Chatham University

Global Focus

Southern African Development Community (SADC)

Angola

Angola

Angola has a land area of 1,246,701 square kilometers (481,354 square miles), making it twice as big as Texas and thrice the size of California. The name Angola is derived from the word ngola, a title for kings used in the state of Ndongo during the early centuries. The South African Bush War (1966-1989) lasted for 23 years, making it one of Africa's longest conflicts. It was an important chapter in the Cold War era, and one of the largest ideological Cold War conflicts, but it was also interwoven with the armed liberation struggle of 3 the countries of Angola, South-West-Africa (now Namibia) and South Africa; all in the process of shedding the colonial yoke.

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Botswana:

Botswana

In the !Xóõ language (also known as Taa), spoken by people in Botswana and Namibia, there are 112 distinct sounds there are 112 distinct sounds. (There are about 40 in English). Botswana is the world's third–largest diamond producer, behind Russia and Canada, with diamonds accounting for 76% of all the nation's exports. Botswana is one of the "four corners of Africa" – located in the only place in the world where 4 countries meet.

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Democratic Republic of Congo

Democratic Republic of Congo

It is advised to refrain from taking pictures in the DRC; locals believe that "capturing a person’s image" removes his/her spirit. At 2,344,858 square kilometers, the DRC covers a land area larger than the combined territories of Spain, France, Germany, Sweden, and Norway. The DRC is the second largest country in the African continent and the great apes can only be found here.

In 1885, King Leopold II of Belgium gained a vast area in southern Africa as his personal possession. Joseph Conrad was one of the first outsiders to witness and later write about the horrors committed by Leopold's regime in its greedy pursuit of Congo ivory and wild rubber in his 1902 novel, "Heart of Darkness". In this work, Conrad attempted to show that the "heart of darkness" lay deep within the Europeans who exploited the land and people of the Congo.

According to Gérard Prunier, everything conspired to turn Congo into a kill zone: a dying dictator; the end of the cold war; Western guilt; and a tough, suspicious, postgenocide, Israel-like Rwanda, whose national ethos, simply stated, was Never Again. All of these factors led to the first African "world war" in 1994.

Coltan: The Unknown Commodity

Columbite-Tantalum is the formal name for coltan, a metal base, which is little known outside Silicon Valley and high-technology institutions. Its strength, high density, and chemical properties make it a valuable metal used in the manufacture of capacitators in high-tech and medical devices, including mobile phones and laptop computers. The US government extensively hoards stores of this mineral, and the US Department of Defense classifies coltan as a strategic mineral. Ironically, the methods for collecting coltan are relatively primitive; local miners cut down a patch of the rainforest, undercut the rooted vegetation, and remove all the unwanted dirt and rocks by washing their lootings in a river. Because the exploitation of this mineral requires no technology and minimal expertise, it has fast become prey to invading rebel groups.

The desirability of coltan only increased through the 1990s as international demand for electronic devices reached an all time high in 2000; the cost of coltan correspondingly rose US$365 per pound in eastern DRC, a rush that was called the "gold rush for coltan." There was a 38 percent increase in consumption of coltan in 2000 relative to 1999, further fueling this demand.

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Lesotho

Lesotho

Lesotho is one of the poorest nations in the world. In 2000, 49% of its population lived below the poverty line. It has the highest concentration of dinosaur footprints in the world, and its motto translates to "Peace, rain, and prosperity".

Lesotho's geographic location makes it extremely vulnerable to political and economic developments in South Africa as it is completely surrounded by South Africa.

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Madagascar

Madagascar

On March 17, 2009 after demonstrations in the capital, President Ravalomanana signed power over to the military, which in turn conferred the presidency on opposition leader Andry Rajoelina. President Rajaonarimampianina is facing daunting challenges in his new role, starting with a very toxic political environment. A lot of resentment remains from the successive political crises, and progress towards a national reconciliation is uneven.

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Malawi

Malawi

Women are typically chiefs in Malawian villages. (In the American legal system they would be mayors). Men help women with administrative assistant work as many chiefs are illiterate. The most common Malawian last names are Chirwa, Banda, Piri and Manda; 30% of inhabitants have one of these last names.

Joyce Banda, who has made history becoming Malawi's first female president and only the second woman to lead a country in Africa, has a track record of fighting for women's rights. She took power in 2012 following the death of 78-year-old President Bingu wa Mutharika who died in office after leading Malawi since 2004. Mr Mutharika's decision to appoint her as his running mate for the 2009 elections surprised many in Malawi's mainly conservative, male-dominated society, which had never before had a female vice-president. She served Malawi as President until May 2014 when she was not reelected.

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Mauritius

Mauritius

Mauritius is an island created by underwater volcanic eruptions. The first people to set foot on it were the Portuguese. It is the most densely populated country in Africa and the 17th most densely populated country in the world. Among all developing countries, Mauritius has the highest life expectancy at 73 years. The legendary dodo bird was found only in Mauritius before it became extinct.

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Mozambique

Mozambique

There are over 1,200 species of fish that have been identified in the coastal waters of Mozambique. It is just smaller than twice the size of California and boasts Lake Niassa, one of the largest lakes in Africa.

