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Wednesday, 8 April 2009

The North - South Project ($1.4bn)


Pascal Lamy's article was a good reminder that I have been most negligent in not initiating a full discussion on this development. Regular reader will know full well that I believe this is the sort of aid Africa needs and as I have argued that despite the strong threat from Mozambique , Zambia can leverage its central position into a viable regional air transport and trade hub. As a landlocked nation are heavily dependent on the transport infrastructure (and political stability) of our neighbours for our long term prosperity. The North-South Project will help Zambia turn our perceived "disadvantage" into an enormous advantage as a corridor for trade and development. This is also consistent with the Growth Commission recommendations on the importance of infrastructure and the need for future aid to focus on that area. Our core article is provided by Reuters :

Financiers pledge $1.4 bln for Africa infrastructure (Reuters, 6 April 2009) :

Western nations and lending agencies said on Monday they will provide $1.4 billion to expand transport and trade links in eastern and southern Africa to help the region boost economic growth.

Leaders of countries in the region are meeting in the Zambian capital Lusaka, to discuss plans and attract funds to boost road, rail and port links as well as energy projects that could help spur regional trade and change the lives of millions.

Organisers say better routes will enable African countries to compete in trade with the rest of the world.

Under the plan, upgrading and maintaining roads alone would require a total of $7.4 billion over 20 years.

"Africa is a continent endowed with immense natural resources and yet it remains the home of the poorest," said Zambia President Rupiah Banda. "Transport, energy, civil aviation and other infrastructure development has lagged in Africa and we need to adopt an approach which will motivate implementation of private and the public sectors."

The overall aim of the project is to cut poverty in the world's poorest continent, which officials say has been worst hit by effects of the global financial crunch.

The cash pledged so far would be provided by the World Bank, Africa Development Bank, European Union and Britain.

Officials say the funds would be used to finance new projects and upgrade existing infrastructure, which include 8,000 km (4,970 miles) of road, the equivalent to the road distance between Paris and Beijing, and to rehabilitate 600 km of rail track linking eastern and southern African countries.

The leaders met under a regional grouping dubbed the North-South Corridor, a joint initiative by the various countries and three regional trade blocs. It aims to speed up transport links, especially for landlocked countries.

Once in place, the corridor will link businesses in eight African countries - Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Malawi, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said Africa needed fair trade with Western nations more than aid to develop.

"It's the job of Africans to strengthen themselves through trade... this is a matter of survival," Museveni said.

Britain said it would separately provide 100 million pounds ($149.2 million) for the region's infrastructure to increase trade and mitigate the effects of the global financial crisis.

The North-South Corridor covers the mineral-rich Congo, Zambia, Africa's top copper producer, and South Africa, the world's top platinum producer and third-largest gold producer.

Transporting a single cargo of copper from the Congo copperbelt to ports takes weeks, whereas in Europe the same cargo would reach ports within a fraction of that time.

The new North-South Corridor could see such cargo moving faster across African borders, enhancing trade and investment.

Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki said the countries had agreed to build new power projects to ensure access to roads, rail, telecommunication links and electricity.

"The shortage of electric power remains a major constraint of economic development in our countries," Kibaki added.

A few other notable references :

The Telegraph provides the British perspective on the issue, especially the £100m contribution.

IPS provides more detail.

World Bank hails their $500m commitment to "boost trade and competitiveness".

The WTO line is that this is a "perfect example of aid for trade".

The BBC calls it "cash for key African trade routes".

22 comments:

  1. International Trade Centre's position paper (4 page .pdf format), prepared for release at the Lusaka conference.

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  2. "Zambia can leverage its central position into a viable regional air transport and trade hub..."

    ...and communications.

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  3. "Africa is a continent endowed with immense natural resources and yet it remains the home of the poorest," said Zambia President Rupiah Banda. "Transport, energy, civil aviation and other infrastructure development has lagged in Africa and we need to adopt an approach which will motivate implementation of private and the public sectors."

    Incomes, are why people are poor, and the only way to change that, is i is to raise incomes. Just 'bringing jobs' and not enforcing even a minimum wage as the MMD have done and neoliberals worldwide have done, is nonsense.

    The latest trend in the MMD seems to be to blame their own incompetence on the size of Zambia's population.

    This is an excellent development, and the only 'competitive advantage' Zambia should be looking for outside it's borders.

