Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

Population pressure in Africa - Social and Economic impacts (Part 2)

Population Change:

It will take less than 5 seconds to read this sentence. As you were reading, another 15 babies were born into this world. 6 of these babies
were being delivered in Africa. Population change in West Africa
results from natural increase and migration.

Africa's share of total world population is steadily increasing, remain relatively small to other world regions. However rates of natural increase are higher in Africa than any other continents. And since 45% of Africa's population is below the age of 15, the number is expected to double in 25 years.

Migration is an additional fact contributing to the population change. In west Africa, more than anywhere else in the world, most international migration is essentially an extension of internal migration. Borders are artificial as created by by The Europeans during colonization and centers of economic activities are often cut off from the hinterlands.In my own opinion, the artificial borders have caused too much dispute and havoc and have done more harm than good.

Economic and Social impacts:

Rapid population growth has serious social and economic impacts. In those countries experiencing the fastest rates of growth there are difficulties in supporting increasing populations. Fast population growth can be a stranglehold on economic development, as precious resources are swallowed by large numbers of dependents and countries lurch from one economic crisis to another.Some countries have reached or exceeded their resource limits and can be classified as over-populated.

The consequences of overpopulation:

-Unemployment and underemployment
-environmental degradation
-wildlife losses
-housing shortage
-lower living standards
-poor level of education and health care

Population growth inevitably results in a shrinking land base, some would say that this is not taking into consideration the extra demand for land that will come with the need to grow more crops to feed the growing populations, as far as I know, I think many countries in Africa aren't self sufficient in food and rely on imports and having the income to pay for them. (Could anyone please clarify?) And there could be other factors contributing to the food crisis is Africa, armed conflicts, mismanagement of food supplies, trade policies etc.

Increasing populations not only affect the land space, but also clean water. In many west Africa countries, the same water is used bot to deposit and transport the raw sewage and industrial waste, and for domestic consumption. The end effect of rapid population growth and poor health provision is the poverty cycle.

Managing population change:

Population increase threatens the stability of many West Africa nations. Women are being recognized as the key agents in the management of populations and in promoting sustainable development. Encouraging sustainsblae development is teh key to managing population change in Africa. Education has an important role in this process too.

I would like to raise a question, even though it might be a little controversial.

If Europe had not interfered with the history of Africa and had Africa pursued its own natural course, would Africa have developed the same way as other continents? I think it's highly possible. What do you think?

Views: 12183

Comment by Shakwei Mbindyo on March 16, 2010 at 5:51pm
Great question Agent Tang. Africa's today would certainly be different but would it be better - sometime I think YES and other times NO - sigh! +1 KS
Comment by Radhika Darbari on March 16, 2010 at 7:56pm
Its one of those question's we'll nver know the definate answer to underfotunately. My opinion though I think they would have developed better had colonization not occured. They would look different from what the western cultures look like today but it would I believe strongly have prevented a lot of conflict and internal conflict and instablitily which resulted of an outside coming and enforcing something completely different without completely considering the people there. People have different ways and cultures, even within a nation but most nations still have a unity. Colonization made people fight over that unity and made this hunt for power which I believe is a big reason we see so many rebels and internal corruptions in Africa for example.
Comment by Wintermute on March 16, 2010 at 8:28pm
In BE 117 Trajan's Empire, at it's height had provinces in Northern Africa which formed the bread basket of the Roman Empire. Europe to a greater or lesser degree has always been involved in Africa. The two are inextricably linked because mankind as we know it, developed in East Africa.


The history of Africa is a very interesting subject; The Dry Phase ca 5000 BCE expanded the Sahara Desert, scattering the populations of that region. The Sahara then became a natural barrier to travel and trade, which, combined with the rise of the Mediterranean empires (which moved the center of civilization north), effectively isolated lower Africa. Due to this isolation the development of Africa halted. There was no need to develop, because their was no large foreign population to compete against for resources. To answer your question, Yes had the Europeans not come back to lower Africa I believe it would have developed along it's natural course. Was that course parallel to other European or even Asian nations? That's a hard one to call, but lets think about it.

For the sake of argument lets say that in the race for civilization the gun goes off at roughly 16,000 BCE when Agriculture is believe to have emerged in East Africa. The race ends with European Exploration by the Portuguese in 1434 CE.

In the 17,434 years that passed between those two events think of the great chasm that developed. Mass systems of Agriculture that keep millions fed. Great ships that would soon circ**navigate the globe. Gun powder, modern society, mass education. Not only technological developments but progress in mathematics, economics, science, medicine, philosophy.

It's fair to believe that at some point their would have been some revolutionary event that would have launched Africa into the modern era. I also believe that it's fair to say that since the change didn't happen for 17,434 years, that it wasn't going to happen.

So what? So what that Africa didn't develop the the rifle, the sexton, consider the benefits of the crossbow vs the longbow. Just because Europe developed those things and Africa did not, doesn't make them any better. The true measure of a country will always be it's people. The developments of the Europeans have allowed for lower infant death rates, higher education rates, and an over better quality of life.

In conclusion I am for European intervention--but not the plundering kind of the 1400s. I want to go to Africa and bring back to our birth place all the wonders we have discovered. To give and to teach so that they too can enjoy the quality of life that so many of us enjoy.
Comment by Jenn on March 18, 2010 at 6:46pm
Wow, great conversation! I got a lot from Shakwei's post related to this one as well, which I'd encourage anyone interested to read: http://www.urgentevoke.com/profiles/blogs/fact-or-fiction-1. It strikes me that LAND REFORM could also play a big part of the answer here!
Comment by Comelia Tang on March 18, 2010 at 6:52pm
@Jenn, why were comments closed for shakwei's post?
Comment by Jenn on March 18, 2010 at 7:01pm
I don't know, I really wanted to comment because I thought it was an amazing post!

Pan, will do.
Comment by Comelia Tang on March 18, 2010 at 7:09pm
@Jenn, I know, me too and I guess most of us has something to say about it. maybe I should ask Shakwei.
Comment by Felix Albus on March 18, 2010 at 8:55pm
Wow, I admire your work. Very nice!
Comment by Daniel LaLiberte on March 23, 2010 at 1:57am
When you post a blog, you have those options at the bottom as to whether comments are open. Maybe she closed comments accidently. Or maybe she didn't want the noise. Probably can be changed by an admin after posting.

I also wanted to reply, so will do it here, since it is related to this blog as well.

I believe that, somewhat ironically, population growth is almost inevitable in order to promote development. The reason is that development will lead to a decrease in the number of childhood deaths and lengthened lives, and so an increase in population. People will not reduce the number of children they have until sometime after they are confident that fewer children will survive. Education can help shorten the lag, but it requires a change of culture, and that can take a generation or more.

The increased number of surviving children is an additional burden on the environment, at least until we learn how to reduce our ecological footprint to zero, or less. But if we do, then what?
Comment by Comelia Tang on March 23, 2010 at 2:15am
Yes I believe that that's what I mentioned in my 1st blog...infant mortality rate decreased due to increased in standard of living but people continue giving birth at the same rate, the population just keeps on increasing. Overpopulation = resources being depleted and that's one of the reasons for concern. Hmmm I dong get your last part, dan... What was the question again?


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