August 31, 2008
5 Causes Of Poverty In Africa
You might be asking yourself why Africa is so poor, why so many of her people are dying of AIDS, or poverty and due to civil wars. You probably have a lot of questions about orphans of AIDS in Africa I do not have the ultimate answers to all these questions but let me share some of my observations.
There has been an increase of child poverty in Africa mainly resulting from failure in governance. This leaves priority areas such as poverty reduction unaddressed. This poor governance is evident through the ongoing civil conflicts that have relegated most African government budgets to defence expenditure and less social sector spending yet it is the latter that affects children.
The fact of poor governance ties in neatly with the factor of conflict and civil war as another causal factor for child poverty. Currently, there is an estimated 120,000 children participating in armed conflict in Africa. In some countries up to 90% of the children are wallowing in poverty. One common denominator in these countries is the high defence expenditure.
Without question poor governance and non-transparency will lead to corruption. Where funds are unaccounted for to the people, it is most likely because they are not being used correctly or for specified national objectives. Funds that may be allocated for priorities such as education and health, which would cater for children's needs, are diverted for low priority areas.
Many African economies still largely depend on agriculture and yet this is no longer sustainable because of environmental degradation and the bigger threat of climate change. African lands have been damaged because of the absence of land policies, which allowed poor agricultural practices done by subsistence farmers, and even civil war, to damage the land.
Drought, flooding and other natural disasters resulting from changes in the global climate, have also contributed further in the depreciation of available land and land resources. All this means that many poor families and their children, who for decades depended on the land for survival, are no longer able to use it for agriculture. And so famine has beset them and child poverty has exacerbated because the children with no parents have no other means to survive.
Nearly a third of children in Sub-Saharan Africa are underweight. One in six African children die before the age of five from preventable causes. This is according to statistics quoted at the Third International Policy Conference of the African Child held in Ethiopia in May 2008. Globally the picture is just as dismal. Pneumonia and diarrhea cause 36 percent of child deaths among children under age 5, while malnutrition contributes to 53 percent.
In Africa disease feeds the child poverty cycle in two ways; it affects the parents of children - AIDS has claimed over 25 million lives worldwide since its discovery two decades ago; and it affects the children themselves including the now orphans of AIDS in Swaziland
Trade injustices, debt burdens, oil prices, aid ineffectiveness, globalisation and its attendant marginalisation of communities on the fringes are all other direct and indirect contributions to the burden on the African child in the 21st century.
You can help sponsor a child - Without the proper resources, children in poverty grow up without the most basic of necessities like food and education. The problem of child poverty in Africa is worsening due to factors like HIV, which is leaving behind thousands of AIDS orphans who have no way to support themselves.
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