- Police forces are inadequately manned, paid, equipped and
trained, weapon controls are rare, and urban crime and corruption
are increasing. Physical and sexual abuse of women and children is
common and goes largely unreported.
- Local languages and cultural diversity are being lost as Africa
- Most African countries are heavily in debt and run a budget
deficit, and a large portion of the national budget must go to
paying interest at high rates. Debt payments by Africa exceed
foreign aid payments to Africa.
- Forests are destroyed for firewood and farmland, reducing the
world's oxygen supply and hastening desertification. Almost all
forests may be gone in 50 years. Many species of tropical plants
and animals are being driven to extinction.
- Although 90% of the world's AIDS cases are in Africa, diseases
of the rural poor like malaria, yellow fever, bilharzia, sleeping
sickness and cholera claim many more lives and cause more economic
damage. Diseases like polio, measles, leprosy and the bubonic
plague, eliminated from most of the rest of the world, can still be
found in Africa.
- Africa has a large disabled population, estimated at 10% and
much worse in war-torn countries, whose rights are not being
protected and who are generally confined to poverty and
unemployment. The use of land mines continues to disable people
long after the war finishes, especially in Angola and
- A majority of Africans are illiterate. Only a tiny percentage
have a university education.
- Human Rights
- Few African countries have stable democracies. Many states
suppress any opposition to the ruling party, banning free speech
and detaining dissenters.
- Women do the majority of agricultural labour but only own a
small portion of the land. In many cultures, they are not permitted
to inherit property. There are many unwanted teenage pregnancies,
and abortion is still illegal in some countries.
Children spend too much time working and fighting wars instead of
learning in school.
- Although the continent produces enough food to feed everyone,
not everyone has access to it. Famines periodically strike many
parts of the continent. Although starvation is not a common cause
of death, malnutrition is related to disease, mental retardation
and unemployment, and the majority of Africans are affected by
hunger in some way.
- The wealth is distributed far more unevenly than in developed
countries. For example, the average white-skinned African of
European descent is dozens of times richer than the average
African. Despite the end of Apartheid, the minority whites in South
Africa continue to dominate the economy.
- In many countries, the annual inflation exceeds 10%, and the
currencies in some countries is virtually worthless.
- Life Expectancy
- Infant mortality rates are high, and life expectancy is decades
below that of the West, due to war, disease and poverty.
- As the population explodes, cities are becoming overcrowded and
polluted, natural resources are becoming strained, and shortages of
energy, food and water are a constant threat. Any gains in economic
growth are lost when distributed among more people, so the average
person becomes poorer.
- Very few Africans have escaped poverty. The average African
only has a tiny fraction of what the average American has, and by
Western standards, nearly all Africans are poor. There are about as
many US states as African countries, but on average each state is
about one third as large, has half the population, and about ten
times the wealth.
- Substance Abuse
- Alcoholism is a terrible, largely unexamined and untreated
problem. Sales of other drugs are small but increasing in cities.
Drugs are used to make soldiers kill without hesitation or
- About 20 percent of African cities are unemployed, and a much
larger number are underemployed.
- There has not been a single day of peace in Africa since before
most African countries gained independence from colonialism. Wars
between nations, civil wars, coups, and religious and ethnic
conflicts affect nearly every African country to some degree.
Children are in the front lines because they are not as restrained
as adults are by ethics, knowledge or fear.