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Mr. Amor Tahari, Mr. M. Nowak, Mr. Michael T. Hadjimichael, and Mr. Robert L. Sharer
Over the past two decades, sub-Saharan Africa has lagged behind other regions in economic performance. The important overall indicators of performance, however, mask wide differences among countries. On the whole, countries that effectively implemented comprehensive adjustment and reform programs showed better results. Their experiences demonstrate that an expansion in private saving and investment is key to achieving gains in real per capita GDP. The four papers included in this publication provide a cross country analysis that assesses empirically the role of publlic policies in stimulating private saving and investment in the region in 1986-92 and describe the adjustment experiences of Ghana (1983-91), Senegal (1978-1993), and Uganda (1987-94).
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).