Your search found 22 Results
UN Chronicle. 2000 Summer; 37(2): p..The World Health Organization (WHO) on 9 June launched an action plan to save 13.4 million people in the drought-ravaged Horn of Africa from plummeting into a major health crisis. WHO said that even if the severe drought lifted, the people in the region, already worn down by natural and man-made disasters, would not be able to save themselves unless health was targeted. According to the agency, an investment of just $25 million would substantially reduce death and illness from preventable diseases and save thousands of lives in the seven affected countries: Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, the Sudan and Uganda. WHO's action plan aims to reduce the countries' vulnerability, improving the population's basic level of health by helping health professionals throughout the region improve the quality of what little water there is, combat severe malnutrition, and crack open essential access to basic health services such as immunization. The new plan includes community-based epidemic surveillance projects, which enlist local networks in reporting on disease out breaks, resulting in rapid diagnosis and response. (excerpt)
Economic drought strangles African recovery: Assembly calls for increased aid, debt relief - UN General Assembly - includes interview with Stephen Lewis, Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations.
UN Chronicle. 1988 Mar; 25(1): p..Despite courageous internal reform by African Governments since 1986, spiralling debt, cuts in foreign aid and the crash of commodity prices threaten to exacerbate the ongoing African economic crisis, devastating millions of people across the continent. "The economic crisis now facing Africa can exact a toll every bit as deadly as the drought (of 1983-1985)," Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar reported to the forty-second General Assembly in October 1987. The situation has deteriorated, he said, since the Assembly adopted the United Nations Programme of Action for African Economic Recovery and Development, 1986-1990, at a special session of the General Assembly in May 1986. His report examines conditions in Africa one year after the adoption of the Programme, under which African Governments agreed to adjust internal policies, and the international community pledged to increase aid and improve terms of trade. (excerpt)
UN Chronicle. 1986 Aug; 23: p..Five priority areas for national and international action are highlighted in a 53-page report of the Secretary-General on the critical economic situation in Africa (A/S-13/2) placed before the General Assembly's thirteenth special session. The priority areas include: national and collective self-sufficiency in food production and agricultural development in general; efforts to meet drought and desertification; rehabilitation and development of transport and other structures; development of human resources and social services, with attention to the role of women and the need to protect vulnerable groups; and external financial resources and the problem of external debt. The report states that droughts and famines suffered by many African countries from 1983 through 1985 attracted the world's attention to the plight of Africa. Emergency aid and good rains brought some relief, and although the food situation remains "precarious' and in some areas "quite serious', the immediate threat of mass starvation has subsided. (excerpt)
UN Chronicle. 1986 Aug; 23: p..Secretary-General Perez de Cuellar said the international community, in adopting the Programme of Action, had "clearly expressed their human solidarity with their brothers and sisters in Africa'. Determined and continued efforts over time were needed to meet the challenge. "The image of Africa as a dependent continent must disappear. Africa is a continent rich in physical and human resources. The realization of its potential will not only fulfill the hopes and aspirations of the peoples of Africa, but also contribute immeasurably to the economic and social well-being of all the world'. A summary of the 3-part, 24-paragraph Programme of Action follows. (excerpt)
Emergency needs total $1 billion; resolve to solve African crisis must not waver, Secretary-General says - Javier Perez de Cuellar.
