Over many years Africa has suffered from poverty. Poverty has been defined under two broad titles, and these are absolute poverty and relative poverty. It is broadly accepted that Africa suffers from absolute poverty, but it is my belief that any culture suffering from absolute poverty must also suffer from relative poverty. So what is absolute poverty and relative poverty?
Absolute poverty is;
- Not having basic needs, i.e. no access to water, hunger, no access to basic medical care etc.
- No shelter
- Poor health, wide range of disease, poor access to basic medicines.
- Lack of educational facilities.
- Employment, low rates of pay, little availability.
- Lack of money due to the above.
This goes hand in hand with relative poverty,
- Relationships, structure of living breaks down.
- Less stability, and this is recognized as the start of absolute poverty.
The main causes of absolute poverty in Africa are;
- Education; due to lack of finance there are few schools covering huge areas making it difficult for children to attend as they have no money or transport. Many children don’t have the luxury to get to learn to read and write.
- Health care; lack of finance has led to a lack of hospitals, lack of professionals, causing outbreaks of diseases of epidemic proportion. i.e. H.I.V., malaria, cholera etc.
- Corruption; The western world has tried over many years to financially help the African continent. Many different agencies have poured aid into Africa, financial and physical, however corruption is so rife that only a small proportion of aid received gets to those who need it!!
In my opinion, unless we see a huge change in the politics and organization of the African states then aid will continue to be abused as it has been over the last 40 years.