Where Africa stands on development rankings


Image: By World Bank
Where Africa stands on development rankings

The world’s internet user population has grown to 30.2 users per 100 people, and the total mobile subscriber base has topped 5.382 billion.

However, in Africa, there are 20.9 internet users per 100 in MENA and only 11 per 100 people in sub-Saharan Africa. Mobile subscriptions in sub-Saharan Africa totaled 383 million in 2010.  

This is according to the 2012 edition of World Development Indicators (WDI), released today.

The database includes updated data on global development, the quality of people's lives, the environment, the economy, the functioning of states and markets, and global links - how actions in one part of the world affect people elsewhere.

Alongside the WDI and the latest update to the on-line WDI database, major improvements to the data access, analysis and visualisation tools are also now available.

These make it easier than ever to use and analyze the full range of datasets available in the Bank’s data catalog (http://data.worldbank.org) – all freely available as part of the Open Data Initiative launched two years ago.

Mobile and fixed-line subscriber numbers for sub-Saharan Africa are dated only until 2009, where the data indicates that the highest subscriber numbers per 100 population were in Seychelles (131), Mauritius (114.9)  South Africa (102.9), Botswana (101.9) and Algeria (101). The lowest penetration was in Somalia, at 8.1 lines per 100, Ethiopia (6.1) and Eritrea (3.7).

The data indicates that Africa is urbanising rapidly. In 2010, only 37% of sub-Saharan Africa’s population lived in urban areas, but between 1990 and 2010 the urban growth rate of 4% per year was the highest among developing regions.

Among the data indicators are research and development expenditure as % of GDP. In Euro areas, the average is 2.09% and among OECD nations, it is 2.45%. In sub-Saharan Africa, the average is 0.58%. High technology exports as a % of exports stand at 29% in East Asia & Pacific, 16% among OECD members and 3% both in MENA and in sub-Saharan Africa.

The World Bank’s newly-released World Development Indicators data shows the number of people living in poverty in sub-Saharan Africa has started to decline, from 60% in 1993 to 48% in 2008.

However, the number of people living on less than USD2 a day is rising. 16 of the 33 nations categorized by the World Bank as “fragile situations” are in sub-Saharan Africa. Around 1.5 billion people live in areas affected by fragility, conflict or large-scale organized criminal violence. Sub-Saharan Africa also has the world’s fastest-growing population rate.

While world population has grown by 1.2% per year between 2000 and 2010, developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa have averaged population growth of 2.5% per year. While world mortality rates are dropping (from 98 per 1000 live births in developing countries to 63 per 1000 in 2010), sub-Saharan Africa still suffers the death of one in 8 children before his or her fifth birthday.

For a global review of development progress, see the introduction to the World View section of World Development Indicators 2012

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