University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
Pitt-Johnstown Seal

Spring - Summer 2004

AFRICA’S UNEQUALED GEOGRAPHIC MISFORTUNES

H. J. de Blij
Michigan State University

Abstract

 The globalizing world still divides functionally into a dozen geographic realms among which Subsaharan Africa by most objective criteria is the poorest and least connected to the mainstreams of social and economic change.  At a time when the economies of Pacific-Rim countries are growing vigorously and India is forging ahead, Africa struggles.  This realm’s persistent problems, it is argued, derive from a combination of geographic circumstances, ranging from the environmental to the historical, that are unmatched on the planet.  As a result, Africa ranks low among the priorities of the “international community,” and notably so in the United States.  But there are urgent reasons, altruistic as well as strategic, why American interest in Africa should be revived.


LIBERIA - UNITED STATES RELATIONS: SHIFTS AND TURNING POINTS

D. Elwood Dunn
University of the South


Ravaged by instability and civil war in the last quarter of the 20th century and into the new millennium, the events of mid 2003 catapulted Liberia, and with it, the peculiar relationship with the US onto the global headlines. As warring factions and government militias attacked the civilian population in their fight for power, a simple refrain echoed around the world: that as former colonial powers Britain and France had each engaged to end civil war in their respective former colonies of Sierra Leone and Cote d’Ivoire, the US was challenged similarly to engage in its former ward to help end the carnage and restore normalcy. The US did not immediately respond, but when it did there were evocations aplenty of historic ties of long duration.

This article will review the peculiar and longest-lasting relationship between the US and the African State of Liberia. It will do so by highlighting shifts and turning points in the relationship.  It will suggest in its emphases that no shift has been more jolting, nor turning point more thorough-going in the 156 years of interaction than the seismic changes of the past quarter century. Fundamental questions that will guide or frame the review include the origins of the relationship and what the interest of the US has been; how the relationship has evolved; what its Cold War highpoint was; and how one might characterize the post-Cold War and post 9/11 relational ambivalence.


SOUTH AFRICA’S CHANGING HERITAGE LANDSCAPE THROUGH THE LENS OF THE FULBRIGHT-HAYS 2003 SEMINAR

Darrell P. Kruger
Illinois State University
and
S. Kay Gandy
Western Kentucky University

Abstract

 This paper presents a spatial and temporal view of the evolving heritage landscape in South Africa.  The heritage landscape is defined to include museums, monuments and memorials—iconographic symbols—that represent the diverse spectrum of multiethnic South African people.  In particular, 18 iconographic symbols that were showcased during the 2003 South African Fulbright Hays Seminar entitled, “Heritage and Humanity:  Exploring the Origins of Art, Culture, and Human Behavior” are considered.  Moreover, we identify four observations associated with the Fulbright experience.  First, that the government has played a significant role in scripting and packaging public heritage memorialization after apartheid.  Secondly, that the new democracy is fraught with tension in its attitudes towards refashioning heritage today.  Thirdly, that heritage making tends to be event-rather than people-centered.  Finally, that active rather than passive participation is encouraged in public heritage making.


SULFUR REQUIREMENTS, FERTILIZER SUPPLY AND USE ARE CRITICAL TO SUB-SAHARAN AGRICULTURE

Cyril E. Broderick
Delaware State University

Abstract

Fertilizers are globally a requisite for high yields and productivity, but they are quite expensive and clearly undersupplied in most regions around Africa.  Whereas war and drought are two major causes of under-productivity, major problems exist in providing the requisite inputs for improved yields and better quality harvests. One of such inputs is sulfur, whose availability and use around the world are very disparate. Sulfur is sometimes supplied in complexes of single formulations of N, P, or K or in mixtures or compounds of complete fertilizers. Numerous reports and reviews, however, point to sulfur deficiency across Africa South of the Sahara. The objectives of this paper are to confirm the need for sulfur, to indicate how low sulfur affects plants, animal husbandry, and food products in human diets, and then point out means of correcting such discrepancies. The methodology involves collation of data from reports on sulfur deficiency in Africa, as well as analyses of information on the availability of sulfur from natural sources, with an evaluation on the potential availability of sulfur fertilizers from world market sources for areas in Africa. The results show the potential improvements to increase yields, to raise plant productivity and to enhance the quality of foods and other products from agriculture in Africa. Despite the lack of fertilizer manufacturing facilities in much of Africa, this paper shows that appropriate and affordable sulfur products such as sulfur bentonite are relatively environmentally friendly and affordable in improving production and crop quality in Sub-Saharan agriculture.