    However, what is needed even more, is a government that puts the incomes of Zambian citizens first, not one that bends over backwards to ensure maximum profits for foreign corporations.

    This is from the minister of Agriculture:

    Growing population a challenge to food and nutrition – Chituwo
    Written by Nchima Nchito Jr

    Or even worse, from the healthcare minister:

    Simbao calls for sexual depressant drug in fight against HIV/AIDS
    Written by Chiwoyu Sinyangwe

    Let's put the entire nation on salpeter. What a clowns.

    If they were serious, they would see a growing population as an opportunity, and would be busy creating jobs for today's population.

    Anyway, what is clear is that the MMD can even screw up this corridor project. The focus of any government must be raising incomes for the citizen, not hand over national resources over to foreign corporations or countries.

    Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said Africa needed fair trade with Western nations more than aid to develop.

    "It's the job of Africans to strengthen themselves through trade... this is a matter of survival," Museveni said.


    I would say Africa needs to develop it's internal markets more that fair trade. And for Uganda and Rwanda to get the heck out of the Eastern DRC, which would stabilize the DRC.

    Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki said the countries had agreed to build new power projects to ensure access to roads, rail, telecommunication links and electricity.

    But access for who? More western corporations to more efficiently fleece Africa from it's natural resources?

    Or to develop Africa's internal markets and raise the populations incomes, because they own more, not because they get a 50 cent an hour job exporting billions of dollars of raw materials?

    That is the real question.

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  4. Mr K,
    That's an interesting take on it and I actually agree with your observation.

    Thus far, Africa has been accustomed to looking to the outside for not only investment but also solutions to problems at home. It appears most of the infrastructure development undertaken was done with that backdrop, i.e to facilitate those outside investors to be able to conduct their business in Africa and not necessarily for our own use.

    Take the Copperbelt for instance. With all the relatively good infrastructure that the mining companies developed (in its heydays), most of it was meant for the foreigners who went to work there while the vast majority of the locals miners never actually enjoyed any of it!

    The silly thing is that of those local miners who were educated enough to be promoted into very senior positions, very few of them realised the need to extend the facilities they then got to enjoy to those of much lower rank. They simply accepted the status-quo and rather felt privileged!

    The irony is that Zambia as a nation has since been unable to develop infrastructure at that scale for its own people.

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  5. Zedian,

    Why not just reverse this situation and earmark 96% to the blacks and give back the whites farmers 4%. They are quite capable of working miracles when it comes to farming. All they need is stability to be motivated.

    Right, because if you ask a mining company where they want to put in a road, it will be from some remote mine, to the nearest highway.

    It will not be to connect towns or districts with eachother.

    And when they leave, you're left with a road to an empty mine - literally a road to nowhere.

    The mines even didn't want to develop railways, because their cost/benefit analysis showed it was cheaper to keep degrading the roads. And it would reduce their profits to even pay a road tax.

    The problem is that prominent politicians seem to be bought and paid for by the mining companies. They have better representation in parliament than the people.

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  6. MrK,

    I am a bit confused, as the call to increase per capita compensation for labour given an extremely large pool of unskilled and semi-skilled workers as compared to the available jobs does not seem to match up with your cavalier attitude towards extremely rapid population growth. Whenever I try to do this math, or consult studies from around the world on nutrition, education and intergenerational per capita wealth accumulation, high pop growth lowers all of these things. The Zambian population is going to double, that is not really a problem, but how rapidly it does so is important from the perspective of developing the sort of prosperous middle class we would both like to see form in the country.

    According to the Health Survey, average urban fertility is a bit over 4, average rural fertility is a bit over 6. Urban poverty has been falling rapidly, rural poverty has been increasing. The survey also shows that over 1 in 4 births are either not wanted or mistimed (too early) from the perspective of the parents. Children born to mothers over 25 have much higher levels of achievement on all of the demographic metrics conducive to upward economic mobility worldwide. That said, forcing saltpeter on people to reduce their sex drive is quite unnecessary (sorry, I cannot access the Post articles you cited, but I can imagine), and extremely questionable from a human rights standpoint (after all this technique was pioneered on drafted soldiers and prison inmates from what I understand). After all, providing families with the tools to regulate their own fertility would already prevent or delay more than a quarter of current births.

