HIV/ AIDS & other health problems
Under 15/ Over 65
Southern Africa consists of all of the countries that lie
south of Democratic Republic of the Congo
and Tanzania, except South Africa
itself. Southern Africa is a plateau region
marked by many escarpments, cliffs or steep slopes at the edge of a plateau.
The major river of the region is the Zambezi, which defines the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Another river that runs
through Southern Africa is the Orange-Vaal; that connects Southern Namibia into
Southern Africa does not contain any of the volcanic and earthquake activity
that is a characteristic of East Africa.
The climate of Southern Africa
varies, becoming drier further south you get from the equator, consisting of
savannah grasslands to deserts. The eastern side of the region has more
moisture due to the influence of the Indian Ocean.
Namibia lies on the western
side of Southern Africa and its dry climate
receives an average annual rainfall of 4 to 12 inches. As you move further to
the east, Mozambique
receives an average annual rainfall of 30 to 56 inches. Precipitation in
southern Africa follows the general pattern of
global precipitation. Since the area is roughly 20 degrees away from the
equator, it follows patterns observable in South America, Central America and Australia.
Due to systems of atmospheric and oceanic circulation, as well as heat and
moisture transfer, there is a dearth of moisture in the western and central
portion of these areas. At the same latitude, the continents receive more
moisture along the eastern coasts.
The population of Southern Africa’s
eight countries totals 95.2 million in 2006. As there are very few large
cities, the population is greatly dispersed. Areas of copper mining tend to
attract clusters of the region's population. The population also tends to
settle in areas of higher elevation where the temperatures are cooler either on
top of the plateau or some places near a waterfront.
Southern Africa represents a diverse region with more than 90
different ethnic groups in the country of Angola alone. Religion varies from
the traditional African religions to Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, which
were brought to Africa from the Portuguese and
the British. Although the former Portuguese colonies have deemed Portuguese as
the official language and former British colonies have deemed English as the
official language, Bantu languages dominate most of the region.
AIDS is a serious problem for Southern
Africa. Most of Southern Africa
is in the middle of an HIV epidemic, but the AIDS epidemic has yet to be
experienced. The distinction between AIDS and HIV is not clear in most people's
minds in this area. Four to eight years after HIV is diagnosed, people begin
falling ill and dying in significant numbers. Curtailing the epidemic faces the
additional hurdles of a majority of people in Southern
Africa who see a traditional healer for illnesses, instead of a
doctor, and the shortage of "Western" medicine available.
Many other health problems plague Southern
Africa. Malaria, a parasitic infection transmitted to humans by a
mosquito, is found in Botswana,
Namibia and Zimbabwe.
Symptoms range from: fever and flu-like symptoms, to chills, general soreness
and tiredness. If not treated, Malaria can cause anemia, kidney failure, coma
and death. Other illnesses transmitted by a mosquito are found in pockets of Southern Africa. These include Yellow Fever (Botswana), Dengue Fever (Zimbabwe), and
sleeping sickness. There is no specific treatment for Yellow or Dengue fever.
Diseases in Southern Africa can also be
transmitted through contaminated water or food. Typhoid Fever is a bacterial
infection. It has symptoms of fever, headaches, tiredness, loss of appetite and
constipation. Typhoid is treatable with antibiotics. Cholera, transmitted by
contaminated water, has been reported from most of the countries of Southern Africa. Parasites are responsible for parasitic
infections and are transmitted through contaminated food and water, through
direct contact with soil or water containing larvae or by biting insects.
In mineral terms, the Southern part of Africa
is the richest. Large amounts of minerals have attracted many migrant workers
to work in the mines in Northern Zambia. The
enormous amount of minerals in this region include copper, chrome, asbestos,
gold, chromium, diamonds, platinum, coal, iron ore, petroleum, manganese, lead,
and zinc. Agriculture constitutes most of the region’s economy. Export crops
include tobacco, cotton, tea, coffee, corn, wheat and other cereals. The
pastoral industry of Southern Africa includes
dairy and beef cattle, and wool. Unfortunately, despite this wealth and
productivity, the countries of Southern Africa
are severely underdeveloped due to political crises and armed conflicts that
have devastated entire states.
GNI PPP (US$)
The table above presents a demographic analysis of Southern Africa.
Out of the eight countries, Mozambique
has the highest population in Southern Africa
as of 2006. For the most part, the populations of these countries are fairly
consistent. The only major difference in
population is found in Botswana
with 1.8 million and Namibia
with 2.1 million. This is probably due
to the dessert climate of these two countries.
When comparing the percent of the population under fifteen
and over sixty-five, there is a similar range in numbers. The percent of people under fifteen is
somewhere between 38-47 percent, which is much higher than the percent over
65. Therefore, it is obvious that the
older population is much smaller than the younger population.
