THREE OBSTACLES FOR AFRICA TO REALIZE SUSTAINABEL DEVELOPMENT Author: Li Zhibiao Date: 2003-5-13
In the contemporary economic development theories prevailing all over the world and in the policy practices pursued by every country, sustainable development of social economy is becoming a focus. What is sustainable development ? The United Nations defines it as " to satisfy the needs of this generation,without doing any detriment to the ability of the coming generations in satisfying their needs. " According to the UN""definition, the balanced state of population growth, resource exploitation, and ecological protection is certainly the basic requirements for the realization of sustainable development. Africa is an area abounding in natural resources in the world ; however, a lot of African countries don""t realize the significance of the balanced state of this Kind in their economic development , and therefore this has not only become a cause of under-development, but also has evolved into main obstacles on the way to realizing sustainable development. Obstacle One : Population Problems
Since human beings conduct all economic activities, the sustainable development of a social economy cannot be divorced from a balance in population growth. The balance between resources and environment cannot be realized unless population growth is brought under control. From national independence through the early 1990s, economic growth in African countries has continued to slide, while populations have leapt from 275 million in 1960 to 680 million in 1993. With the population explosion, a series of phenomena have emerged, such as a younger population, abnormal urbanization and the low quality of the work force and low education of the population. A. Younger Population
Among the aggregate African population, nearly half are under the age of 15, and only 5% are over 65 years of age. Generally speaking, a younger population may provide ample labor resources for economic development. However, for the African countries, where economic development is under-developed, a large number of the young only pose a potential threat to economic development. First, the large number of the young in population is a potential factor for further population explosions. Facing a series of social and economic problems caused by exploding populations,many African countries have put forward varied solutions to control population growth. By the later 1980s, some three-fourths of African countries had laid out family planning programs. Nevertheless , the program were for the most part just words, never going into effect. Consequently human reproduction has been left in an uncontrolled state. Second, a large number of young population challenges the education system in each nation. Due to the poor base and short age of fund, education in Africa is comparatively backward. The most conspicuous fact can be observed from the universal lack of educational infrastructure in every nation. Consequently the rates of enrollment, both in basic and higher education, are very low. Although one thing is not deniable that many African countries have made some progress in education, compared with the levels before independence, Africa""s limited education resources are now faced with increasing numbers of school age children and adolescents. And third, this group will intensify the employment crisis in Africa. The long-term economic depression in Africa has made Africa one of the regions with the highest unemployment rate.Since the 1990s, job opportunities have only increased by a modest 2.4% annually, keeping the urban unemployment rates at an average 30%. With the passage of time, the younger population will flow into the labor market, making the already bad employment situation worse. B. Abnormal Urbanization
Urbanization should have been a mark of industrialization and modernization in a country or region, and therefore of a developed...
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