Most of today’s independent African nations are dealing with economic, health, educational, and political problems.
Despite all of Africa’s wealthy resources, Africa is the poorest continent on Earth. Over 300 million people in Africa live on less than $1 a day. Those same 300 million do not have access to clean water. 1/3 of the population is malnourished. Less than half the population has access to hospitals or doctors. What can be done?
Africa is rich in natural resources, yet most countries do little manufacturing They sell raw materials to industrialized countries This has limited Africa’s economic growth, political stability. Other countries get rich while few in Africa do. In fact, most African countries are worse off today than in 1960! average incomes have decreased
African countries lack crucial infrastructure such as roads, airports, railroads, ports. Many people have little access to computers or high technology.
Newly independent countries borrowed money to build economies total debt of sub- Saharan governments was $227 billion by 1997 many Western leaders push to forgive Africa’s debts
“One-commodity” countries rely on export of one or two commodities commodity —agricultural or mining product that can be sold value varies daily based on worldwide supply and demand this makes “one-commodity” nations’ economies unstable Economists want Africans to diversify — create variety in economies
Ethiopia is one of the largest producers of coffee in the world. What would happen if there was a severe drought or famine? What if war broke out? What if…
Uneducated populace is a large barrier to economic development. Half the children in Africa are enrolled in school and less than 1/3 of them ever completes school. Average schooling time for women in Africa is 1.2 years in last 40 years. In Angola and Somalia, civil wars have destroyed school systems.
Many of Africa’s best and brightest end up migrating to western nations. This is known as “brain drain”. Many urge them to return and help out their nations.
Epidemic diseases are killing Africa’s people in huge numbers. African nations and countries around the world are using a variety of methods, including education, to eradicate disease.
Cholera —sometimes fatal infection spread by poor sanitation, lack of clean water Malaria —often-fatal infectious disease marked by chills, fever carried by mosquitoes; resistant to drugs due to overuse Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) —caused by HIV virus 70% of adult, 80% of child AIDS cases are in Africa often paired with tuberculosis—infectious respiratory infection
AIDS has become a pandemic in Africa. A pandemic is an uncontrollable outbreak of a disease, affecting a large population over a wide geographic area. Of all 40 million people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS, 26 million cases are in Africa 3 million died from AIDS worldwide in 2000 2.4 million lived in sub-Saharan Africa In Swaziland, 3 of 4 deaths were from AIDS life expectancy has fallen from 58 years to 39
Many countries are trying to fight disease epidemics in their countries Educating the masses on the problems Outside agencies have funded immunization and treatment In some areas this has helped, but the struggle continues.
In the 1800’s, the British had established themselves as the dominant culture in South Africa by defeating the Zulu tribe in war. The descendants of these people highly advocated the separation of races within the territory. This racial separation is known as apartheid.
Even though the population of people was 75% black and only 15% white, social contact between blacks and whites was banned and they established segregated schools, hospitals, and neighborhoods. Whites received the best land.
In 1912, the African National Congress (ANC) is organized. A young man named Nelson Mandela emerged as one of the leader of the ANC in 1949. Mandela led the struggle to end apartheid.
Nelson Mandela was arrested in 1962 and sentenced to life in prison for conspiracy to overthrow the government. He spent 27 years in prison and was released in 1990. He then went on to become South Africa’s president from 1994- 1999!
The 2009 science-fiction film District 9 takes place in South Africa. In the film, aliens land on Earth and are immediately segregated from the human population. Shot in “documentary style”, the title and premise of District 9 is an allegory and inspired by events that took place in the real Sixth Congressional District (District 6) , in Cape Town, South Africa during the apartheid era.
Before the 19th century, Africa was home to great empires, rich cultures By the end of the 19th century, Africa was a place of poverty and violence Many of Africa’s problems stem from European colonialism.
Portuguese first established coastal trading stations in the 1400’s. By the mid-1800s, Europeans seek Africa’s rich natural resources need raw materials for industrial economies, markets to sell goods Berlin Conference (1884-85) sets rules for dividing up Africa amongst powerful European nations. This was called the Scramble for Africa.
European colonizers exploited Africa’s resources, people This concept, which took place in the 1800’s through modern times, is known as colonialism. Millions sold into slavery or died from harsh working conditions Land was mined, drilled; environment was ignored
European control begins to fade in 20th century mostcountries gain independence in 1960s Despite leaving, there is long-term damage to cultural and ethnic boundaries, economy
Europeans put so much emphasis on resources such as gold and diamonds, that wars erupt over control of the trade. When these valuable minerals fall into the hands of warlords or corrupt governments, the money is usually used to finance continued war efforts and not back into the local economy to benefit the people. Often times, these warlords kill or maim people that stand in their way. They also kidnap and take slaves to work in the mines. This includes
A 2006 film starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The title refers to blood diamonds, which are diamonds mined in African war zones and sold to finance conflicts, and thereby profit warlords and diamond companies across the world.
In addition to war over the diamonds, colonialism caused many territorial and ethnic disputes amongst the natives. While under European rule, territories of the people were ignored. When the Europeans left, wars immediately broke out to take back territory or re- establish ethnic boundaries that had existed prior to European arrival.
In 1994, for about 100 days, around one million people were slaughtered as a result of ethnic genocide in the small country of Rwanda. The roots of this conflict were due to colonialism which had built up ethnic tension in the country.
The Belgians, who had colonized Rwanda maintained a divide between the two main ethnic groups, the Hutus and the Tutsis. The Hutus were the majority, 84% Short, darker skin, broad noses traditional African looking The Tutsis minority group, 15% tall and fair skinned “Europeanlike” features
The Belgians maintained distinction between the two by issuing two separate ID cards for the different races. The Tutsis were generally treated better than the Hutus. In fact, when the Belgians ended their rule, they gave most land and power to Tutsi people. This left the Hutus to take up positions as poor laborers. Tensions rapidly began to build between the two groups.
In April of 1994, a plane carrying the Rwandan president (a Hutu) was shot down killing everyone on board. There was no evidence to show who perpetrated the crime, but it was almost immediately blamed on Tutsis. Juvénal Habyarimana The UN immediately sent aid to the country for fear of war but the talks of peace were useless.
Hutu military groups then systematically set out to murder all the Tutsis they could reach, regardless of age or sex. Hutu civilians were told to kill their Tutsi neighbors or face being killed themselves. They were even told that they could have the Tutsi land if they killed them. Killings quickly took place throughout most of the country.
When the violence was finished, it was estimated anywhere from 800,000-over 1 million were dead. Women were raped, children left without parents and many people fled the country. Efforts have been made for peace, but the conflict spilt over into other countries and the region remains unstable as further wars have broken out since.
A 2004 film starring Don Cheadle based on the true events during 1994 Rwanda. Cheadle plays hotelier Paul Rusesabagina, who attempts to save his fellow citizens from the ravages of the Rwandan Genocide. The film has been compared to an “African Schindler’s List”.