a small percentage of them have so far returned home voluntarily, even after years in exile, owing to the on-going state of insecurity, the return of home of refugees and displaced persons is often complicated by problems of poverty, often social inequity and the ever- present fear of ethnic reprisals or killings. Many refugees are forced to subsist in remote camps and ecologically fragile zones where they may eventually themselves be responsible for some of the environmental degradation and instability that, in turn, exacerbate their already precarious existence. This underscores the need for increased assistance and support from the international community to enable the African continent to cope better with the rehabilitation and resettlement needs of the teeming ranks of refugees and displaced persons.
Box V.2

Rwanda witnessed in 1994 a devastating human tragedy, with over 500,000 Rwandese massacred following the death of the Presidents of Burundi and Rwanda and some high-ranking officials in a plane crash on 6 April 1994. In an attempt to escape the continuing bloodbath of ethnic violence and possible reprisals, hundreds of thousands of Rwandese fled their homes and many more were forced to cross national frontiers. The United Nations Commission for Human Rights estimated in May 1994 that, within weeks, approximately 500,000 people had been internally displaced in a country with a population of at about 7,500,000 people. By December 1994 UNHCR reported over 2 million Rwandese refugees distributed over East and Central Africa. The nightmare continued as insecurity, assault and disease characterized the Rwandese refugee camps in Zaire, aggravated by the limitations of an overstretched infrastructure, particularly with regard to medical care, water and food supply. Consequently, unusually high death rates of almost 2,000 a day became the norm for a while in some of the camps.

Some of the factors that have complicated the refugee problem in Rwanda in 1994 and made it so overwhelming in the context of Central Africa are: (a) the genocide and ferocity of the ethnic violence that prompted the population displacement; (b) the huge numbers which crossed the frontiers - by December 1994, 275,000 Rwandese refugees were in Burundi, 591,000 in the United Republic of Tanzania, 4,000 in Uganda and 1,255,000 in Zaire; (c) the suddenness of the arrival of the refugees in the countries of asylum; (d) the shattered emotional and psychological state and the poor physical health of the refugees upon arrival in host countries; and (e) the state of personal insecurity and intimidation prevailing in some of the refugee camps as a result of the activities of certain extremists and militia groups. Those factors, together with the fear of ethnic reprisals or killings, and the continuing fragility of peace and polity in Rwanda and most of Central Africa, including neighbouring Burundi, have complicated in no small way the prospects for responding adequately to the tragedy, organizing humanitarian action in favour of the refugees and enabling host governments and the international community to effect emergency relief and assistance generally. Ultimately, they have a bearing also on the prospects for the voluntary repatriation and early return home of the refugees.

In the final analysis, there must be renewed multilateral efforts and the political will that can facilitate the voluntary repatriation and resettlement of refugees and displaced persons in their natural habitat and homes. This is the only practical and fundamental long-term solution to the problem of population displacement in Africa. The promotion of peace and reconciliation, and democratic institutions and culture, in the home countries of the refugees and the displaced persons, is imperative. With the cessation of hostilities and the restoration of peace, priority attention must be given to the clearing of landmines in former conflict zones in order to enhance the normalization of life and free movement; although the real danger and wide-ranging cruelty of landmines as an instrument of warfare will for ever remain, without concerted international efforts at stopping their production and sale. And only then can refugees fleeing from political instability, civil wars, ethnic violence and conflict zones be persuaded that the factors which precipitated their departure in the first instance no longer existed, and that they can return home in safety and dignity.

Moreover, the recognition is long overdue that, beyond emergency relief and humanitarian aid to refugees and displaced persons, there will be the equally pressing need for concerted assistance with resettlement, rehabilitation and poverty alleviation, as well as reconstruction of shattered economies in the home countries of the refugees and displaced persons. Without development and some socio- economic progress, neither the returnees nor the societies to which they belong could look forward to the future with confidence and hope.
E. Women and development

Another area where progress has been awfully slow has been the integration and participation of women in the development process. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, 65 per cent of the women over the age of 15 are illiterate, compared to 40 per cent for the men. Adult female literacy rates in North Africa are among the lowest in the world, and access of girls to schooling remains well below that enjoyed by boys. More than 20 million African girls aged 6-11 years were not in school in 1990; and unacceptably high gender disparities in literacy rates as well as in primary and secondary education still persist. Those who succeed in gaining access to formal education have a greater tendency to drop out, sometimes because of financial, cultural and other constraints pertaining to differential socialization processes for girls.

