The Sub – Saharan Africa is known to be geographically located in the African continent. It is an area which is occupied by 48 countries and lies south of the Sahara Desert. The region is actually not really densely populated. Its main boundaries are located between Central Africa, West Africa, Southern Africa and East Africa. This region is distinct from North Africa because of different physical, cultural and historical background. When it comes to talk of the strategical location of this region, we must say that the Sahel which is the Eco climatic and biogeographic zone of transition mostly grassy between the Sahara to the north and the Sudanian Savanna to the south identified as wetter climes. In fact, this zone for years now has been really complex because it has presented huge physical obstacles to human habitation. This region is bounded by so many physical features.
Landscape and Physical Environment
Africa is a large continent compared to what many people sometimes think confusing it to be a country. In fact, it is the second largest after Asia and it does not have same mountainous features as other continents. It is known not to have long mountain chains but instead, it has an upland region composed pf several high peaks in the east which are Mount Kenya and Mount Kilimanjaro, and, in the northwest, we find lower upland. There are so many different features characterizing this region. We have talked of the Sahel earlier and now we can add the Great Rift Valley which is primarily in eastern Africa but elongated to the southwest coast of Africa which is a chain composed of valleys that formed from the separation of tectonic plates. As for the environmental conditions of that region, it is said that years before it wasn’t really contributing to the buildup of greenhouse gases in atmosphere but lately with events of deforestation and apparition of more industries does now. And with the degree of poverty, the region faces difficulties to adapt to its climatic conditions. Therefore, the surface of the continent of Africa can be envisioned as a raised platform, or plateau that are bordered by fairly narrow and uniform coastal lowlands. with all those features, Africa with its lengthy uniform coastlines that we mention above are found to provide few natural harbors expect for Capetown in the country of South Africa.
Weather and climate
Due to its vast area and different zones, Sub-Saharan Africa has a wide variety of climate zones or biomes. In fact, the major part of that region has a tropical climate with a temperature estimated at 18-degree Celsius minimum. But the weather season in this region doesn’t vary much about temperatures changing but the amount of rainfall from different areas to other. The intertropical convergence zone is the way for rainfall to occur in the region. The ITCZ is a band of atmospheric currents that circle the globe roughly around the equator and because of Africa proximity to the equator, it is the reason why it has important release of rainfall. So basically, the seasons varies from windy, rainy, wet dry zones. But the presence of high mountain ranges in Africa, it limits the amount of wind that countries receive making it have less impact on the climate of the region that it would have had without high mountains ranges leading us to talk about the horn of Africa which is the triangular Somali peninsula that juts out from northeastern Africa below the Red Sea and wraps around the Arabian Peninsula. In fact, Sub-Saharan Africa with globalization contributes now to Carbon dioxide release in the atmosphere especially through deforestation.
Major economic activities
When Talking of economic activities of Africa, we think immediately of agriculture which has been basically the only real activity that strongly benefit the region economically. As for the natural resources of the region, it would eventually have benefitted the region if westerners weren’t the ones exploiting it which is one of the strongest reasons why the Sub – Saharan African region is economically struggling to reach development as well. These are reason why I believe Agriculture is so important for this region especially when it comes to employment accounting now for about two thirds of the continent’s working population contributing for each country an average of 30 to 60 percent of gross domestic product. Agriculture then is very important for the region knowing how long they have started cultivating 7000 years ago in the zone of Sahel, Sudan and Ethiopia. But with development these past years the region has seen developed more industries in different sectors which also have contributed to the economy, but the trade network of the region also has been a source of economic progress.
Imports and Exports
In all but 14 Sub – Saharan countries, imports exceed exports. In fact, each country has its domain. Some would export minerals others would export other goods like cocoa coffee tea. For Zambia it would be copper and cobalt for example while for other countries like Cote d’Ivoire, they are rich in cocoa and these are just few examples. But one thing that all developed countries are really after in the region is oil and petroleum because the Sub – Saharan is very rich in that area too. These too resources are real economic booster and unfortunately benefit more other continents leaving the region in bad shape. The level of agricultural imports has highly increased since the past decades estimated at about 13% annually. In fact, based on a USDA report, estimated the total imports to about $48.5 billion in 2014 said to be the second highest in the records.
GNP and GNP per capita
In fact, in the region, the informal economy is very important in terms of employment shifting from one third of all employment shifting from one third to two thirds which then accounts for about 38% of the GDP said to be the highest in the entire world. Although facing some challenges, many African governments have been focusing on regional economic integration, aiming to utilize all possible talents they may have so as consumer demand for African-made products local agencies and public and private donors are pursuing grassroots development designed to faster very basic innovation at the local level and eventually if the project shows if local people using local resources and ingenuity are capable of solving many problems because according to WTO world trade, less than 20 percent of the total trade of Sub-Saharan Africa in 2011 was conducted between African countries which shows the failure of the region’s countries to work together while they could accomplish so much together.
Mihelic, Lydia., Alex., Johansson, O. World Regional Geography (pages, 295 - 341)
James M. Rubenstein., The cultural Landscape (12th Edition)
United States Department of Agriculture., “A Turning Point for Agricultural Exports to Sub-Saharan Africa”., November 2, 2015
Submitted by (Krystel Audrey Sophie Sidiki Bolanga) on (4/13/2019).