    Another thing that studies have shown in country after country (such as Kenya), is that the single most effective way to bring fertility rates down is to educate women with secondary school math. There are no harmful side effects to this approach, indeed quite the opposite. The current median years of schooling for Zambian women is 3.9, while 10-12 is required to achieve the necessary math skills. Downward self-regulation of fertility on a voluntary basis will thus likely increase significantly as educational attainment increases. A cavalier approach to teenage pregnancy exacerbates this situation, as described in the report:

    "Figure 2.4 shows the age-specific attendance rates for the male and female de facto population age 5 to 24. The figure shows that there are no marked differences in the attendance rates between males and females from age 5 to 14; however, after age 14 attendance rates for males are much higher than those for females at all ages."

    Life expectancy from birth continues to hover around 50 years, but I think it is safe to say that we would all like to see this go up to 75 (or more). Take a moment to think about what that does to the population growth rate however. Adding another 50% to the lifespan of workers further increases the number of jobs required in the economy for full employment. These outcomes are desirable, but the speed with which they happen will have an enormous effect on the future course of the nation. The concept that high population growth leads to high economic growth is pre-industrial, and not compatible with rapid middle class formation. This, "the more the merrier," approach to family planning and population growth does not jive with the rest of your Manifesto, please reconsider.

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  7. Yakima,

    I am a bit confused, as the call to increase per capita compensation for labour given an extremely large pool of unskilled and semi-skilled workers as compared to the available jobs does not seem to match up with your cavalier attitude towards extremely rapid population growth. Whenever I try to do this math, or consult studies from around the world on nutrition, education and intergenerational per capita wealth accumulation, high pop growth lowers all of these things.

    The issue is not population growth, because even at the present population, we still don't have a government which has returned to universal education. There are literally thousands of teachers waiting to be employed, but the government would rather waste money on it's own expenditures, or run a huge, bloated bureaucracy.

    And that is why I don't think that population size is the issue. As long as the government has so much money that it can be wasted on red tape, that is where we should be looking, not at population control.

    Zambia is going to need lots of people if it is going to develop. If there are going to be lots of small commercial farmers as is the way forward in my opinion, those farms will be looking for farm workers, entrepreneurs, professionals, etc.

    The problem in Zambia is not the size of the population, but lack of economic and infrastructural development.

    When Zambia is completely developed, and there is no more land left untilled, then we can start worrying about the size of the population.

    Until then, the minister of agriculture should concern himself with how he is going to expand agriculture in a way that involves the people and is relatively labour intensive (like organic agriculture), and really nothing else.

    For some context.

    Japan
    Surface: 145,883 sq mi
    Population: 127,433,494 (10th)
    Population density: 872.8/sq mi

    Zambia
    Surface: 290,587 sq mi
    Population: 11,668,000
    Population density: 40/sq mi

    As you can see, Japan has half the land surface of Zambia, but 22 times the population density.

    Yet we do not hear the Japanese government complain that the size of their population is hampering development. In fact Japan has one of the largest economies in the world.

    This is why I have a cavalier attitude to population growth, as you have put it. :)

    Let's develop first, and worry about population size (much) later.

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  8. MrK;

    "Africa is a continent endowed with immense natural resources and yet it remains the home of the poorest," said Zambia President Rupiah Banda. "Transport, energy, civil aviation and other infrastructure development has lagged in Africa and we need to adopt an approach which will motivate implementation of private and the public sectors."



    And you said:



    When Zambia is completely developed, and there is no more land left untilled, then we can start worrying about the size of the population.



    When a leader is talking about resources, yet appears not to know the causer of the problem – that is the day you can conclude that we are being led by either blind of confused people.



    Since Pres. Banda is giving away huge chunks of land, as the case of Jathropha acts as an example – then you know that the people in government underestimate the dangers of re-colonization. By the way this miscalculation includes people like you MrK, who also always points a finger at neo-liberal failures.



    President Banda, like Levy before him – by trying to impress the world that, they would prefer economic assistance from socialist countries like China and not the West – they are/or have been unknowingly selling us off to the Chinese. I am pretty sure that when the Chinese entrench themselves into our economy – just like British colonialists before them, they’ll start calling shots. Is that what we want?



