During the past few years, economic performance in sub-Saharan Africa has improved significantly. Growth of real GDP has picked up, inflation has moderated, and fiscal and external current account imbalances have contracted. The external debt situation started to improve, access to international capital markets was restored for some African countries, and the HIPC Debt Initiative was put into effect to address the excessive debt burden faced by a number of the countries in the region. These improvements in economic performance appear to have resulted mainly from strengthened policies rather than from favorable external developments such as terms of trade gains or increases in foreign economic assistance.1 Nor did Africa benefit from better weather conditions, which were basically unchanged in the 1990s. In conjunction with macroeconomic stabilization, there have been concerted structural reforms in many African countries, including domestic price decontrols, public sector reforms and privatization, progress toward the introduction of market-based interest rates, rationalization of exchange rate and payments policies, and trade liberalization initiatives.