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Regions & CountriesJanuary 23, 2020 | 18:36 GMT
Tanzania
Tanzania
Tanzania is an East African country on the coast of the Indian Ocean. It borders Uganda and Kenya to the north; Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia to the south; and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Rwanda to the east. Given Tanzania's geographical location, it has a dual identity: It is both a Great Lakes region state and a coastal, southern African state. The Great Lakes region is centered on Lake Victoria, Africa's largest lake. The massive body of water has acted as a transport artery for the peoples of the region for thousands of years, helping in the development of a relatively homogenous socio-cultural and linguistic identity. However, while Tanzania derives much from this part of its geography, it is also a thoroughly coastal power. The country's main population center falls on what is known as the Swahili coast. This positioning opened the country up to foreign interaction with Arab traders and others for centuries before British colonization. As a coastal state, Tanzania is able to look beyond the Great Lakes region and connect with southern Africa when it suits its interests. Managing this geographic duality is a necessary challenge for Tanzanian leaders. However, an ever more pressing challenge will be felt in the years ahead as the country's ruling party, the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), which is the longest reigning political party on the continent, grapples with inevitable electoral losses. Thus far, CCM has maintained its unparalleled dominance at the top of the Tanzania political system, but cracks will form in the years ahead. Indeed, there have already been signs of trouble: The government annulled the results of 2015 elections on the semi-autonomous island of Zanzibar in light of opposition success. How CCM's future leaders deal with electoral losses will have an outsized influence on the country's political stability. On the economic front, Tanzania is likely set to benefit from natural gas projects off its southern coast. The potential windfall in the years ahead (which would also benefit neighboring Mozambique) could serve to increase Tanzania's coffers and its profile on the continent and beyond.
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Regions & CountriesJanuary 23, 2020 | 18:57 GMT
New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island nation at the southwestern edge of the Pacific Ocean, lying around 1,600 kilometers (994 miles) across the Tasman Sea from the Australian island of Tasmania. Geologically, New Zealand is part of a distinct continent known as Zealandia that also includes the French territory New Caledonia. Geographically, however, it is grouped within the broader Oceanic subregion of Polynesia, which is an assortment of over 1,000 islands to the northeast of New Zealand that includes Tahiti, Samoa, Easter Island and Hawaii. Travelling from Eastern Polynesia, New Zealand's original inhabitants, the Maori, arrived by boat around 800 years ago. In the 18th century, British colonists arrived as an after-effect of Australian settlement. Though it is comprised of over 600 islands, most of New Zealand's current inhabitants live on either the South Island or the North Island, with the North Island accounting three-quarters of the country's population. New Zealand's exclusive economic zone, on the other hand, is 15 times the size of its landmasses. Agricultural products dominate New Zealand's exports, with the lion's share destined for Australia and broader Asia. Unlike neighboring Australia, New Zealand is unlikely to develop a significant mining or hydrocarbon sector to diversify its economy. In the maritime realm, New Zealand has an unrecognized claim to a wedge of Antarctica known as the Ross Dependency as well as a loose federation with the Cook Islands, Tokelau and Niue. Like Australia, New Zealand's main geographic challenge is to overcome both its remote location and its tiny population. New Zealand's strongly pro-trade policies and collective security agreement with Australia and the United States seek to ensure that sea lanes remain open and that New Zealand is safely under the umbrella of the dominant global maritime power's protection. At the same time, it must balance these security ties with its interests in maintaining access to growing markets in the Asia-Pacific such as China.
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Regions & CountriesJanuary 23, 2020 | 00:11 GMT
Angola
Angola
Angola is a former Portuguese colony located in southwest Africa. It is mostly semi-arid savanna, with few natural geographic defensive barriers. The Namib Desert is found along its southern coastal strip, and the Congo Rainforest lies to Angola's north. Crude oil is the country's predominant natural resource, found on and offshore northwestern Angola. The country is roughly 1.25 million square kilometers, but is relatively unpopulated, with approximately 20 million people. Angola's main geographic challenge is maintaining control over its ethnic divisions across vast distances. The planalto and Kwanza River Basin are the two regions capable of supporting a substantial population. The planalto is Angola's single elevated region and is the core for the majority Ovimbundu peoples. Relatively high rainfall makes this area Angola's corn-based agricultural breadbasket. The Kwanza River is Angola's sole navigable river and flows from the planalto to the Atlantic Ocean near the capital, Luanda. The Kwanza river mouth is a navigable entry into Angola's interior, allowing internal and external trade. This is the core for the ruling minority Mbundu. The internal struggles and civil war between the Mbundu and Ovimbundu ethnic groups were triggered when the country gained independence in 1975. The Mbundu's absorption of the colonial infrastructure in Luanda and the country's licit crude oil-based economic relationships led to the group's control of the country, dominating the agrarian Ovimbundu. As a result of this dynamic, the Angolan government relies on a robust internal security force to control the vast, remote and resource-rich country against domestic rivals.
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