Africa South of the Sahara
 Background
– Africa south of Sahara was cradle of human species
– poorest of the nine major world regions with 10% of
world’s population but only 1 % of GDP
– least integrated into world economic system
– economically falling farther behind rest of world
– diverse ethnic identification based on tribal loyalties,
culture, language, etc.
– tribal identifications do not always coincide with
state boundaries
– tribal loyalties today often stronger than loyalty to
one’s country
– conflicts between tribal customs and and new ways of
life based on education, exposure to media, and
– in medieval times, Muslim traders penetrated Sahara
desert and brought Islam to northern tier of countries
– Muslim push displaced indigenous tribes, causing
them to move to the south
– slave trade begun by Arabs and supplemented by
Europeans looking for plantation labor for new world
– 11-12 million Africans kidnapped as slaves to work in
New World; most died in transit
– Christian influence in Africa, particularly Coptic
Church in Ethiopia from first century AD
– Roman Catholic priests came with Portuguese,
Spanish, French and Belgian traders, built schools
and hospitals, and provided education
– Importance of the Treaty of Berlin 1884 which
divided Africa up among the European powers.
– All boundaries were artificial creations
– Peoples divided, unified regions ripped apart, hostile
populations thrown together
– Colonialism had a single major objective which was
exploitation of these countries
– Differences in political rule apparent
– British and French encouraged Europeans to settle
permanently, made investments in roads, railroads,
civil service, hospitals, schools
– British ruled indirectly leaving indigenous power
structures in place
– French tried to culturally assimilate elites into
French culture
– Belgians and Portuguese exploited their colonies
and provided few investments, no preparation for
independence, unenlightened rulers
– future of many African states dependent on
reconciling tribal, ethnic, and religious differences
 African
Population Problems
640 million people in Africa
45% of Africans live in poverty
rate of population growth high 2 ½-3% / year
African is most rural region of the world with
65-85% of people living in rural areas
– world’s youngest population with 50% under
15 years of age
– Population increases faster than increases in
food production
– Impact of AIDS in Africa
 70%
of all HIV/AIDS cases in Africa
 Southern Africa particularly hard hit with 20-30 of
population infected by AIDS
 Botswana and Zimbabwe have 1/3 of adults infected
 largest number of cases in South Africa
 Number of new cases declining
 Infection particularly high among educated strata of
society- professionals, teachers, civil servants,
truckers, merchants
 Fighting AIDS– role of health education and
availability of drugs
HIV AIDS in Africa
 Natural
– most of Africa is a series of plateaus of varying
elevations “plateau continent” punctuated by several
large basins, i.e. Djouf Basin, Chad Basin, Sudan
Basin, Zaire Basin, and Kalahari Basin
– river systems traverse many of these plateaus
– major rivers include: Niger River (Nigeria); Congo
or Zaire River(Democratic Rep of Congo);
Zambezi River (Mozambique); Nile River (Sudan
and Egypt); Limpopo (South Africa/Mozambique/
Botswana) and Orange (South Africa)
– lowland plains around coasts
– mountainous areas found in (1) Ethiopia; (2) East
African lakes; (3) eastern and southern parts of
South Africa.
– highest mountains near Lake Victoria, i.e.
Kilimanjaro (19K) and Kirinyaga (Mt.. Kenya)
– Great Rift Valley from Mozambique to Red Sea
– African rivers rise in the interior uplands and
descend to the sea abruptly.