    There is no good reason why you should part away with such a large piece of land. Foreign investors will always tell you that they’re not taking the land, but in the meantime they would sing a lot of songs to praise Zambia for introducing “property rights”, which is nothing but indirect confiscation. Through this confiscation, they control the people. In the Chinese model, senior management MUST always be Chinese. So how in the hell do you think that Zambians would learn or participate in running of things? Just by offering cheap labor?



    Local Zambians needs to learn otherwise they would continue to be marginalized. Because Zambians have not yet awoken up, the Chinese or whoever is given a chance to come and work our resources – would have a chance manipulate or control us. Because that’s what happens when foreigners complete the process of economic take-over, they become in charge.



    Our forefathers did better because at least they put on a fight until the colonialist resulted to using gun powder. Strangely, we’re handing over lands and resources freely (on our own accord).



    Handing out our assets, resources, land etc., may take place in many forms – but all of which must be condemned. First, there is now the RB/Levy model of enticing investors through concessions such as tax holidays, land apportionment et cetera. Secondly, you have FTJ’s type of being seduced (or succumbing to) by IMF/World Bank to sell (privatize) assets at give away prices. Finally, you have a slightly sophisticated (camouflaged) one of yelling at the Westerners – the s.called Washington Consensus, accusing them of squandering our resources. We do this while knowingly or unknowingly we are handing ourselves to a new type of colonializers.



    Yet we know fully well that in terms of appetite for resources, Chinese are as bad as Westerners. Africans because they are easily bribable, is a good folder for the Chinese.



    Therefore, if we have to survive in this environment – we need our masses to wake up and begin putting pressure on those running the establishments and government. These may include – politicians, MPs, bureaucrats, civil society & Church leaders, trade unions et cetera – to ensure that they protect (or begin protecting) us from all forms of exploitation.

    And our job, we – the pundits, commentators, experts, doom sayers, laymen, debaters, clever ones or simply observers – would be to assist in selecting (pick and choose) the good elements from these systems/models we are criticizing or find alien to our needs. If we don’t do that – then we would be letting down our grand parents in villages.



    So, fundamentally, what is at stake are not quarrels about population – but our ability to understand COLLECTIVELY what we need to do to protect our sovereignty. This is the crucial part because otherwise we’ll be crippled without even knowing what is hitting us.

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  9. Thank you Kaela for that salient point to bring us back to the issue at hand. I don't want to fight about population, and here I think that you and I can agree once more MrK, that if the right things are done with regard to education and nutrition, population growth will not be much of a problem. Where I do have to object is with the attitude that treats population growth as disconnected from middle class formation. That is not something that happens from the top down. Middle classes form within families, and if you don't think that early pregnancy or family size affects this, then you haven't looked at the historical record or the current statistics.

    MrK,

    I find it rather fitting that you would choose Japan of all countries as an example, because due to their rapid industrialization, and subsequent rapid declines in birth rate, combined with their intolerance of immigrants, has led to a circumstance where they have coined a phrase that translates as, "parasite single" which only applies to women, who are over the age of 25 and have not yet married and produced babies to support their pre-industrial population of seniors (who are by law entitled to some of the highest public purse support in the world). The only reason the US and EU don't have similar problems is their immigration rates, and they are still struggling to figure out how to cover their seniors who just keep on living on modern health care far beyond their working capacity.

    There are very few countries experiencing negative population growth, and the only one in the G8 is Japan, so it is further ironic that you would choose them as the example of "ideal" population density for Zambia. The others are Eastern European, who can't keep their young people in country on the farm because they can make so much more by moving west. I won't go into how much experience I have here on the Pacific rim with Japanese nationals who talk about this all the time. Suffice it to say, bad example.

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  10. http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/4142.htm

    "Japan's population, currently just over 127 million, has experienced a phenomenal growth rate during the past 100 years as a result of scientific, industrial, and sociological changes"

    In other words, the Japanese government does not complain about the population density because their economy is able to give them a decent living standard.

    http://www.country-studies.com/singapore/population.html

    "Singapore's government saw rapid population growth as a threat to living standards and political stability, as large numbers of children and young people threatened to overwhelm the schools, the medical services, and the ability of the economy to generate employment for them all. In the atmosphere of crisis after the 1965 separation from Malaysia, the government in 1966 established the Family Planning and Population Board, which was responsible for providing clinical services and public education on family planning."

