Mr. Soto's Human Geography
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10 Poverty in Africa Facts - The Borgen Project

10 Poverty in Africa Facts - The Borgen Project | Mr. Soto's Human Geography |
Here are 10 facts about poverty in Africa that demonstrate the widespread consequences of poverty that affect education, health, food consumption and more.

Via Seth Dixon
Jose Soto's insight:

Poverty happens all over the world, in the United States, in Africa, South America, you name a region and there is poverty in that area.  There are many myths about poverty though, and myths about regions where poverty defines the region in many people's eyes.   African economies are on the rise, but there is still many struggles ahead.  


Tags: Africa, development, statistics, economic, globalization, poverty.

Seth Dixon's curator insight, April 15, 2015 12:24 PM

Poverty happens all over the world, in the United States, in Africa, South America, you name a region and there is poverty in that area.  There are many myths about poverty though, and myths about regions where poverty defines the region in many people's eyes.   African economies are on the rise, but there is still many struggles ahead.  

TagsAfrica, development, statistics, economic, globalization, poverty.

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 27, 2015 4:15 PM

The issues outlined by Western media concerning Africa are serious problems that the continent will continue to face over the course of the next century. However, Western media has a tendency to focus only on the troubles faced by Africa rather than its successes. We grow up hearing of starving children in Ethiopia, government instability, and the need for the West to donate and help their "less fortunate" kin. Africa has, in fact, made serious strives in terms of economic development, with serious foreign investment- particularly from the Chinese- and the growth of Africa's own industrial base contributing to rapid improvements in standards of living and infrastructure. The West continues to paint the picture of Africa that fits the narrative it has painted for the past century- an underdeveloped continent reliant on Western aid. However, despite the issues outlined in this article remaining serious issues, it cannot be denied that Africa has enjoyed serious progress over the past two decades. The political instability that plagued the continent for much of the second half of the 20th century has diminished, and will only continue to improve. Africa is turning into a major economic force on the world stage, no matter what the media is telling us- it will be interesting to see how much longer this false image of Africa can continue to be portrayed to the public.

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Population growth far outpaces food supply in conflict-ravaged Sahel

Population growth far outpaces food supply in conflict-ravaged Sahel | Mr. Soto's Human Geography |

"The Sahel’s ability to produce food is not keeping pace with its growing population, and global warming will only exacerbate the imbalance, according to a new study.  Among the 22 countries making up the arid region in northern Africa, the population grew to 471 million in 2010 from 367 million in 2000, a jump of nearly 30%. As the population grew rapidly, the production of crops remained essentially unchanged.  Using satellite images to calculate annual crop production in the conflict-ridden Sahel belt, south of the Sahara desert, the researchers then compared output with population growth and food and fuel consumption."


Tags: Africa, Sahel, population, environment, water, ecology, environment depend, weather and climate, sustainability, agriculture, food production.

Via Seth Dixon
Benjamin Jackson's curator insight, December 13, 2015 5:59 PM

with the strife in this region it is hardly surprising that it is hard to maintain food supplies in the face of large scale immigration. in a region where it is hard to survive, immigration would be a massive threat, straining already thinly spread resources.

Raymond Dolloff's curator insight, December 15, 2015 12:22 AM

If a country has a big population growth, the resources that it has if they are already scarce may become devastating. As the population of Sahel does increase, the amount of food resources will not have the proper time to react to the growth. Granted it may take a while for agricultural crops to grow and many citizens may face hard times facing finding food, but their hardships will be overcome by farmers trying to produce more crops to help ease that hardship.

Martin Kemp's curator insight, December 17, 2015 2:38 PM

this seems like an alarmingly common problem in the world today with population growth happening at an alarming rate in many parts of the world. most notably india and china. as well as in sahel, if your population grows by 100 million in 10 years it will be impossible to keep up and be able to provide for that many people in such a reletively short time.

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Do you know Africa?

Do you know Africa? | Mr. Soto's Human Geography |

Many of Africa’s leaders will be in town next week attending a White House summit. The continent’s land is shared among 49 countries — many of which rarely make U.S. headlines. How familiar are you with Africa’s geography?

