What is Wrong with Africa? When we look at Africa…and the amount of foreign aid and support provided annually by the international community, we begin to question, “What is wrong with Africa?” What is Wrong with Africa? When you think of Africa, what thoughts immediately come to mind? What is Wrong with Africa? Some facts…. Africa is the second largest continent on Earth. It is about 30 000 000 km2. The USA would fit 3X inside Africa. Africa has 12% of the world’s population (840 million people (est. 2005)). Nearly 25% of Africa’s land mass is the Sahara Desert. The total length of Africa’s shoreline stretches over 25 600 km with few deep bays or inlets. What is Wrong with Africa? Some facts…. Africa stretches between the latitudes of 35ON and 37OS (about 8 000 km). Nearly 75% of Africa has a tropical climate. There is almost perpetual summer with high temperatures throughout the year, as well as definite seasons of rain and drought. The north is primarily arid or desert. The south is a mix of savannah plains and rainforests. Mountain ranges moderate temperatures. What is Wrong with Africa? Some facts…. Africa has 54 countries and numerous territories. The largest country is Sudan (2 500 000 km2). The smallest is Seychelles (455 km2), an archipelago off the eastern shoreline. The smallest country on the mainland is Gambia (10 380 km2). The richest country is Mauritius ($11 400 GDP per capita (USA$2004)) while the poorest countries are Somalia and Sierra Leone ($500 GDP per capita). Canada’s per capita income is $31 500. There are over 1 000 different languages in Africa. These languages can be grouped into four main language families native to Africa. What is Wrong with Africa? Some facts…. Africa has 1% of the world’s international trade. The bottom 25 countries on a human development scale are Africa nations (UN, 2003). Every day, the same number of people killed in the World Trade Centre (3 000) die in Africa from AIDS. Over 15 million children are AIDS orphans in Sub-Sahara Africa…and the number is rising. Over 150 000 Africa women die annually during childbirth. In the last decade, Africa is going backwards relative to other developing areas of the world with respect to foreign trade, investment, standard of living and per capita income. What is Wrong with Africa? Why? When the rest of the world is developing and quality of life is improving for many people, why is Africa lagging behind? In framing the issue, we need to consider history, geography, economics, environment, society and politics…. What is Wrong with Africa? History…Slavery One of the darkest chapters in the modern world history is slavery. Between 1500 and 1800, an estimated 8-12 million Africans were carried off in the Atlantic slave trade. The total rises to 20 million Africans if the Arab slave trade is included. If we assume ten people died for every one slave successfully transported, 200 million Africans were slaves. Slavery mostly impacted central Africa. Slavery was abolished in 1858. How would slavery impact Africa’s progress? What is Wrong with Africa? History…Colonialism In the late nineteenth century, the European powers occupied most of Africa. Colonial occupation ended after WWII. In 1957, Ghana became the first independent Africa nation. Colonial rulers established arbitrary borders between African tribes and societies. Colonial rulers often changed the balance of power. The colonialists generally supported rulers who ensured colonial authority. Black Africans were often treated as inferior. What is Wrong with Africa? History…Colonialism…2 Why might colonialism have a negative impact on African development? As noted, arbitrary borders were drawn between existing tribes and societies. As well, the colonial powers often put in place local rulers who did not reflect the societal makeup. Modern Nigeria is a good example. It has three big tribes and more than 400 ethnic groups. Under colonial rule, the people elect one president and one government. Imagine a Europe whose larger tribes (Germans, French, British) and 25 European Union states were united by force (not referendum); where the French are Muslim, the Germans Catholic, the British Protestant; where the only source of income (oil) is under German control. Would it work? What is Wrong with Africa? History…Cold War After WWII, Africa was caught up in the Cold War confrontation between the USA and the Soviet Union. To protect their shipping lanes and access to Africa’s resources, the superpowers often supported regimes that were dictatorships, authoritarian, tyrants and cruel. With independence, many African nations adopted a socialist model for development and received vital financial support from the Soviets. With the 1989 collapse of the Soviet Union, there nations lost their support….in some cases, weapons. Civil war and anarchy followed as factions fought for control. Yet, many Cold War dictators remain. What is Wrong with Africa? Economy…Africa’s Debt Africa’s debt is about $200 billion. Most of the debt was incurred by past governments seeking big solutions to problems, undertaking misguided projects or misusing funds for personal gains. Sub-Saharan Africa receives $10 billion in aid annually, but it loses $14 billion in debt payments per year. In 2003, Zambia spent twice as much on debt repayments as on health care. Many activist groups believe Africa’s debt burden is the single biggest obstacle to the continent's development. Western countries have cancelled debt payments. In 2005, $40 billion of debt was wrote off. Can cancelling debt repayments help the African poor? What is Wrong with Africa? Economy…The International Economy Foreign policies and subsidies intended to protect Western producers put the small producers in Africa at a disadvantage. For example, the European Union spends $350 billion annually to protect its farmers. The subsidy maintains a way of life, but it also supports inefficient operations. The African grower cannot compete fairly. Many African countries over-tax farmers. These actions have given other developing regions (e.g., Asia, Latin America) a competitive advantage. These regions produce and deliver goods more cheaply. The loss of income to Africa is estimated at $70 billion annually. What is Wrong with Africa? Economy – Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) Many countries have developed their economies based on one product or a narrow range of natural resources. Nigeria is extremely rich in oil, but it imports food valued at $2.5 billion yearly. Nigeria neglected its agricultural sector. In the 1980s, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) introduced SAPs. To receive World Bank development aid, many African nations had to restructure…or eliminate…government programs and services, privatize public-sector enterprises and devalue currencies. In some cases, schools and hospitals were closed. Have SAPs helped or hurt Africa? What is Wrong with Africa? African Politics… For reasons stated, African politics are very confusing. Countries that claim to be democracies are ruled by dictators. Tribal issues are prevalent throughout the continent. Government management is often corrupt. Leaders refuse to acknowledge the AIDS crisis. What is Wrong with Africa? When we think of Africa’s problems, it is AIDS and poverty. What should we do?