Measles deaths in Africa fell by 91% between 2000 and 2006, figures from the World Health Organization show. The drop, from an estimated 396,000 to 36,000, means the United Nations target to cut measles deaths by 90% by 2010 has been hit four years early.
But the WHO warned deaths were still far too high in South Asia, particularly in India and Pakistan.
The success follows concerted efforts to vaccinate all children against measles before their first birthday.
Overall global measles deaths fell by 68% - from an estimated 757,000 to 242,000 - over the six year period, a WHO report showed. WHO said the decline in measles deaths in Africa was made possible because governments had implemented robust immunisation programmes.
"This is a major public health success and a tribute to the commitment of countries in the African region," said Dr Margaret Chan, WHO director-general. "We need to sustain this success and intensify our efforts in other parts of the world, as there are still far too many lives lost to this disease."