– rapids block inland water travel but provide good
potential for hydroelectric
 Tropical
– most of region lies within low latitudes and has a
tropical climate
– continent bisected by the equator
– types of climate include:
 tropical
rain forest
– near equator
– from Gulf of Guinea to highlands of East Africa
– includes southern Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, south
Cameroon, and north Congo basin
 tropical
– extensive areas of Africa with wet and dry season
– dry forest or scrub intermixed with tall grasses
 steppe
and desert
– southern border of Sahara known as Sahel was once steppe, but
Sahara is creeping southward. Multi-year drought in 70’s
– desertification is problem for region
 Mediterranean
– northwest African and southwestern tip near Cape Town
– rainy winters and dry summers
 humid
– high interior grasslands of South Africa also known as High
– well marked dry season
– found in Natal province in South Africa
Africa: Vegetation Map
Africa: Rainfall
 Water
– total precipitation large but poorly distributed
– wide fluctuations in rainfall in many parts of Africa
– need for more control over water, i.e. irrigation
projects, converting marshes and swamps to rice
fields or other productive uses, development of dams
to control floods, provide hydroelectric power
– most villagers (women) carry water by hand from
streams or shallow wells
 Problems
of African Development
– considerable variety of environments and potential
– drought a persistent problem in most states
– great poverty of most countries with low GNP rates,
high infant mortality, high rates of disease
– lack of education hampers development
– high percentage of rural dwellers
– relatively unproductive agriculture
– per capital food output has declined or remained
stationary since independence
– economies underindustrialized and dependent on few
primary products
– heavy debts to foreign lenders
– authoritarian governments the rule rather than the
– serious political instability in many countries
– poor transportation is a bottleneck to development
 Regions
– West Africa
 countries
of western coast and Sahara margin from
Senegal and Mauritania to Nigeria and Niger
 includes Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad,
Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone,
Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria
– Equatorial Africa
 central Africa
focusing on Democratic Republic of
Congo, Congo, Gabon, Cameroons, Central African
Republic, southern part of Chad and Sudan
– East Africa
 Kenya,
Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and
Highland Ethiopia
– Southern Africa
 extends
from southern border of Tanzania and
Democratic Republic of Congo to Cape of Good Hope
 includes Angola, Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe,
Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, Swaziland and
 West Africa
– West Africa has more links with world economy
– long coastline led to penetration by Europeans in
search of slaves, gold, and ivory
– plantations established by British and French to
produce cocoa and palm oil
– more educated civil service, more economically
advanced at time of independence
– Nigeria largest and most populous country with 100
million people
– very high birth rates with death rates falling
– most large cities began as colonial ports, i.e. Lagos,
Nigeria (3 mil); Abidjan, Ivory Coast (3 mil);
Dakar, Senegal (2 mil); Accra, Ghana (2 mil);
Freetown, Sierre Leone (.8 mil);
Monrovia, Liberia (.5 mil); Ouagadougou,
Burkina Faso (.5 mil)
– Britain, France, and Germany raced each other to
colonize Africa in 19th C
– English and French remain the official and
commercial languages of many former colonies
– agriculture remains source of employment for
50%-80% of the people
– major producer of palm oil, cacao, rubber, tropical
fruits, rice and coffee
– Liberia became major producer of rubber
following establishment of plantations by
Firestone Rubber Co. in 1920’s; Ivory Coast also
a major rubber producer
– Nigeria a major oil producer with 90% of exports
based on petroleum
– oil income in Nigeria used to built major
infrastructure projects, neglect of agriculture with
the result that living standards in Nigeria now
lower than before oil boom
– limited manufacturing in West Africa
– mainly import substitution products like soft
drinks, household products, and processing of
agricultural products
– production of “pagne” cloth (brightly colored
cloth used to make women’s dresses) in Ivory
Coast is a growth industry
– high government employment in most West
African states
– political leadership problems in most West African
states with one party states or military rulers
 Nigeria
– Background
 most
populous country in Africa with 127 million
 brought under British rule in 1906 (Britain followed policy
of indirect rule in Nigeria)
 independence in 1960 with democratic system
 250 different ethnic groups in Nigeria with largest being
Hausa-Faulani in north with 75%; Yorba in the southwest,
and Ibo in southeast
 tension between major ethnic groups led to bloody civil war
in 1965; Biafrian independence sought
 military rule off and on since 1969; human rights abuses
