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Sdfa Essay, Research Paper

asdf ff f f forth Africa is home to the world?s longest river, stretching 4,145 miles long. The Nile begins near the equator then flows through Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea. For thousands of years the Nile has benefited Egypt. The fertile strip of land along its bank was the site of one of the world?s earliest civilizations. In ancient times the river?s annual floods allowed farmers to plant their crops in rich soil deposited by the Nile. Today, modern dams, such as, the Aswan High Dam, control the flow of the river, extending irrigation, thus allowing the planting of more than one crop a year. Streams in North Africa are usually not perminate; they form after one of the infrequent rainstorms, and are called Wadis. Very often they become so full of eroded material they develop into mudflows.

There are many different climates in North Africa. About fifty percent of North Africa is dessert. Desserts have sparse vegetation and limited areas of sand dunes. Less than ten percent of the Sahara is sand. The rest consists of rocky gravel areas, mountains, and exposed barren rock. Another climate region of North Africa is variably wet and dry and found in upland areas. This region is referred to as the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean can be found in higher elevations. During the summer months, the climate is hot and dry. In the winter months, however, the weather is rainy and relatively cold in comparison to the rest of the continent. A third region of North Africa is the Highlands. These are the areas near the mountain ranges. The Highlands usually receive the most rainfall of all the climate regions. The final climate region is the Steppe region. In the Steppe region, the annual rainfall is usually less than fourteen inches a year. This region can sustain substantial grasses, and the raising and grazing of livestock is their most common activity. The most frequently raised animals are sheep, goats, and camels.

Many geographers describe Africa as a gigantic plateau. A narrow coastal plain edges most of the continent; the sudden rise of land had prevented easy access into the interior of Africa. The plateaus rise from east to west in a series of steps. Separating the plateaus are steep cliffs or slopes otherwise known as escarpments. The highest and broadest plateaus, that has the steepest escarpments lie in South East Africa. Rivers spill over these escarpments in waterfalls and plunge into the Atlantic or Indian oceans. As a result of these plateaus, Africa boasts the overall highest elevation of any other continent.

Sub-Saharan Africa possesses very few mountains. Most mountains are found in Eastern highlands that reaches from Ethiopia almost to the Cape of Good Hope. The Drakensberg Mountains rim the edge of the southeastern plateau, and the Ruwenzori Mountains border Uganda and Zaire. Africa?s highest mountain Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya appear as cone-shaped volcanic peaks in Kenya and Tanzania.

One of the world?s great natural wonders is the Great Rift Valley. It stretches from the Jordan River in southwest Asia to the Zambezi River in Mozambique. It slashes a Y-shaped trench more than 3,500 miles long and creates bold escarpments more than a mile high.

A double chain of lakes lay in the Great Rift Valley. Lake Victoria is surrounded by Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda and is the second largest freshwater lake in the world. It is the source of the White Nile. Lake Tanganyika reaches 420 miles in length, making it the world?s longest fresh water lake. Lake Malawi is surrounded by Tanzania, Mozambique and Malawi. It is the third greatest lake in Africa, and it is home to many fish that only exist in Lake Malawi. To the northeast lies Lake Chad, which has no natural outlet. It loses its water to evaporation and seepage.

During the rainy season millions of gallons of water crash over Victoria Falls. The clouds of spray splash more than 1,640 feet into the air. The falls themselves are more than twice the height of Niagara Falls.

The complex system of escarpments and plateaus keep rain-laden clouds from reaching the deserts of South Africa. The Namib Desert blankets the coast of Namibia and the Kalahari Desert stretches over the southern plateau. Desert oasis are created by groundwater close to the surface. The Sahel climate lies between the desert and more fertile grasslands to the south. The climate alternates between a long dry season and a short wet season. Unfortunately in recent years due to a persistent drought the rainy season has almost disappeared. This has brought misery, famine, and hardship to most of the area.

