To turn to the plight of Africa, Richard Dowden assserts that 'Overpopulation is not Africa's problem' (5 September). Of course vast extents of Africa appear to be empty. Some, true deserts, are so, but the rest is not. Where there is a very low human population density it is usually because there are light soils and no water. But such lands are used by seasonal pastoralists who are closest to being in ecological balance with their environment and do make excellent use of this restricted and fragile resource.
Intrusive attempts at farming, and the spreading of livestock by providing water bore holes, for example, has led to disaster. If it were true that Africa has ample space for more people, then this gives welcome respite for the continent and its people - far better than the congestion and overcrowding to which Mr Dowden would like to condemn them. Will he tell us why it would be a good thing for Africa to have 980 million more people by the year 2025?
St John's College
6 SeptemberReuse content