This blog is a brief introduction to the obstacles which are hindering the development of Africa.
The continent of Africa is huge – with almost a fifth of the world population, and a land area of 30.37 million km². To put this into perspective, you are able to fit the continent of North America into Africa, with room for several other countries such as Argentina and India. This factor is foundational in why Africa is struggling to develop; it is simply too large to manage and control as a whole. But many believe it has the potential to be the next international powerhouse.
The location of the continent is problematic for a number of its population. Central Africa lies on the equator, creating some near inhabitable environments for humans and animals. Water sources are sparse, and in many rural areas inhabitants must walk for miles in blistering heat due to regional water crises. In Ethiopia, a country located within Equatorial Africa, the average annual temperature in Ethiopia has been increasing by 0.37°C per decade for the last four decades due to climate change, accentuating the problem. (For more information, visit https://www.trocaire.org/sites/trocaire/files/resources/policy/ethiopia-climate-change-case-study.pdf). With clean water being such a valuable commodity, agricultural farmers heavily rely on the seasonal rainfall for the growth of their crops, meaning at this current time, many rural communities’ economies rely solely on the climate and thus cannot be controlled or regulated without further infrastructural development.
In recent years, many NGO’s have fundraised for infrastructural development within African countries, however this process can take many years to take effect. Many recent projects within Africa have involved electrification, both on and off grid, so that fundamental facilities such as schools and hospitals have access to electricity – steadily increasing both literacy rates and life expectancy. This process is tedious due to the size of the continent, though with advances in technology it is becoming increasingly easier to fit hubs of electrical access in even the most isolated locations.
The diagram shows how life expectancy has changed for the developed world (Japan and Italy) in relation to the developing world, in the last 60 years.