Using A RantAWeek to clarify the complexities of news.
China has been heavily investing in many African countries. While this has stimulated many African economies and brought new growth to the continent, many observers are wary about China having too much influence in Africa. China has often been willing to trade with governments that are under western criticism or sanctions, also leading to displeasure from Westerners.
Famine and Resource Troubles
An underreported famine has been occurring in the Horn of Africa that has been deadly to sustenance farmers in poor nations like Somalia. Due to political instability, it has been difficult for aid organizations to supply inhabitants with needed food. In addition, Africa also has a chronic resource problem, most notably with water. Lake Chad, which is a main source of water and irrigation for many in North Africa, has been drying up due to overuse. Another issue is deforestation, as poor farming practices have caused the Sahara desert to expand into land that until recently was arable.
The prevalence of AIDS in Africa has led to international health concerns. Malaria has also been a major killer. A lack of sufficient medical supplies and health care professionals means that proper care is not always administered, especially in rural areas.
Islamic extremist forces captured the northern half of the nation of Mali in 2012. France, which is Mali’s old colonial power, soon came in and attempted to clear the country of these rebels and restore control to the government. However, Mali’s central government is historically weak, making it questionable whether or not the government will be able to retain control of its sparsely populated northern half.
Somalia has faced political turmoil ever since a civil war in 1991. It is no longer a unified nation but more accurately a jumble of clan-administered regions. Al-Shabaab, aligned with Al-Qaeda, controls some of Somalia. Al-Shabaab has commonly engaged in piracy to create funding. However, African Union forces have successfully brought the capital of Mogadishu under the control of a transitional government that is trying to reclaim the country.
Emerging from the horrors of apartheid in the early 1990s, South Africa has turned into the most economically powerful country on the continent. It has joined the BRIC nations, a group of developing countries with powerful economies that includes Brazil, Russia, India, and China. However, it’s government, currently headed by Jacob Zuma , has been viewed as rampantly corrupt. Also, a high unemployment rate, in addition to commonplace poverty, prevents South Africa from reaching its full potential.
Sudan and South Sudan
Following a civil war, South Sudan was allowed to secede from Sudan. At first, there were hopes that the two nations could achieve peaceful coexistence. Unfortunately, there have been recent conflicts around disputed border regions between the two nations. The main source of conflict is a large oilfield that both countries want the profits from. Dreams of peace seem to be dissipating, and the threat of war is increasing.
Zimbabwe has faced a series of economic problems in recent years. Robert Mugabe, who has led the nation for several decades, oversaw the worst inflationary bubble in history from 2008 to 2009. Ultimately, the government was using 100 trillion dollar bills, but these bills still had no practical value. The collapse of Zimbabwe’s economic system forced Robert Mugabe to accept a power sharing arrangement with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who is now the nation’s Prime Minister. This deal has been shaky at times, but has allowed Zimbabwe to make a modest economic recovery.