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  11. Let us also not ignore the elephant in the Japanese food security question, which is 29,781 km of official coastline with attendant ocean fishing rights. This is simply not an appropriate model nation to use for Zambia, period. And I will repeat myself for the third time on this blog, the simple fact that the Zambian population will double (and redouble like multiple times) IS NOT THE ISSUE, in economic terms the RATE OF DOUBLING is the issue. I am tempted to do an exhaustive refutation of such short-sighted statements as, "[when] there is no more land left untilled, then we can start worrying about the size of the population," but I will hold off in the hope that you will see sense and simply admit that population growth is not a factor to be ignored.

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  12. Yakima,

    Let us also not ignore the elephant in the Japanese food security question, which is 29,781 km of official coastline with attendant ocean fishing rights. This is simply not an appropriate model nation to use for Zambia, period.

    I agree that Japan has a huge coastline - which is why the national dish is raw fish rappped in seaweed. :)

    However, let's also not forget that almost all Japanese live in the coastal areas.

    Most of the landmass Japan does have, is very sparsely populated, because it consists mainly of mountains and pine forrests.

    So that would even that out.

    My point is that Zambia has a very low population density compared to one of the leading industrial powers in the world, and that therefore it is not overpopulation that is holding us back.

    It is the 80% of arable land that is not under cultivation, and the 97% of agriculture that depends on rainfall instead of permanent irrigation.

    It is also the destruction of manufacturing instead of it's expansion, because of opening up the borders to imported goods without protecting local manufacturers.

    Kaela,

    Since Pres. Banda is giving away huge chunks of land, as the case of Jathropha acts as an example – then you know that the people in government underestimate the dangers of re-colonization. By the way this miscalculation includes people like you MrK, who also always points a finger at neo-liberal failures.

    President Banda, like Levy before him – by trying to impress the world that, they would prefer economic assistance from socialist countries like China and not the West – they are/or have been unknowingly selling us off to the Chinese. I am pretty sure that when the Chinese entrench themselves into our economy – just like British colonialists before them, they’ll start calling shots. Is that what we want?


    This has nothing to do with a reaction against neoliberalism. Also, I am completely against handing 2 million hectares to the Chinese - I thought I was pretty clear about that.

    The problem in this regard is the leadership, which does not look to it's own people for development, but continues in colonial mode, to look for answers overseas.

    The answers are right at home, but they take courage and confidence to address.

    Also, I think that a major problem is the hierarchical nature of politics and government in Zambia. We have talked about decentralization before, but it goes further to the nature of hierarchies themselves.

    By disempowering the people at the front line, the hierarchical organisation becomes very stable, at the cost of becoming unresponsive to new information and new ideas.

    As we have seen, so much depends on the president, and the major figures in the ministries and civil service. This hierarchy ripples down to the relation between central government and local government, where the ministry of local government receives more of national revenues than all local governments combined.

    If there was complete subsidiarity, that would also be the mechanism through which new ideas made their way through the system, and we would not still be looking to the IMF or the president for new ideas.

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  13. MrK,

    I will try again. As far as I know, nobody is saying that Zambia is overpopulated. You are confusing maximum population density with population growth rate, and the concept of population growth control with zero population growth. These are very different things.

    Japan is industrialized and has a high population density, therefore population growth rates in Zambia won't affect its rate of industrialization. That equation does not scan.

    I will try to illustrate what I am talking about with a highly simplified hypothetical example, perhaps that will help. I will ignore such factors in population growth rates as mortality and longevity, and concentrate just on the variability of fertility rates and timing. I will use one simple measure for child welfare: access to education for persons aged 5 to 18.

    Let us imagine a population of 100 women and 100 men(G1), each of whom has 6 children (3 of which are also women), starting at age 15 (T), with one birth per every 2 years. By the time these women are 30 (T+15), they will have produced 600 children (G2), 100 each @ ages 15, 13, 11, 9, 7 and 5. All require schooling, except perhaps the 50 female children who by this schedule will be already be giving birth to the first of their own 6 children.

