Development Centre

African Economic Outlook 2003/2004 - 22 Country Studies



  • Favourable oil prices and public enterprise reform boosted growth in 2003, but the medium- term impact of the reforms on growth is uncertain.
  • Dynamic private sector, especially in the energy sector.
  • The start of a national political transition could be confirmed by the re-election of President Bouteflika.



  • Strong diamond output and prudent economic management are driving Botswana’s performance.
  • Diversification policy away from diamonds is expected to play an important role in the medium term growth outlook.
  • AIDS threatens progress. Population will decline to 1.3 million in 2015 compared to a non AIDS scenario of 2.5 million.


Burkina Faso

  • The impact of the crisis in Côte d’Ivoire on the economic performance of Burkina Faso has been weaker than expected. 
  • A robust primary sector owing to good rainfall and a dynamic cotton sector.
  • Development of the gold sector: is it the start of a diversification of Burkina’s exports?



  • Slowdown of growth since 2002 owing to loss of competitivity.
  • Contraction of exports may create a risk of trade imbalance.
  • Debt has been substantially reduced in the context of HIPC, thanks to sustained growth and repayments efforts


Côte d’Ivoire

  • A long-term economic and social fallback is expected in the occupied zones after 4 years of crisis.
  • Stable exports of cocoa and cotton.
  • The October 2005 Presidential elections dominate political uncertainty.


  • Poor growth performance affected by regional political instability.
  • Suez canal revenue set a record in 2003, mainly because of the increase of military traffic.
  • Unofficial depreciation due to partially flexible exchange rate system.


  • Agricultural production has been severely affected by an exceptional drought in 2002/03.
  • Dependence on external aid is likely to continue for the next years.
  • Instability is still present, despite sustained democracy, due to internal pressure (rebel groups) as well as external ones (border fights with Eritrea).



  • Slow growth is due to a progressive decline of petroleum output, despite an unexpected increase in oil production in 2003. 
  • Diversification is necessary to fight the high incidence of poverty; however the forestry sector is in crisis for internal and external reasons. 
  • External debt sharply reduced to contract a programme with the IMF: its percentage over GDP fell by 22 per cent from 1998-2002.



  • Very good agricultural sector performance improved the general economic situation.
  • Structural reforms aiming to increase private sector participation continue.
  • West African Gas Pipeline Project: it will allow the country to have access to Nigerian natural gas reserves.


  • Growth performance well below potential owing to structural bottlenecks, slow pace of reforms, and problems of governance.
  • An Economic Recovery Strategy launched in 2003 to stimulate growth.
  • Increased financial flows from donors and better performance of the export sector in 2004.


  • Peaceful presidential elections likely to improve climate for major development reforms.
  • Dynamism of the primary sector despite the uncertainty over the cotton sector’s performance.
  • Extreme fragility of fiscal and trade balance.


  • Improved economic performance in 2003, but growth is highly dependent on weather, impacting on agricultural output, and on the international environment.
  • A structural trade deficit, despite the encouraging export situation, reflects the poor competitiveness of the economy.
  • Civil liberties and human rights have been boosted by a series of measures initiated by King Mohammed VI, including a new family code.


  • Huge FDI feeds resurgent growth.
  • Private sector investments are the principal motor of growth in the context of efforts to simplify regulations and restructure the banking system.
  • Reduction in poverty from 69 per cent in 1997 to 54 per cent in 2002/03 ; primary enrolment up from 70 per cent in 1998 to 104 per cent in 2002.



  • Oil dominates economy which lacks a coherent national energy policy.
  • Upswing in 2003 real GDP growth due to upturn in the oil market.
  • Peaceful transfer of power marked by the 2003 re-election of President Obasanjo.


  • Growth highly dependent on agriculture.  
  • Aid and remittances crucial and boost consumption despite high unemployment and poverty. 
  • Weak impact of the Ivorian crisis on the economy: slight increase of port activities; acceleration of tobacco, and oil products exports.

South Africa

  • Budgetary discipline and contained inflation have not obviated the need to tackle major social challenges.
  • Growth lost momentum in 2003 but will resume over the next two years.
  • Social and HIV/AIDS spending improved but reluctance of parts of the government and uneven capacity among regions are serious impediments to concrete progress. 


  • Growth outlook is positive but the country is highly dependent on foreign aid.
  • Changes in the structure of exports (increase of non-traditional exports, such as mineral, fishery, and manufacturing) 
  • Political stability has helped economic achievements and progress in reforms.


  • Diversification and stability in the economy.
  • Private investment slumped owing to tougher competitive conditions.
  • Improved poverty reduction and increase in gross disposable income. 



  • Agricultural output fails to expand holding back GDP growth despite prudent fiscal and monetary management.
  • Privatisation continues, although at a very slow pace.
  • Political climate stable, but rebel activity threatens security.


  • Good economic performance to 2005 owes more to luck than to good management, relying mainly on external factors than on a long-term development strategy.
  • Needs of the poor neglected through government failures and poor governance.
  • Diversification from copper and the removal of the obstacles to private sector development.


  • Isolation has increased due to government’s unwillingness to address the huge economic and political crises.
  • Agricultural production has shrunk due to lack of foreign currency for inputs, together with a complete credit crunch and insecurity of land tenure.
  • Leaving the country has been the only option for 2.5 million Zimbabwean (about a quarter of the population) since the inception of the crisis.


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The full edition of the African Economic Outlook 2003/2004 is available from:
SourceOECD for subscribing institutions and many libraries
OECD Online Bookshop for non subscribers
Olisnet for subscribed Government Officials
African Economic Outlook 2003/2004
Available in print (paperback) and electronic format (pdf)
450 pages, OECD, Paris 2004
OECD Code 412004041P1
ISBN 92-64-01624-4