January 16, 2014

Corrected For Mercator

This is interesting.
We've discussed amusing Mercator follies before, but this really drives home just how freaking huge Africa really is. As it straddles the equator, Africa (like South America) tends to receive maximal Mercator minimization.

Note that there is still space left over... I'm sure that one could squeeze Denmark, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and some of the Balkans in there at least.

The map is nicked from this article which touches on the rather surprising great game pantomime between China and Japan in Africa.

Interestingly, while it does note that they are "playing different games", with Japan looking to open new markets and China focused on 'soft power', China's goal is expressed mainly in obtaining African support for Chinesse policies in the United Nations.

However, China's big goal seems to be resource utilization. Of course Africa is exceedingly rich in minerals and China's buying up mines is fairly well known, however there is a more basic resource that China is very interested in that Africa can provide....food.

China has been buying up arable land in Africa to compensate for their lack of such back home and setting up plantations.  More on that here, here and here. This is all going on with little notice due to the unfortunate tendency to ignore the vast and underdeveloped continent.

It should be noted that the US, for most of the first decade of the 21st century was heavily engaged in combating AIDs and engendering trade for both humanitarian reasons as well as helping to develop new markets...sort of a proactive version of Japan's current policy.  While there is still a good deal of residual good will remaining from that policy, in part due to continued unofficial efforts, the U.S. has largely abandoned the field in Africa from 2009 on

This shift may have unfortunate consequences, both humanitarian (with regards to the health and freedom of those in Africa) as well as economic (the US could be shut out of emerging markets and trade in Africa will likely suffer due to China imposing trade restrictions on what are in essence becoming proxy colonies).

Alas...In common with most current US policies, there's much less hope, but an abundance of change.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 02:50 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
Post contains 369 words, total size 4 kb.

1 All that land, all those resources, and what have they done with 'em?  Squat.

Posted by: Mauser at Sun Jan 19 18:58:30 2014 (TJ7ih)

2 Well, to be fair, "all that malaria" too. Nasty, nasty disease...

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at Sun Jan 19 19:13:06 2014 (IopVv)

3 Which is why they banned DDT.  If the Africans started using their own resources for themselves, the rest of the world couldn't exploit them.

Posted by: Mauser at Mon Jan 20 00:22:20 2014 (TJ7ih)

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