TRANSPORTATION CORRIDORS IN AFRICA:  LIMITED OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE GENERATION OF WEALTH

Antonio Lista, Universitat Intenacional de Catalunya
Barcelona, Spain; English version by Victoria Peña

Abstract

Taking for granted the close relationship between the present development of transportation networks in a particular country and their integration into the global economy, this paper examines the transportation policies implemented now in most central African states, based on the creation of a number of “transportation corridors”.  These corridors are very expensive and this is evidence of how many cities of the region are fully integrated into the global economy.  They also play a significant role as centers for consumption, justifying the containerization of freight, a technology not well suited to the reality of present African transportation networks.


CONFERENCE DIPLOMACY AND THE POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY OF JAPANESE OVERSEAS DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE TO SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Shawn Banasick
Kent State University

Abstract

 Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) is an important diplomatic tool for Japan because of its constitutional limitations on military action as a means of international dispute resolution.  Over the past thirty years the policy orientation of Japan’s ODA program has undergone several major transformations.  In the 1970s the emphasis was on maintaining favorable relations with resource-rich countries, making reparations to Asian countries, and supporting the U.S. security arrangement.  In the 1980s Japan began to use ODA to placate criticisms of its trade relationship with apartheid South Africa and to foster political support among African nations for its efforts to gain a more prominent position in the United Nations.  When the Soviet Union collapsed and apartheid in South Africa ended the foundations of Japanese aid policies shifted, and Japan brought its basic ODA policies more into agreement with those of other major ODA donor nations.  During the 1990s Japan became the top ODA donor nation and gained international status by organizing a series of conferences on development issues in Africa.  However, weak domestic economic growth, soaring government deficits, and commitments to U.S. efforts to rebuild Iraq have forced reductions in Japan’s ODA budget.


OLSON’S STATIONARY-ROVING BANDIT MODEL: AN APPLICATION TO ZIMBABWE’S LAND REFORM
AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

Smile Dube
California State University at Sacramento

Calvin O. Masilela
Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

 This paper discusses some elements of land reform and sustainable development in Zimbabwe after 1980. First, we review the shift in paradigm on development from state-led development in the sixties towards market-led approaches beginning in the eighties to highlight the failure of development programs to include an explicit consideration of political power in their programs. We apply the Olson’s stationary-roving bandit model to show why an explicit inclusion of coercive political power necessarily undermines development policies on land reform and sustainable development in Zimbabwe. Furthermore, the paper presents arguments that point to the fragility of the World Bank’s market-approach to development in Zimbabwe and Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) where the bandit model seems applicable.


NORTH ATLANTIC TROPICAL CYCLONE INTENSITIES AND MACRO-SCALE TEMPERATURE VARIATIONS

Anthony J. Vega
Clarion University
and
Corene J. Matyas
Pennsylvania State University

Abstract

 Although many studies examine relationships between potential increases in future global temperatures and North Atlantic tropical cyclones, there is no overall consensus concerning future impacts.  As a result, some modeling studies suggest net increases while others advocate net decreases, or status quo, with regard to future tropical cyclone frequencies.  Further, no clear relationships have been established with regard to tropical cyclone intensity and/or variability changes and macro-scale (global/hemispheric) temperature variations.  However, there is an increasing worldview that higher global temperatures will cause stronger and more frequent North Atlantic tropical cyclones. This study examines daily maximum observed tropical cyclone wind speeds (TCmax) through the 1940-1996 period and relates those values to macro-scale air and sea surface temperatures. All variables were tested for significant linear trends and variability changes through individual decades and through the entire study period.  Though this a determination may be ascertained as to how well the past observational record supports the notion that stronger tropical cyclones will occur during warmer years in the future.