- AIDS-HIV kills approximately 3.2 million people in sub-Saharan Africa every year
- The AIDS-HIV pandemic has created a generation of more than 30 million orphans in sub-Saharan Africa
- Sub-Saharan Africa is home to 70% of the world’s HIV-positive population – it is estimated that 31.8 million Africans are currently infected with HIV
- So far, AIDS has killed 22.7 million Africans
- One in sixteen Africa women dies during childbirth
- One in six African babies dies before their first birthday
- Millions of African children die every year of the most preventable diseases and commonest illnesses
- The average life expectancy in sub-Saharan Africa is 47 years
- In 2002, more than 65 million African children did not go to school, for reasons such as shortage of schools or being unable to afford the school fees (in spite of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Children to be afforded access to education)
- Young girls and women are routinely denied access to school
- Older children taking care of parents dying from AIDS, and their siblings
- Existing schools are ill-equipped, poorly, and short staffed
- Thousands of African children fortunate enough to attend school go hungry
- Unemployment in Africa runs as high as 75%
- Hopelessness and very low morale run rampant among African youths
- More than 2 million Africans died from wars, conflict, and disaster in 2002
- There are currently 18 million African refugees inside Africa
Africa is four times the geographical size of the United States and, with its approximately 770 million people, has more than thrice the population of the United States.
It is a continent with immense untapped mineral wealth:
- Africa has 40% of the world’s potential hydroelectric power supply
- The bulk of the world’s diamonds and chromium
- 30% of the uranium in the non-communist world
- 50 % of the world’s gold
- 90% of its cobalt
- 50% of its phosphates
- 40 % of its platinum
- 7.5% of its coal
- 8% of its known petroleum reserves
- 12% of its natural gas
- 3% of its iron ore
- And millions upon millions of acres of untilled farmland
- There is not another continent blessed with such abundance and diversity. Angola, for example, contains an estimated 11% of the world’s known reserves of diamonds:
- Its diamonds are stunning — at an average price of about US$140 a carat, with some reaching US$350
- They are second in quality only to Namibia’s, and more than 12 times more valuable than Australia’s.
- Africa has 64% of the world’s manganese
- 13% of its copper
- Vast bauxite, nickel, and lead resources
- It also accounts for 70% of cocoa, 60% of coffee, 50% of palm oil, and 20% of the total petroleum traded in the world market, excluding the United States and Russia.
- The tourism potential of Africa is enormous. Unrivalled wildlife, scenic grandeur, and pristine ecology constitute Africa’s third great natural resource after agriculture and mineral wealth.
Yet, paradoxically, a continent with such abundance and potential is inexorably mired in steaming squalor, misery, deprivation, and chaos. It is in the throes of a seemingly incurable crisis. Eating has become a luxury for many Africans, and hunger stares them squarely in the face.
Draught, the HIV epidemic, wars, political unrest, and many other factors, external and internal, have conspired to create a vicious circle of poverty, powerlessness, helplessness and hopelessness among the population of African countries.
It is unfortunate that in this day and age issues such as clean, safe, reliable, and sustainable water, clothing, shoes, food, and basic health care are such pressing issues for the African people.