The population data sheet indicates that there is a large
range of numbers when comparing the infant mortality rate in these
countries. For example the highest
infant mortality rate is found in Angola
with 139 deaths for every 1,000 live births in 2006, while Namibia only has 44. Angola, known to be one of the
underdeveloped countries of the world, has a high number of infant deaths.
The percent of the urban population is below 55 percent. The
two extremes are Botswana
with 54 percent and Malawi
with 14 percent. The other six countries
are closer in range. Developed countries
of the world are typically above 80% urban.
The last selected category is the GNI PPP. There is a large range in numbers for the GNI
is the highest with 10,250 and Malawi
has a low of 650. That is a difference
of 9,600. When comparing the GNI in
Southern Africa to other countries in the world, it is relatively low.
is the most populous country in Southern Africa.
The population of Mozambique
is 19.9 million. The capital of Maputo is the
largest city in Mozambique,
with a population of 1.4 million. Most of the population is concentrated in
coastal areas along the Zambezi
River, and in the Angonia Plateau. Before declaring independence on June 25,
was a Portuguese colony. Under Portuguese rule, the chief sources of income
were cashew and coconut plantations. The location of Mozambique,
off of the Indian Ocean, allowed the country to handle the external trade of Zimbabwe, Malawi,
and South Africa’s Witwatersrand mining and industrial complex. Once
independence was gained, Mozambique
chose a Marxist form of government modeled after the Soviets. Unhappy with the
type of government chosen, a rebel movement was formed which gained support
from South Africa.
In the 1990s, Mozambique
changed political courses and reached an accommodation with South Africa.
is one of the world's most underdeveloped countries characterized by famines,
social dislocation, political disorder, and economic chaos. The economy depends
heavily on foreign assistance.
is the world’s fourth largest island found in the Indian
Ocean. The population of the island is 17.8 million and steadily
experienced colonial invasion from Portugal,
Britain and France. By
had become a French colony and remained so until it proclaimed its independence
June 6, 1960. Madagascar
is one of the poorest countries in the world, suffering from chronic
malnutrition, under funded health and education facilities, and severe
deforestation and land erosion. Agriculture, including fishing and forestry,
accounts for 70% of the islands export earnings. Since 1993, corruption and political
instability have caused even further economic decay. The majority of the work
force is engaged in subsistence agriculture. The most unique feature of Madagascar is
its long-term isolation, which has appeared to create its own Garden of Eden in
the plant and animal world. Primates found here are found nowhere else; 33
varieties of lemurs are unique to the island. Many species of birds, amphibians
and reptiles will be found nowhere in the world but on the island of Madagascar.
has a population of 15.8 million. The land area of Angola
is slightly less than twice that of Texas. Angola
is rich in mineral resources and further geological exploration is likely to
add more to the list. The major resources include petroleum, diamonds, iron
ore, manganese, copper, uranium, phosphates, and salt. Like Mozambique, Angola was a former Portuguese
colony. When the country first gained independence, the economy was thriving.
chose a Marxist form of government with a communist course. Unhappy with the
form of government that was chosen, a rebel movement was formed which gained financial
and military support from South
Africa. Today the government of Angola consists
of a multi-party democracy with a strong presidential system. The one thing
that saved Angola from
complete devastation was Cabinda, a small enclave separated from the main
territory along the coast in the north at the western end of Zaire. Cabinda, separated from the conflict, contains oil
reserves and was able to continue to produce revenues throughout the war. A
peace treaty was signed on November 20, 1994 and is generally holding, but the
provisions of the treaty remain to be implemented.
also known as Rhodesia, is
located north of South
Africa and has a population of 13.1 million.
This landlocked country is rich in minerals, which are found in the Great Dyke,
a geologic formation that stretches north and south across the center of Zimbabwe. Large
coal reserves are located in the west near the city of Hwange. Zimbabwe
is a leading world supplier of chromium ore, gold, and nickel. Agriculture employs 70% of the labor force
and supplies almost 40% of its exports. The major cash crop is tobacco;
however, due to economic sanctions placed on the exportation of tobacco in the
1970s, there has been a shift to the production of maize, millet, sorghum, and
wheat. Mining, accounting for 5% of Zimbabwe's economy and employment,
accounts for about 40% of its exports. In the mid 1960’s, the British tried to
move the country toward sovereignty. The white minority (approximately 2% of
the total population) declared independence from London
in 1965 with hope of retains control of Zimbabwe. The black majority,
unhappy with the situation, rebelled and a civil war broke out. On April 18,
1980, the civil war ended with settlement and black majority rule, a true
independence for the country of Zimbabwe.
formerly a colony of Great
Britain, gained its independence on July 6,
1964. The country of Malawi
has one of the densest populations in Africa. Malawi’s
population in 2006 was 12.8 million, placing it as number 69 in population
among the 193 nations of the world. Lake
Malawi, lying in part of the rift valley that runs north to south through Malawi, is the third largest lake in Africa. Although
some marble and limestone are produced, Malawi does not contain much
mineral wealth and ranks among the world’s least developed countries. The
economy is predominately agricultural, with about 90% of the population living
in rural areas. The principle crops include corn, sugarcane, fruits,
vegetables, and peanuts. Major agricultural exports include tobacco, tea,
peanuts, and sugar. Malawi
is also a major producer of tung oil, which is used
in the paint and varnish industries.