    Allow another 10 years to pass (T+25), and in addition to the 200 people in G1 (age 40), and the 600 people in G2 (100 each at ages 25, 23, 21, 19, 17 and 15), G3 already consists of 1050 and counting (ages: 50@10, 100@8, 150@6, 200@4, 250@2, and 300 newborn). By T+35, G1 is age 50, and the 300 women of G2 (ages 25-35) have finished breeding G3, which now consists of 1800 persons (ages: 50@20, 100@18, 150@16, 200@14, 250@12, 300@10, 250@8, 200@6, 150@4, 100@2, and 50 newborn), and G4 is already underway with 150 persons (ages: 25@5, 50@3, and 75@1). The school age population now includes 1375 persons (1350 from G3 assuming women over 15 drop out, and the first 25 from G4) out of a total of 2750 persons.

    By the time we get to T+50 population growth is really showing, as rates compound. The survivors of G1 are now aged 65 (let's assume that all 200 survive and are still capable of productive contribution to schooling children), the 600 members of G2 are aged 40-50, the 1800 members of G3 are aged 15-35 and have not yet finished breeding G4 (5400 persons by T+60), which has just started breeding G5. By the time that G4 are all born, our original 200 have now been augmented with 7800 additional people (40 times the original population), not counting G5 at all. The age demographics keep getting more complex, and I think I have illustrated sufficiently, so I will stop there.

    Back to the beginning -- same 200 person G1, only this time the women have 4 children each, one every 3 years, starting at age 25 (T+10). By T+25, instead of 1850 persons, the population is 600 persons, 200 from G1 (age 40), and 400 from G2 (ages: 100@15, 100@12, 100@9 and 100@6), all of the latter which require schooling and none of which drop out. By T+35, G1 is age 50, G2 aged 16-25, and the first 50 babies are being born into G3. By T+50, G1 are now aged 65, G2 are aged 31-40, and most but not quite all of the 800 members of G3 have been born (ages: 50@15, 100@12, 150@9, 200@6, 150@3, 100 newborn, and 50 yet to be conceived). Instead of 8000 persons, there are 1350 (but still 6.75 times the size of the original population). Do I really need to go on?

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  14. Yakima,

    A real question.

    How can you have world record population growth, while at the same time having a 'devastating aids epidemic'.

    Just wondering out loud. Because back in the 1980s, I was told Africa was 'doomed' because of aids.

    What happened to that?

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  15. MrK,

    While I do not subscribe to the "doom" thesis you describe, I will honestly try to answer as best I can from the viewpoint of those who do (or at least did in the 80's). Please keep in mind that I am not trying to debunk the theory's shortcomings, much as I might be otherwise tempted to do so.

    Even during the period in question when there were no effective treatment options for HIV positive people with "full blown" AIDS, infected individuals typically lived for a decade or more without showing symptoms. Throughout this period they were nevertheless fully capable of transmitting the disease to others. Testing for HIV status was expensive, time consuming, and highly technical, requiring specialized personnel and equipment. Even the consistent screening of blood for transfusions was considered impossible by western health services due to the volume of testing and the time required as compared to the "shelf life" of donations. Because of this it was felt that HIV/AIDS would spread exponentially, even beyond "high risk" groups. African health care infrastructure in particular was considered far below the level of funding, technical sophistication and regional distribution necessary to successfully contain such an epidemic. It was also felt that the Reagan/Bush (Sr) administrations' refusal to provide aid to nations which supported condom distribution would effectively remove the only cost efficient method of containment from the African health care arsenal.

    So, from this perspective infection with HIV amounted to a death sentence with a 10 year "reprieve", which is more than enough time for a woman to have six or seven children before succumbing to the full effects of AIDS and dying. Thus, a rapidly growing population which was nevertheless "doomed" to die before their children grew up. At least that was the theory as I understand it. I think what happened to it was the Clinton administration, and the pharmaceutical "patent-busting" which both made ARVs affordable and simplified the medication regimen.

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  16. Yakima,

    Let us imagine a population of 100 women and 100 men(G1), each of whom has 6 children (3 of which are also women), starting at age 15 (T), with one birth per every 2 years. By the time these women are 30 (T+15), they will have produced 600 children (G2), 100 each @ ages 15, 13, 11, 9, 7 and 5.

    This is presuming that the child mortality issue has been dealth with and all survive past the age of 5. In most developing countries, under 5 mortality is 50%.

    At the same time, they very consistenly (according to the US Census Bureau) basically double their population once every 20-25 years.

