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Poverty - World Bank's 'World Development Report - 1990' - Special Section - Future of the Global Economy: Challenges of the 90s.
UN Chronicle. 1990 Sep; 27(3): p..The World Bank has dedicated its thirteenth annual global development study to an exhaustive examination of the "poorest of the world's poor", analysing programmes which have successfully eliminated poverty. The 260-page analysis--World Development Report 1990--first measures poverty, qualitatively as well as quantitatively, and then draws lessons from the experience of countries which have successfully reduced poverty. The burden of poverty is spreading unevenly among countries, the Bank states. Nearly half of the world's poor live in South Asia, a region that accounts for roughly 30 per cent of the world's population. Sub-Saharan Africa has a smaller, but "still highly disproportionate, share of global poverty", the Report says. Within countries and regions, there are also disparate concentrations of poverty. The weight of poverty falls most heavily on women and children. (excerpt)
Finance and Development. 2003 Dec; 40(4):14-19.With just 12 years left to achieve the W Millennium Development Goals, a greater sense of urgency is needed by all sides if the targets are to be met. Many developing countries are making substantial progress toward the MDGs as a result of improved policies, better governance, and the productive use of development assistance. But they could do more with the right mix of policy reforms and additional help. Scaling up efforts to meet the MDGs by 2015 presents both opportunities and challenges. By acting now, developed countries can hasten progress by providing more and better aid and by allowing greater access to their markets. Developing countries, for their part, will need to continue to improve their policies and the way they are implemented. Without greater impetus, there is a serious risk that many countries will fall far short on many of the goals. (excerpt)
NEW INTERNATIONALIST. 1988 Oct; (188):32.One of Africa's most rural and densely populated countries, Burundi is a landlocked nation in Central Africa. The 4.9 million people are 85% Hutus, agricultural people of Bantu origin. However, the Hutus are excluded from power by the minority Tutsis, and the 2 groups have engaged in violent conflict. After a military coup in 1987, a new president, Major Pierre Buyoya, was installed, but restrictions on the Hutus continue. The major difference in Burundi has been a relaxation of restrictions on the Catholic church, which were severe under the former President Bagaza. Most Hutus are Catholic, with a minority of Muslims. For the peasant farmer, faced with diminishing arable land and reliance on 1 export crop (coffee), life is becoming more difficult. An expansion of sugar production was planned to reduce reliance on coffee, although the government has a rather ambivalent approach to development. While promoting private sector development with the help of the World Bank and the U.S. government, the Burundi government maintains a rigid 1-party system with strict control over the lives of the people. Infant mortality stands at 196/1,000 live births and life expectancy is low--43 years for women and 40 years for men. The literacy rate is low (39% for men, 15% for women), and the GNP per capita is low ($230). Most land is used for subsistence crops such as cassava, bananas, sweet potatoes, maize, pulses, and sorghum.
BACKGROUND NOTES. 1988 Mar; 1-8.The Republic of Kuwait occupies an area of 6,880 square miles at the head of the Persian Gulf, bounded on the north and west by Iraq and on the south by Saudi Arabia. 1.7 million people live in Kuwait, of whom 680,000 are Kuwaitis; the rest are expatriate Arabs, Iranians, and Indians. The annual growth rate of Kuwaitis is 3.8%. The Kuwaitis are 70% Sunni and 30% Shi'a Muslims. Arabic is the official language, but English is widely spoken. Kuwait is a highly developed welfare state with a free market economy. Education is free and compulsory, and literacy is 71%. Infant mortality among Kuwaitis is 26.1/1000, and life expectancy is 70 years. Medical care is free. Kuwait was first settled by Arab tribes from Qatar. In 1899 the ruler, Sheikh Mubarak Al Sabah, whose descendents still rule Kuwait, signed a treaty with Britain; and Kuwait remained a British protectorate until it became independent in 1961. A constitution was promulgated in 1962, and a National Assembly was elected by adult male suffrage in 1963. However, the Assembly has since been suspended due to internal friction. Kuwait and Iraq have been disputing Kuwait's northern border since 1913, and the southern border includes a Divided Zone, where sovereignty is disputed by Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Despite the fall in oil prices in 1982 and the loss of trade due to the Iran-Iraq war, Kuwait is one of the world's wealthiest countries with a per capita gross domestic product of $10,175. Oil accounts for 85% of Kuwait's exports, which total $7.42 billion; income from foreign investments (about $60 billion) makes up most of the balance. All petroleum-related activities are managed by the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC), which includes the nationalized Kuwait Oil Company, petrochemical industries, the 22-vessel tanker fleet, and refineries and service stations in Europe, where Kuwaiti oil is marketed under the brand name Q8. Kuwait has more than 66 billion barrels of recoverable oil but limits production to 999,000 barrels per day. Other industrial products include ammonia, chemical fertilizers, fishing and water desalinization (215 million gallons a day). Kuwait imports machinery, manufactured goods, and food. Nevertheless exports exceed imports by $2 billion, and the Kuwaiti dinar is a strong currency (1 KD=US$3.57). About $75 billion is kept in 2 reserve funds: the Fund for