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Population: 22.1 million (2005)
People living on less than $2/day: 78.5 percent (1990-2003)
National debt: Ghana’s external debt more than quadrupled, from $1.4 billion in 1980 to $7 billion in 2000, according to the World Bank’s Global Development Finance. In 2001, the new government decided to avail itself of debt-relief under the IMF-World Bank’s HIPC initiative. In 2006, multilateral debt was completely written off.
HIV/AIDS: HIV prevalence in adults was estimated to be 3.1 percent at the end of 2003.


Population: 131.5 million (2005)
People living on less than $2/day: 90.8 percent (1990-2003)
National debt: Nigeria’s debt servicing problems began around 1985 when the Nigerian government’s external debt to all creditors totaled $19 billion. Since then, the government has paid creditors more than $35 billion while borrowing less than $15 billion. Nevertheless, according to the World Bank, Nigeria’s outstanding external debt at the end of 2004 grew to almost $36 billion, representing 70 percent of the gross national income. How is this possible? The short answer is compound interest; the long answer is that Nigeria’s Paris Club creditors opted not to restructure their claims on Nigeria in 1992 when Nigeria’s commercial creditors agreed to do so.

HIV/AIDS: Six percent of the population had AIDS or was infected by HIV in 2003, which equals almost 4 million Nigerians and more than 8 percent of the global total.


These organizations all devote considerable time and money to solving the problems that impact the African continent. Visit each Web site to learn how you can help.

Bono TV: Into Africa
May 21: The U2 front man talks about the opportunities and problems facing Africa, and looks forward to his trip across the continent with "NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams.

Population: 9 million (2005)
People living on less than $2/day: 83.7 percent (1990-2003)
National debt: In April 2005 the World Bank and IMF announced that Rwanda had reached heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC) completion point. This qualified Rwanda for total debt relief estimated at $1.4 billion in nominal terms. When combined with the 100 percent multilateral debt cancellation agreed at the 2005 G8 Summit, total debt relief is expected to save Rwanda about $48 million annually in debt-service costs, and leaves it with an estimated external debt of $240 million.

HIV/AIDS: 5 percent of the population has HIV/AIDS, filling 80 percent of available hospital beds.


Population: 13.5 million (2005)
People living on less than $2/day: 90.6 percent (1990-2003)
National debt: Mali became one of the most aid-dependent economies in the world in the late 1980s. External debt remains high, at $2.9 billion at the end of 2003 according to World Bank data, equivalent to 75 percent of gross national income (GNI), but significantly lower than the 125 percent of GNI in 2000. Mali qualified for debt relief in September 2000 under the IMF/World Bank’s heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC) initiative and began to receive relief on debt servicing. Because of this relief, the debt-service ratio fell from 12.9 percent in 2000 to 6.9 percent in 2002. 100 percent multilateral relief was granted in 2006.
HIV/AIDS: While adult HIV prevalence was still relatively low at 1.9 percent, it is estimated that HIV prevalence could triple by 2010 if appropriate prevention measures are not taken immediately.