UN Chronicle. 1986 Feb; 23: p..A "very cautious and conditional expression of hope" was delivered by Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar on 17 December 1985 to an informal meeting of Member States on the African emergency situation. Thanks to the generous international response and to rain which promised better harvests, he said, emergency needs would be down significantly in 1986 but still amount to nearly $1 billion. However, as the situation improved and news of the famine "faded from the front pages", the resolve of the international community to respond adequately might weaken. "We cannot let that happen", said the Secretary-General. "The momentum that has been generated this year must be maintained." The drought highlighted the seriousness of Africa's development crisis, he said, which must be addressed "with the same sense of urgency and in the same concerted and sustained manner which characterized the response to the drought". (excerpt)
UN Chronicle. 1984 Mar; 21: p..Africa, the Assembly pointed out, contains three quarters of the countries designated as "least developed" and 50 per cent of the world's land-locked nations. There vulnerable States suffer particularly from the effects of the crises, which touch all sectors of the economy--especially food production and agriculture, the backbone of these primarily rural societies. Drought has swept through the savannas, deserts and coastlines of all parts of Africa. Food shortages are rampant throughout at least half of all African countries, affecting millions of Africans. Hundreds of thousands of cattle have died from lack of feed and epidemics of cattle plague. Rivers and streams have vanished and wells have dried up. At least 150 million persons are faced with starvation in the 24 most seriously affected countries: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Somalia, Swaziland, Togo, United Republic of Tanzania, Upper Volta, Zambia and Zimbabwe. (excerpt)
UN Chronicle. 1985 Sep; 22: p..More than a million people throughout Africa would have perished had it not been for the massive international relief effort launched in December 1984, the Office for Emergency Operations in Africa (OEOA) reported in September. The "partnership between the drought-stricken countries and the international community' helped stave off what would have been an "unprecedented peace-time disaster', the Office stated in its monthly report on the African crisis. In spite of relief efforts and increased rain throughout drought-stricken areas of Africa, the situation in some countries is still critical, the OEOA warned. "One good rainy season can hardly be expected to undo the damage of several years of drought', the report stated. Lesotho was cited as an example of how the mere return of the rains did not necessarily signify the end of the crisis. Earlier forecasts for that country's harvest were about 15 per cent higher than was likely to be the case. (excerpt)
Forced Migration Review. 2005 Nov; (24):61.The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that there are currently 1,100 vehicles used by the 81 agencies meeting the needs of over two million displaced people in Darfur. Are the vehicles the right type to do the job as safely and reliably as possible? How should they be maintained in a place where there are no garages or mechanics trained to service imported high-tech trucks? Do drivers understand how to use their vehicles in the very insecure environment along roads – if they exist at all – that are among the worst in the world? If more attention were paid to the procurement, management and maintenance of vehicle fleets, could agencies use fewer vehicles and ensure they are not worn out after two years – the estimated life-span of trucks used in the rigorous Darfur conditions? (excerpt)
Forced Migration Review. 2005 Nov; (24):42.Provision of services along the whole returnee route is critical to the return process: at points of displacement (such as Khartoum and Kosti IDP camps and squatter areas), at key transition points which IDPs will pass through to return home (Kosti ferry embarkation) and at destination points (such as Northern Upper Nile and the Nuba mountains). Most of the IDPs have been displaced for 20 years. Many who have grown up in Khartoum can no longer speak their native language – potentially problematic for reintegration in their home areas. In addition, through isolation from their communities and interaction with other ethnic groups and cultures, they have lost knowledge of traditional customs and have adopted new traditions and customs. One prime example of this is food. Many IDPs returning from the North may not have had access to foods grown in the South and no longer know how to prepare them. To remedy this, one of FAR’s activities is organising cooking demonstrations – especially for young girls who have grown up and married in the North – focusing on foods grown in southern Sudan. (excerpt)
As Niger's emergency eases, another crisis looms. [Niger : la situation d'urgence ne s'apaise que pour faire place à une autre crise]
Lancet. 2005 Sep 24; 366(9491):1065-1066.The influx of international aid into Niger and the pending harvest has eased the plight of 3 million people at risk of starvation. But as the crisis recedes in the Sahel region, the UN has sounded the alarm about the deadly combination of drought, poverty, and HIV/AIDS in southern Africa. The UN estimates that up to 10 million people in Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, and Zambia will need assistance during the next 6 months. Aid groups such as CARE International warn that the scale and complexity of the southern African crisis will dwarf that of the Sahel. Zimbabwe is particularly at risk because of the accelerating economic and agricultural collapse, compounded by President Robert Mugabe’s recent clampdown on shack dwellers and street traders, which left some 700 000 people without a home or a job. The UN forecasts that up to 4 million people may need aid but has been unable to launch an appeal for funds because the government refuses to acknowledge the emergency. (excerpt)
