Africa Fact and Statistic

Africa Map

AFRICA as a Nation

Africa is the second largest continent located to the south of Europe and bordered to the west by the South Atlantic and to the east by the Indian Ocean.

One of the most serious difficulties facing the African nations in their attempts to develop their economies stems from the excessive political and economic fragmentation of the African continent. Most of the African nations are too small to provide them with an adequate basis for economic and social progress. This has impacted in society and culture aspect which lead to increasing number of poverty.

“Poor governance is a major issue in many African countries, and one that has serious repercussions for long-term food security,”

“Problems such as corruption, collusion and nepotism can significantly inhibit the capacity of governments to promote development efforts.”

a statement by the International Food Policy Research Institute.

A SYSTEMIC CRISIS IN AFRICA

The number of Africans needing food aid has doubled in a decade
More than half of Africa is now in need of urgent food assistance.

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is warning that 27 sub-Saharan countries now need help. (sub saharan is the region of Africa to the south of the Sahara Desert)

In sub-Saharan Africa soil quality is classified as degraded in about 72% of arable land and 31% of pasture land.

In addition to natural nutrient deficiencies in the soil, soil fertility is declining by the year through “nutrient mining”, whereby nutrients are removed over the harvest period and lost through leaching, erosion or other means.

Nutrient levels have declined over the past 30 years, says the International Food Policy Research Institute.

Consequences

The result is that a continent that was more than self sufficient in food at independence 50 years ago, is now a massive food importer. The book The African Food Crisis says that in less than 40 years the sub-continent went from being a net exporter of basic food staples to relying on imports and food aid.

In 1966-1970, net exports averaged 1.3 million tons of food a year, it states.

“By the late 1970s Africa imported 4.4 million tonnes of staple foods a year, a figure that had risen to 10 million tonnes by the mid 1980s.”

Since independence, agricultural output per capita remained stagnant, and in many places declined.


But what appear as isolated disasters brought about by drought or conflict in countries like Somalia, Malawi, Niger, Kenya and Zimbabwe are  in reality systemic problems. It is African agriculture itself that is in crisis, and according to the International Food Policy Research Institute, this has left 200 million people malnourished. It is particularly striking that the FAO highlights political problems such as civil strife, refugee movements and returnees in 15 of the 27 countries it declares in need of urgent assistance. By comparison drought is only cited in 12 out of 27 countries. The implication is clear – Africa’s years of wars, coups and civil strife are responsible for more hunger than the natural problems that befall it.

Africa’s elites respond to political pressure, which is mainly exercised in towns and cities. This is compounded by corruption and mismanagement – what donors call a lack of sound governance.

“Poor governance is a major issue in many African countries, and one that has serious repercussions for long-term food security,” says a statement by the International Food Policy Research Institute.

Problems such as corruption, collusion and nepotism can significantly inhibit the capacity of governments to promote development efforts. Also wars and political conflict, leading to refugees and instability.

In 2004 the chairman of the African Union Commission, Alpha Oumar Konare, reminded an AU summit that the continent had suffered from 186 coups and 26 major wars in the past 50 years. It is estimated that there are more than 16 million refugees and displaced persons in Africa.

With good governance, most African countries could be net exporters of agricultural produce Darren, Lobatse, Botswana
Source:
Martin Plaut – BBC Africa analyst
TIME
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