    All require schooling, except perhaps the 50 female children who by this schedule will be already be giving birth to the first of their own 6 children.

    And yet the Zambian government didn't make the money available to hire thousands of existing teachers, giving priority to it's own spending.

    This is what I mean - there are so many things the government can do right now, and should be focusing on but isn't, that worrying about population size or population growth is not something that should occupy their time.

    On the issue of how HIV/AIDS is supposed to be affecting Africa. The US Census Bureau made projections back in 2004, about the effect of HIV/AIDS on South Africa. They developed two models, one 'with hiv model', one 'without hiv model. The 'with hiv model' predicted that the population of South Africa would stagnate at 43.9 million and would decline from there. The without aids model predicted that the population would grow to 49.3 million by 2007. In 2007, the South African government did a Community Survey, which put their population at 48.5 million.

    There is not a single African country, for which a model which took into account the effect of HIV/AIDS on population size, has accurately projected the population size of that country in the future.

    The reason is that the standard of testing is lower in surveys than in diagnosis, even though a test is the only thing that separates a AIDS diagnosis from a diagnosis of an ordinary disease.

    In other words, the numbers of infections have been massively inflated.

    Already, there has been a massive downwards revision of HIV/AIDS infection rates in Africa. This was the result of the use of statistically representative surveys (called DHS) versus previously used (and desperately defended by the UN) surveys called Antenatal Clinic Surveys (ANCs) used by the UN and UNAIDS, of pregnant women at antenatal clinics only.

    (I quote: Years of HIV overestimates, researchers say, flowed from the long-held assumption that the extent of infection among pregnant women who attended prenatal clinics provided a rough proxy for the rate among all working-age adults in a country. Working age was usually defined as 15 to 49. These rates also were among the only nationwide data available for many years, especially in Africa, where health tracking was generally rudimentary.

    The new studies show, however, that these earlier estimates were skewed in favor of young, sexually active women in the urban areas that had prenatal clinics. Researchers now know that the HIV rate among these women tends to be higher than among the general population.


    How AIDS in Africa Was Overstated
    Reliance on Data From Urban Prenatal Clinics Skewed Early Projections
    By Craig Timberg
    Washington Post Foreign Service
    Thursday, April 6, 2006; Page A01

    Notice especially in the table called AIDS Data Revised, the case of Sierra Leone, which through the simple switch from the UN survey to the DHS survey, went from a national infection rate of 7%, to 0.9%. Kenya went from 15% to 6.7%.

    I think even the new numbers are overestimates, because they rely on a single screening test called the ELISA or EIA, something that would never be allowed in diagnosis (as opposed to surveys), in the USA, where two positive screening tests must be followed by two positive confirmation tests (called Western Blot), before someone is diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.

    I think it is too easy to misdiagnose or overestimate a disease that is 'a syndrome' without a unique pathology, especially in the absence of thorough testing.

    Especially pregnant women are known to test false positive on a single screening (ELISA) test, which is how the tests is used on both survey types. (See The Body)

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  17. MrK,

    Which part of the following did you NOT read?

    "I will try to illustrate what I am talking about with a highly simplified hypothetical example, perhaps that will help. I will ignore such factors in population growth rates as mortality and longevity, and concentrate just on the variability of fertility rates and timing. I will use one simple measure for child welfare: access to education for persons aged 5 to 18. "

    and

    "While I do not subscribe to the "doom" thesis you describe, I will honestly try to answer as best I can from the viewpoint of those who do (or at least did in the 80's). Please keep in mind that I am not trying to debunk the theory's shortcomings, much as I might be otherwise tempted to do so."

    Don't expect any more responses from me, this has gotten ridiculous.

    ReplyDelete
  18. A good analogy for the reason for a population growth policy is that of planting a crop in a field. If the plants are spaced out and provided with adequate nutrients, then they will grow big and strong. That is the reason why the population in many developed countries have small families, so that they can provide their children with adequate resources to develop to their full potential.

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  19. Yakima,

    I wasn't trying to be clever or change the subject.

    My example of the failed projection of the size of the population and population growth of South Africa, based on a false presumption of both the prevalence of HIV in the country, the ease of it's spread through the heterosexual community, lead to projected population size that was 10% smaller than the actual population.

    If the South African government had taken these projections seriosly, that would have been 4 million people whose hospitals, roads, schools and towns had not been planned for.

