Botswana is a sparsely populated country of just over two million people located in Southern Africa. Despite rapid economic growth in recent years, Botswana still faces many development concerns. Drought and desertification are prevalent nationwide, threatening environmental health, agriculturally based livelihoods, and the traditional livelihoods of Bushmen hunter-gathers indigenous to the country. Like many other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, HIV/AIDS is highly prevalent throughout Botswana, with more than one in three adults being affected by the disease. As a result of facing one of the highest HIV rates in the world, average life expectancy has been dramatically cut to only fifty-three years of age and many children have become orphaned.
Burkina Faso is a small, desert country located in Western Africa and is home to over sixteen million people of sixty-three different ethnic groups. The official language is French, but many cultural dialects such as More, Gourma, and Fulfulde exist and are spoken regularly across the country. Though the culture is rich and the people are diverse, Burkina Faso faces a number of development difficulties: the literacy rate sits at only twenty six percent, average life expectancy is fifty seven years, and approximately forty six percent of the population is living below the poverty line. The economy has been expanding and appears to have a promising future, but economic growth alone is not enough to meet the needs of an entire population.
Formerly known as the Gold Coast until it attained independence from the United Kingdom in 1957, Ghana was the first Sub-Saharan nation to do so from European Colonialism. Ghana was created as a parliamentary democracy at independence in 1957, followed by alternating military and civilian governments. It has a population of approximately 24 million, and along with many other mineral resources, is one of largest cocoa producers in the world. It is also home to Lake Volta, the largest artificial lake in the world by surface area. The discovery of major offshore oil reserves in June 2007 has encouraged expectations of a major economic boost.
Located in South-Eastern Africa, Malawi is a landlocked, democratic nation with a population of 15 million. Malawi’s economy is centered primarily on agriculture for both subsistence and for export, which has led to environmental degradation from intense farming practices. The country has been hampered by political corruption, a dangerously high rate of HIV/AIDS and widespread poverty. Although more than half of the country’s population lives below the poverty line, Malawi has made great strides in both healthcare and education since its independence in 1964.
With its ancient culture and the Himalayas as a backdrop, landlocked Nepal has a romantic image. Until it became a republic in May 2008, it has been struggling to overcome a 10 year Maoist insurrection. Nepal has been ruled by monarchs or a ruling family for most of its modern history. Democratic politics was introduced in 1991, but was marked by frequent changes in government. Nepal is a landlocked state located in South Asia, and has a population of approximately 27million. The mountainous North has eight of the world’s ten tallest mountains, including the highest point on earth, Mount Everest. Nepal has a rich geography, and hence it’s flourishing tourism industry.
The nation of Peru is located in South America and is democratic republic that is governed by a multi-party system. The economy of Peru has undergone many changes throughout its history due to shifts in government. Its economy is dominated by the services and manufacturing sectors and international trade has had one of the fastest economic growth rates in Latin America. Water systems in both urban and rural areas still require improvements however those living in rural areas have the least access to clean water at this time. One of the major issues the country continues to be faced with is the threat of infectious diseases that are most commonly transmitted through water sources.
Việt Nam is located in South-East Asia with roughly 91.5 million citizens. The nation is in what it calls Đổi Mới or ‘renovation’ which has opened its economy and allowed for a period of rapid economic growth and industrialization which have also increased income and gender inequalities. Despite these reforms, the majority of the population is still heavily invested in the agricultural sector, and improvements tend to be segregated in urban areas. The nation is also facing increasingly high rates of transmission of sexual diseases, environmental degradation, overfishing, groundwater pollution, and rapid urban migration, which will pose significant complications for future years.