In the overview, we first recall the principal evolutions in the international environment of Africa, characterised by a hesitant recovery in the OECD area and a mixed evolution of commodity prices, but also by a modest recovery of Official Development Assistance granted by OECD countries to Africa. We then summarise the principal macroeconomic evolutions of African economies, and their outlook for 2003. 2002 was characterised by a slowdown in economic growth with, as usual, a wide variance of past performances and prospects of individual African countries. In 2003, Africa should, on average, experience only a modest recovery. Then we discuss several aspects of the external constraint faced by African economies, which affect their growth prospect in the medium term. This leads us in particular to discuss competitiveness issues and the moderate diversification progress observed so far in Africa, and to document debt relief obtained recently through the HIPC initiative. The next section extends the analysis of structural issues to privatisation, which is the principal structural economic policy analysed in country chapters of this Report. We then turn to the challenge of poverty reduction through a discussion of the capacity of African countries to meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Finally, we document some of the principal evolutions observed in Africa concerning governance, which conditions to a large extent achievements in poverty reduction.