Africa Recovery. 2003 May; 17(1): p..As Southern Africa's HIV/AIDS infection rates combine with widespread famine conditions, the region faces not only sickness and starvation, but also a severe longterm threat to its economies and societies. This twin onslaught of disease and hunger has dire consequences for families, communities and production systems. Agriculture, Africa's economic mainstay, is being hit especially hard. The focus of Africa's latest food emergency is not only the arid, drought-prone Horn of Africa or Sahel regions, but also Southern Africa. Most of its countries are largely fertile, well watered and traditionally self-sufficient in food. One reason for Southern Africa's current crisis is that the region also has the world's highest HIV infection levels. The UN Joint Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) estimated that infection rates in 2002 ranged from 15 per cent of adults in Malawi up to more than 30 per cent in Swaziland and Lesotho and a staggering 39 per cent in Botswana. Meanwhile, the World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that, as of March, the number of people requiring food assistance in Zimbabwe stood at 7.2 million, or 52 per cent of the population. Nearly 8 million more also need food aid in Malawi, Zambia, Lesotho, Mozambique and Swaziland. (excerpt)
In: Nutrition: a foundation for development, compiled by United Nations. Administrative Committee on Coordination [ACC]. Sub-Committee on Nutrition [SCN]. Geneva, Switzerland, United Nations, Administrative Committee on Coordination [ACC], Sub-Committee on Nutrition [SCN], 2002. 4 p.. (Nutrition: a Foundation for Development, Brief 9)In the past 15 years food insecurity, malnutrition, and disinvestments in health systems have contributed to increasing national crises and made countries more vulnerable to systemic shocks. Over this period the world has experienced an alarming increase in costly humanitarian disasters that have tragically affected millions of people each year. Shocks have included violent internal conflicts; natural traumas such as droughts and hurricanes; economic shocks; and the surging HIV/AIDS epidemic. The greatest numbers of affected people have been those uprooted by war and natural disasters, which doubled from 20 million in 1985 to 40 million in 1994 and remained over 35 million in 1999, and those living with HIV/AIDS, which increased from only a few million in the early 1980s to 34 million in 2000. Besides causing terrible suffering and death, these crises have caused many developing countries to suffer serious economic and food production setbacks. Global expenditures for humanitarian crisis interventions have grown while official development investment has stagnated or declined, adding to the drag on development. For instance, from 1985 to 2000 the World Food Programme shifted the balance of its program toward emergency response and away from sustainable development of food security and nutrition. It is now time to invest in nutrition as a tool for crisis prevention, mitigation, and management for three reasons: 1. Good nutrition relieves the social unrest underlying violent conflict; 2. Good nutrition decreases the human vulnerability that transforms systemic shocks into humanitarian disasters; and 3. Good nutrition lowers the death rate and promotes timely return to equitable and durable development in the aftermath of crises. (excerpt)
Washington, D.C., ZPG, 1988 Aug.  p. (ZPG Fact Sheet)Industrialized nations have emitted gases, which are transforming the Earth into a greenhouse, into the atmosphere for many years. Carbon dioxide (CO2), produced by burning fossil fuels and wood; chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) released by refrigerants and other sources; nitrous oxides, generated by fossil fuels; and methane, produced from decomposition of organic matter, trap infrared rays thereby causing an unprecedented rate of global warming. In the period from 1900-1988, the concentration of CO2 has climbed 20% and the average global temperature has risen >1 degree Fahrenheit. Further, since 1963, the rate of increase of atmospheric CO2 essentially equals population growth. Population growth also directly contributes to the increase in atmospheric methane. Forests naturally remove CO2 from the air, yet humans are destroying about 27 million acres of tropical forests/year. If the present fossil fuel rates persist, CO2 concentration will increase 2 fold by 2050 causing a mean global temperature increase of 9 degrees Fahrenheit. Other computer simulations predict changes in global precipitation, droughts, a rise in sea level by 1-4 feet, and the extinction of many species of plants and animals. Scientists major concern is the suddenness of this climatic change because it leaves little time for humans and plant and animal species to adapt. The World Meterological Organization of the United Nations advises that all nations ratify the recommendations of the 1987 Montreal meeting on ozone. 1 recommendation states that the industrialized nations must reduce the production and consumption of CFCs by 50% by the end of the century. Since the US consumes 28% of the world's annual energy consumption, the US should led the world in energy conservation. Any approach that does not advocate resource consumption and population stabilization will fail, however.
POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT REVIEW. 1998 Sep; 24(3):664-6.The 1997 Asian financial crisis began in Thailand and spread rapidly to other countries of eastern and southeastern Asia, acquiring broader economic and political dimensions. No country has been worse affected by the crisis than Indonesia, where the economy has suffered a major contraction, the currency has depreciated by approximately 80%, capital has fled, and there have been widespread corporate insolvencies, disruption of trade and distribution systems, and a major decline in living standards. Riots in Jakarta and some other cities, targeted especially at businesses owned by Chinese Indonesians, caused considerable mortality and physical destruction. Compounding factors were drought leading to crop losses and forest fires earlier in 1997, and uncertainty over the country's future leadership. The rise in food and fuel prices in the context of growing unemployment increased the proportion of impoverished households in the country. Health services and education became less attainable by the masses. The nearest comparable experience in Indonesia's history was the Great Depression. Both fertility and mortality rates may decline.
