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The World Bank: 50 Factoids about Sub-Saharan African

January 1, 2007


  • More than 35% of Africans live in sustained-growth economies that have grown at more than 4% a year for ten years.
  • In 1975-2005 the GDP per capita growth (PPP) was 0.70%; in 1995-2005 it was 1.88%.
  • During accelerated growth periods the region grew 3.6% a year (per capita PPP), but shrank –2.7% during periods of growth collapses.
  • In 1975-2005, the probability of observing growth acceleration and deceleration were 0.25 and 0.22, respectively. In 1995-2005, these probabilities were 0.42 and 0.12.
  • Exports rose from $182 billion in 2004 to $230 billion in 2005, a 26% rise.
  • Crude oil comprises more than half of total Africa’s exports.
  • In two thirds of SSA countries, one or two products are responsible for at least 60% of the country’s total exports.
  • On average, the merchandise export within trade blocs is 6% of total bloc exports.
  • Growth volatility is five times higher in SSA than that observed in low and middle income countries, as given by the coefficient of variation of GDP per capita growth.
  • In 2005 the richest 10% of African countries had 18.5 times the GDP per capita of the poorest 10%, from 10.5 times in 1975.
  • In 2005, 60.5% of total net foreign direct investments in SSA went to oil exporter countries.
  • South Africa’s and Nigeria’s GDP comprise 54% of total SSA’s GDP.

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