This week we discussed Africa. We talked about the economic and environmental issues faced by African countries, as well as the different pandemics that affect certain parts of the continent.
Africa is affected by several different types of pandemic diseases such as sleeping sickness, HIV/AIDS, flatworm parasites, malaria, river blindness and ebola. All of these are very deadly and rapidly spread, killing many people. The economy of African countries obviously varies from country to country, but overall, the continent is in a poor economic state because it has a huge debt, and it exports its raw materials rather than engaging in industry to produce goods. The farmers there only grow enough food to feed their families and do not produce an excess to make a profit. All of these factors combine to create a bad economy across the continent.
Africa also experiences environmental issues. There is rapid deforestation and desertification, meaning the forests are dying and the deserts are expanding. Desertification was a major factor in the genocide in Rwanda. Water is becoming even more scarce, and the animals are dying off.
In modern geography, the continent of Africa isn’t seen as a colonization opportunity, but as a moral obligation for society to help the people living there. In my opinion, we can give Africans the tools they need to help themselves, but we shouldn’t be able to force them to conform to Western standards of society and culture. Westernization has begun eradicating many languages native to Africa. It seems to me that making Africa a moral obligation does not have to mean eradicating the culture to save the people. Medicine can be brought in, explained and offered, but we shouldn’t force it on anyone. Education can be offered but the fact that all education we bring to Africa comes with a religious or linguistic element means that it exists mostly to Westernize Africans rather than to teach them how to help themselves.