Hi,I'm really confused about something.

Hi,I'm really confused about something.

Hi,

I'm really confused about something. You read the newspapers and watch the news on TV and there will plenty of news about sufferings in some parts of Africa. People there do not have enough to eat, poor sanitation, diseases are rampant and all sorts of other miseries.

However, at the same time you see militia running around with armament and ammunitions. They cannot afford basic necessities but they have money to get weaponry!?? What gives??

Answer

African poverty is a complicated matter. The roots of African current poverty are partly in its history. The most significant causes for weak African economy have been unstable transition from colonialism, the cold war, increase of political corruption, despotism and protectionism. The economic development of the continent has remained stagnant in comparison to China, India or South-America. Measured by foreign trade, number of investments or GDP, Africa's economy has actually declined. Poverty has wide-ranging consequencies or effects such as short life expectancy, violence and volatility.

Despite other hot spots for war, Africa consistently remains among the top places for ongoing conflicts, consisting of both long standing civil wars (e.g. Somalia and Sudan) and conflicts between countries (e.g. Ethiopia and Eritrea's border wars after the latter's independence from the former). Despite a lack of basic social services or even the basic necessities of life, military forces are often well financed and well equipped. Sometimes the military forces are the same thing as the government. A despot ruler accompanied by the nation's military is not a rarity in African independent history. The power gained by a military coup, as often has been the case, is not a good foundation for stable social conditions or development. The atmosphere of fear feeds more fear and results in even more armory for the armed forces and thus less money for the people, for their basic necessities of life.

Over $500 billion (U.S.) has been sent to African nations in the form of direct aid. The consensus is that the money has had little long term effect. In addition, most African nations have borrowed substantial sums of money. However, a large percentage of the money was either invested in weapons (money that was spent back in developed nations, and provided little or no benefit to the native population) or was directly misappropriated by corrupt governments. As such, many newly democratic nations in Africa are saddled with debt run up by totalitarian regimes. Large debts usually result in little being spent on social services, such as education, pensions, or medical care. In addition, most of the debt currently owed represents only the interest portion on the debt, and far exceeds the amounts that were actually borrowed (although this is true of large debts in developed nations as well). Most African nations are pushing for debt relief, as they are effectively unable to maintain payments on debt without extending the debt payments indefinitely.

Corruption is also a major problem in the region, although it is certainly not universal or limited to Africa. Many native groups in Africa believe family relationships are more important than national identity, and people in authority often use nepotism and bribery for the benefit of their extended family group at the expense of their nations. To be fair, many corrupt governments often do better than authoritarian ones that replace them. Ethiopia is a good case study. Under Haile Selassie, corruption was rife and poverty rampant. However, after his overthrow, corruption was lessened, but then famine and military aggressiveness came to the fore. In any event, corruption both diverts aid money and foreign investment (which is usually sent to offshore banks outside of Africa), and puts a heavy burden on native populations forced to pay bribes to get basic government services.

You may find this following article collection very interesting. It places part of the blame on arm manufacturers and sellers as well:
http://www.globalissues.org/Geopolitics/Africa/Intro.asp#ColdWarbyProxyS...
http://www.globalissues.org/Geopolitics/Africa.asp

Sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty_in_Africa
http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afrikan_talous
http://www.ruralpovertyportal.org/english/regions/africa/index.htm

Comments (0)

Your answer