back in the 60s the standard claim of economists and demographers was that population of Latin America was growing more rapidly than before because of lower child mortality thanks to modern medicine, coupled with traditional pro-natalist attitudes.
Well, great, but Latin America was and is pretty advanced as poor regions go. By contrast, how much medical/technical improvement was there in child mortality in Africa? If people are too poor to even see a medic and the quality of these medics is dubious, was there any? Or were there major improvements just through the adoption of trivially simple practices like hand washing?
So I guess I am asking, if it seems like the “low child mortality” claim shouldn’t make sense, why the great population boom in 20th century Africa? Is it a matter of lower level of war/violence than what was happening in 19th century and before? Were there some diseases like plague that got eliminated by colonial authorities that, in the past, kept Africa so sparsely populated? Or is it a matter of some essential crops becoming widespread in Africa very recently, so that it didn’t have time for the sort Malthusian booms and busts that European population experienced first during post-Roman transition and second during the crisis of 14the century?