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Annie Guggliotta

Graphic Truth: Infant mortality in the OECD

American parents are more than four times as likely as their peers in Estonia to lose a baby during or shortly after birth. It is one of the most devastating human experiences – and a key indicator of a country’s development. After all, if even the most vulnerable babies survive, the healthcare system must be doing something right. By that metric, the US looks more like Chile or Slovakia than the global superpower it is.

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Students read Koranic verses at a madrasa, or Koranic school, in Dhusamareeb, central Somalia, December 16, 2012.

REUTERS/Feisal Omar

IMF says economic picture is rosy, but how does it look from the bottom?

Inflation looks set to fall globally, and a global recession is unlikely in 2024, according to the IMF’s April update to the World Economic Outlook. That so-called “soft landing” is great news for those in New York or Paris, but what does the picture look like from the most vulnerable economies?

Money has been tight for developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa, in particular, with many over-indebted states are only just returning to capital markets after COVID-19’s economic knock-ons shut them out, and face dim medium-term growth prospects.

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Ghana, Accra, 2023-02-16. Young schoolchildren in uniform learning multiplication tables. Illustration image of children in a school in Ghana. A little girl is at the blackboard reciting in front of the class.

Photograph by Jean-Francois Fort / Hans Lucas via Reuters

To get rich, Ghana needs to wise up

About a quarter of all the chocolate you eat comes from Ghanaian cacao, so with prices at all-time highs, Ghanaian farmers should be raking it in. Instead, they’re selling at fixed prices to a government that’s struggling to settle its debts after a crushing $30 billion default last year.

On Monday, Ghana failed to reach a debt deal to restructure $13 billion in debt, breaching the terms of its International Monetary Fund bailout and pushing the country to the brink. According to the IMF, Ghana is borrowing too much in the same high-interest rate environment that led to the original default. If the government cannot formulate a plan that meets IMF standards, it risks $360 million in upcoming relief.

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