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close this bookBottle-necks of Development in Africa (HABITAT)
View the document(introduction...)
View the document1. The absence of peace and security.
View the document2. Destructive style of political and economic leadership
View the document3. A frustrated democratization process.
View the document4. Inadequate international cooperation
View the document5. Little technology transfer
View the document6. International debt
View the document7. Corruption
View the document8. The international market injures Africa
View the document9. Poverty
View the document10. Population pressure
View the document11. Sustained hunger and poor health
View the document12. Illiteracy and ignorance
View the document13. Over - use of foreign languages
View the document14. Destroyed traditional knowledge, and spiritual heritage.
View the document15. What then?

9. Poverty

Most Africans are among the 1.3 billion people who live in utter poverty and who received only 15% of the world income in 1990. Their mean income continues to drop. Africans have so far been unable to empower themselves economically, create adequate income-generating work and avoid continued marginalization. This situation is contributing to insecurity at national, regional and even village level.

Symptoms of poverty and disillusionment are everywhere in sub Sahara African in particular and express themselves in form of lack of basic facilities like clean water, food, medical care, sanitation and infrastructure. It also expresses itself in the large number of refugees, migrations, environmental degradation, sustained hunger and malnutrition, political instability, internal ethnic conflicts, alcoholism and other forms of drug abuse, diseases and low life expectancy. According to a WHO's report called, Bridging the Gaps, poverty is now the leading cause of premature death across the planet but more so in the developing areas like Sub-Sahara Africa.

What is the reason for this economic marginalization and impoverishment of Africa? It is partly because many of them do not participate in formulating and implementing their development policies. Decisions which affect their economic and political life are made by others in foreign capitals in the company of a few of their ruling elites. These are the policies and decisions which facilitate the siphoning of their wealth, literally from under their feet. In the process they are marginalized and disempowered economically, denied access to information, knowledge and resources and forced to over mine their environment thereby, jeopardizing even their future generations.

However, the causes of that poverty are not as obvious. Neither are they often addressed. This is because the causes, such as bad governance, increased military spending, mismanagement, corruption, huge prestigious and political projects, such as the 3rd international Airport in Eldoret, are the methods used by those enjoying political power to amass more wealth for themselves at the expense of those they govern.

The ruling African elite is a new class of people in Africa, hugely privileged, enjoying the fruits of economic growth and innovations and, deliberately supporting and helping to.perpetuate the unjust and exploitative economic world-wide phenomenon: a socio-economic and political system which favours majority of countries and individuals in the Northern Hemisphere and their small counterparts in the South-i but marginalizes and excludes a small number of people in the North and large numbers in the poor regions of the South.