Chapter 7 identifies the environmental and historical contexts for development in the Africa South of the Sahara region; examines the varied development trajectories of countries in west, central and east Africa, and reviews development transitions in southern Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa’s environmental context includes a land surface form pattern characterized as a plateau broken by several major river drainage basins and eastern highlands; tropical climates that produce four major biomes––rain forest, savanna, steppe, and desert. Population growth and rising affluence threaten these fragile biomes and the region’s natural capital.
Ancient civilizations flourished in the region prior to four distinct periods of European colonization that continue to impact post-colonial development potentials for the region’s independent countries. Spatial patterns of language and religion demonstrate the region’s great cultural diversity which, along with the legacy of colonialism conditions the contemporary transition from traditional rural village to modern urban settlement associated with development.
Analysis of the economic and human components of development trends in the region reveals uneven patterns of development and varying development strategies among and within countries. High population growth in recent decades is a major challenge to future development potentials.
Original document by Peter Turner licensed CC BY