Africa fact of the day

by on August 31, 2009 at 1:21 pm in Data Source | Permalink

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.

Here is more.  The article makes additional interesting observations.

1 dearieme August 31, 2009 at 1:35 pm

“a level achieved in Spain only in the 1920s”: do we have a figure for Roman Spain?

2 Edward Burke August 31, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Impossible to tell from the article which data apply to the entire continent, which apply only to sub-Saharan Africa (e. g.–how far would literacy rates in North African countries skew literacy rates for the entire continent?). A working definition for “literacy” might have been helpful, too.
Prior to 1500 CE, Africans of the sub-Saharan regions: 1) never domesticated equine mammals; 2) never invented or adopted the wheel; 3) never invented orthographies for their languages. What explanatory power might these data possess in terms of assessing prospects for African development?

3 Stephan August 31, 2009 at 3:10 pm

Beside Africa this point of view might also serve as the tune for the “we do not have a health-care problem, we’ve the market” economists.

Something like “The US health-care system underperforms for some percentage points on several metrics compared to European systems, still shockingly high, but considerably lower than the European health-care performance less than 100 years ago, let alone 800 years past.” 😉

4 Bob Montgomery August 31, 2009 at 4:03 pm

There’s a slogan for you: “Not as bad as 1915 Europe!”

Am I supposed to be impressed?

Sorry for the cynicism.

5 foobar August 31, 2009 at 4:21 pm

Tyler, I thought you were familiar with the literature on IQ?
Because these kinds of comparisons are casuistic and completely ignore this obvious variable.

I mean, how many African countries resemble early 20th century Spain in terms of rule of law and infrastructure? I’d rather deal with the Spanish Civil War than child soldiers with machetes. Botswana and South Africa are the exceptions that prove the rule — the former ruled by DeBeers, the latter the longest Euro-occupied country in Africa.

Doc Merlin, you go ahead and go long on Africa. People who understand HBD will short it. Let’s see how, f’rex, South Africa fares in 2 years under Zuma (let alone 10).

6 toto August 31, 2009 at 4:37 pm

It is implied in this comment that Africa is somehow on the path followed by more “developed” countries. There is no define path in the evolution of countries or continents.

7 Gabe August 31, 2009 at 7:42 pm

Our nanny is from South Africa…she wears a shirt that says “Rich Bitch” when she goes out sometimes. She talks to her family at home on Skype. Her dad runs a chain of fast food chicken joints and he hates politicians. When he refused to endorse either local candidate some goon tried to shoot him, but her uncle beat the guy up.

She seems rather comfortable at home, but says it is much safer here.

8 athelas August 31, 2009 at 11:48 pm

Tyler, I thought you were familiar with the literature on IQ?

Even if they cannot attain first-world economies, it doesn’t mean that they can’t improve from their very low base, and make money for investors in the process.

9 Christian September 1, 2009 at 9:27 am

Why would you compare present day Africa to 100 years ago in Europe?? Don’t worry guys, THEY are only 100 years behind US?!

10 Strange_Bundle September 1, 2009 at 2:33 pm

This connects directly to the data accumulated by Hans Rosling as detailed here. Time to break out of the old framework.

11 Ken September 2, 2009 at 10:06 am

AF at Aug 31, 2009 2:43:57 PM wrote: “mud walled huts with thatched rooves”

That always bugged me in the accounts of the early European explorers. They would note the primitive mud-and-stick huts with grass roofs of the natives; but back home, they were in wattle-and-daub with thatch, not terribly different, just squarer and a bit thicker – but then, you want thick in a European winter, and you want breezes in an African summer.

For that matter, most of us still live in mud-and-stick houses, except now the sticks come out of a sawmill, and the mud is prefabricated in sheets of wallboard (and the joint compound is still called “mud”). I suppose our roofs are a little better now, but they’re still sticks covered with asphalt and gravel.

12 kumahor kafui September 14, 2009 at 9:09 am

long before time began their live a garden created by our LORD is one GOD.The inhabitant that dwell their in are the treasures of GOD.the land is full of gold so it was called gold coast but resently called Ghana.slave trade started when Nebucadnezah bisiege it from GOD and was giving half of the treasure vessel that is to select from Ghana those who have no blemish ,cunning in wisdom and understanding science to teach the babylonians for three years. that is why slave castles were built .if you want to know more am kumahor kafui bornfila the ressurated messiah the messenger of our LORD is one GOD.

