The following maps provide an overview of Africa at present. The selection was put together by McKinsey Quarterly, discussing businees opportunities and the future in Africa. The information in the maps is by no means complete, but nevertheless worth a look.  Click on each map to make it large enough to read.

11 million square miles and more than 50 countries

Capital cities

Population by country

Literacy rates by country

Major cities on the continent

Major minerals by location

Business climate by country

The maps above are from McKinsey Quarterly where there are slightly more interactive versions.

In view of the above maps, I thought I’d post the following map again, to help keep things in perspective.

Map of Africa's geographic size in relation to other countries (click to enlarge)

The map above comes from Strange Maps.

Something additional to keep in mind, Alwyn Young of the Department of Economics of the London School of Economics published the study The African Growth Miracle PDF in September 2009. As the abstract says:

Measures of real consumption based upon the ownership of durable goods, the quality of housing, the health and mortality of children, the education of youth and the allocation of female time in the household indicate that sub-Saharan living standards have, for the past two decades, been growing in excess of 3 percent per annum, i.e. more than three times the rate indicated in international data sets.

Mr. Young has made this survey based on the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS).

The DHS data on consumption of consumer durables and housing, children’s health and mortality, the schooling of youth and the allocation of women’s time between marriage & childbirth and market activity, indicate that since 1990 real material consumption in sub-Saharan Africa has been rising at a rate more than three times that recorded by international data sources such as the PWT, and on par with the growth taking place in other regions of the world. This is a miraculous achievement, given that the very real ravages of the AIDS epidemic have deprived families of prime working age adults, burdened them with medical and funeral expenses, orphaned their school age children and directly and adversely affected the health of their infants. And yet, the overall health and mortality of children is improving, their school attendance is rising, and family consumption of a variety of material goods is growing at a rapid rate. (p.58)

Much of this has gone unnoticed prior to his study.

For some further reading, Pambazuka has a number of recent stories well worth a look, including:

MDGs: How far we’ve come and what still has to be done
Charles Abugre (2010-09-22)
Africans must not rely on the so-called millennium goals
Cameron Duodu (2010-09-23)
African Women Writing Resistance
Jennifer Browdy de Hernandez, Pauline Dongala, Omotayo Jolaosho and Anne Serafin (2010-09-23)
World Bank land grab report: Beyond smoke and mirrors
GRAIN (2010-09-23)
The global capitalist crisis and Africa’s future
Dani W. Nabudere (2010-09-23)

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To regular readers of this blog, apologies for fewer postings in recent weeks.  In July we experienced severe budget cuts at work.  We lost jobs but the workload remains the same.  It is taking more time than I expected to get the work manageable.  I hope to be back to more frequent posting soon.