Causes of African Problems: Environment
- Rainfall in tropical and sub-tropical areas throughout the
world is sporadic and highly variant. Its absence causes droughts;
its overabundance causes flooding, soil leaching and erosion.
- Most of Africa experiences tropical or sub-tropical heat. A hot
climate can be a great disincentive for working, and insects and
diseases thrive. Humidity is too high near the coast and in areas
with high rainfall, and too low near the desert.
- Much of Africa is desert or semi-desert and is unsuitable for
farming and livestock. Global warming is increasing the size of
Africa's deserts. Overpopulation in fragile environments such as
the Sahel causes desertification through overfarming and
overgrazing, leading to erosion, soil depletion and
- Most of Africa is far from the coast, so it is not accessible
by sea. Deserts, jungles, and tropical diseases have made land
access difficult and dangerous. Much of Africa was isolated from
the rest of the world until this century, making development
through communication and trade difficult. These conditions also
kept groups of African people divided and prevented the formation
of centralised nation states with a common identity.
- Because tropical soil is relatively infertile and population
was low, there was little historical need for improved agricultural
or industrial technology, and large surpluses were not produced.
Economies were based on trade and small markets rather than through
mass production, so Africa was slow to develop technology to