Relativism September 2, 2009Posted by Dwight Furrow in Culture, Dwight Furrow's Posts.
Tags: African development, foreign aid for Africa
Most of Africa is usually portrayed as a hopeless morass of misery, famine, and war.
But even given its substantial challenges, Africa has made remarkable progress.
[…] It’s true that some countries in the region are as poor as England under William the Conqueror, but that doesn’t mean Africa’s on the verge of doomsday. How many serfs had a cellphone? More than 63 million Nigerians do. Millions travel on buses and trucks across the continent each year, even if the average African road is still fairly bumpy. The list of modern technologies now ubiquitous in the region also includes cement, corrugated iron, steel wire, piping, plastic sheeting and containers, synthetic and cheap cotton clothing, rubber-soled shoes, bicycles, butane, paraffin candles, pens, paper, books, radios, televisions, vaccines, antibiotics, and bed nets.
About 10 percent of infants die in their first year of life in Africa — still shockingly high, but considerably lower than the European average less than 100 years ago, let alone 800 years past. And about two thirds of Africans are literate — a level achieved in Spain only in the 1920s.
The linked article contains many more interesting facts about Africa’s progress.
This is not to say we should be satisfied with efforts to help African countries. Relative to highly developed countries, life in much of Africa is still perilous. It is a crime that Africa has been so slow to develop.
But in absolute terms, the situation looks less dire, especially in light of the fact that many African countries did not exist 50 years ago.