Children wheezing and trekking long miles to sit under trees to learn the alphabet, old men with rotten teeth because they can not afford dental care walking side by side in a slow shamble to their farms, hospital beds filled with cholera patients due to poor sanitation, blind farmers and fishermen cultivating and fishing respectively for another man to eat with cutlery, fake prophets milking the congregation dry in exchange for hope and a future they are not even sure about
This is the African story.
Poverty has been viewed by different people and from different angles. Ending poverty especially in developing countries remains one great challenge even though the rate has dropped as compared to previous years. Yet, globally more than 800 people are still living on less than $1.25 per day.
It is more common in Africa due to inadequate access to clean water and sanitation, lack of nutritious food, little or no access to livelihood, conflicts, inequality, poor education, climate change, and other innumerable reasons.
In Egypt for example, climate condition prevents them from being productive in agriculture.
Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson authors of “Why nations fail” gives more insight and supports their thesis by comparing countries. They identified that Egyptians are poor precisely because, it has been ruled by a narrow elite that has organized society for their own benefit at the expense of the people.
Political power narrowly concentrated and used to create great wealth for those who possess it such as the $70 billion apparently accumulated by ex-president Mubarak and the losers are always the people who voted. Poor countries are poor for the same reason.
Countries like Great Britain and the U.S became rich because their citizen overthrew the elite who controlled power and created a society where political rights were much more broadly distributed. They further stated that the great divide between the rich and the poor countries is created by geographical differences.
Many poor countries such those of Africa are between the tropic of Cancer and Capricorn. Rich nations, in contrast, tend to be in the temperate latitudes. The great French political philosopher Montesquieu noted the geographical concentration of prosperity and poverty and argued that people in tropical climates tended to be lazy and lack inquisitiveness.
As a result, they didn’t work hard and were not innovative leading to their being poor. Truth be told, we will have the same result if we are doing the same thing. The United Nations have taken several measures to end poverty so as other organizations and individuals.
A 33 year old South African named Vinolia Kelebogile Siwa confesses to murdering her children aged between 2 and 13
Triggered by poverty, the depressed lady stabbed her children. Siwas’ story cannot be justified in any way. However, it shows more has to be done to help families especially those in deprived areas.
The question is, can we end poverty by 2030 when the global population is on the increase and monies meant for the public is accumulated by those in power and when we are sleeping and waiting for manna to fall? What is the way forward?.
Benedicta Dorcas Tetteh
featured image by Dazzle Jam