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Africa can get off the yoke of poverty

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Africa can get off the yoke of poverty

March 01 st.

 The 1st of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed by World Countries in the UN General Assembly in New York last year is remarkably to eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere. Poverty is currently measured as people living on less than $1.25 (an equivalent of Kshs. 126) a day. The SDGs are a continuation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) whose tenure expired in 2015. At the height of the realization of the 15 year MDGs in 2015, whose chief aim was to reduce poverty; the Global Multi-Dimensional Poverty Index painted a grim picture. The survey revealed that of the 1.6 billion people living in multidimensional poverty,  31% live in Sub-Saharan Africa (496 million) whereas 70% of them reside in Middle Income Countries where most of Africa`s countries are categorized.

This sad status borne by Africa`s poor may be a reflection of the continent`s potential to exploit the readily available natural resources, but not a permanent state. Development theorists have elucidated how chosen poverty eradication and economic growth objectives can be promoted and realized. Africa can also draw lessons from countries that have exonerated themselves from the shame of dependency, mis-governance, in-genuine democracy, negative ethnicity, conflict and vulnerability. The aforementioned vices are recipe for dehumanizing historic limits of scarcity.

The theme can be also examined from many angles: the relevance of indigenous African traditions; challenges of contemporary life; resource impediments to the projects of development and modernization in Africa. The panacea for this ‘backwardness’ may also be attributed to the continent`s economic evolution process (terminating in poverty), which involved a phased, lineal, somewhat irreversible, progressive and lengthy models on the development paths of the developed world. This was partly a contribution of colonialism and largely the actions of post-independent African regimes. 

There have been inspired claims that are the root of this challenge.  The famous one is that: Africa is bequeathed as the Third World; a position of subordinate incorporation in the global economy polarized into a core and periphery, where the core is the developed world and the periphery the 3rd world. This notion should be dismissed. Correcting these imbalances is our responsibility and must begin with poverty eradication.

Taking stock of who we are and what we have is a paramount step. Africa is well endowed for its development requirements as it is a home to the most valuable and strategic resources: oil, minerals, rivers, tropical forests, wild life_ just to name but a few. With the aggressive, attracted and induced “brain” emigration to the developed world; our human capital is equally unrivalled. The import of this is that we can be an enviable wealth power house at the global stage.

What is clear from the historical experiences of other countries and regions of the world is that real development is waged within the social, cultural, economic and political well-being of its people in place. We have the opportunity to gradually extend our capital apparatus and increase production. This will need investment in skilled labour and modernized technical innovations to aid in exploitation our resources. Consequently, there shall be an increase production, flow of capital and markets; which is a departure from the vicious circle. This process is guaranteed of success whereby the real per capita income increases over a long period of time while simultaneously poverty is reduced and the inequality in society is generally diminished.  

It should be remembered that: if Africa is free and unfettered, then our minds must not remain in the latent state of watching the poverty status quo to reign supreme. We must remove the yokes of poverty and its stately symptoms of dependency and borrowed garments in our development orientation. Benefiting from the hindsight of the challenges facing the realization of the MDGs, a more rapid and inclusive response ought to be in place to eradicate poverty permanently.

 

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