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Economic Development in Sub-Saharan Africa

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Janik S.
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  1. Introduction
  2. Sub-Saharan Africa
  3. The Eastern Slave trade
  4. Africa's problems
  5. Conclusion

Sub-Saharan Africa: with its beautiful lush landscapes, diverse cultures, fantastic wildlife and wealth of natural resources there is also a huge amount of suffering. With the highest poverty rates in the world, Africa faces many obstacles on its path to development. Although its resource abundance is increasing the wealth of many African States, in this heart of darkness most of the revenue goes into the hands of corrupt governments and the elite. This, coupled with the poverty trap plaguing many ordinary Africans is what makes it so difficult to lift onto its feet. However, Africa has huge potential, and if the resource revenue is used wisely, it can be used to pull the populace of poverty, educating children, boosting the service sector creating a diverse and vibrant economy, and giving Africa a more prominent role in the geo-political arena.

As the birthplace of man the story of Africa is the oldest in the world, but throughout most of its history the majority of Sub-Saharan Africa has developed independently from the rest of the world, separated from the north of the continent by vast desert. While North Africa having much more in common with the cultures of Europe and the Middle East: the Egyptians, Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Arabs and Turks all having settled there; the rest of the continent remained unexplored by the outside world until the 19th Century (Shillington 301). Tribalism remained strong here, and the civilizations, like of Great Zimbabwe, that rose and fell did so with little contact with any others.

[...] Africa was divided up without the colonial wars of the earlier waves of colonization in Asia and the Americas leaving Ethiopia the only independent country in Africa (Shillington 383). However, even though the colonies were short lived, on average lasting 70 years, these African states have benefitted much less and have been damaged much more than any other European colony, considering such incidents as the atrocities committed by Leopold II of Belgium in the Congo Free State. During the decolonization that occurred Post-World War hosts of problems erupted in the just independent states, some due to the legacy of colonialism, but most to do with the emergence of the problems of Africa's societal structure and just unfortunate circumstances. [...]


[...] General History of Africa. London: J. Currey Print. Klein, Herbert S. The Atlantic Slave Trade. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge UP Print. Lawson-Remer, Terra, and Joshua Greenstein. "Beating the Resource Curse in Africa: A Global Effort." Council on Foreign Relations. Council on Foreign Relations, Aug Web Sept Sachs, Jeffrey. [...]


[...] The End of Poverty. New York: Penguin Print. Shillington, Kevin. History of Africa. Oxford: Macmillan Education Print. Warner, Andrew M., and Jeffrey D. Sachs. "Natural Resource Abundance and Economic Growth." Natural Resource Abundance and Economic Growth. N.p Web Sept. [...]


[...] Such a situation arose in Sierra Leone as rebel groups fought over control of the diamond mines during the civil war. Another key factor is taxation as the government earns revenue on the resource it usually reduces taxation on the people. The people now have less incentive to be careful about government spending as it is not their tax dollars anymore, and the government is free to embezzle money, waste money on vanity projects and white elephants, and most commonly to increase defense spending in order to keep themselves in power. [...]

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