Formerly part of the British colonial empire, Zambia
achieved independence in the 1960s. Zambia has a population of 11.9
million. Zambia declared its
independence from the United
Kingdom on October 24, 1964. Zambia is a
nearly pure homogenous area with 98.1% of its population African. The
population is predominately rural as the majority of the working population is engaged
in subsistence farming. Despite continuing progress in privatization and
budgetary reform, Zambia's
economy is still struggling. Inflation, while slowing somewhat, continues to be
a major concern for the government. Zambia's copper mining industry,
which accounts for over 80% of the nation's foreign currency intake, is
struggling. The copper mines of Zambia
are among the richest in the world. However, downturns in copper prices,
coupled with the expense of long distance transportation, have produced severe
economic consequences for Zambia.
Other major exports include zinc, cobalt, lead and tobacco.
formerly South-West Africa, has a population
of only 2.1 million. It is named after
the Namib Desert. The Namib Desert in Namibia extends along the east coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Due to the extremely dry and hot climate,
the majority of the population is concentrated in the north. Windhoek,
the centrally located capital of Namibia, has a population of
185,000. Namibia was
once a former German colony. After World War I, South Africa
took over Namibia
and it has now gained its independence. Namibia is struggling economically.
Before independence, Namibia
relied on South Africa.
Now, much of the productive activity remains in foreign hands. Mining accounts
for almost 25% of Namibia’s
exports. Namibia is the
fourth largest exporter of non-fuel minerals in Africa
and the world's fifth largest producer of uranium. Rich diamond deposits make Namibia
a primary source for gem quality diamonds. Over half of the population depends
on agriculture, primarily subsistence agriculture, for its livelihood.
The country of Botswana is located in the heart of the Kalahari Desert. It has a population of only 1.8 million.
is named after the majority of the population, the Tswana. Gaborone
is the capital and main business center of Botswana. The country was taken
under British rule in 1885 and regained independence on September 30, 1966.
Although Botswana opposes
the former racial policies of South Africa,
good relations are maintained between the two countries due to Botswana's economic reliance upon South Africa. Botswana's
economy has historically been based on cattle raising
and crops. In the late 1960s, the discovery and exploitation of minerals switched
economical dependence to the export of minerals, mainly diamonds. Copper and
nickel deposits are located in the Selebi-Pikwe area.
Manufacturing is limited to food and mineral processing.
1.) de Blij, H.J., Peter
O. Muller. Geography: Realms, Regions, and
Concepts. 9th ed. New
York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2000.
2.) de Blij, H.J., Peter O. Muller. The World Today: Concepts
and Regions in Geography. 3rd ed. Hoboken, NJ:
John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2007.
3.) Rowntree, Les, Martin Lewis,
Marie Price, and William Wyckoff. Diversity
Amid Globalization: World Regions, Environment,
Development. 3rd ed. Upper
Saddle River, NJ:
Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006.
4.) 2006 World Population Data Sheet. Washington, DC:
Population Reference Bureau, 2006.
1. The natural
environment of Botswana
is dominated by:
the mountains associated with the Great Escarpment
chronic water shortages
coastal swamps and deltas
2. What country was
a former colony of Germany
and was named South West Africa before getting
its present name?
3. Who settled on
the Island of Madagascar?
4. What country has
the highest population?
none of the above
5. What is true
about the climate?
It stays the same no matter what coast you are on
there is more precipitation on the west coast
There is little precipitation on either coast
It gets lower from east coast to the west coast
6. Which Southern
African country, once a colony of Portugal,
has considerable oil production from an exclave called Cabinda
and invited Cuban troops to support its Marxist government during the 1980’s?
7. This Southern Africa
country, once called Rhodesia,
was ruled by a white minority government from its independence in 1965 until
Black African rule was achieved in 1980:
8. What is true
land area of Angola is
slightly less than twice that of Texas
to have a Marxist form of government
exclave province Cabinda contains oil reserves
government of Angola
now consists of a multi-party democracy with a strong presidential system
of the above
9. The Southern
African country with the least amount of mineral wealth is:
10. Which of the
following statements about Southern Africa is
Due to close proximity to the equator most countries have a tropical climate
Most countries still remain colonies
The area is sparsely populated
The western part of the regions receives much more precipitation than the
Because of a common past and culture, most residents share a single, common
Submitted by April Thomas-Jensen on April 24, 1996;
Resubmitted by Karen Thompson on April 30, 1997; Resubmitted by Eric Rysdam on November 2, 2000; Resubmitted by Quyen Tran & Kyla Schrad on April 25, 2007.