The Changing Geography of Africa and the Middle East

The Changing Geography of Africa and the Middle East

The Changing Geography of Africa and the Middle East

The Changing Geography of Africa and the Middle East


CROSS REF DEV STUDIES Both Africa and the Middle East have sought alternatives to Western models of development. The last twenty-five years have seen political independence for the states of Africa and increased economic dependence on external aid. The Middle East, resource rich and water poor, continues economically robust but politically unstable. In both regions, widespread poverty continues as does the involvement of the West.
Clearly illustrated with basic maps of the countries discussed, The Changing Geography of Africa and the Middle Eastpresents a systematic review of twenty-five years of development. The book will prove an invaluable guide to the physical, economic, social and political environments of contemporary Africa and the Middle East.


The undergraduate programme in the Department of Geography at the School of Oriental and African Studies started in 1965, just over twenty-five years ago as we write. The department decided to celebrate this quarter of a century by writing a Geography of Change, on the areas of the world to which our study and teaching is committed. This comprehensive review is being published in this and the companion volume on The Changing Geography of Asia.

It has of course been a daunting exercise, particularly to compress into books of this length some sense of the detailed knowledge of their areas which each expert in the department embraces. We have tried to do so at a level which is accessible to undergraduates and to serious A-level students, and we believe that we have succeeded in our aim - although obviously it is for the reader to decide.

Higher education in the UK is passing through a period of great stress. Resources for research and publication are being continually eroded, and it is notable that in the UK as a whole the study of geography at school and university levels has retreated from the broader overseas perspective it used to have, sometimes into esoteric theory building, sometimes into empirical studies which stress the UK or other developed nations. Clearly though, the world is becoming more and more interdependent, no matter whether in trade or defence, finance or in recognition of global climatic change. We need now, more than ever, a well-educated and well-informed citizenry, whose understanding of the wider world we live in can inform the conduct of their lives, and who can contribute to public opinion formation on vital contemporary issues as well.

The knowledge that such opinions are founded on cannot be fixed. The world is changing so rapidly, that new knowledge

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