Southern Africa equates to about one third of the entire African continent, including the countries of Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The exact division remains under contention. The UN scheme of geographic regions and the Southern African Customs Union includes only the five countries Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland while the Southern African Development Community list adds some more countries.
Southern Africa's diverse geography boasts such contrasts as snow-capped mountains and dry deserts, both fertile and barren coastal plains and high plateaus and savannas. This region also encompasses an extensive water system. The Zambezi River and Limpopo River both flow from the west to the Indian Ocean. The Zambezi River flows through Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique, not to mention the tributaries. The Limpopo River flows from Botswana, creating the Botswana and South Africa border and then the Zimbabwe and South Africa border and ends by flowing through Mozambique into the Indian Ocean. The Orange River, the third major river in southern Africa, flows west to the Atlantic ocean, creating the Namibia and South Africa border.
Southern Africa's economy contains mostly mineral resources. Southern Africa's colonization and history reflect directly on the discovery of diamonds and gold, at Kimberly and Witswatersrand respectively, in the 1800s. Cecil Rhodes, who owned the diamond mines at Kimberly, especially played a role in immigration and colonization. At the time, Great Britain had control of southern Africa and Rhodes used a royal charter to control most of the region for mining purposes. Current exports besides diamonds and gold include platinum and uranium.
Although South Africa has a thriving economy, the rest of the countries in southern Africa still struggle with poverty and corruption. The prevalence of HIV and AIDS especially negatively affects growth and development.