Via Seth Dixon, FCHSAPGEO
Jason Schneider's curator insight, March 9, 2015 3:41 PM

This is easier because it shows you the shape of the countries. As for this quiz, I can locate any African country but some of them, not precisely. I'm able to locate Ethiopia, Libya and Angola obviously because they're bigger but not Togo, Eritrea and Rwanda. However, I can closely locate the smaller countries but not precisely.

Jared Medeiros's curator insight, March 29, 2015 5:21 PM

I love interactive maps like this.  These are the best way to learn where things are in the world geographically.  Africa is the toughest, for myself, continent in the world to be able to locate and identify where certain countries are.  This is in part because Africa has so many countries and also Africa is a part of the world that is not often taught in school, therefore you have limited thoughts and ideas about these types of areas.

David Lizotte's curator insight, April 22, 2015 1:54 PM

I have always been fascinated with Africa and its history. Through its history one can understand why Africa is the way it is today. Its a shame that Africa does not have more of a focus in the Public School Curriculum. Its played a huge part in developing western civilization, whether it be in ancient Alexandria providing grain for the Roman Republic or the coltan extracted through inhumane means in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Africa is a continent that has been raped and torn in a repetitive manor under a variety of foul experiences brought upon by western countries. These are the same western countries that are held of high interest and regards in subject manor instituted in the Public School System. Africa has also been apart of amazing developments of human civilization, for example the Trans Saharan Trade Route which linked Kingdoms such as Ancient Ghana to dynasties far in the Middle East. It is also the birthplace of man (no big deal). In either case there needs to be a stronger push on teaching/molding "Africa" (yes, I know... broad) into the curriculum. It is important in both understanding the history of the world, specifically western civilization and how it coined itself  “civilized.” Through introducing basic aspects, history, and dilemmas (both old and modern) it could inspire more interest and an expansion of knowledge from student to student. School is and will most likely continue to be Euro-centric and have large flares of Americana and other “themes” of North America. 

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For the Muslims of CAR, it's 'leave or die'

For the Muslims of CAR, it's 'leave or die' | Mr. Soto's Human Geography |
Thousands of Muslims in the Central African Republic have fled as UN chief warns of 'ethno-religious cleansing'.


Leave or die.  It's come down to this for the Muslims of Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic.  Muslims here once lived freely among the Christian majority, running businesses and praying in mosques. Now, many of the city's Muslims have fled, and on Sunday about 1,300 Muslims from Bangui's PK12 neighbourhood were evacuated to safety by peacekeeping forces.

Already one of the world's poorest countries, CAR has seen a wave of upheaval and violence in the past 15 months. The 10-month reign of the Muslim-dominated Seleka rebel group inflamed intercommunal tensions in the country, and spurred the rise of Christian militias called the anti-Balaka.  Once the Seleka was forced out of power in January, the anti-Balaka rampaged, targeting Muslims across the country for their perceived support of the Seleka and its bloody excesses.

Via Seth Dixon, Tracy Jennings
David Lizotte's curator insight, April 5, 2015 11:24 AM

This article does a good job discussing the ongoing issues in the Central African Republic. Its horrible to see a religious cleansing taking place at this point in time. One would think religious cleansing by the sword has diminished (perhaps it has in historical terms) but it is still very much alive throughout the world. What's interesting is how once religion is mixed with politics it seems bloodshed always ensues. The changing of presidents reflects the changing of "what group" controls the country/region... 

CAR is located within the struggling Sahel region. Yes, there are ecological/environmental issues that plague the Sahel region and the people whom inhabit it but the region also proposes an intense societal issue. This is the region where Arab Africa meets Black Africa, thus two distinct groups of people with two different faiths. Due to conflicts in neighboring countries, as exemplified in the article through Chad, disruption has led to Arab peoples fleeing South. The displacement of these people has led to a growing muslim population in Christian dominated Central African Republic. Once political order is involved there is always one group of people in charge. The changing of societal leaders has now led to a 15 month disruption which has now evolved into a religious ethnic cleansing. 

The Sahel region is only going to get worse. There is an issue with the climate which is affecting both the people and landscape. There is now a clash of cultures/religions. These two issues are ultimately going to clash. Not only will Christians and Arabs kill each other due to political structure and treatment of each others people but perhaps disputes over fertile land, clean water, droughts, etc... will also lead to conflict. This region of the world is in a tough predicament. The clashing of peoples is not going to improve the situation. 

