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  1. Angola
  2. Benin
  3. Botswana
  4. Burkina Faso
  5. Burundi
  6. Cameroon
  7. Cape Verde
  8. Central African Republic
  9. Chad
  10. Comoros
  11. Congo, Democratic Republic
  12. Congo, Republic of the
  13. Cote d'Ivoire
  14. Djibouti
  15. Equatorial Guinea
  16. Eritrea
  17. Ethiopia
  18. Gabon
  19. Gambia, The
  20. Ghana
  21. Guinea
  22. Guinea-Bissau
  23. Kenya
  24. Lesotho
  25. Liberia
  26. Madagascar
  27. Malawi
  28. Mali
  29. Mauritania
  30. Mauritius
  31. Mozambique
  32. Namibia
  33. Niger
  34. Nigeria
  35. Rwanda
  36. Sao Tome and Principe
  37. Senegal
  38. Seychelles
  39. Sierra Leone
  40. Somalia
  41. South Africa
  42. South Sudan
  43. Sudan
  44. Swaziland
  45. Tanzania
  46. Togo
  47. Uganda
  48. West Sahara
  49. Zambia
  50. Zimbabwe

Africa today is a continent that remains rooted in the 19th century while entering the 21st century. Africa today remains a continent seemingly cut-off from the rest of the world and ignored until a major humanitarian crisis or terrorist attack brings its misery into the news. Democracy has taken root in very few countries - power is held by war lords, autocrats, tribal chiefs, and dictators.

A major decline in the operational capacity of many Sub-Saharan militaries occurred in the 1990s after the end of the Cold War. It is not that these pre-Cold War militaries were any more professional. However, they at least had the bare minimum of serviceable equipment. This equipment was donated and serviced through generous cooperation agreements intended to support the ongoing superpower rivalry. The sudden end of the Cold War sounded the death knell for these outlays. Deprived of the support from both Western and Eastern Blocs, the Sub-Saharan militaries were unable to maintain rvrn illusion of cohesion and operational capacity. Only South Africa still has significant operational blue water maritime capacities. African air forces are disappearing.

With the end of the Cold War, Africa saw a proliferation of rebel movements, and experienced problems involving small arms and refugees. Intra-state conflicts spilled over national borders with greater frequency and assumed regional dimensions. Vast quantities of weapons, especially small arms used to fight wars of independence, remain in circulation and help fuel present conflicts. Poor governance and the inability of states to support their citizens have likewise created internal conflicts threatening peace and security.

Frustration with the International Criminal Court has grown in Africa because the court has convicted only one man, an African warlord, and all others it has charged are also Africans. The ICC has opened investigations into eight cases, all of which are in Africa including Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Central African Republic (CAR), Darfur, Kenya, Libya, Cte d'Ivoire and Mali. Five of the eight cases were referred voluntarily by the African governments in question; two through a UNSC resolution supported by all but one African member in the council at the time and the Kenyan one was opened at the ICC prosecutor's request.

Critics say the court only targets Africans, but remains oblivious to atrocities, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in other parts of the world. The ICC denies the accusation. London-based rights group Amnesty International urged African nations meeting in the Ethiopian capital not to cut ties with the court, saying victims of crimes deserved justice. "The ICC should expand its work outside Africa, but it does not mean that its eight current investigations in African countries are without basis," Amnesty's deputy director of law and policy, Tawanda Hondora, said in a statement.

For policy purposes, the continent of Africa is conventionally divided between the predominantly Arab states of North Africa [the southern coastline of the Mediterranean Sea], and Sub-Saharan Africa. While the 22 Arab States face very different economic and development challenges, they share many political and social characteristics. The Maghreb countries (Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Algeria), which are well-advanced along the demographic transition, are dealing with ageing populations.

In the past decade, Africa has been home to six of the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world a number that is only projected to grow. According to the International Monetary Fund, the region is on track to grow by five percent this year, and the World Bank has noted that Africa could be on the brink of an economic takeoff, much like China was 30 years ago and India 20 years ago. Trade between Africa and the rest of the world has tripled in the last 10 years, with an increase in exports of more than 200 percent and an increase in imports of 250 percent from 2001 to 2011.

This region is enjoying real economic growth after a decade of declining per capita income. The past decade has also witnessed a definite, albeit gradual, trend toward greater democracy, openness, and multiparty elections. Yet, in much of the continent, humanitarian crises (refugee problems, high AIDS/HIV rates), instability, and conflict persist. Overlaying these tensions is the potential spread of jihadist ideology among disaffected Muslim populations and the region's growing importance as a source of energy.

Sub-Saharan Africa faces serious political, economic and social challenges. Sub-Saharan Africa remains the region most affected by the AIDS epidemic. About half of African countries have declared AIDS as an emergency. Yet, in spite of an unprecedented global response, the rate and scale of implementation of programs remain low. Internet access is more scarce in sub-Saharan Africa than anywhere else in the world. African Internet users account for less than 5 percent of the worlds online population, and many countries Internet penetration rates are less than 1 percent.

With nearly 50 states, Sub-Saharan Africa plays an important, often decisive, role in international organizations and at multilateral meetings. The region possesses natural resources important to the world economy oil, copper,iron, bauxite, uranium, cobalt, chromium, platinum, manganese, gold, and diamonds. While developed countries need to buy African raw materials, Africa requires capital investment, new technology, managerial skills, and markets to develop other products.

Continuing regional conflicts and economic instability make Sub-Saharan Africa a potential arena for rivalry and confrontation between external powers. The emerging face of Africa is one of promise and stability. Progress is being made in many areas that offer unparalleled opportunities to consolidate successes and bring about sustainable change. Nonetheless, three out of every four Africans living in poverty and the challenges that must be confronted in many parts of the continent are daunting.

