defined by groups of rivers and lakes, are among the most diverse
and vulnerable areas. To the east is the Great Rift Valley which
contains several lakes.
Major rivers like Congo and Niger support fish, birds, otters, and
hippos. The Niger River is the Africas third longest river.
It flows across western Africa to its delta in Nigeria. The Nigers
water is used for irrigation and hydroelectric power and limited
transportation because of many waterfalls and rapids.
Lakes have been evolving for more then 20 million years. Over-fishing,
the introduction of exotic species, and pollution have wiped out
half of the Lake Victorias 500 clichild
species, a large part of diet of local people.
The Lake Victoria, lying on the Equator, is the second largest freshwater
lake in the world.
Water is one of the world's most valuable resources. Although countries
may enjoy significant amounts of rain, the water may be polluted
or unsafe to drink. In many parts of Africa, less than 50% of the
has access to safe water. Lack of infrastructure
and government regulation of the water supply keeps many Africans
from getting clean water. As a result, millions of people die each
year from waterrelated diseases such as cholera.
Water for crops and livestock is also scarce in many parts of the
continent. Africa has three large deserts. The Sahara is the worlds
and dominates the northern part of the continent. Thousands of years
ago the Sahara had a moist climate. The Namib and Kalahari deserts
cover huge areas of southwestern Africa. The Namib Desert is very
barren and extremely dry.