Improvement in women's health and reproductive rights is central to their ability to assume the decision-making power which would enable them make the necessary choices in other areas of their lives. Unfortunately, African women do not yet exercise decisive control over their fertility and reproductive capacity. The plight of the African women is being further exacerbated by sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS. Additionally, there is a modicum of evidence to indicate that the HIV pandemic is affecting women disproportionately more than men. For example, UNICEF, (1995), reports that women now account for 55 per cent of all new cases of HIV diagnosed in Africa, indicating a higher vulnerability of women to AIDS relative to men. One out every three pregnant women attending antenatal clinics in some of Africa's major urban centres is infected. The subordinate position of women and adolescent girls makes them particularly vulnerable to AIDS infections - younger women in particular have the least power, and lack, in general, access to information, education and communication, health facilities and training, independent income, and legal rights.

As part of the preparations for the fourth World Conference on Women which is scheduled to take place in Beijing, China, from 4 to 15 September 1995, African member States held the fifth African Regional Conference for Women in Dakar, Senegal, from 16 to 23 November 1994 to review progress made and the obstacles encountered in the implementation of the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women to the year 2000. The major outcome was the adoption of the African Platform for Action (APA), which will be submitted to the fourth World Conference on Women. At the core of APA is an underscoring of the need to empower women politically and economically, increase their access to education, training, science and technology support their vital role in society and the family, and protect their legal and human rights; and, the identification of 11 critical areas of concern, which constitute the major gaps and obstacles to the accelerated advancement of women in Africa. They consist, in general, of: (a) women's poverty, insufficient food security and lack of economic empowerment; (b) inadequate access to education, training, science and technology; (c) women's vital role in culture, the family and socialization; (d) improvement of women's health, reproductive health including family planning and population related programmes; (e) women's relationship and linkages to environment and natural resource management; (f) involvement of women in the peace process; (g) the political empowerment of women; (h) women's legal and human rights; (i) mainstreaming of gender- disaggregated data; (j) women, communication, information and the arts; and (k) the girl-child.

E. Policies and prospects for social development and progress in Africa

The foregoing analysis indicates that social development and progress in Africa continues to be faced with a major crisis. The major social ills are: high rates of unemployment, infant and child morbidity and mortality, and maternal mortality; rapid population growth rates; environmental degradation; and a growing population of refugees and displaced persons as a result of civil wars and ethnic conflict. Women, children and youth bear a disproportionate share of the burden, which, in many cases, has been exacerbated by the social costs of adjustment.

Given the continued deterioration in the social situation in Africa, five years to the dawn of a new millennium, it has been necessary in several parts of this report to ask and to attempt answers to a number of pertinent questions: Is it that the political will to foster social development has not been sufficiently articulated in Africa's past development strategies? Or, is it that the urgency of socio-economic development and the daunting tasks involved are yet to be fully understood, or sufficiently realized and appreciated by the African Governments and their development partners? Is Africa fully committed, mobilized and braced to lifting itself up by its own bootstraps? Has donor assistance been made available in the desired amounts and with the timeliness required to ameliorate the social situation in the African region and usher in socio-economic progress and transformation?
The issues of health, education, employment and effective popular participation in social, political and economic development bear heavily on the agenda items of the Cairo International Conference on Population and Development, the United Nations-organized World Summit for Social Development, and the fourth World Conference on Women on the gender aspects of poverty alleviation, employment generation and social integration. By underscoring anew how inexorably progress in human development is linked to the long-term development and structural transformation which the countries of Africa must undergo if grinding mass poverty is to be overcome, these important meetings will have no doubt a salutary effect in advancing social development in Africa.

