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Why has the development experience of sub-Saharan Africa diverged markedly from that of other developing regions?

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  1. Introduction.
  2. The singularity of Sub-Saharan Africa compared to others developing region.
    1. The labor force represented by the future slaves.
    2. The decision of the Europeans to use African labour force in the middle of the nineteenth century.
    3. The behaviour of the colonial powers in the political field.
  3. The main reason for the African situation.
    1. Development aid during the colonisation period.
    2. The devotion of a majority of the income of some countries to pay their debt and interests.
    3. A very difficult economical transition.
  4. The lack of a 'Green Revolution' in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  5. The political legacy of the colonisation.
  6. Sub-Saharan Africa.
    1. Lack of education structures.
    2. Lack of money to build hospitals.
    3. Social problems.
    4. The law about patents and medicine.
  7. Conclusion.

The recent images of migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa dying on the border of the Spanish territories of Ceuta and Melilla reminded the Northern opinion of the reality of life in the poorest region in the world . Migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa flee such horrible conditions of life, and such a lack of future, that they are willing to do anything to come to Europe . Sub-Saharan Africans are indeed the ?poorest of the poor?. Life expectancy for them is only 46 years old and a large part of the population still lives with less than 1 dollar a day . Development, i.e. the economic growth coupled with an effective improvement in the conditions of life, is stuck in this region. Many factors combined to lead to this situation which seems inextricable. We have to mention all of them to explain why Sub-Saharan Africa is facing such problems, whereas other developing areas have ?taken-off?, such as East Asia. History is a burden for Africa, which has been exploited by other powers for centuries. The complex framework of international balance of powers and economical relations has been weaved considering Africa only as a source of raw materials and cheap labour. Since the time of their independence, Sub-Saharan countries struggle to change this legacy.

[...] In his law of the comparative advantage, the British economist Ricardo developed the idea that in the international trade, each country has to specialise in one production to export it. Barrat Brown, Michael How old is Africa's crisis in Africa's choices. Boulder, Westview Press. P.22 Davidson, Basil ?Questions about development?, in Modern Africa; A social and political history. London, Longman. P.220 Davidson, Basil ?Colonial systems and the great depression?, in Modern Africa; A social and political history. London, Longman. P.58 AFP, Le FMI va effacer la totalité de l'ardoise des 40 pays les plus endettés in Lemonde.fr December 2005 www.lemonde.fr/web/vi/0,47-0@2- 3212,54-628274@51-719256,0.html Les belles promesses Source: 2004 World Development Indicators database, World Bank April 2004. [...]


[...] Though these investments are necessary to the Sub- Saharan countries, the pressure from the investors can prevent the development of the country. In Senegal for instance, local investors have created a distribution chain, but they received no help from the government because of the opposition of the foreign investors. As Claude Meillassoux assesses: result is the refusal to allow local capital to be invested in strategic sectors where foreign investment is dominant: banks, air, sea and transport.?[20] Contrary to some Asian countries, especially in East Asia, Sub- Saharan Africa didn't go through a ?green revolution?. [...]


[...] But from the seventeenth century, the region was deprived of millions of men and women, who were deported to America to work as slaves, mainly in the cotton fields in the south. This ?Atlantic trade? drained the Sub- Saharan continent from men, but also from skills. The future slaves represented indeed a labour force necessary to the development of Africa. They were young, and often good skilled. For instance, when the mines of gold were discovered in America, miners were specially sought after to become slaves. [...]

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