Sub-Saharan Africa is on a knife edge. For more than a decade the region has been locked in a downward spiral of economic and social decline. That decline, unlike the tragedies of famine and drought, which dominate news coverage of the region, has been largely invisible to the outside world. Yet it has spread human suffering and misery on an unprecedented scale. Hard-won gains in health and education have been reversed; living standards, already among the lowest in the world, have fallen; hunger is on the increase. And the tragedy is set to deepen. On current trends, the ranks of the 218 million Africans already living in poverty will increase to 300 million – equal to half the region’s population – by the end of the decade. The work of Oxfam (UK and Ireland) in Africa is motivated by a conviction that this dismal prospect can be avoided, and the fight against poverty won. That is why Oxfam is calling on these governments to back an international plan for recovery and poverty eradication in Africa.
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