13 Messiah October 14, 2009 at 2:34 pm

Ears awake for only the ear consume the word which is GOD.if you live with the ear hear it, now let me expose the beast.the beast carry a secret code 666 and the seal of GOD carries the seven lamp stand. the seven lamp stand represent the holy sabbath of the heavenly father YAHWEH ,for it is said in the bible six days thou shall labor and the seventh day is the day of rest thou shalt make it holy to the lord. Now 666 is the changing of the sabbath the seventh day saturday to the first day of the week sunday .am bornfila the Messiah,ear up for more

14 messiah October 16, 2009 at 1:32 pm

Dont think about me think about the WORD which is LORD. and the word is the BIBLE.if you think in the earthly you will get neither but if you think in the heavenly the earth will be thrown.just message to the ear,parables are safer in teaching but needs understanding.I AM THAT I BE ,just a messanger.

15 bornfila October 24, 2009 at 4:22 am

Ghana is an Egyptian word land of gold.this name was giving when Dr Kwame Nkrumah visited the Pharaoh to help him give a name according to the land .that was when Ghana was giving to the gold Bornfila the resurrected Messiah.

16 bornfila November 21, 2009 at 3:16 am

For it is said that the wisdom of the mind is greater than the strength of the arm. so am sent to do greater work in the name of YAHWEH.let start work with the AFRICA TO BECOME A ROCK CRUSHING THE IMAGE WITHOUT A myself and JAH make i stand still

17 messiah December 8, 2009 at 6:07 am

who is the messenger to do greater works ,simply the the youth of Africa but they are the once rejected by the good facilities to work with.remember that Africa unity CAN ONLY BE FORMED BY THE YOUTH OF AFRICA

18 bornfila messiah December 20, 2009 at 2:43 am

now that i have expose the secret mark of the beast.let me now give you the solution.this is the secret key of all keys kept in heaven, so as you have it , use it diligently.YESHUA say in the time of long, remember my father as you remember me because what you do to the father you do unto me and what you do unto me you do unto the keep the sabbath holy unto YAHWEH.But beware the pagans change the holy sabbath to sunday and that is the antichrist

19 bornfila messiah December 23, 2009 at 11:30 am

this message is to the president of Ghana ,let use the commandment of YAHWEH and hold fast to the faith of YESHUA. FOR THIS THE LAST THING TO BE DONE IN THE END TIME. am just the messenger of YAHWEH.

20 messiah bornfila December 28, 2009 at 6:08 am

am just a messenger to do greater works .if the government want me to start work , then search for me , for we have limited time to do many things.the choice is your but am only a messenger.

21 bornfila January 7, 2010 at 3:36 am


22 bornfila January 23, 2010 at 2:01 am

It is said by word of truth,that the wise would build his house on the rock ,that when the rain washes away he is still firm.but the fool would build his house on the sand and when washing comes it washes away every thing.if know understanding , let me now explain.their is a land on earth which is the kingdom the rock.that land was the land GOD promise Abraham and his generation and that same land is the holy city of Jesus Christ CALLED ZION WHICH IS GHANA AND THE KINGDOM THE ROCK IS AFRICA.NOW IS THE TIME FOR THE WORLD MOST DANGEROUS DISASTER WHICH IS THE WASHING.Haiti is the beginning, but the rest would happen world wide.let me remember those in exile come home.this a, just message to the ears living in the the messenger of YAHWEH

23 Bornfila January 26, 2010 at 4:23 am

Open your ears whiles you are alive, For the only one that can give flesh to the soul is JESUS CHRIST and it given to those who believe in him.for the end time is shorter than short. time to come when the LORD will not answer prayers of evil doers but answer that of the righteous now for time lack moment

24 Bornfila January 26, 2010 at 4:42 am

remember that am not sent to battle for GOD but rather used by LORD GOD in his battle.

25 bornfila January 28, 2010 at 2:54 am

Rejoice ye fellow of light .for in the light we see light and became light.but in darkness ye became blind and perish. if know understanding seek advice.for i repeat again, the end time to know a king is to discover your self a king,just message to the ear , for only the word can consume the word which is LORD GOD

26 bornfila January 29, 2010 at 7:55 am

I have a book written by Daniel ,revealing the past , the future and the future in advance. and JESUS CHRIST said in the scripture any body how reads gets double understanding.but remember that its not you reading it that makes you understand but rather our LORD GOD JESUS CHRIST. IF YOU WANT TO READ THAT BOOK CONTACT ME.

27 bornfila February 24, 2010 at 3:02 am

Let the Babylon man think about this parable, How oppressor ceased and golden city ceased.

28 BORNFILA February 28, 2010 at 3:27 am


29 bornfila March 7, 2010 at 12:01 pm

NOW evil souls must repent because the end time is now.this is message from God to every soul living in . the earth. dont think about me think about the word which inthe begining was GOD and was with GOD AND NOTHING WAS MADE WITHOUT THE WORD.

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