In: International watercourses: enhancing cooperation and managing conflict. Proceedings of a World Bank seminar, edited by Salman M.A. Salman, Laurence Boisson de Chazournes. Washington, D.C., World Bank, 1998. 77-99. (World Bank Technical Paper No. 414)This technical report chapter addresses issues of management of transboundary watercourses (TWs) in Africa. Examples are given of a two-tiered approach that is being used in Southern Africa, Lake Victoria, and the Volta Basin. Stresses have occurred due to uncoordinated use of resources and imbalances in capacity. Lessons learned are identified for the three cases as well as the implications for developing joint management of the Nile River. Africa has an abundance of TWs and countries making mutually exclusive claims for international water basins. Sustainable development of the region's water resources requires joint management of shared river basins. The main issues of the three cases are access to and control over water resource use. Major stakeholders of the Volta River Basin are Ghana and Burkina Faso with 88% of control and major economic dependency. Water demand has increased. Lake Victoria is a source of survival for thousands of rural settlements in three countries. The lake ecosystem supports a variety of economic activity, recreation, and biological resources. The ecosystem suffers threats to biodiversity, water pollution, wetlands degradation, and damaging effects from the water hyacinth. Southern Africa is a water scarce region with many international basins. Regional issues in Africa are water scarcity, drought, and watershed degradation. The World Bank supports the development of joint management of water resources in these three cases, each of which is described. Balanced levels of knowledge and information are important among riparians in order to build capacity and reach achievable goals. Dialogue must be sustained and trust needs to be established. Mutual benefits attract riparians and sustain dialogue.
Improving food security at household level; government, aid and post-drought development in Kordofan and Red Sea Hills.
In: To cure all hunger. Food policy and food security in Sudan, edited by Simon Maxwell. London, England, Intermediate Technology Publications, 1991. 218-31.The question whether government, assisted by aid, is capable of targeting interventions to those lacking food security is examined. Food security is a general concept which includes security against seasonal fluctuations, long-term declines in the natural resource base, and economic conditions which lead to destitution. Food security is analyzed at individual, household, community, regional, national, and international levels. Household interventions are also concerned with intra-household distribution and the level of community security. Food-insecure rural women and children in marginal drought-prone areas were the focus of programs funded by UNICEF in Sudan: the Joint Nutrition Support Project (JNSP) in Red Sea Hills (1983-88) and the Integrated Women's Development Program (IWDP) in Kordofan (1987-91). These multi-sectoral programs were carried out by departments of regional and provincial government along with the reactions to famine. In both Kordofan and Red Sea Hills extreme poverty is widespread, with high vulnerability to food insecurity which is even higher in Red Sea Hills. In Red Sea Hills, UNICEF/WHO had negotiated the 5-year JNSP to cover the province just as the famine broke in 1983/84. In Kordofan, UNICEF collected baseline data on such indicators and then returned after a two-year period to communities originally surveyed for monitoring. In Red Sea Hills, JNSP's target population were the food-insecure nomads. The Department of Health structure became sufficiently strong, at least partly due to 5 years of investment and development of primary health care personnel under JNSP. The department represents the best administrative mechanism in the province for the development of famine early-warning systems. Many food-security measures in Red Sea Hills are experimental and wrought with difficulty, thus the existence of a relatively strong administration will favor a food security strategy based on primary health care interventions.
ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION. 1984 Summer; 11(2):167-9.People living in the area just south of the Sahara Desert in Africa face their 3rd major drought since 1900. This drought brings about famine. Drought and famine are only manifestations of more profound problems: soil erosion and degradation. They diminish land productivity which aggravates the population's poverty. Yet soil erosion and degradation occur due to an expanding population. Continued pressures on the land and soil degradation results in desertification. The UN Environment Programme's Assessment of the Status and Trend of Desertification shows that between 1978-84 desertification spread. Expanding deserts now endanger 35% of the world's land and 20% of the population. In the thorn bush savanna zone, most people are subsistence farmers or herdsmen and rely on the soils, forests, and rangelands. Even though the mean population density in the Sahel is low, it is overpopulated since people concentrate in areas where water is available. These areas tend to be cities where near or total deforestation has already occurred. Between 1959-84, the population in the Sahel doubled so farmers have extended cultivation into marginal areas which are vulnerable to desertification. The livestock populations have also grown tremendously resulting in overgrazing and deforestation. People must cook their food which involves cutting down trees for fuelwood. Mismanagement of the land is the key cause for desertification, but the growing poor populations have no choice but to eke out an existence on increasingly marginal lands. Long fallow periods would allow the land to regain its fertility, but with the ever-increasing population this is almost impossible. Humans caused desertification. We can improve land use and farming methods to stop it.
[Gland, Switzerland], International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources [IUCN], 1989 Oct. , 42,  p. (Etude de Cas en Population et Ressources Naturelles)The agroforestry project (AFP) of Yatenga province in Burkina Faso incorporates the conservation of natural resources, demographic problems, and community participation. The AFP, financed by OXFAM (Oxford Committee for Famine Relief), is concerned with the fight against desertification for the restoration of soil. The villages of Longa and Ranawa were surveyed among numerous villages where AFP was carried out in Yatenga province. In 1985 the population of the country number 7.9 million people with an annual growth rate of 2.6%; in 1989 it reached 8.8 million. Mortality is 144/1000, the average is 6.5 children/woman, average life expectancy is 46 years, and only 8% live in urban areas. In 1985 there were 1283 inhabitants in Ranawa with 172 households; Longa had 730 inhabitants; and in both mossi ethnicity and Islam religion predominated. The inception of AFP lay in the drought of 1968-73 that resulted in destruction of forests, pasturage was overgrazed, and erosion followed. The 1979-82 phase involved research on techniques of conservation of water and soil with community participation. The 1982-86 phase was committed to the popularization of these techniques. The 1987-89 phase included application of measures and agricultural utilization. A total of 2790 peasants were trained in 406 villages during 1979-88. 190 hectares (ha) were improved in Ranawa and 100 ha in Longa out of a total of 5227 ha restored. A questionnaire was administered to 34 people to evaluate AFP performance and included OXFAM managers, AFP managers, 7 government and nongovernment managing staff, 22 members of focal groups, and agents of regional agropastural promotion centers. The achievements of AFP were encouraging, but insufficient human and financial resources, lack of initiative by the beneficiaries, and the need for methodological improvement were limiting factors.
Nairobi, Kenya, United Nations Environment Programme [UNEP], .  p. (UNEP Environment Brief No. 2)35% of the world's land consists of dry lands supporting 850 million people who face desertification risks. They tend to be already disadvantaged. These lands exist on every continent. 75% of Australia, 34% of Africa, 31% of Asia, 19% of Americas, and 2% of Europe face the risk of desertification. About 75% of dry lands are already desertified. Between 1985-75, the Sahara migrated southward about 100 km. Drought does not cause desertification but manmade forces do. These forces include poverty, inequitable distribution of resources, unsuitable land use and farming methods, overgrazing, intensive cash cropping onto marginal land best used for pastoralism, settling of previously nomadic peoples, and deforestation which tends to precede desertification. Desertified land can heal itself slowly once the forces that caused the desertification no longer exist. Encroaching dunes and sand sheets, deteriorating croplands and rangelands, water-logging and salinization of irrigated land, destruction of trees and shrubs, and deterioration in either the quantity or the quality of ground and surface water constitute desertification. Desertification contributed to the ruin of the Sumerian, Babylonian, Harappan, and Roman civilizations. Irrigation sparked 3 periods of rapid population growth in Iraq, 2 of which crashed due to water-logging and salinization (1800 B.C. and 900 A.D.). Desertification worsens the already existing poverty of the affected population thus forcing them to migrate to cities or other countries. Solutions lie in improved farming systems, sand dune fixation, and end to overgrazing and overcropping, erection of windbreaks and shelter belts, reforestation, and improved soil and water conservation. Each affected country must develop a national plan to fight desertification such as Tunisia did. The UN Environment Programme serves as a catalyst for doing so.
