POVERTY IN AFRICA

By 
Moono John

The population of Africa is 1,343,458,951 as of Thursday, August 6, 2020, based on the latest United Nations estimates. The African population is equivalent to 16.72% of the total world population. Africa ranks number 2 among regions of the world (roughly equivalent to “continents”), ordered by population. The continent is only second to Asia in the World Population Index as according the United Nations Data. Furthermore, the report says that of the total population in Africa, 43.8 % of the population is living in urban areas (587,737,793 people in 2019) while the remaining 56.2 % (752,860,354 people in 2019) is still hold in the rural set up of the continent. The population of Africa is relatively young and that makes the median age in Africa is 19.7years. That statement is enough to qualify the assertion that much of the population in Africa is youthful.

Land is one the greatest resources on the disposal on Africa. Africa is the world’s second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.37 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth‘s total surface area and 20% of its land area. With both the population and the world’s greatest resource which is land favouring the African continent. It is quite puzzling that Africa is still talking about the high poverty levels on the continent.

Poverty is the absence of production. Often times, people who are said to be living in poverty tend to apportion the blame on others for their predicament. However, this just goes to show the crisis of creativity in poor people
Africa has usually been associated with poverty, wars, diseases and underdevelopment. It is quite astonishing and puzzling that a continent embodied with many natural resources stills prides itself as one of the least developed continents on the Planet. Does Africa not produce enough? Does Africa lack a lot of creativity? These questions demand answers. 
For a long time now, Africa has economically depended on the major economic powers for financial ballouts from time to time. The World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other financial organizations have designed programs aimed at reducing poverty in many African countries. These programs aimed at reducing poverty are always a brainchild of the major economic powers.  Another example is the coining of the Sustainable Development Goals. The goals are destined to make the world a better place but very little input is coming from the poverty stricken countries. The targets of the Sustainable Development Goal Number on Poverty are:

By 2030, eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, currently measured as people living on less than $1.25 a day.  By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions.

Implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable.

By 2030, ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services, ownership and control over land and other forms of 13 property, inheritance, natural resources, appropriate new technology and financial services, including micro-finance.

By 2030, build the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations and reduce their exposure and vulnerability to climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters.

Ensure significant mobilization of resources from a variety of sources, including through enhanced development cooperation, in order to provide adequate and predictable means for developing countries, in particular least developed countries, to implement programmes and policies to end poverty in all its dimensions.

Create sound policy frameworks at the national, regional and international levels, based on pro-poor and gender-sensitive development strategies, to support accelerated investment in poverty eradication actions

The challenge that the poverty fight continues to face is not found in the policies and implementation but the sources with which the ideas to end poverty are stemming from. These programs perhaps always have a cosmetic touch to them as they rarely tackle the challenge. 
Africa perhaps needs to take a leaf of countries such as China and Singapore, which were struggling economies a few donkey years ago. However, as it stands, they are the centres of the world’s major productions. Major companies are shifting their production departments to these countries because they offer a viable business environment. 
A famous adage says, “do not give a man fish but rather teach them how to fish” is what Africa really needs at the moment. Programs of offering monetary support to Africans do not solve the problem but rather exacerbates the problem. What Africa needs is to develop production industries that would help increase the production levels and bring to a stop the blame and dependence syndrome. 
The production industries will help improve the exports for many African countries. Exporting finished products is going to be far better than exporting raw materials. The value of finished products is greater than raw materials. The raw materials are going to be processed into finished commodities that are exported back to Africa. Acquiring these finished articles from the Western and Eastern major economies results in a trade deficit for many African countries who export only raw materials. 
Another point worth of noting about reducing poverty in many African countries is improving the fiscal discipline. Fiscal discipline has for many “donkey” years remained a number one hindrance to ending poverty in Africa. Lack of proper fiscal discipline has often bled corruption. Another challenge that has beseeched the African continent in its quest to end poverty is the lack of prudent management of resources which often times results in discontentment and cynicism in citizens. Additionally, the lack of fiscal discipline results in pursuing programs that are not adding any value to the real needs of the people. Proper fiscal discipline helps to put in place the availability of all necessities, which in turn helps to foster development, and equal distribution of resources for the benefit of all. 
It is very puzzling and mind boggling that a continent that has been blessed with both population and enough arable land continues to pride itself as the poorest continent on the globe. Africa really needs to step up the levels of production and produce more because only then will Africa shed off the tag of poverty.

Published by MyWritings

A Writer, A Diplomat in Waiting, Climate Change Advocate and a Football Administrator

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