Conflict remains a prevalent reality in Africa, and it is probably the number one cause of developmental failure. As a consequence, Africa is today arguably the world’s foremost "peace laboratory". More than 30 peace accords have been brokered in Africa since the 1970s but with decidedly mixed results. Mozambique has seen its original 1991 peace accord endure.

On October 2012 Mozambicans celebrated the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Rome General Peace Accord (GPA), which brought an end to the 15-year civil war that broke out two years after the country gained independence from Portugal in 1975. Despite the seemingly insurmountable challenges of reconstruction and rehabilitation that have consistently positioned the country as one of the poorest in the world, Mozambique enjoys a particular prestige in the international community as being one of the "success stories" for internationally assisted post-conflict reconstruction. Like many African countries with limited resources, Mozambique has been pragmatic in crafting and executing its foreign policy as an instrument to secure external support for its national interests. Extreme dependency on donor support (which has ranged from 70% of gross domestic product or GDP in 1992 to 39% in 2012) coupled with a limited fiscus has influenced the way in which the government has sought to engage regionally and with the rest of the world. Thus, Mozambique’s foreign engagement has focused on carving out a policy space befitting that of a small, highly aid-dependent, low-income country in a somewhat unstable region.

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Namibia

Namibia

Namibia is the second least densely populated country on earth. There are just over two million people living in a country which is half the size of Alaska. Much of Namibia is as it was centuries ago. What does this mean? Due to this, it has a host of natural wonders.

Up until gaining its independence in 1990, Namibia was a German colony.

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Seychelles

Seychelles

Pirates used to seek the islands of Seychelles as a hideout. It is believed that Olivier Le Vasseur, an infamous pirate, had a treasure worth 100,000 Euros that still remains hidden in the land. Seychelles is home to Esmeralda, the heaviest wild land tortoise, who weighs 304 kilograms and can be found at the Bird Island.

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South Africa

South Africa

Table Mountain alone has over 1,500 species of plants, more than the entire United Kingdom.

South Africa has a long history of racial conflict and white supremacy, beginning in 1652 when the Dutch Cape Colony was established as a point to resupply Dutch ships on their trade route around Africa. The Cape Colony created a racially segregated society dependent on African labor. Though recent immigrants, the Dutch settlers regarded the land as theirs and the Africans as foreigners. When the local Khoikhoi resisted Dutch invasion of their land, they were defeated and forced to work as servants and laborers. Since many Khoikhoi died from exposure to European diseases, the Dutch imported enslaved Africans from other parts of Africa to work for them. By 1790, the small colony had 15,000 people, of which 10,000 were enslaved Africans. Fearful of African resistance, the Dutch forced the remaining free Africans to carry identification passes or passbooks when leaving their employers’ property.

Although Pretoria is considered to be the capital of South Africa, the country actually has three capitals: Pretoria (executive), Cape Town (legislative), and Bloemfontein (judicial). South Africa generates two-thirds of Africa's electricity and has the cheapest electricity in the world.

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Swaziland

Swaziland

Swaziland is also known as Ngwane. It is the smallest country in Africa. The Christian religion is 6-% while the majority practices indigenous beliefs. Swaziland is home to one of the world’s oldest mines. It was discovered in Ngwenya, district of Hohho, in 1970 and is one of the top tourist attractions.

Swaziland was initially a protectorate of the Transvaal in South Africa in 1894, and after the Second Boer War (sometimes called the Aouth African War) ended in 1902, Swaziland became a British protectorate. It only achieved full, but reasonably peaceful, independence on the 6th of September 1968, which is celebrated as a public holiday each year and is known as "Somhlolo Day" It is almost entirely surrounded by South Africa.

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Tanzania

Tanzania

Over 120 languages are spoken in Tanzania. Most of these are Bantu languages, a category of over 535 languages and dialects that are spoken throughout Africa. Tanzania shares it national anthem with South Africa and Zimbabwe. It’s titled 'Mungu Ibariki Afrika' (God Bless Africa) and was composed by Enock Sontonga. Tanzania is divided into 26 regions (mikoa), 21 on the mainland, 3 on Zanzibar Island and 2 on Pemba Island. These are further divided into 99 districts.

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Zambia

Zambia

The territory of Northern Rhodesia was administered by the [British] South Africa Company from 1891 until it was taken over by the UK in 1923. During the 1920s and 1930s, advances in mining spurred development and immigration. The name was changed to Zambia upon independence in 1964.

Transshipment point for moderate amounts of methaqualone, small amounts of heroin, and cocaine bound for southern Africa and possibly Europe; a poorly developed financial infrastructure coupled with a government commitment to combating money laundering make it an unattractive venue for money launderers.

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Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe

The ancient instrument of Zimbabwe, known as "mbira of the ancestors" or "mbira huru" (big mbira), is played primarily by the Zezuru Shona people. It has a recorded history of at least 700 years old and some songs from that period are still played today, though perhaps differently. The repertoire itself is several hundred years old and still forms the core of music played on the instrument. It is essentially a 22-28 key lamellaphone and is plucked down with the thumbs and plucked up with the forefinger of the other hand. It covers three octaves and several tuning systems exist. People of Zimbabwe believe that women mbira players are wizards, since traditionally only men played the mbira and it was believed that only they had the ability to play it.

The government owns all local radio and TV stations. Foreign shortwave broadcasts and satellite TV are available to those who can afford antennas and receivers. In rural areas, access to TV broadcasts is extremely limited.

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