However, what is needed, first and foremost, is for the African Governments themselves to give due priority to social planning and social programmes in their own national development strategies. As articulated in the African Common Position on Human and Social Development, there is massive under- investment in the social sector in Africa, typified especially by the neglect of certain priority areas such as poverty alleviation and employment generation. Consequently, there is an urgent need to increase resource allocation and investment in job creation, environmental protection, family planning, health, education and nutrition of Africa's children and, where necessary, land reform; and, to devise modalities for integrating women into the main stream of development efforts.

To redress the situation of grossly unequal distribution of land, improved land-holding schemes are being vigorously pursued in Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe. In South Africa, for example, the Land Restitution Bill was signed into law on 17 November 1994. The legislation is an attempt to give redress to black South Africans dispossessed of their land by apartheid laws dating back to the 1913 Land Act, which limited the majority population's land ownership rights to 13 per cent. It is estimated that 3.5 million black people were victims of forced removals during the apartheid era. The Land Restitution Bill provides for the creation of a land claims court and a land commission to arbitrate claims for restitution. Petitioners have up to three years to lodge their claims.

The donor community can also better support the intricate and complex social transformation process in Africa a great deal more by restructuring and targeting ODA effectively in favour of the poor. As pointed out in UNICEF's report on the State of the World's Children, 1995, only about 25 per cent of today's aid is given to the countries where three quarters of the world's poorest billion people now live, and only about 15 per cent goes to the agricultural sector, which provides a livelihood for the majority of people in almost all developing countries, with far much less to primary education, primary health care and family planning services. That is highly undesirable. Poverty tends to perpetuate itself; and, unless a deliberate effort at poverty alleviation and eradication is made by the African Governments with the purposive and dedicated assistance of the donor community, it will persist and grow. Both the compelling urgency and the necessary scope of social policy reforms in Africa, and the corresponding needs for substantially enhanced levels of development assistance place the region in a special category to which the international community must favourably respond.
In this connection, current efforts to refocus SAPs to give more attention to poverty alleviation marks a welcome change. The World Bank now says it is making compensatory programmes (i.e., social safety nets, social action programmes, etc.) that were originally conceived as ad hoc special programmes for the mitigation of the social costs of adjustment a regular and standard feature of its new generation of SAPs. Still, the provisions of these compensatory programmes generally fall short of the ideal, which should be to integrate concerns about poverty and the social dimensions of adjustment in the basic design of SAPs, in line with the AAF-SAP and the African Charter for Popular Participation in Development and Transformation.

In the Programme of Action, which emerged from the World Summit for Social Development held in Copenhagen, Denmark, from 6 to 12 March 1995, world leaders are urged to commit themselves to the goals of eradicating poverty in the world, and to promote full employment as a basic priority of economic and social policies. It urges national governments to pay particular attention to the following: (a) efforts and policies to address the root causes of poverty and to provide the basic needs of all. These include the elimination of hunger and malnutrition, the provision of food security, education, employment and livelihood, primary health care, safe drinking water and sanitation, adequate shelter and participation in social and cultural life, with special priority to the needs and rights of women, children, the vulnerable and the disadvantaged groups and persons; (b) creation of employment, reduction of unemployment and the promotion of appropriately and adequately renumerated employment as a strategic and policy focus, with the full participation of employers, workers and their respective organizations, and giving special attention to the problems of structural, long-term unemployment and under-employment of youth, women, people with disabilities and all other disadvantaged groups and individuals; (c) promotion of basic social programmes and expenditures, in particular those affecting the poor and the vulnerable segments of society; (d) establishment of structures, policies, objectives and measurable goals that will ensure gender balance and equity in decision-making processes at all levels; and, the broadening of womens' political, economic, social and cultural opportunities, independence and empowerment, including the organizations of indigenous women at the grassroots level.

Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
Previous Menu Home Page What's New Search Country Specific