The African Union vigorously denounces unconstitutional seizures of power in member states. Perpetrators of a coup against a legitimate government are banished from the African Union. They are not readmitted until a free and fair election takes place in order to establish a new legitimacy. And yet, when a legitimate African government is overthrown as the result of insurgent action organized from outside its borders, the African Union remains silent.

Chinese theft of intellectual property, in general, is one of the biggest challenges that US firms face in Africa. Although China and African countries have initiated efforts to combat counterfeits and protect intellectual property rights, the success of these efforts is unclear. In some cases, Chinese products, although of poorer quality, mimick US firms product branding and color schemes. Although US firms successfully litigated in Kenyan courts against trademark infraction, the penalty was too lenient to have a deterrent effect on the Chinese manufacturers.

Africa - Geography

Africa as a whole is second only to Asia in size. It is more than three times as large as Europe or the United States. In its greatest east to west dimension Africa measures 4500 miles, while from the southern to the northern extremity it is about 5000 miles. The great area known as the Sahara is about as large as the United States. Africa lies chiefly in the Torrid Zone, and is the hottest of all the continents. The coast-line is not much indented ; and consequently there are very few good harbors. In this respect Africa is like South America.

Most of continental Africa is a plateau, or elevated plain. It is surrounded by a narrow belt of low land along the coast. The principal mountains are the Atlas Mountains on the north, and a high range on the east near the Equator. Large portions of the continent are deserts. The chief rivers are the Nile, the Niger, the Congo and tha Zambesi. The Nile is one of the longest rivers in the world. Africa contains some of the largest lakes in the world. The most important are Victoria and Tanganyika.

Many curious trees are natives of Africa. The date-palm is as valuable to the African as the banana is to the South American Indian. Its fruit is his daily food. The cocoapalm produces the well-known cocoa-nut. The palm-oil tree yields large quantities of yellow oil. Africa has a remarkable shade tree that grows nowhere else. It is called the ba'-o-bab. It is not very high, but it shoots out branches which hang down to the ground, and make for the weary traveller a green shelter like a giant umbrella. Cotton and indigo, sugar-cane, wheat and millot (a kind of grain) are largely cultivated.

Africa is remarkable for its strange and fierce animals. Among the most curious are the gorilla and chimpanzee, huge monkeys which are very like men ; the giraffe, hippopotamus, rhinoceros and zebra. The giraffe is the tallest of all living creatures. The hippopotamus, or river horse, lives partly in the water, and partly on land. On the river-banks crocodiles are to be seen basking in the sun. The white ant builds houses from fifteen to thirty feet high. Whole villages of them are sometimes seen. When deserted, the ant-houses are sometimes used by the natives as ovens.

Africa is a most interesting continent. It has the greatest desert in the world, where, across hot sands, caravans of camels wind their way. It has vast and gloomy forests where roam the greatest beasts of the earth, as well as the warlike dwarfs called pygmies. In the same latitude there are snow-capped mountains and banana plantations. Some of the greatest rivers and lakes of the earth are found in Africa. Most of the diamonds of the world are mined there.

For centuries Africa was called the "dark continent" because so little was known of the interior. There are rapids and waterfalls in the rivers. This makes it difficult for boats to go up the streams. In some parts of Africa the climate is very unhealthful. There are many diseases which kill men, horses, and cattle. Because of all these things, traveling in Africa was very difficult. For centuries the desert, the forest, the mountains, the hot and unhealthful climate, and the wild men and wild animals kept the white men from traveling through it. It was quite the middle of the 19th Century before maps showed any explored territory in Central Africa. Even then the so-called Mountains of the Moon were long supposed to extend across the entire continent from east to west.

The equator divides Africa into two parts practically equal in extent from north to south, although greatly differing in area. The Arabs were the first to penetrate the interior. They, with their camels, were able to brave the sand and heat of the desert and to reach the oases and fertile lands. When the Roman Empire fell, the Arab hosts swept through the north of Africa, and the country nearly as far south as the Congo basin came under the Mohammedan rule. So it was the Arabs who first opened up the country and laid the foundation for later developments. At the same time, they introduced that terrible system of slavery which the European countries have not yet succeeded in stamping out.

Africa was little known by the European world before the year 1800. Two years before this date there was formed in England a society for the exploration of Africa. Beginning in 1843, David Livingstone spent thirty years in the heart of the "Dark Continent," and finally died there. Cameron, Stanley, Baker, Burton, Speke and other brave explorers did much to open up Africa.

The situation of Sub-Saharan Africa appears confusing and worrisome. Many of the worlds least developed countries lie in this area, their progress limited by extremely high foreign debt. Migrations, sickness, ethnic conflicts, civil and interstate wars, poverty, underdevelopment, environmental degradation, natural catastrophes and political corruption are recurring issues in this area with no obvious immediate solution or prospect of improvement. There are few African countries that escape this situation, and even those rich in natural resources find themselves suffering from lesser or greater internal conflicts and endemic postcolonial corruption.

Various militias and other "irregular" forces are characteristic of Africa's security environment. There is widespread view that disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) programs are vital to advancing stability in the region. But such initiatives are usually under-prioritized, and under-conceptualized. The persisetnce of groups of armed and unemployed young men in what is ostensibly a "post-conflict" environment is a key factor in the high rate of conflict relapse observed in Africa.

Sub Saharan Africa

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Page last modified: 06-09-2016 12:32:20 ZULU