This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Mess in Middle Africa

A few days ago I mentioned the particular concern about the world's ability to feed the still increasing global population. No where is that concern greater than in Africa. This is partly due to the fact that this is where the population is growing most quickly and where agricultural productivity may be especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change. These factors are aggravated by (and contribute to) another major problem in Africa--incessant conflict--occurring especially in middle Africa. The Humanitarian Information Unit (HIU) of the U.S. State Department recently posted a new infographic on human displacement in this region. It is startling both for its intensity and geographic complexity:

The complex part is that almost every country in the region is both a sender of refugees and a recipient of refugees. Notice that the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is in the middle of this--both politically and geographically. We don't hear about it very often, but I've mentioned before that the Democratic Republic of the Congo has recently sent more refugees to the U.S. than any other country. Indeed, the Congo, Syria, and Burma--in that order--account for half of all refugees currently arriving in the U.S. 

Meanwhile, back in middle Africa, Burundi is being wracked by violence, and you can see from the HIU infographic that Burundians are finding refugee in every direction, including in the DRC, where things have turned ugly, according to news sources:
At least 30 Burundian refugees have been killed in clashes with Congolese security forces over plans to send some of them home, a Reuters witness and local activists said on Saturday.

More than 400,000 refugees have fled Burundi - including 40,000 to neighbouring Congo - since violence erupted in April 2015 when President Pierre Nkurunziza said he would seek a third term in office, a move his opponents said was unconstitutional.
While it isn't obvious that the violence is caused by rapid population growth in an environment in which food supplies are not always secure, those factors are almost certainly contributing to the instability throughout this region of the world. 

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