Africa is a complex and diverse continent, and its more than 50 countries provide a study in contrasts: democracy and despotism, immense wealth and crushing poverty, modernism and traditionalism, peaceful communities and raging civil wars. The books in the AFRICA: PROGRESS AND PROBLEMS series take a close look at many of the major issues in Africa today, such as AIDS, poverty, government corruption, ethnic and religious tension, educational opportunities, and overcrowding.
Millions of Africans die each year from infectious diseases, such as AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis; from poor nutrition or lack of clean drinking water; or from diseases like measles and polio that have been conquered in developed countries through the use of vaccines. The continents widespread poverty, along with a lack of adequate hospitals and trained doctors and nurses, contributes to the health-care crisis. As a result, the life expectancy of people living in sub-Saharan Africa is about 54 years a lifespan roughly than 25 years shorter than that of the average American. This book explores the current health crisis in Africa, explaining the scope of the problems that the continent faces. It also describes efforts by humanitarian organizations and by African governments to train health-care professionals.
Since 1960, many African countries have been devastated by civil wars. Today, it is estimated that around 20 percent of Africas more than 1 billion people are affected, either directly or indirectly, by ongoing conflict. The widespread unrest has been a major reason the people of Africa have been unable to fully reach their potential. This book analyzes past and current conditions in Africa to shed light on the historical, cultural, governmental, religious, ethnic, and ideological factors that have caused civil wars to occur. Conflicts like the long-running war in Sudan, the unrest in Liberia and Sierra Leone, and the state failure in Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are explained. The final chapter discusses ways future civil wars might be avoided.
Africa is well known for its fascinating wildlife and its abundant natural resources. However, the continents resources are shrinking rapidly as a result of industrialization and population growth. In recent years scientists have seen a dramatic loss in wildlife and habitat, an increase in air and water pollution, and disturbing signs of climate change. This book discusses the ecological issues facing Africa today, including deforestation and desertification, threats to the continents biodiversity, pollution, and shortages of safe drinking water. It also explains steps some African leaders are taking to address and resolve these serious problems.
Many people believe education in Africa is in a state of crisis. More than 45 million African children do not attend school. In many places, classes are held outside, under tents or trees, and schools often do not have such essential supplies as chalk and textbooks. Yet there have also been significant improvements in recent years. More young Africans are able to attend school today than a generation ago, and the governments of many countries are attempting to address the problems in their educational systems. This book chronicles the development of educational systems in Africa, from the colonial era to the present day. It examines the current state of education in Africa, discussing the effect that the continents poverty has on funding schools and explaining the persistence of educational inequalities.
Ethnic or racial classifications often say more about culture and shared experience than about genetics or common ancestry. In Africa, a continent where up to 3,000 languages are spoken, ethnicity can be especially difficult to define. Unfortunately, perceived ethnic differences have all too often produced tragic results. This book analyzes the role of ethnicity in contemporary African politics and governance. It examines the corrosive legacy of the slave trade and European colonization, details some of the bloody conflicts that have erupted from ethnic frictions, and describes how divisions that appear to be ethnically based often have more to do with class and religion. The book also explores the possibility of a united Africa, able to harness its diversity rather than fight over its differences.
Many of the problems in Africa today, including widespread poverty and civil unrest, can be traced to the continents legacy of bad governance. In the post-independence period, authoritarian strongmen took control of many countries, enriching themselves and their cronies by exploiting the peoples labor and their countrys resources. In recent years, however, a growing number of African states have embraced democratic principles and established transparent and open governments. In this book the noted Africa scholar Dr. Robert Rotberg examines the current state of governance and leadership in Africa. He discusses the various types of government found in the continent, clearly showing the correlation between the quality of a countrys leadership and the quality of life enjoyed by that countrys people.
Much of modern Africa struggles with poverty, famine, widespread disease, and violent conflict. The international community increasingly acknowledges the need to help Africa, and donor agencies and rich-nation governments have offered development assistance, food aid, and debt relief to the continent. But it is uncertain how effective this aid actually is, and how the world can best help African countries move toward self-sufficiency. Helping Africa Help Itself outlines various types of international aid and describes some of the organizations collecting and distributing it. The book explains such complex issues as debt relief, war crimes commissions, and Structural Adjustment Programs. Historical and political factors that have contributed to Africas present predicament are also examined.
Human rights are the fundamental freedoms and privileges to which every individual is entitled. Most people agree that basic rights include the liberty to practice a particular religion, express a political view, or associate with a certain group of people without prejudice, discrimination, or exploitation. Unfortunately, as international organizations like Freedom House have noted, human rights are routinely violated or ignored in many African countries. This book discusses the history behind the as-yet-unfinished struggle to secure fundamental rights and freedoms for all Africans. It also explains the roles that can be played by organizations like the United Nations and the African Union, NGOs such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, and national governments in advancing the cause of human rights.
Islam is considered the worlds fastest-growing religion, and today more than 420 million Africans follow the Islamic faith. Since Islam was introduced to the continent during the seventh century a.d., it has had a profound political and cultural influence on Africa. This book traces the historical spread of Islam throughout Africa. It also examines current issues and controversies surrounding the Muslim faith in Africa, including fundamentalist interpretations of Islam, efforts to impose Islamic law in countries with mixed Muslim and non-Muslim populations, and religious-based violence.
Africa is the world's poorest continent, and it also has the world's fastest-growing population. Many observers have concluded that overpopulation is a root cause of Africa's poverty, and that if the continent is ever to emerge from underdevelopment its rapid population growth will have to be slowed. This book examines those assertions, offering a wealth of statistical and other evidence to suggest that the link between African poverty and the size of Africa's population is by no means definitive. The book also examines the important demographic trends such as rapid urbanization, elevated mortality rates from the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and continued high fertility that will help shape African societies in the decades to come.
Desperate poverty is perhaps the greatest challenge facing Africa. Over the past 30 years, while the rest of the world has enjoyed unprecedented economic growth and prosperity, African countries have grown poorer. Today, more than 40 percent of the people living in sub-Saharan Africa subsist on less than $1 a day. This book explains the causes of Africa's economic stagnation and discusses the many ways in which grinding poverty contributes to a reduced quality of life for Africans. The book also explores methods that current leaders and international organizations are using to help reduce poverty in Africa.
While African religions are as diverse as the continent itself, most Africans can be placed in one of three groups: followers of traditional religions, Islam, or Christianity. Until the 20th century, religion was rarely a primary source of conflict. However, in recent years Muslim-Christian tensions have contributed to unrest in such nations as Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania. This book is intended as an introduction to the practice of religion in Africa today. It provides a brief history of religious development in Africa, discusses the common religious practices in various regions of the continent, and explores the role of religion in current African conflicts.
Africa is the only continent where poverty levels have risen in recent decades, and many of its countries suffer from humanitarian crises, political unrest, or both. Knowledge of Africa's complex, often troubled past is crucial to understanding its current problems. The Making of Modern Africa outlines the continents rich and diverse history, from its imposing ancient empires, to the crippling effects of European colonialism, to the dictators and fledgling democracies of the modern era. The book will provide an invaluable overview for students.
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