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Geography

Factors influencing development

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Factors which influence the rate at which a country may develop can be physical or human. Understanding the reason why a country may be in poverty is important, as it helps to understand what may help the country to develop.

Physical factors

Climate

The Sahel region in Africa suffers from a lack of rainfall. This means that droughts are common. The result is that crops may suffer. There are certain diseases which thrive in tropical climates [tropical: The northern boundary of the Tropic of Cancer is found at a latitude of 23.5° North. The southern boundary of the Tropic of Capricorn is 23.5° South. Everything between these two lines is said to be tropical. ], such as malaria and yellow fever, because of the hot and humid conditions.

Natural hazards

Floods, droughts and tectonic activity can limit future growth and destroy buildings and agricultural areas. This also means a country may divert income to help recover from these events.

Landlocked countries

15 countries in Africa are landlocked. This means it is more difficult to trade as goods have to be driven through other countries to get to the coast for shipping. It is also more difficult for new technology to reach a landlocked [landlocked: A country which is almost, or totally, surrounded by land. ] country, as the fibre optic cables are laid under the ocean.

An image of Africa highlighting the 15 landlocked countries

An image of Africa highlighting the 15 landlocked countries

Natural resources

Natural resources such as minerals, gas and oil can help improve a country's level of development. However this is closely tied in with the ability to exploit the resource for the benefit of the country. There are also countries, such as Japan, which are low in natural resources, but have based their development on human factors such as education and skills.

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