Thursday

Causes of Poverty in Africa?

Look around you diamonds, gold come from africa yet the west have them and the africans remain poor.
Rum, sugar, cocoa, coffee and fruits also come from africa, they are plentiful to so many rich people around the world.
Britain has a bit of slate coal and tin yet are the third most wealthiest country in the world:

Not anti anyone but just stating facts!

The cause of poverty in Africa can be pin pointed at the local government level. The local government has been unsuccessful at creating a sustainable infrastructure.

This lack of infrastructure makes it difficult for citizens to rise above poverty levels.
Poverty has various causes, while some of them can be removed by various measures, eliminating the most complicated underlying causes remains a challenge for both developed and developing.

Three-quarters of all hungry people live in rural areas, mainly in the villages of Asia and Africa. Overwhelmingly dependent on agriculture for their food, these populations have no alternative source of income or employment. As a result, they are vulnerable to crises. Many migrate to cities in their search for employment, swelling the ever-expanding populations of shanty towns in developing countries.

In purely quantitative terms, there is enough food available to feed the entire global population of 6.7 billion people. And yet, one in nearly seven people is going hungry.

One in three children is underweight. Why does hunger exist?

Nature
Natural disasters such as floods, tropical storms and long periods of drought are on the increase -- with calamitous consequences for food security in poor, developing countries.

Drought is now the single most common cause of food shortages in the world. In 2006, recurrent drought caused crop failures and heavy livestock losses in parts of Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya.
In many countries, climate change is exacerbating already adverse natural conditions.For example, poor farmers in Ethiopia or Guatemala traditionally deal with rain failure by selling off livestock to cover their losses and pay for food. But successive years of drought, increasingly common in the Horn of Africa and Central America, are exhausting their resources.

War
Since 1992, the proportion of short and long-term food crises that can be attributed to human causes has more than doubled, rising from 15 percent to more than 35 percent. All too often, these emergencies are triggered by conflicts.

From Asia to Africa to Latin America, fighting displaces millions of people from their homes, leading to some of the world's worst hunger emergencies. Since 2004, conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan has uprooted more than a million people, precipitating a major food crisis -- in an area that had generally enjoyed good rains and crops.
In war, food sometimes becomes a weapon. Soldiers will starve opponents into submission by seizing or destroying food and livestock and systematically wrecking local markets. Fields and water wells are often mined or contaminated, forcing farmers to abandon their land.

When conflict threw Central Africa into confusion in the 1990s, the proportion of hungry people rose from 53 percent to 58 percent. By comparision, malnutrition is on the retreat in more peaceful parts of Africa such as Ghana and Malawi.

Poverty Trap
In developing countries, farmers often cannot afford seed to plant the crops that would provide for their families. Craftsmen lack the means to pay for the tools to ply their trade. Others have no land or water or education to lay the foundations for a secure future.
The poverty-stricken do not have enough money to buy or produce enough food for themselves and their families. In turn, they tend to be weaker and cannot produce enough to buy more food.

In short, the poor are hungry and their hunger traps them in poverty.

Agricultural infrastructure
In the long-term, improved agricultural output offers the quickest fix for poverty and hunger.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) 2004 Food Insecurity Report, all the countries that are on track to reach the first Millennium Development Goal have something in common -- significantly better than average agricultural growth.

Yet too many developing countries lack key agricultural infrastructure, such as enough roads, warehouses and irrigation. The results are high transport costs, lack of storage facilities and unreliable water supplies.

All conspire to limit agricultural yields and access to food.

But, although the majority of developing countries depend on agriculture, their governments economic planning often emphasises urban development.

Over-exploitation of environment
Poor farming practices, deforestation, overcropping and overgrazing are exhausting the Earth's fertility and spreading the roots of hunger.
Increasingly, the world's fertile farmland is under threat from erosion, salination and desertification.

Trends in poverty in Africa
Decade after decade, politicians and international organizations have failed to reduce poverty. Nor have they been able to help Africa generate growth or build basic infrastructure. Worse, between 1975 and 2000 it was the only place on earth where poverty has intensified. It's only recently that the situation started to slowly improve.

Excluding the African continent from the world
In fact, there has been some growth since 1995 but it's been mostly in the very new services sector so it created only a few jobs whereas manufacturing and agriculture could have done much better.

As the British prime minister declared in 2001 African poverty is "a scar on the conscience of the world". In recent years, globalization and technological inflation have made it only worse. It only helped further excluding the continent and widening the gaps with the rest of the world. However development economists and experts from all boards are now approaching the problem from new angles to provide innovative ways to fight African poverty. Better yet, some African countries are now emerging as real economic powers thanks to better leadership and deals with foreign investors to build infrastructure.

Let's see how all that improves our understanding of poverty in Africa, the plague of a continent.

Globalization & causes of poverty in Africa
Better off rich or poor?
Aside from political and social reasons (e.g. corruption, ethnic violence), many economists argue that the absence of economic growth is in part due to a detrimental geography that impacts on the economy.

For powerful corporations who always find a way to not pay much-needed taxes (billions and billions of dollars).

In most developing countries, disparities pose the problem of redistribution of wealth, but many African countries are simply too poor to redistribute anything.

The average income level is sometimes so low that even working people live under poverty. So, how do you fix that?

Free trade agreements against the African continent
International trade policies, for example, are incomparably more important than international aid to end African poverty and help its countries to integrate the global market. Surprising ? Not that much considering the global competition that the continent has to face: not only are the US, the European Union protecting their key industries (especially those that Africa could compete with, like agriculture), but now Asian countries also got in the game, spearheaded by India and China.
With each of them seeking to protect their benefits, the international community should rather give preferential market conditions to poor countries (e.g. for export or agricultural development). This would provide them a path to fast development, and hopefully diffuse the benefits to inner regions. In that way the internal market could also thrive and help alleviate poverty in African countries that are landlocked.

Corruption and poverty reduction
So far local governments, international aid and market reforms had only a minimal effect on the population. Consequence: folks have had to solve their problems on their own, outside the system. It is only recently that new international policies, such as the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goal (MDG) in Africa, have stopped overlooking the effect of politics on local economies: transparent and accountable government, rule of law, public resources management, free and fair election combined with an active civil society are now recognized as a vital factor of poverty alleviation. This whole forms what specialists now call “good governance”.

Considering the extent of corruption and violence of local councils and governments, it’s not surprising that a huge part of the African population can only fend for itself most of the time, relying on a makeshift economy. This makes them hard to reach by international aid but at least they have an alternative system to fall back upon: coping through sharing. Not only farmers in rural areas but African urbanites as well manage to avoid the claws of the law. This makes many development policies totally ineffective.

International aid - more transparent, less corrupt
Another issue is that of international aid. Aid donors obviously want to make sure that their money is put to the right use, rather than to building palaces for individual use. Now how things have changed is that foreign aid has become demand-driven with local communities, governments and NGOs competing to receive the funds. This should help foster competitiveness and efficiency of development projects as well as transparency. In other words it should radically reduce corruption and embezzlement.

This model was field tested and can help avoid the case of the African Millennium Villages, blindly “shooting” money in every direction in a local community, like a crazy action hero who doesn't believe in nuances and complexities of real life. What is needed is targeted funding that provides new opportunities and incentives for people to participate in the development of their country. Humanitarian aid remains way too opaque, only the most concrete and effective programs should remain. In particular those that help local entrepreneurs, not multinationals.

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