 English the official language; Hausa used in trade
– Regions
 coast
composed of mangrove swamps, lagoons, and
shallow rivers
 Niger delta spreads 60 miles inland
 forested belt rises to Jos Plateau
 savanna in interior which becomes an arid desert in north
– Climate
 equatorial
maritime climate along coast with high humidity
and heavy rain
 north has dry conditions, dusty winds from Sahara
– Religion
 50%
Muslim especially in north
 34% Christian (Catholic, Methodist, Anglican)
– economy
 predominately
agricultural country producing its own
food (sorghum, millet, maize, rice, yams) and
exporting cacao, palm oil, beans, and rubber
 90% of exports by value consist of oil
 Nigerian oil of low sulfur, high quality, high demand
 country too heavily dependent on oil revenue, low
demand for oil in 90’s hurt economy
 largest deposits of natural gas in Africa
– political problems
 restructuring
of Nigerian federation several times since
 fragmentation of the political system, lack of trust
among ethnic groups
 military has dominated politics for 25 years, lost its
perspective, too corrupt
 civilians not organized sufficiently to challenge military
 presidential elections in 1993 nullified by the military,
promised reform not delivered
 threat of fundamentalist Islam in north
 recent elections in 1999 reestablished democratic rule
 Equatorial Africa
– heart of Africa with equatorial climate, dense rain
forest, isolated from world
– some of poorest countries in Africa but with
potentially large natural resources
– Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly known
as Zaire) largest country in equatorial Africa with
40% of land area and 50% of people of region
– Burundi, Rwanda, Chad, and Central African
Republic are landlocked, produce few commercial
goods, and have difficulty communicating with
outside world
Equatorial Africa
– large rural populations with some urbanization
due more to civil strife than search for jobs
– largest urban areas former colonial trading centers
like Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo ( 4
mil); Yaounde, Cameroon (1 mil); N'djamena,
Chad ( .2 mil); Brazzaville, Congo (.8 mil);
Libreville, Gabon (.3 mil)
– rapid population growth of region with population
growth outstripping economic growth and food
– tensions between Tutsi and Hutus in Rwanda
and Burundi at independence in 1962
– majority Hutus took control in Rwanda, but
minority Tutsis in charge in Burundi
– death of presidents in both countries in air crash set
off tribal war as Hutus massacred Tutsis, and Tutsis
responded with armed rebellion
– 2.5 million people either killed or fled to
Democratic Republic of Congo in conflicts
– tensions between Muslim northerners in Chad
backed by Libya and Christian southerners erupted
in open warfare in 1980’s
– civil war in Democratic Republic of Congo led to
ouster of Joseph Mobutu and replacement by
Laurent Kabila
– most people are subsistence farmers who grow root
crops, fruits, vegetables
– cattle farming restricted by tsetse fly
– timber production of mahogany and ebony wood
from Cameron and Congo
– Democratic Republic of Congo one of world’s
largest producer of copper
– Democratic Republic of Congo also mines
diamonds, cobalt and produces some oil
– Gabon possesses large unexploited iron ore deposits
– hydroelectric potential of Zaire Basin needed for
further economic development of region
 East Africa
– landscapes of high plateaus cut by rift valleys
– less water resources than other African areas and
fewer mineral resources
– Ethiopia only African country south of Sahara
never colonized
– most inland areas not developed with few links to
coastal area
– countries among the poorest in Africa
– Ethiopia ruled by monarchy established in 2 AD
until communist revolution in 1974; communists
overthrown in 1991
– Ethiopia’s troubled history, rebel groups
– Eritrea gained independence in 1993 after a 30 yrs
war with Ethiopia
– Uganda’s prosperity destroyed by civil war in 60’s
followed by harsh dictatorship under Idi Amin
– Kenya and Tanzania fortunate to have avoided civil
strife but have had to deal with refugees from
Rwanda and Burundi
– rapid population growth with high birth rates and
low death rates
– most countries predominantly rural with 25% of
people living in cities
– main cities of East Africa are: Addis Ababa,
Ethiopia (2.5 mil); Nairobi, Kenya (2.5 mil);
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (1.2 mil); Kampala,
Uganda (.5); Mombasa, Kenya (.7 mil)
– rural to urban migration growing fast
– cultural divide between northern Ethiopians who
claim ancestry from King Solomon and Queen of
Sheba who converted to Coptic Christian Church
and Muslim peoples who established coastal
settlements in Eritrea, Djibouti, and Somalia and
became part of Ottoman Empire in 16th C
– Britain involved in slave trade run out of Zanzibar
by sultans of Oman and Muscat
– in 1886 Britain annexed Kenya and Uganda and built
railroad from Mombasa to Lake Victoria. British
settlers encouraged to move to Kenyan highlands
– Germans settled in East Africa to engage in tea and
coffee production but lost Tanganyika to British
after WW I.
