The General Assembly asked developed nations Friday to increase aid to Africa and to reschedule Africa's huge debt in an effort to save the continent's faltering economic recovery program.
The assembly adopted by consensus and without a vote a bleak U.N. midterm report on African economic recovery, from 1986 to 1990, with detailed recommendations. The 23-page report said that 21/2 years into the ambitious U.N. program, the picture is grim and little improvement has been made.According to U.N. figures, Africa's total foreign debt was estimated at $218 billion by the end of 1987, almost three times Africa's annual export earnings.
Per capita income in Africa fell 2 percent in 1986, 2.2 percent in 1987 and today is lower than it was in 1980.
The report proposed that developed countries allocate .7 percent of their gross national product to official development assistance to Africa.
It also asked sub-Saharan African nations themselves to pursue difficult reforms to make their economies more viable and competitive.
Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar requested the international community "to make the extra effort . . . in the immediate future that will make the crucial difference in successful implementation of the program of action.
"There is no escaping the close connection between external debt, financial flows and trade, if Africa's recovery and development is to be placed on a solid footing."
The program asks Africa to undertake economic reform and development and asks the international community to support and supplement Africa's effort. It estimated that $128.1 billion was required for 1986-90. African countries committed themselves to provide $82.5 billion of this amount, with the rest to come from other nations and international lending and U.N. institutions.
But midway in the program, the situation remains critical.
"The situation has not at all improved, but it has worsened in some countries despite efforts of African countries to restructure their economies, and despite aid from the international communities," Norway's U.N. Ambassador Tom Vraalsen, chairman of the review committee, told a news conference.
"Other countries must increase their support for African countries in the years to come."
Vraalsen told the General Assembly that in spite of all efforts, the situation in Africa continues to grow worse.
He said it is characterized by unsustainable, crushing burdens of external debt; substantial decline in export earnings because of depressed commodity prices; decline in private investment, lending and the like; instability of the international currency market and abnormaly high interest rates.