Monday, August 18, 2008

East Africa Statistics

Since I began this season of my life knowing very little about the region Josh and I are about to move to, and I am guessing my lack of knowledge isn't unusual, here are some of the many interesting facts I have discovered while researching East Africa:
  • East Africa is comprised of Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia. Sometimes the Sudan and Madagascar are included in this region. [Clicking on any of the links will take you to that country's entry in the CIA World Factbook.]
  • East Africa tends to have particularly high concentrations of the "big five"- elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard, and black rhinoceros
  • E.A. is home to Mounts Kilimanjaro (pictured at right) and Kenya (the two tallest peaks in Africa), Lake Victoria (the world's second-largest freshwater lake- Victoria Falls is pictured above), and Lake Tanganyika (the world's second-deepest lake).
  • Although E.A. is on the equator, the climate is rather temperate. Although different sources give varying answers, it seems as though the average minimum temperature is somewhere between 60-70 degrees, and the average maximum is somewhere around 85 degrees. It also tends to be very dry.
  • Political history is far to complex to relay here, but it is important to note "ownership" and political power have changed often, and political instability isn't unusual.
  • Some common agricultural crops are plantains, cassava (tapioca), sweet potatoes, millet, sorghum, corn, beans, groundnuts, coffee, coconuts, pineapples, cashews, cotton, tea, tobacco, and sugar. Farmers also raise cattle, sheep, and goats.
  • Other industries are fishing, forestry, plastics, cork, beer, and soft drinks.
  • Other exports: gold, electrical products, iron, steel, limestone, and salt.
  • Droughts cause severe power outages, and 12-hour blackouts are not uncommon.
  • Like the rest of Africa, AIDS continues to be an epidemic, with no cure in sight. The following is a note from the CIA factbook page for Uganda:
    • "Population:31,367,972 note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2008 est.)"
  • Risk of disease is very high- bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, typhoid fever, chikungunya, malaria, plague, African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), schistosomiasis. I don't know what most of these are, but none of them sound good.
  • If you know any interesting facts about East Africa, please leave a comment!


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