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Incorrect conceptions about Africa are common in the West. Some TV shows and media news communicate an erroneous image of Africa to their citizens despite a powerful tool of research, such as the Internet, which holds much accurate information. Western media typically only covers the negative aspects of Africa, and TV programs display the lack of knowledge about other cultures. Here are five typical fallacies about Africa.
Africa is a country. Many citizens around the globe mistakenly categorize Africa as a country. But Africa is a continent, which has 54 independent countries each with their own currency, flag, anthem, food, music, and history. Africa is home to 1 billion inhabitants, who belong to 3,000 different ethnic groups There are thousands of indigenous languages and dialects spoken. Africa’s size is three times bigger than the USA.
Africa is unsafe. It is true that there are conflicts, civil wars, and pirates who kidnap tourists in some countries. But if bigger cities like New York, Madrid, London were rated by their crime rates, not many tourists would visit them. Violent crime against visitors in most African countries is uncommon. In the last two years the Travel State Department in the US has issued countries which are considered risky to travel for American citizens. These are the African countries to avoid: Libya, Kenya, Chad, Burundi, Eritrea, Somalia, Central African Republic, Cote D´Ivoire, Nigeria, Sudan, Republic of Sudan, Congo, Mali, Mauritania, Guinea and Niger.
Africa is extremely poor. Many visitors will be shocked with the poor conditions around them. The problem of the African continent is the distribution of wealth, where there is a lack of middle class (people are either very rich or very poor) in many countries. Many African countries such as Egypt, Nigeria, Algeria and South Africa have many natural resources, good education systems and developed business areas.
Africa has many diseases. The lack of babyhood vaccination programs and basic health care take millions of African lives every year. But that is not the case for tourists, who are up to date with the vaccines recommended by their origin countries. The most common immunizations are Hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella and polio. The way to avoid malaria is to take prophylactics and sleep under a mosquito net.
African politicians are corrupt and incompetent. There are some African countries that are not well governed, just like in Europe and the Americas; and there are many countries that are democratic and well-led which are experiencing economic progress. On the other hand, there are also democratic countries that are not growing, and non-democratic countries that are developing.
Many political crises in Africa can be blamed on colonial legacy, but most of it reveals political power and corruption on the part of incumbent presidents and political parties. To characterize all of Africa based on outliers like Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe, would be like generalizing about Europe based on Berlusconi, the Former Prime Minister Italy. Nelson Mandela showed the world that Africa is capable of producing an honest leader.