The tropical rain forests cover a relatively small part of Africa and are centered mostly on the equator. Temperatures hover around 80 degrees and rain falls daily. The heavy rains wash away many nutrients from the soil providing poor farmland, but rich in other natural vegetation. The rain forest faces destruction because the cocoa, rubber, and palm oil plantations are taking more and more land each year. Logging companies that want the valuable hard wood have increased their harvesting. As with many other rain forests elsewhere, this climate region may someday disappear.

Although much of Africa is lacking in natural resources to support their country?s economy, there are regions that produce a large percentage of the world?s minerals. Africa produces 8% of the world?s petroleum, 27% percent of the world?s bauxite, 20% of the world?s copper, 29% of the world?s uranium, and over two-thirds of the world?s phosphorites. Africa is also responsible for producing a substantial amount of the world?s reserves of iron ore, magnesium, chromium, cobalt, platinum, titanium, and precious metals and stones (Groliers, Africa).

North Africa is one of the wealthier regions of Africa because of its natural resources. Although agriculture continues to provide employment in Algeria and Libya for as much as one-third of the labor force, discoveries of oil and natural gas dramatically altered these two nation?s economic structure. Libya?s annual per capital jumped from $50 to almost $10,000, transforming it from one of the poorest countries to among the richest in Africa. Although it is not necessarily as successful as Libya, Algeria greatly benefits from the exploitation of its hydro-carbons. Egypt and Tunisia have developed much smaller oil industries, which provide for their domestic energy needs and generate a much-needed foreign trade. Morocco profits from its possession of much of the world?s phosphate production (Berry, 37).

Many coastal countries of Africa such as Cape Verda, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, and Senegal rely heavily on its fishing industry. Unfortunately over-fishing and the use of inappropriate fishing techniques have depleted fish stocks both in lakes and rivers and marine waters. Western Africa is also a huge producer of Bauxite, a mineral that is the principle ore of aluminum. Gold and diamonds are also predominant resources found in Western Africa. Gold and diamond mines can be found in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, and Sierra Leon. Unfortunately countries such as Benin do not produce any sufficient amount of natural resources (Berry, 73).

The Central African of Cameroon, Congo, and Gabon derive considerable revenue from their petroleum reserves. Other important mineral includes gold, diamonds, copper, manganese, and uranium. Central Africa houses a large market for the cultivation of its timber resources. About two-thirds of the countries found in the Central African region export their timber supplies to fill their neighbors demands for fire-fuel. It is not possible for the economy of these countries to flourish on these forest goods and services (Berry, 94).

East Africa has a diverse variety of mineral resources. Mining areas produce substantial amounts of nickel, uranium, potash, gold, copper, and chrome. Many of the countries in this region have the natural resource potential to help their economy, but it is not put to use. For example, Tanzania has the possibility to exploit its hydroelectric potential and un-mined oil and coal, but it has yet to do so. Other countries such as Kenya benefit from their wildlife and gaming lands, while some countries like Djibouti do not have any substantial amount of natural resources to benefit from (Berry, 117).

Southern Africa is very rich in mineral resources such as gold and diamonds. It alone produces 32.6% of the world?s gold and over 20% of the world?s diamond supply. It is also a large producer of the world?s iron ore, chromium, uranium, manganese, and nickel (Berry, 139). With the discovery of diamonds in Hope Town, South Africa?s economy was revolutionized. Prior to the discovery of diamonds South Africa depended on its agriculture to support its economy, along with ships sailing to and from Europe and the East that stopped for supplies. The discovery of gold came soon after in the same area, but it was the finding of the diamond industry that boosted the nations economy (Rudy, fyi.cnn.com).

Policies regarding land tenure and resource access are of great significance for assuring sustainable management and use of Africa?s natural resources. Despite continued economic growth and diversification most African countries still rely heavily on their natural resources to provide incomes, employment, livelihoods, and export earnings. The government administrations dealing with natural resources thus need to consider how best to enhance their long term productivity, encourage investment, and ensure management of conflicts between nations and competing industries (poptel.org)

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