Kristin Mandsager San Bento's curator insight, April 9, 2015 2:36 PM

The picture is ironic because the one guy in the white tank top is holding up a peace sign and the other is threatening to slit your throat.  Oxymoronic?  I guess you could see it as a V for victory.  Not really sure.  This comes down to an eye for an eye.  The Christians and Muslims will kill each other till one group comes out on top.  I guess historically we learned nothing from the Reformation.  At one point you couldn't be Protestant, then you couldn't be Catholic.  Religious persecution should not be occurring today.  What a waste of human life.  

Kevin Cournoyer's curator insight, May 6, 2015 10:14 PM

Though the Central African Republic is a country that not many people have heard of, it seems that it suffers from some of the same problems that any other country does. CAR is home to a large Christian population, though there is a Muslim minority present within the country. The past two years have seen a Muslim rebel group called Seleka perpetrate a violent reign throughout the country, which in turn has given rise to opposition Christian groups called the anti-Balaka. After the Seleka were toppled from power, the anti-Balaka took out their fear and frustration on the country's Muslim population for perceived support of the Seleka. The anti-Balaka murdered Muslims brutally and indiscriminately, causing many Muslims in CAR to either flee or come together in enclaves for protection and support. 


This kind of religious persecution is unfortunately nothing new. The Jews have experienced religious persecution for thousands of years and Muslims were on the receiving end of some particularly brutal persecution during the Crusades. It seems that regardless of the time or place, religious tensions are always present and one religion or another is always ready to persecute the other for their differences, real or perceived. This is a global pattern, not unique to any one country, region, or culture. It is an unfortunate but telling one, as it highlights the tendency of human beings to be at odds with one another over any differences. The situation in CAR is representative of a larger problem of intolerance that may never seen an end. 

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Younger Africa

Younger Africa | Mr. Soto's Human Geography |
Across Africa, a continent where the average age is about 19, protests have flared against leaders who may have outstayed their welcome.


This interactive mapping feature compares two distinct data sets in an attempt to show that the two are correlated on the continent of Africa.  The base layer of this thematic map is demographic, noting how much of the overall population in a given country is under the age of 16.  The interactive feature with point data describes the political unrest or instability in that particular country. 


Questions to ponder: Does the cartographer 'convince' you that Africa's having a very young (globally speaking) demographic cohort led towards greater political instability?  Are there other factors worth considering?  What does this map and it's embedded data tell us?    


Tags: Africa, political, conflict, unit 4 political, states, governance, population, demographics, unit 2 population. 

Via Seth Dixon, Marc Crawford , Mankato East High School
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Africa, Uncolonized: A Detailed Look at an Alternate Continent

Africa, Uncolonized: A Detailed Look at an Alternate Continent | Mr. Soto's Human Geography |
What if the Black Plague had killed off almost all Europeans? Then the Reconquista never happens. Spain and Portugal don't kickstart Europe's colonization of other continents. And this is what Africa might have looked like.


Tags: Africa, colonialism, borders, historical, map.

Via Seth Dixon
Bob Beaven's curator insight, March 26, 2015 2:26 PM

An interesting fact for a geographer/historian to look at is how different events happening in history can affect a map.  This is very fascinating, because Africa or should I say Alkebu-Lan has very strong looking kingdoms without the Influence of Europe.  Another interesting element of the map is how it is not Euro-centric, Africa is shown as the top of the world.  I guess in this history, Northern Europe instead of being a powerhouse of the world, would be classified as the dark region (like the Congo was in our own world).  It is also interesting how the map is not Euro-centric, but the fact to keep in mind there is the old saying, history is written by the winner.  In this case, the map of the world was drawn by the winning Europeans as well, and this map completely reverses that.  Another interesting fact, is that the Iberian is part of an Islamic Empire.  It looks, as if in this history, Portugal was overcome by the "Arabes" and Spain never even attempted to launch the Reconquista.  History and Geography, especially Political Geography are very closely linked with one another.  

