Why Africa remains poor

EDITOR -  Africa, despite it being rich in resources remains the poorest continent in the world. The land issue is a major problem in Africa, with many African countries having confused land ownership such that vast useful land remains underutilised or unused —  and in some African countries where rainfall is unreliable, there is still little or no irrigation of land.

Africa’s natural resources have also been mostly monopolised by European and American companies, largely taking money out of Africa. African land degradation, largely due to poor land management, has mostly been worsening in recent years.

Financial aid going to African countries has often been mostly emergency food aid needed as short-term help with famines, and any longer-term aid has often been misappropriated for personal wealth by corrupt officials. Where useful financial aid has been supplied to African countries it has often been in the form of loans with high interest rates that poor countries find too expensive a debt burden.

Africa has to date attracted little foreign investment though much of that has been more stable longer-term European investment as in mining.

The terms of trade set by richer countries tend often to exploit poor countries and give unfairly low prices for their exports of commodities such as tea, coffee, bananas and their other export products.

Foreign businesses operating in Africa also often do not help the local economy as much as they easily could help. Some of these problems are of course not unique to Africa and are seen also in some non-African poor countries.

Education, medicine and drinking water are also major problems in poor African countries — as well as transport and energy. Diseases like Aids, malaria and cholera are widespread with the latter two involving poor water systems. In some African countries a lack of adequate medical services is exacerbating the poverty situation for many families.

Many have noted that countries in Africa have often suffered from civil wars and poor governance, and this may be in part due to many African countries being artificial colonial creations with borders that make sustainable government more difficult.

Conflict-torn countries with long running civil wars such as Angola, Burundi, Mozambique, Somalia and Uganda have had little effective government, making it very difficult to get hold of supplies or build necessary infrastructures.

This has also given neighbouring countries big refugee problems. And much of Africa has also had corrupt governments, like Zimbabwe. But in Africa both the wars and the corrupt governments maintaining poverty, have often been supported by richer Western governments.

But many countries in Africa are now showing some real signs of progress towards better governance. The African Union has established the voluntary self-monitoring Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) for states to conform to agreed political, economic and corporate governance values.

Twenty nine of Africa’s fifty three states signed up to participate in APRM by June 2008, being — Algeria, Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zambia.

This at least shows that governments of these countries are aware that government may need improving

It is my prayer that the leadership in Africa does what is right for its people.

Lianda Khan, Lusaka, Zambia

    Comments (5)

    The African destitute/poverty is anchored in its leadership we have ;despots,dictators and tyrants who are corrupt to the core, leaving the entire continent with one or two Presidents/Leaders, so do not blame the other world before redeeming yourself.

    Mukanya - 18 July 2014

    pliz do not just tell us of corrupt governments like, u should have highlighted corrupt activities.

    uya uya - 18 July 2014

    why are African leaders corrupt, can we not blame the former colonial masters.

    uya uya - 18 July 2014

    i wish to be part of this project

    kolawole - 24 August 2015

    good discussion.coz 80% of wealth is owned by 20% of citizens. 2.mostly leadership is heredity.3.lack of management skill among citizens.4 some people are lazy. 5. mostly lack of peace and stability which negates economic gains. 6.education is still unaffordable and sometimes not practicle(Irrelevant) .plus many more........May our creator help us.

    MAGDALYNE N NYONGESA - 5 November 2017

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