INTEGRATION. 1989 Dec; (22):14-7.Affirming that international cooperation along North-North, North-South, and South-South lines is essential for mutual survival, Mr. Waiyaki calls upon international understanding, good w ill, determination, and compromise in achieving mutually beneficial socioeconomic development for developing nations, while avoiding serious international confrontation and internal civil strife. He cites remaining instances of colonialism and the debate over Africa's debt repayment as potential conflict areas, then provides previously suggested resolving steps involving the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Economic Commission for Africa. Regarding internal strife, he discusses the hardships imposed upon African populations by structural adjustment programs. Should such exacerbatory measures be implemented in the hope of fostering development, negative international ramifications are possible. Specifically, the potential failure of measures to redress regional population and environmental problems should not be discounted. Improved communications and increasing interdependence continue to make the world seem smaller, allowing regional changes to affect the world on a broader scale. Key issues in high population growth, especially in Africa, Latin America, and Oceania, and environmental concerns are explored. The address includes specific mention of determinant factors and suggestions for Northern country interventions in finding solutions to these comprehensive concerns.
Bamako, Mali, CERPOD, 1989. 20 p.The 9 countries in the Sahel that are members of the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) are Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Chad, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal. This booklet describes the historical and socio economic background of the CILSS countries and discusses the actual demographic situation, the dismal development problems that the region faces partly due to colonial policies and more recently to the World Bank's structural adjustment policies. A major constraint is that the economy has not developed fast enough to keep up with the rapidly growing population, especially since 46% of all Sahelians are under age 15. The population for the Sahel is estimated at 40 million making-up 7% of Africa's total population; the total fertility rate is 6.5; the growth rate is 3% and doubling the 23 years; the crude birth rate is 47.3/1000; life expectancy is 48.5 and the crude death rate is 17.4/1000; life expectancy is 49, 3 years the average in Africa of 52; infant mortality in 1988 was 143/1000 compared to the world-wide average of 75/1000; child mortality exceeds the infant mortality rate. The population of the Sahel is mostly rural with only Senegal having 40% of its population living in major cities. The least urban countries are Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger where the urban populations represent less that 1.4 of the total. However, if the present trends continue the capitals of the Sahelian countries will continue to grow and expand because of migration from the rural areas. In 1989 the Council of Ministers of CILSS adopted "the N'Djamena Plan of Action on Population and Development in the Sahel" recommending that countries adopt population policies that integrate development issues. In 1988 Senegal was the 1st and only country to adopt an explicit population policy.
BACKGROUND NOTES. 1988 Feb; 1-7.The Republic of Djibouti, an area of 9,000 square miles on the Horn of Africa, is bounded on 3 sides by Ethiopia and Somalia and on the 4th by the Gulf of Aden, where the capital city, Djibouti, with its good natural harbor, is located. The population of 387,000, growing at 5.1% a year, is divided between the majority Somalis (of the Issa, Ishaak and Gadaboursi tribes) and the Afars and Danakils. All are Cushite-speaking, although the official language is French. Almost all of the people are Muslim. The country became independent of France in 1977; it had been the French Territory of Afars and Issas from 1966-77 and French Somaliland from 1884 to 1966. During the Second World War, Djibouti was governed from Vichy until 1942, when the country joined the Free French, and a Djibouti battalion participated in the liberation of France. The country is governed by a president (Mr. Hassan Gouled Aptidon), a prime minister (Mr. Barkat Gourad Hammadou), and a 65-member parliament, elected by universal suffrage. There is only 1 permitted political party, the Rassemblement Populaire Pour le Progres (RPP), which is dominated by the Issas. There are no women in high government positions, but the status of women is somewhat higher than in most Islamic countries. Djibouti has a small army, navy, and air force, supplemented by 4000 French troops. The level of socioeconomic development is not good. The economy is stagnant, and the country is afflicted with recurring drought. Only 20% of the people are literate; infant mortality is 114/1000, and life expectancy is 50 years. Per capita income is $450. Malaria is prevalent; there is only 1 hospital; and drinking water is unsafe. There are no natural resources, no industry, and very little agriculture. Most of the country's gross domestic product of $339 million is derived from servicing the port's facilities for container shipment and transshipment and maintaining the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railroad. The unit of currency is the Djibouti franc, and the official exchange rate is 177 DF to US$1. Djibouti's imports amount to $230 million, most of which are consumed in the country and paid for by French economic assistance and $3 million a year from the US. Djibouti is a member of the UN, the Organization of African Unity, the Arab League, the Nonaligned Movement, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), and the Intergovernmental Authority for Drought and Development (IGADD).