Chris Costa's curator insight, October 27, 2015 5:00 PM

I found this particularly interesting to read about, as alternative histories fascinate me. The "what if" questions that historians always ask themselves are fun to examine and illustrate, as they are shown in the alternative map of Africa. It's interesting to see just how different this map- drawn from historical accounts of ethnic and linguistic differences between the various African societies- is from the map of Africa we now have today. European colonizers drew borders without any consideration for the native populace, and that is today reflected in the rigid borders of African states that do not match historical ethnic boundaries. The concept of a Europe unable to recover from the Black Death would have serious repercussions for world history. It would allow for the progression of African economies and polities unmolested by European influences and the slave trade, completely reshaping the course of the continent's history. The increased influence of the Arab world would also be a plausible consequence of the decimation of Europe's population. This is an interesting concept, and it is very informative in the sense that it forces us to consider a multitude of factors that played a role in shaping the world as we see and live it today.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 30, 2015 7:04 AM

Alternative history is always fun. There is no question that Africa would be a different place today, if Europeans had never step foot on the shores of this great continent. Would the great African empires still be alive today? Would Africa be the dominant continent in world affairs? The history of civilization over the past 500 years would almost certainly be radically different. Instead of a Eurocentric world, we may have had an Afrocentric world. What this map really underscores, is the effect that colonialism had on Africa. The Africa we know today is a consequence of that era of European domination. While alternate history is fun, we must always remember the actual history that has occurred in Africa.

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Why this Ebola outbreak became the worst we've ever seen

"The 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed more people than sum total of all the previous outbreaks since the virus was first identified in 1976. This video explains how it got so bad."  

Via Seth Dixon
John Nieuwendyk's curator insight, October 28, 2014 10:20 PM

In just a few months the Ebola virus has cumulated out of control. More people became affected and died in the last five months than all of the combined deaths that have occurred since Ebola was first discovered in 1976. Ebola began to spread from rural areas to a border region in West Africa when ill people traveled to the city to work or go to the market, making international spread likely. Mounting a campaign to increase awareness of the risks and to contain the virus was nearly impossible due to the low illiteracy rates. Consequently, health workers were taking ill people away from family and their homes to contaminate centers. This caused much fear and mistrust and was not successful. More people became infected and the snowball effect ensued. When people did show up at ill-equipped hospitals, there were not enough beds or free space and most were turned away. Some health workers walked off the job fearing being infected because of the poor conditions. No gloves, masks or gowns were provided and workers feared for their own health. The ill patients went back into the community and Ebola continued to spread. The response of the global community was not fast enough, and help did not arrive in time before the spread of Ebola became an epidemic. It is clear that in a world that is so closely connected, we must have a global heath system that works.  

Giselle Figueroa's curator insight, November 4, 2014 5:32 PM

Ebola is getting worst every day. one of the things that has caused the spread of this virus is the fact that many working people cross the border to other regions to work or to go to market. Back in days, you used to see this Ebola issue in very rural areas, but now is getting worst. In these areas were the Ebola is getting worst, they do not count with a good health system. Sometimes there are day when they do not have gloves, gowns and mask, and because of that, there have been health care workers who have just walked away from their jobs because they do not want to put in risk their life. This  is a very sad situation, which I hope it get better.

Kevin Nguyen's curator insight, December 13, 2015 10:41 PM

Geography played an important role in spreading this disease like wild fires. In a rural place such as Liberia where there is low literacy rates and  limited knowledge of Ebola, it can be spread without people knowing what is happening. On top of that there are workers crossing the border everyday for work and exposing it to everyone around them. This even took place in west Africa where Ebola breakout are unheard of. All these contributing factor led to the worst epidemic of the century. 

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China Turns To Africa For Resources, Jobs And Future Customers

China Turns To Africa For Resources, Jobs And Future Customers | Mr. Soto's Human Geography |
In China's Second Continent, Howard French explores the Chinese presence in 15 African countries. The relationship goes beyond economics: more than a million Chinese citizens have migrated to Africa.


He says there's a debate about the long-term consequences of China's push into the African continent: Will it create development and prosperity, or will it lead to exploitation reminiscent of 19th-century European colonialism?

Tags: Africa, development, China, industry, economic, podcast.

Via Seth Dixon
Edelin Espino's curator insight, December 5, 2014 10:40 AM

Is good that China decided to make business outside of its territories. With this plan, they are helping they own economic, but also improving other people lives with the airport and highway.

Kaitlin Young's curator insight, December 12, 2014 4:05 PM

Though the age of European Imperialism has long since ended, China is beginning to realize the benefits involved with economic expansion into other countries. "More than a million Chinese citizens have permanently moved to Africa, buying land, starting businesses and settling among local populations." Many are worried that this push into Africa could lead to extreme exploitation and disparity among native Africans while China solely benefits. If you compare this scenario with what is occurring in Myanmar and other parts of Southeast Asia, it would seem that China is there specifically for its own benefit. 