Future Generations and the General Reserve Fund. In addition to domestic expenditures and imports, Kuwait has extended $5 billion worth of loans to developing countries, made through the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development. Kuwait has been engaged in continuing border disputes with Iraq since 1961, but the most immediate threat to Kuwait has been the Iran-Iraq war. Kuwait lent Iraq $6 billion, in retaliation for which Iran bombed a Kuwaiti oil depot, and Shi'a Muslim terrorists bombed the French and US embassies and hijacked a Kuwaiti airliner in 1984. Iran also attacked Kuwaiti tankers. In 1987 the US reflagged 11 Kuwaiti tankers to protect them from Iranian attacks. Kuwait has been modernizing its own military forces as well as purchasing sophisticated weapons from the UK, the US, France, and the USSR. In 1981 Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman formed the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for mutual defense, and in 1987 Kuwait was elected chairman of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). Kuwait has diplomatic relations with the USSR and the People's Republic of China, as well as with the US, which has supplied Kuwait with $1.5 billion of sophisticated weaponry from foreign military sales (FMC). The US is Kuwait's largest supplier (after Japan), and Kuwait is the 5th largest market in the Middle East for US goods, despite the disincentives brought about by the Arab boycott of Israel.
BACKGROUND NOTES. 1988 Mar; 1-8.Zimbabwe is a land-locked plateau country of 151,000 square miles, divided into 8 provinces, in Southeastern Africa, bordered by South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique. Its population consists of 8.8 million blacks, divided between the Shona-speaking Mashona (80%) and the Sindebele-speaking Matabele (19%), 100,000 whites, 20,000 coloreds, and 10,000 Asians. Many of the blacks are Christians. More than 1/2 the whites migrated to Zimbabwe after the Second World War at a rate of about 1000 a year until the mid-1970s; since then 12,000 whites have left the country. The official language is English, and education is free. Most African children 5-19 years old attend school, and literacy is between 40% and 50%. The University of Zimbabwe is located in Harare, the capital, and there are several technical institutes and teacher-training colleges. Zimbabwe has been inhabited since the stone age, and evidence of a high indigenous civilization remains in the "Great Zimbabwe Ruins" near Masvingo. The present black population is descended from later migrations of Bantu people from central Africa. Cecil Rhodes was granted concessions for mineral rights in the area in 1888, and the territory, which administered by the British South Africa Company, was called Rhodesia. Southern Rhodesia became a self-governing entity within the British Empire in 1913. In 1953 Southern Rhodesia was joined with the British protectorates of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland in the Central African Federation, but this dissolved in 1963, and Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland became independent as Zambia and Malawi in 1964. Independence was withheld from Rhodesia because Prime Minister Ian Smith refused to give Britain assurances that the country would move toward majority rule. In 1965 Smith issued a Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) from the UK. In 1966 the UN Security Council imposed mandatory economic sanctions on Rhodesia. Within Rhodesia the major African nationalist groups -- the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU) and the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) united into the "Patriotic Front" and began to engage in guerrilla warfare against the minority government. Finally, in 1979, Rhodesia returned briefly to colonial status, during which time a new constitution was written, implementing majority rule; the UN Security Council called off economic sanctions; and elections were held. Robert Mugabe, leader of the victorious ZANU Party, was asked to form Zimbabwe's 1st government. The British Government formally granted independence to Zimbabwe on April 18, 1980. THe new government was to consist of a President (Mr. Mugabe), elected by universal suffrage, and a bicameral parliament. Zimbabwe has followed a policy of national reconciliation at home and "active nonalignment" abroad. In 1982, Zimbabwe was chosen by the Organization of African Unity to hold one of the nonpermanent seats in the UN Security Council, and in 1986, Zimbabwe was the site of the Nonaligned Movement summit meeting, and Mr. Mugabe became chairman of that organization. The years of sanctions, guerrilla warfare, and white emigration, combined with a foreign exchange crisis (the Zimbabwe dillar = US$.60), and the drought of 1987 took their toll on the Zimbabwean economy. Gross domestic product declined between 1974 and 1979, although by 1986, it was $4.7 billion, with per capita income $275. Zimbabwe is rich in natural resources, especially coal and chrome; and industry, which accounts for 69% of the gross domestic product, was forced by the sanctions to diversify. Plentiful coal deposits make the country less dependent on imported oil for an energy source. Agriculture, which constitutes 15% of the gross domestic product, is the backbone of the economy, with corn as the largest crop and tobacco as the largest export crop; both were hurt by the 1987 drought. Another drain on the economy was the money diverted to pay for training and equipping the armed forces. The British Military Assistance Training Team has been the largest source of training, but jet fighters had to be bought from China and helicopters from Italy. The United States, which broke off relations after the Unilateral Declaration of Independence, has contributed $380 million in loans and grants to Zimbabwe in the years between 1981 and 1986.
