Acton Institute Powerblog

If Africa had 100 citizens

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When we think about the places on the globe that continue to have the most consistent and seemingly intractable problems, we tend to think of Africa. While areas like East Asia and the Pacific continue to grow richer and more stable, many African countries remain mired in corruption and poverty.

Grasping the scale of problems in Africa is often hindered by our inability to grasp the scale of the continent. For example, on most maps Greenland appears to be the same size as Africa (Africa is 14 times larger). Most of us are shocked to learn that China, India, the contiguous U.S. and most of Europe could fit into Africa with room left over.

We also have difficulty in understanding both the diversity and similarities of the area. Africa has 54 nation-states, nearly one-third of countries on the planet, but only two countries on the continent (Equatorial Guinea and Seychelles) are among the top 50 richest countries.

To help us understand the problems in Africa it helps to have a simplified model. Afrobarometer, a pan-African, non-partisan research network that conducts public attitude surveys, has provided that model with a helpful animation that puts the region in perspective. This short video asks, “If Africa had 100 citizens, how many would have a voice in decisions that affect their lives?”

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Joe Carter Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).

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