    This is the pitfall of using hypotheticals to project population size or the dangers thereof.

    That is the entire point I was making.

    Kafue001,

    A good analogy for the reason for a population growth policy is that of planting a crop in a field. If the plants are spaced out and provided with adequate nutrients, then they will grow big and strong. That is the reason why the population in many developed countries have small families, so that they can provide their children with adequate resources to develop to their full potential.

    One of the other (many) reasons I do not worry about population growth, is exactly that point. When people become more affluent, they automatically start planning for the future of their children. If someone on a middle class income knows he wants to put all his children through college, immediately they will plan the number of children they are going to have according to what they can afford. (Outliers like the Octomom notwithstanding - :))

    The real motive in the fact that people in developing countries have large families, is because they cannot predict how many or which of their children will make it to adulthood. Child mortality under 5 is a standard 50% - from preventable diseases.

    So give people the clean water, enough to eat, and they will start planning the size of their families themselves.

    It is not the goverment's job to do it for them - that is way too much like totalitarianism for me (one thing Hitler and Stalin would have agreed with eachother on).

    The articles I was reacting to are:

    Growing population a challenge to food and nutrition – Chituwo

    To his credit, agriculture minister Brian Chituwo mentioned many other factors that are a threat to food security, and he didn't seem to make a strong case for population growth, although that is what the writer of the article emphasized.

    But then there is this article:

    Simbao calls for sexual depressant drug in fight against HIV/AIDS
    Written by Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
    Wednesday, April 08, 2009

    THERE is need to develop a sexual depressant drug in order to effectively fight the HIV and AIDS scourge, health minister Kapembwa Simbao suggested yesterday. Simbao said the recent continued rise in HIV and AIDS cases in the country especially among the sexually active group was a clear indication that condoms had failed in halting the spread of the pandemic.

    "Since we have a drug viagra which enhances the sexuality of our people and most of the people, both the young and the old are using it, I think we should come up with a drug that depresses that [sexual] desire," Simbao told a high level meeting under the theme ‘Large-scale investments in upgrading transport infrastructure in southern Africa: implication for HIV and AIDS and health strategies’.


    Now both the minister and the writer of the article completely miss the irony, of calling for less sexual activity in a country with strong population growth to... curb a 'deadly' epidemic? An epidemic that should have started to reduce the size of populationd decades ago?

    AID$ is a scam. Maybe there is a deadly virus out there, but it certainly is not as widespread as the AID$ industry wanted everyone to believe. Nor does it spread easily through heterosexual populations, as we have seen everywhere in the world. When that became clear, they said 'oh well, we were wrong, but 'Africa is different''.

    Well with the population spinning 'out of control' during a 'deadly epidemic', I guess Africa is not so different from the rest of the world after all.

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  20. I'm getting confused. Is Zambia overpopulated or underpopulated?

    By the way, I disagree that a country of 10 million people is not enough to compete internationally. Belgium is doing pretty well with 6 million, as are tiny city states like Monaco, Liechtenstein and Andorra. From the Daily Mail:

    AU Deputy Chairperson, Erastus Mwencha said in an interview in Lusaka that integration was important for African countries to create a bigger market.

    “Zambia has a population of about 10 million and this is not enough to use as a basis to compete globally. Integration is extremely important for our continent.


    Also, integration on what terms?

    If people stopped worrying about being overpopulated or underpopulated, and just started to raise wages (works projects, a minimum wage for FDI, etc.), there wouldn't be much to worry about.

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  21. Yakima,

    There are very few countries experiencing negative population growth, and the only one in the G8 is Japan, so it is further ironic that you would choose them as the example of "ideal" population density for Zambia.

    I don't think that they have an ideal population density. However, Japan illustrates two things:

    1) You can be highly successful, and have a very high population density. Therefore, population density, or size or growth, is not Zambia's problem.

    2) That as countries industrialize and their populations become more affluent, population growth declines, even without a 'one child policy' as has been applied in the People's Republica of China.

    Therefore, if anyone is really concerned about population growth, the answer is to raise the standard of living for the population.

    Raise incomes, create a huge middle class, and the population will stabilize.

    That's my point.

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  22. Future new port of Techobanine in Mozambique:

    http://allafrica.com/stories/201007191851.html

    ReplyDelete

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