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close this bookDiversity, Globalization, and the Ways of Nature (IDRC, 1995, 234 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentAcknowledgments
View the documentForeword
close this folder1. Introduction
View the documentGlobalization and the ways of nature
View the documentThe new globalization processes
close this folder2. Global trends and their effects on the environment
View the documentThe information revolution
View the documentDevelopment of global financial markets
View the documentDevelopment of more effective transportation networks
View the documentMovement of people
View the documentGlobalization and the unequal distribution of wealth
View the documentInternational migration
View the documentThe development of free markets
close this folder3. Planet-wide deterioration
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentOur sister planet
View the documentThe unusual, oxygenated planet
View the documentThe paradox of ozone
View the documentOceans can be degraded too
View the documentThe rivers are becoming muddy
View the documentOvershooting
close this folder4. Forests under attack
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentDeforestation in the 20th century
View the documentRain-forest environments
View the documentTemperate forests
close this folder5. Grasslands
View the documentSavannas
View the documentThe temperate grasslands
View the documentModifying grassland ecosystems
View the documentEnvironmental balance in grassland ecosystems
close this folder6. Aquatic ecosystems
View the documentExtractive exploitation
View the documentThe future of fish production
close this folder7. Managing planetary thirst
View the documentSome basic facts
View the documentWater supply and options
View the documentThe demand side of the issue
View the documentWater issues throughout the world
close this folder8. Protecting air quality
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentAir and its principal contaminants
View the documentProcesses of contamination in industrial and urban areas
View the documentCurrent and future trends
close this folder9. Clean energy for planetary survival
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentThe industrial revolution
View the documentThe use of hydroelectricity
View the documentThe age of petroleum
View the documentNuclear power
View the documentThe clean options
close this folder10. Africa in the 21st Century: Sunrise or sunset?
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentThe causes of poverty
View the documentHistorical causes of the current situation
View the documentWars are environmentally unfriendly
View the documentEvolution of environmental management in Africa
View the documentOld and new development models
close this folder11. Latin America and the Caribbean: A history of environmental degradation
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIndigenous cultures
View the documentThe colonial period
View the documentExploitation of natural resources after independence
View the documentEffects of globalization on the environment
View the documentThe maquiladora phenomenon
close this folder12. The urban environmental challenge
View the documentThe development of modern cities
View the documentLarge cities in the Third World
View the documentThe megacities of today
close this folder13. Diversity and human survival
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentDocumenting diversity
View the documentResources for the future
View the documentDiversity of living systems
View the documentCauses and effects of the loss of natural diversity
View the documentDiversity and culture
View the documentRestoring what is lost
View the documentBiodiversity and research
close this folder14. Strategies for the future
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentDecentralize decision-making
View the documentPeople value their environment
View the documentProblems and responsibilities are global
View the documentBibliography

(introduction...)

With the end of the 20th century, sub-Saharan Africa is entering a new phase that is often viewed negatively. The 40-odd nations that are formally independent and recognized internationally display symptoms of disarticulation and impoverishment. The annual per-capita income in almost all countries of the continent is below $1000 (Table 6). The $450 average annual income in the countries of the intertropical region puts this population in the lowest quarter in the world (WRI 1992). Some people have called this group of countries the “Fourth World.”

During the last few decades, the participation of sub-Saharan Africa in international trade has fallen from 4% of world trade in the 1960s to 1.5% in the early 1990s, affecting its economic and geopolitical position. Today, many African nation-states are having trouble merely existing. There is little money to pay public employees, and national debts, which consume a large proportion of export revenues, are nearly impossible to service. In 1993, African debt stood at $140 billion. Some countries are paying more than a third of their export revenues in interest charges: Cote d’Ivoire, 41%; Ghana, 49%; Guinea-Bissau, 45%; Kenya, 33%; and Uganda, 81%. In most countries, income from legal exports does not cover the cost of the minimum

Table 6. Per-capita income in sub-Saharan Africa.

Country

Per-capita income (US$ per year)

Angola

620

Benin

380

Botswana

340

Burkina Faso

310

Burundi

220

Cameroon

1010

Cape Verde

780

Central African Republic

390

Chad

190

Comoros

460

Congo

930

Cote d’Ivoire

1070

Djibouti

430

Equatorial Guinea

120

Ethiopia

270

Gabon

230

Gambia

380

Ghana

430

Guinea

180

Guinea-Bissau

790

Kenya

380

Lesotho

470

Liberia

450

Madagascar

230

Malawi

180

Mali

260

Mauritania

490

Mozambique

80

Namibia

1245

Niger

290

Nigeria

250

Rwanda

310

Senegal

650

Sierra Leone

200

Somalia

170

Sudan

540

Swaziland

900

Tanzania

120

Togo

390

Uganda

250

Zaire

260

Zambia

390

Zimbabwe

640

Source: WRI (1992). amount of imported goods, and military expenses still absorb a large part of the states’ budgets.

Many African governments have obtained assistance from richer countries in the form of “soft” loans, subsidies, technical support, and, to a much lesser degree, preferential commercial treatment. This has encouraged them to become dependent on international aid to the extent that, if this assistance decreased, their political equilibrium would be disrupted and their institutional structures would be threatened. In some cases, official development assistance (ODA) accounts for a large part of the countries’ gross national product (GNP). ODA amounts to 74.2% of Mozambique’s GNP; in Guinea-Bissau, 64.4%; in the Gambia, 50.7%; in Somalia, 47.6%; in Cape Verde, 32.2%; in Tanzania, 31.8%; and in Equatorial Guinea, 30.4%.