1 What percentage of the world’s land area is covered by Africa: 40% or 20%?
2 Which river are the Victoria Falls on, the Zambezi or the Nile?
3 What is the name of the world’s largest desert, found in North Africa?
4 In which country is Mt. Kilimanjaro: Tanzania or Kenya?
5 Are tigers found in Africa?
6 What is the capital of Zimbabwe: Lusaka or Harare?
7 Which country is famous for its gold and diamonds: Egypt or South Africa?
8 Which is the most populous country in Africa: Nigeria or Morocco?
populous: /ˈpɒpjələs/ where a large number of people live. E.g. one of America's most populous states. The populous coastal region.
3. (The Sahara)
7. (South Africa)
The Republic of Mali is a landlocked country in West Africa. The capital city is Bamako. Mali became independent from France in 1960, and the official language is still French. Most of the country is made up of The Sahara Desert, receiving little rainfall and suffering frequent droughts. It is one of the poorest countries in the world, though GDP has been steadily increasing since Mali joined the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 1995. Agriculture is the key industry and cotton is the country’s largest crop export.
landlocked: almost or completely surrounded by land. E.g. Switzerland is completely landlocked.
make something up: to form something. Constitute. E.g. Women make up 56% of the student numbers.
GDP: the abbreviation for ‘gross domestic product’ (the total value of all the goods and services produced by a country in one year)
in the grip of something: experiencing something unpleasant that cannot be stopped. E.g. a country in the grip of recession. Britain was in the grip of a crime wave.
moped: /ˈməʊped/ a motorcycle with a small engine.
mania /ˈmeɪniə/ (for something/for doing something) an extremely strong desire or enthusiasm for something, often shared by a lot of people at the same time. Craze. E.g. He had a mania for fast cars. Football mania is sweeping (spreading quickly) the country.
They may have a moped business. Maybe selling, repairing and hiring them.
1 It’s the fastest-growing city in Africa.
2 The business sells mopeds.
3 It is successful because the economy is growing and they are selling affordable mopeds, which can be quickly assembled.
4 Cheaper technology means that it is more accessible to people in Bamako. The cheaper mopeds mean, for example, that people can get to work on time, or students can get to university.
6 45 / 46
An African Journey
JD=Jonathan Dimbleby M=Mamadou
JD: I’m on a journey which will take me seven thousand miles
across nine countries through the ferment that is Africa. I’ve
been coming here for almost four decades, but this is quite
different from anything I’ve done before. This series is not
about failure or despair, but vitality and hope. It’s about nations
in flux, about individuals who are changing the face of this
continent. West Africa’s largest nation is the Republic of Mali.
I’m starting my journey in one of the very poorest countries in
Africa: Mali. And I’m taking a lift into the capital, Bamako, which
is the fastest growing city on the continent. And I’m using the
fastest growing means of transport here, the moped, in a city
which seems to be consumed by a kind of moped mania.
Africa is a restless continent; more than a billion people, fifty-three
nations with diverse languages, cultures and histories, but
with a common urge to make a future for themselves and for
My driver’s name is Serpent, which is of course French for
snake, and I hope he’s got it because of his reputation for
weaving his way through the traffic. ‘Ça va, Serpent?’ Because
if so and we make it, he’s taking me to see the family business
in the moped market in Bamako. ‘On va!’
Sales have risen sharply in the last five years. There are now
more than four hundred thousand mopeds in a city of two
million people. The sales hub is the Dabanani market, where
Serpent works with his brother Mamadou. The business is
flourishing, in a country where the economy has grown on
average by five percent a year for over a decade.
JD: Apparently it takes only forty-five minutes to put these
together. They come in these flat-packs here, unload the flatpack
and you’ve got a moped, a motorcycle.
M: We’ll assemble it right now, as the customer is waiting for his
moped. Take it out and assemble it quickly.
JD: It’s really making a difference to life in Bamako and, and, and in
Mali as well.
M: Since mopeds were introduced, everybody gets to work on
time, students aren’t late. You can’t imagine how important
JD: You say the bikes come overwhelmingly from China. Why
China? What’s the reason for that?
M: We used to have Japanese and French bikes. They cost £2000
each. That is not affordable for a Malian or any African. It is too
JD: The Chinese have captured the market. Their Power Ks, at
around four hundred and fifty pounds a piece, cost a third
of any foreign rival. And because public transport is far from
cheap, the moped will soon pay for itself.
JD: Finished, and it was forty-five minutes, well forty-six minutes.
ferment: /ˈfɜːment/ a state of political or social excitement and confusion. Sp. agitación. E.g. a period of intense political ferment. The country is in ferment.
despair: /dɪˈspeə(r)/ the feeling of having lost all hope. E.g. She uttered a cry of despair. A deep sense of despair overwhelmed him. He gave up the struggle in despair. One harsh word would send her into the depths of despair. Eventually, driven to despair, he threw himself under a train.
flux: /flʌks/ continuous movement and change. E.g. Our society is in a state of flux.
lift: a free ride in a car, etc. to a place you want to get to. E.g. I'll give you a lift to the station. Could I have a lift into town? She hitched a lift on a truck.
means (pl. means): means (of something/of doing something) an action, an object or a system by which a result is achieved; a way of achieving or doing something. E.g. Television is an effective means of communication. Is there any means of contacting him? Have you any means of identification? We needed to get to London but we had no means of transport.
consume: /kənˈsjuːm/ to take all of your attention so that you cannot think of anything else. E.g. be consumed with/by something: I was consumed with curiosity about my new neighbour .
restless: unable to stay still or be happy where you are, because you are bored or need a change. E.g. The audience was becoming restless. After five years in the job, he was beginning to feel restless. The children always get restless on long trips.
diverse /daɪˈvɜːs/ very different from each other and of various kinds. E.g. people from diverse cultures. My interests are very diverse.
urge: /ɜːdʒ/ a strong desire to do something. E.g. sexual urges. Urge to do something I had a sudden urge to hit him. He felt the urge to giggle.
weave: (in this sense the past and pp are regular: weaved, weaved) to move along by running and changing direction continuously to avoid things that are in your way. E.g. + adverb/preposition She was weaving in and out of the traffic. He hurried on, weaving through the crowd. The road weaves through a range of hills. Weave your way + adverb/preposition. He had to weave his way through the milling crowds.
milling: moving around in a large mass. E.g. I had to fight my way through the milling crowd.
hub (of something) the central and most important part of a particular place or activity. E.g. the commercial hub of the city. The kitchen was the hub of family life.
flourish: /ˈflʌrɪʃ/ to develop quickly and be successful or common. Thrive. E.g. Few businesses are flourishing in the present economic climate. The arts began to flourish at that time. There was a flourishing black market.
flat-pack: a piece of furniture that is sold in pieces in a flat box and that you have to build yourself. E.g. You can buy the kitchen as a flat-pack for self-assembly. A flat-pack bookcase.
overwhelmingly: used for emphasizing the amount or strength of something. E.g. Residents voted overwhelmingly in support of the plan. An overwhelmingly popular government.
capture something: /ˈkæptʃə(r)/ to succeed in getting control of something that other people are also trying to control. E.g. The company has captured 90% of the market.