The HIV/AIDS epidemic is one of the greatest challenges facing economic and social development in sub-Saharan Africa. Women of reproductive age (15-49) have the greatest risk and prevalence of HIV in this region. Increased female vulnerability to HIV stems from limited access to health care and lack of autonomy to make decisions regarding sexual health and education. Using Demographic and Health Surveys data from nine sub-Saharan African countries, this paper found several key determinants in women’s empowerment and HIV status. Women who know more about sexual health knowledge in terms of contraceptive methods, fertility, and sexually transmitted diseases are more likely to be empowered than women with no understanding of sexual health. Similarly, women who are empowered are less likely to be HIV positive. This paper has important implications for future policies aiming to lower HIV incidence and improve women’s rights in sub-Saharan Africa.
The efficacy of foreign aid has been the topic of a long-standing debate between those who view aid as necessary for growth and development in less developed countries and those who view it, at best, as a waste and, at worst, as harmful to development. In theory, foreign aid should provide what its moniker implies: aid. But determining the precedent conditions under which aid should be provided to make aid successful and effective are blurred. This paper aims to find the specific prescription needed so that aid produces its intended outcome in sub-Saharan Africa: to improve the public service sector thereby leading to overall growth and a reduction of those in poverty in the recipient country. Life expectancy and the primary completion rate in school are used as proxies for examining the improvements, or lack thereof, that are realized in the key sectors of public services, which are public health and education. But OLS regression results show that increasing monetary aid alone does little to realize the goal of improving life expectancy, nor does aid alone increase primary completion rates in a manner that is statistically significant. Instead, aid must be accompanied by predicate circumstances. Individual country characteristics such as financial depth, surplus as a percentage of GDP, and percentage of paved roads are the key components to improving the health and education sectors in sub-Saharan Africa.
This paper evaluates the fourth Millennium Development Goal that calls for a two-thirds reduction in child mortality rates. The study provides an empirical analysis specifically on child mortality rates in sub-Saharan Africa. The final analysis shows that GDP, the prevalence of HIV, the improvement of water resources, and female education are the four most significant variables in determining child mortality. The analysis concludes that governments should focus on targeting funds to specific initiatives in education, improvement of water resources, and reducing the spread of HIV infections. The current annual rate of reduction for child mortality rates in sub-Saharan Africa is 4.1%. This is insufficient to reach the fourth Millennium Development goal by the 2015 deadline.