BACKGROUND NOTES. 1987 Sep; 1-8.The Kingdom of Belgium which borders on the nations of France, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and the Federal Republic of Germany, is one of the smallest European countries and is a parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarch. The branches of its government are the executive (with a king, a prime minister, and a Council of Ministers), the legislative (a bicameral Parliament and various regional and cultural assemblies), and the judicial (a Court of Cassation modelled on the French system). 30% of Belgium's gross national product comes from machinery, iron and steel, coal, textiles, chemicals, and glass. During the 80 year period which preceded WWI, Belgium remained neutral in an era of intra-European wars until German troops overran the country during their attack on France in 1914. Some of the worst battles of that war were fought in Belgium. Again in 1940, Belgium was occupied by the Germans. There was a government-in-exile in London; however the King remained in Belgium during the war. The course of Belgian politics was determined largely by the division of the Belgian people into 2 major language groups--the Dutch speakers and French speakers. Regional and language rivalries are taken into account in all important national decisions. The 3 major political parties representing the main ideological tendencies are the Socialists, the Socialist Christians, and the Liberals. Belgium is one of the most open economies in the world and is a densely populated, highly industrialized country in the midst of a highly industrialized region. An economic austerity program was instituted at the beginning of this decade which included devaluation of the Belgian franc, reduction of government expenditures, a partial price freeze, etc. Improvements have been seen as a result of this program. Although US investment has declined in recent years, total US direct investment is estimated at $5.28 billion and there are 899 US companies currently operating in Belgium. As a member of NATO, Belgium's armed forces are part of the NATO integrated military structure. Belgium is a proponent of close cooperation with the US and they seek improved East-West relations. In this vein, Belgium works closely with the US both bilaterally and multilaterally to liberalize trade, and to foster economic and political cooperation and assistance to developing countries.
BACKGROUND NOTES. 1987 Aug; 1-7.Madagascar, in the Indian Ocean near Mozambique, is officially known as the Democratic Republic of Madagascar. This republic has 3 branches of government and includes 6 provinces or subdivisions. Since 1981, it has received more than $62 million in grants and concessional sales from the US. There have been other types of assistance as well, including a development assistance program begun in 1985. Its population is largely of mixed Asian and African origin. There exists an historic rivalry between the Catholic coastal people, Cotiers, and the Protestant Merina, who predominate in civil service, business, and the professions. To combat this, the government has set one of its goals to be the highlighting of nationalism. The beginning of Madagascar's written history can be traced to when the Arabs established trading posts along the coastal areas. Eventually, Madagascar moved toward independence from the French and became an autonomous state in 1958. The president is elected for a 7-year term and is the head, during that time, of the Supreme Revolutionary Council. There is a 3-tiered court system, including a lower court for civil and criminal cases, a criminal court for more serious crimes, and a supreme court. The government represents a strong socialist philosophy and outright criticism of the President and his government is not tolerated. The economy of Malagasy is dominated by agriculture, which employs about 85% of the population. Although it faces some serious problems in the areas of foreign exchange and imports/exports, Madagascar is a potentially prosperous country. It boasts diversified agricultural production, it is rich in minerals, and it maintains strong commercial ties to the West. Madagascar's major trading partners are France, the US, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Soviet Union, Qatar, and Japan. Madagascar maintains the Popular Armed Forces for its defense; however, there is a heavy reliance on the Soviet Union for military equipment and training. US-Malagasy relations have been warm for most of its history until 1971 when the US ambassador and 5 members of his staff were expelled. In 1980, a new ambassador arrived and in 1981, 2 Food for Peace rice agreements were concluded. In 1986, Madagascar became the 1st African country to be the recipient of assistance under the program Food for Progress, given to nations which have undertaken successful economic reform.