Africa Update PDF Print E-mail


Volume 1 1993

* With 10% of the world’s population and 20% of the world’s land surface, Africa produces just 2% of the World’s Gross Domestic Product.

  • 31 of the world’s poorest 42 countries (that is those states with a per capita national income of less than US $500 per year) are in Africa.
  • With the exception of South Africa the gross national product of Sub-Saharan Africa’s 480 million inhabitants is equal to the GNP of Belgium with its 10 million people.
  • Africa has the highest population growth in the world and the continent’s present population of 651 million is expected to double by the year 2009. This calculation however does not take into account the probable devastation’of the present AIDS epidemic on Africa’s future population.
  • Africa has experienced over 100 violent changes of national leadership since 1 952. This has included over 80 coups, revolutions, civil wars and purges, and 25 assassinations of national leaders. Every year since 1963 (except for 1988) has seen one or more violent overthrow of governments in Africa. Uganda has experienced 6 revolutions, while Sudan, Nigeria, Ghana, Burkina Faso and Benin have each had 5 military coup d’etats.
  • Africa has the lowest life expectancy rate in the world. In Mozambique life expectancy at birth is 47 years, Angola 45 years, Ethiopia 45 years, Sierra Leone 42 years. By way of contrast life expectancy in the USA is 76 years, and Japan 78 years.
  • More than 2000 languages and dialects are spoken in Africa, but this number can be reduced to 50 major languages by grouping together related and mutually understandable languages, and by taking into account second languages understood by those whose language is understood by less than a million people. The 3 most important African languages (each are spoken by more than 50 million people) are Arabic, Hausa and Swahili. Arabic is the official language of 7 North African countries. The Hausa people of Nigeria are the only Black African people who had a form of writing before the missionaries came. Swahili (a Bantu language influenced by Arabic) is the official language of Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.

Drug Dealers Target Africa

Along with war, famine and AIDS, Africa is being afflicted with a new epidemic - drug abuse. While West Africa has been targeted by Columbian drug lords, East and Southern Africa is being invaded by drugs from the “Golden Triangle” of South East Asia and the “Golden Crescent” (Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran). Law enforcement officials are voicing increasing alarm over the growing co-operation between international drug dealers and terrorist organisations. An estimated 20% of the world’s 40 million drug addicts now live in the third world. As well as causing misery and death among addicts, the drug trade produces corruption and violence, and many addicts resort to theft and prostitution to support their expensive habit. Drug abuse also leads to a high percentage of domestic violence and child abuse incidents.

Foreign Aid - A lesson In Futility And Failure

Since 1960 the United States of America alone has funnelled over $30 billion in aid to Africa (This is not including the European, United Nations, IMF, FAO and other grants and projects which total over $2 trillion). Yet the continent still suffers from mass poverty, starvation and underdevelopment due to socialist mismanagement, witchcraft beliefs and superstitions and corruption.

One example of the failure of this foreign aid experiment is Tanzania. At independence Tanzania was recognised as one of the richest in resources and most promising countries. The world Bank, International Monetary Fund and Western Governments have poured vast sums of money (over $10 billion) into Tanzania. The USA alone has given over $500 million to Tanzania. Yet all this money has been squandered on unworkable socialist policies and the people of Tanzania are more destitute than ever.

Dictator Julius Nyereres’ African socialism was applauded by liberals worldwide. The International development community trumpeted Tanzania as it’s “success story” showcase.

Known as Mwalimu (or teacher), Nyerere oversaw the establishment of a one party state that tolerated no dissent, a state controlled press, the massacre of Arabs on Zanzibar and the forced relocations of 10 million farmers into 8 269 Ujamas or collectivised villages. With the Tanzanian government the sole authorised purchaser and marketer of all Tanzanian crops, and the complex web of state controlled parastatals (monopolies), the economy was stifled and strangled to death by clumsy bureaucracy, incompetence and corruption. From being a food exporter before independence Tanzania became a food importer. Its roads became some of Africa’s worst as the infrastructure eroded and industries deteriorated.
Today, over and above the billions in grants and gifts, Tanzania owes over $5 billion and depends upon donors to fund over 40% of its national budget.

Yet despite the monumental failure of its socialist economic policies and the catastrophic destruction of living standards and productivity in Tanzania, US AID spending for development projects in Tanzania has increased over 500% in the 1990’s.

A recent report by the Heritage Foundation’s Centre for International Economic Growth dismissed reports of “major accomplishments” in reform by the Tanzanian government as wishful thinking. It concluded that under President Mwinyi’s leadership, Tanzania has done nothing to merit the massive Western and multilateral aid which it is receiving.

Instead of propping up dictatorial regimes and funding their ideological fantasies, Western investors need to directly invest in free enterprise in these countries - without any state interference. Instead of a neo-colonial foreign aid which has led to a new slavery of debt to Western governments, the IMF and UN, Africa needs freedom. Freedom from corruption, socialism, superstition and debt (Proverbs 10:2-4; 12:24; 22:7). And this freedom can only come about through faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and obedience to His Word.

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