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Although sub-Saharan African countries differ greatly in their geographical and physical conditions, weather patterns, and cultural heritage, the similarity of their economic structures is striking. In particular, in nearly all these countries the agricultural sector remains dominant, and its well-being is crucial to the economy. It provides the earnings that support the industrial sector in its take-off into economic growth and the bulk of exports. Indeed, few countries have achieved sustained economic growth without first, or simultaneously, developing their agricultural sector. Nevertheless, over the 1970s the rate of growth of agricultural production in many of these sub-Saharan African countries declined from even the slow rates of the 1960s (Table 1).

Nancy Birdsall, Sebastian Mallaby, Moisés Naím, Robert P. Bremner, Edwin M. Truman, Paul Roberts, and Hossein Samiei

This paper highlights that the current round of trade talks under the auspices of the World Trade Organization aims at better integrating developing countries—especially the small and poor ones—into the global trading system. For that reason, it was named the Doha Development Agenda when it was launched in late 2001. However, more than three years on, little progress has been made. It took a late July 2004 accord outlining “negotiating frameworks” in agriculture and industrial products just to keep the talks afloat.

Ms. Laura Wallace

In recent months, prices of oil, nickel, tin, corn, and wheat have hit record highs, building on dramatic increases since their lows of 2000. What does this mean for sub-Saharan Africa, a highly diverse region of net commodity importers and exporters?

International Monetary Fund. Secretary's Department


The speeches made by officials attending the IMF–World Bank Annual Meetings are published in this volume, along with the press communiqués issued by the International Monetary and Financial Committee and the Development Committee at the conclusion of the meetings.