– most East African countries rely on agriculture, earn
foreign exchange by agricultural exports
– coffee constitutes 90% of Ethiopian exports
– coffee, tea, and tobacco constitute 90% of Uganda’s
– coffee, tea, sisal , cotton, cashews, and cloves are
Tanzania’s major exports
– price fluctuations can hurt earnings
– cattle herding important in East Africa
– famines in Ethiopia and Somalia in 1983-85 led to
500,000 millions deaths by starvation
– Tanzanian approach to development emphasizes
African socialism or communal farming. Less social
stratification but low productivity
– Kenya has made most economic progress of East
African countries with some manufacturing, and
center of UN activities
– tourist industry important in Kenya and Tanzania
to observe the largest herds of wild animals in the
– migration of animals from Ngorongoro National
Park and Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to
the Masai Mara Reserve in Kenya
– growth of hotel and transportation industries to
support this activity
– Tanzanian government has resisted efforts to build
large luxury hotels to serve tourists; tourism
smaller in Tanzania as a result
 Southern Africa
– greatest potential of all African regions
– largest amount of rail traffic in Africa
– prospects of region tied to economic progress of
South Africa
– South Africa has 1/3 of southern Africa’s population
but produced 75% of its GDP
– South Africa is the engine of economic growth in
– export of minerals, farm products, and
manufactured products from South Africa is great
and its economy is linked to rest of the world
Southern Africa
– Botswana, Malawi, and Zambia were hostile to
apartheid policies (racial separation) of South
Africa but maintained economic relations with RSA
– Lesotho and Swaziland were encircled by RSA so
had to maintain political relations with them
– Namibia under occupation of RSA, fought a civil
war with SWAPO until the UN brokered a deal that
led to independence for Namibia in 1990 and
removal of Cuban troops from Angola in 1988
– South African Development Coordination
Conference (SADCC) was collection of southern
African states opposed to apartheid that tried to
promote economic development among them
– South Africa now a welcomed partner of this group
– environment of South Africa different from that of
other African countries
– RSA has warm mid latitude conditions with winter
rains in the Cape and summer rains on southeastern
coasts. Attractive environment for Europeans
– natural vegetation is desert and savanna grasslands
giving way to forests in higher elevations
– population of southern Africa expanding rapidly
– South Africa is only state with a sizable non-Black
population (75% Black; 13% white; 4% Asian; and
8% mixed races)
– largest cities of region include: Cape Town, RSA (3
mil); Johannesburg, RSA (2 mil); Durban and
Pretoria, RSA (1.5 mil each); Port Elizabeth,
RSA (.8 mil); Maputo, Mozambique (2.5 mil)
Luanda, Angola (2.5 mil); Harare, Zimbabwe (1.5
mil); Lusaka, Zambia .7 mil)
– unique history of South Africa
 Dutch
settlers arrived in Cape Town in 1652 and displaced
indigenous African peoples (White tribe of Africa
 separation from Netherlands led to distinctive culture
(Boers) and language (Afrikaans)
 British purchased Cape colonial from Dutch in 1814,
demanded use of English, end to slavery, and protection for
 Boers
undertook the “Great Trek” northward to territory
near Orange and Vaal River valleys. Established Orange
Free State and Transvaal.
 Displacement of more native peoples north of Limpopo R
 Boers declared South Africa a Republic
 discovery of gold and diamonds discovered in Transvaal
in 1860’s and threat of Germans in South West Africa led
to Boer War
 UK established Union of South Africa as self-governing
dominion in British Empire linking Cape, Natal, Orange
Free State and Transvaal in new political system
 Afrikaans-speaking politicians established the National
Party and promoted apartheid (separation of the races)
with onerous racial legislation by 1948
 African
National Congress (ANC) under Nelson
Mandela campaigned for freedom and equality for
 when democratic means of influencing the apartheid
government fail, they turned to guerrilla war
 Nelson Mandala jailed for 30 years on Robben Is
 peaceful political protests led to brutal repression and
deaths of prominent leaders like Steve Biko in 1977
 diplomatic isolation of South Africa, economic sanctions,
and domestic pressure led Nationalist Party leaders to
the conclusion that South Africa must “adapt or die.”
 free elections in 1994 led to first Black majority
government under the leadership of President Nelson
Nelson Mandela
President of the Republic of South Africa
Steve Biko
Black political activist in the 60
Murdered in jail by the RSA Security Forces
– Mozambique and Angola devastated by slave trade
through 19th C
– Portugal was one of least enlightened colonial rulers
who provided few opportunities for schooling or
social services
– mineral resources in Angola and plantation crops in
Mozambique provided motivation for colonial
policy of Portuguese
– bloody civil war in 1970’s led to independence for
both countries
– mining dominates economies of Angola, Botswana,
Namibia, Zambia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe
– RSA is world top producer of platinum used for
aerospace and catalytic converters
– RSA is major producer of goal and diamonds in
– RSA produces a host of exotic minerals like
chromium, manganese, vanadium used in specialty
– Namibia is major producer of uranium, diamonds,
zinc, copper
– Zambian copper mines suffering from inefficiencies,
lack of investment, inability to compete with more
efficient producers like Chile
– tourism is growing industry in South Africa,
Zambia, and Zimbabwe with Victoria Falls a
major attraction
– national parks in Zambia attract many tourists
eager to see large animals

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