Reasons of Poverty in Africa and Solutions

Posted By Maria Sep 08, 2015

Africa is known to be the second largest and the second most populous continent in the world. With a population of 1.1 billion (as of 2013), it accounts for 15% of world’s human population. It also houses some very important natural resources in abundance that include oil, petroleum, uranium, gold, salt, copper, silver, cocoa beans and iron to name a few. Although having a thriving population and abundant natural resources, it is still one of the most underdeveloped and poor continents.

The poverty in Africa can be attributed to many factors; from corrupt governments to tribal conflicts and to mismanagement of funds that were provided by the international community to Africa (U.S alone sent $500 billion as aid to Africa in planning long term benefitting programs). They spent most of the money in schemes that generated no benefit to the people or the continent. The lack of infrastructure and poverty has also caused the death toll to rise tremendously. Every year a lot of young children die because of water borne illness only.

Let’s elaborate reasons for poverty in Africa:

Corrupt Governments:

The governments are not only corrupt and embezzle the state money, but are also very poor in their planning. They invested in areas that do not improve the lifestyle of their people nor have they provided financial aid or medical facilities. Investing on highways and low grade construction of dams resulted in further deteriorating the condition of its people. They should have invested in providing basic necessities, like fresh water, jobs, electricity, etc.

Internal Conflict:

Africa has often fallen prey to internal conflict. The long standing civil war (Somalia) and the conflict within the countries (Ethiopia and Eritrea) has left Africa full of refugees and the wars have completely shut down the government services within those area, which is a huge setback for any government to operate efficiently.

Illiteracy and Unemployment:

The lack of education results in unemployment. This causes frustration in people and other social evils spring up.

Mismanagement of Land:

Although there is plenty of arable land in Africa, but it is not owned by individuals. Mostly, it is owned by the tribes or the descendants of the European settlers of 19th or 20th century. This leaves the common man not to be able to work or own a piece of land and contribute to anything, rather they just work as laborers and vast areas of land are still unused. They lack system of land registration and ownership and the little rules they have about registration, are not implemented.

Environment and Population Growth:

The environment in Africa is also challenging from land erosion to desserts. Droughts, deforestation and water shortages has increased poverty by decreasing people’s income and effecting the agricultural opportunities also.

Lack of infrastructure:

Lack of proper infrastructure also contributes a lot to poverty since it creates havoc for working or business class to commute. This also contributes to making a common man’s life more miserable. Even clean potable water is very rare to be found in Africa.


Africa has suffered from lethal attacks by some serious diseases. AIDS is one of them. This leaves the people impaired and unable to make whatever little living they earning, and they again become dependent on the government.

All these reasons jointly increase the level of poverty and have made the situation in Africa very grim. It has garnered war, corruption, fatal diseases and resulted in loss of precious human life. All the international think tanks and governments review the situation time and again to lend a helping hand. These reasons for its poverty are not unchangeable. Through proper planning and execution, Africa can be helped out of this situation.

The results may not be very quick or rapid but with persistence and stringent following of these solutions of poverty in Africa things will definitely take a better shape.

  • Reduce armed conflict between tribes and countries.
  • Tactfully deal with unemployment, medical facilities, and social infrastructure.
  • Take notice of corruption; develop strict rules; and punishments for people who break those rules.
  • Make proper systems for land registration and give rights to their own people.
  • Provide education as it will help create awareness and bring a ray of hope to the people.
  • Invest heavily in agricultural sector and build factories and set up industries. This will also provide employment.
  • Government should make it a point to enlighten people about family planning and have as many children as they can feed properly and educate.

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