USC Dornsife College Of Letters Arts and Sciences

University of Southern California

The geographical region that stretches from the southern boundary of the Sahara to the Cape of Good Hope is larger than the United States, India and Western Europe combined. The regions’ one billion people live in countries that are experiencing dramatic economic growth, along with increasing life expectancy and literacy rates. They are also among the most religious people in the world.

Pentecostal, Catholic and Muslim organizations often provide essential support for healthcare and education where state institutions are weak or dysfunctional. Understanding the capacities, limitations and challenges of religious groups in Sub-Saharan Africa is thus essential to conversations about economic development, peacemaking and human rights.

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“While the ‘beach children’ phenomenon remains a blot on Lagos’s urban landscape, churches such as the RCCG, with their message of salvation and active concern for those at society’s margins, offer a glimmer of hope.”

—Richard Burgess
“‘Beach Children’ Find Salvation through Pentecostal Preachers”