David Lizotte's curator insight, April 5, 2015 1:47 PM

Only the Chinese would see a potential market in Africa...

However, in all seriousness I too see the potential market. The continent is huge. The population is ridiculous and it is only going to keep growing. A population of this magnitude needs goods to live. In turn, China will provide for this demand. However it is blatant that the market (African people) will be exploited at whatever cost. The manufacturing, selling, etc. is being done, according to this article, by Chinese people. These people left China in search of money and perhaps even a place to settle down. China is expanding to Africa so a lot of Chinese people are going to move to Africa for employment. China wins by increasing its economic output and losing its dead weight. By dead weight I mean the chinese citizens whom stem from lower middle class. These people were struggling in China. China could not produce jobs for them. These people then follow the money to Africa and once there "job" is done decide to stay and live in Africa. As stated by the article this is an independent decision being made. I understand that and I recognize it as not being an immediate concern.

What concerns me is the exploitation of natural resources as well as the exploitation of the African market. China will produce goods that they know will be sold in Africa- they will design everything to meet Africa's wants and needs, thus taking there money. An African business will not benefit from this commerce rather a Chinese firm, with Chinese workers. One can argue its business and I suppose it truly  is. China see's a continent that they can invest in. There country will benefit from it as well as its people, whom are finding jobs abroad and continue to work abroad due to the affluent economy. The Chinese see African people as "demand" and they want to "supply" for that never ending demand. 

The article mentions/compares this situation to colonialism. It certainly does seem like a form of exploitation in which the foreign investors make money off of the African people and the regions resources however it is being done in a business like fashion. This could be seen as the more modern form of colonialism. It's not a direct rule over a territory and people rather its a business venture. But couldn't the business venture be seen as a front? 

What's interesting is how China is very much taking a hands off approach in the local politics. They aren't getting immersed in the government rather they see themselves as business people operating in another country...for China's benefit. They aren't there to provide goods for the African people out of the goodness of there heart rather they just want to sell the goods that they know will sell to the massive population. China is setting up shop in a non-democratic way, in which they don't care about the society rather they just care about the financial benefit. The political standing of the country does not bother China. Also, this could be seen as China thinking long term. Instead of thinking democratically and "more fair like" China can focus more on its own business and people and not have to worry about crisis in the country as a whole. 

More than a million Chinese have emigrated to the continent of Africa to start business'. More Chinese will travel to Africa...chain migration... they will develop and make money off of the African market. Chinese will elevate there status in Africa off of the backs of natural resources (in Africa) as well as make money from the African market. A market that will be exploited-whether good or bad- exploited non the less. 

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The True Size Of Africa

The True Size Of Africa | Mr. Soto's Human Geography |

This is another old classic image that I might have shared earlier but it merits repeating. As Salvatore Natoli (a leader in geography education) once said, "In our society we unconsciously equate size with importance and even power." This is one reason why many people have underestimated the true size of Africa relative to places that they view as more important or more powerful.


Tags: mapping, Africa, perspective, images. 

Via Seth Dixon, FCHSAPGEO
Afrikasources's curator insight, January 15, 2014 10:10 AM

Just a reminder

Edelin Espino's curator insight, December 5, 2014 11:01 AM

It is incredible big, but unfortunately most of the north area is cover by the big Sahara and most of the are is typically unfertilized. 

Jason Schneider's curator insight, March 9, 2015 4:29 PM

As we can see, there's a little overlapping here and some empty spots but it's pretty accurate. The United States and China are in the top 5 largest countries of the world list and they still fit in the 2nd largest continent of the world, Africa. I'd like to see the size comparison between Africa and Russia. I did some research on that and it turns out that Russia is a little over half the size of Africa, maybe the size of the combination of the United States and China.

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Sudan and South Sudan sign non-aggression pact

Sudan and South Sudan sign non-aggression pact | Mr. Soto's Human Geography |
Khartoum and Juba sign memorandum of understanding regarding disputed border, as talks continue over oil pipeline fees.


For an article pointing to some of the factors that might undermine this peace agreement, see:

Via Seth Dixon
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