For many rural Africans, subsistence farming - heavily dependent on seasonal rainfall - provides a precarious living.
Yet there is also great change. In the cities, rapid recent development has created a new wealth. Many African countries are seeing rapid industrialisation, often with burgeoning urban slums.
A few Africans have grown rich - politicians, generals and merchants - but most are grindingly poor. Even though colonialism is a thing of the past, Africa's natural resources are still being pillaged by the industrialised world, with the complicity of a powerful minority but limited benefit to the majority of the population.
Of all the continents, Africa is most closely associated with chronic problems which beset communities and thwart progress, namely of:-
Africa has long been the major recipient of world aid, from governments and charities. Sadly, this has not always resulted in the expected benefits to the people. Africa's problems are an emotive topic globally, and their political and economic impact potentially huge. Consequently, they are increasingly demanding of the attention, resourcefulness and resources of the international community.
Islam, Christianity and traditional religions clash frequently - and sometimes violently - across a wide band of Africa. Most Africans have a very strong sense of the spiritual, and see unity between the spiritual and everyday which western societies have lost. Faith issues are inseparable from material and practical ones. Hence faith-based organisations and ideas have a central part to play in Africa's development.
WorldShare gives a high degree of priority to Africa. Our partners in more than a dozen of Africa's most needy countries work cumulatively in the context of all these issues and problems, as they work individually to bring transformational change - based soundly on principles that Jesus taught, and with a gospel heart - to bear in local communities.