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Poverty in Africa

Poverty in Africa

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Published by: mullerjimma on Jan 05, 2010
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Poverty in Africa 
 A topic paper prepared for the National DebateTopic Selection Committee of the NFSHA2006
Don PogrebaHelena High SchoolHelena MTdpogreba@gmail.com
Poverty Topic Paper 2006 Topic Meeting 
Page 2 
Background and Introduction
From Barbara Bush to Bono (Whittington), it seems that everyone is at least talking aboutthe poverty that afflicts much of the Majority World these days. Concerts have raisedawareness among young people, benefits have been held among the wealthy, and debthas been forgiven by the most powerful, yet the problem of poverty and its associatedills—illiteracy, poor health, oppression, to name a few, still afflict the world. Poverty isdestroying individuals and entire societies, with billions impacted each day. There is nointernational issue that is more pressing or damaging. Tazoacha Francis perhaps bestsummarizes the impact of poverty on the developing world:Poverty is the oldest and the most resistant virus that brings about a devastating disease in the third world called under development. It’s rate of killing cannot becompared to any disease from the genesis of mankind. It is worse than malariaand HIV/AIDS which are claimed to be the highest killer diseases.HIV/AIDS attacks only a few number of people in a society which is a negligibleportion of the world’s population. As of poverty, it is a pandemic that affects agreater number of people in the society and the whole society at large “out of the worlds population of more than 6 billion people, nearly 1.3 billion people live onless than a dollar a day, and close to 1 billion cannot meet their basicconsumption requirement... (2001)Poverty is the most significant threat facing the world today, and threatens to dominateour future. A failure to solve the seemingly intractable problem of global poverty in theMajority World offers a grim present and even worse future, with targets to solve theproblems of child mortality not being reached until 2165: And if we do not work faster, better, and harder, with more money and greaterimpact - we will miss the 2015 targets. On child mortality. On primary education. And on maternal health.This poor rate of progress is unacceptable. It should shame the world. And wehave to do something about it.On current forecasts sub Saharan Africa will not achieve our target for reducing child mortality until 2165. Why? It is not that the knowledge to avoid these infantdeaths does not exist; it is not that the drugs do not exist; it is not that theexpertise does not exist. What is missing is political will and the capacity to makeit happen...1.2 billion still lack access to clean water. 113 million children have no classroom,no desk, no textbook, and no teacher because they don't go to school. Millions of children die each year from diseases we know we can prevent. HIV and AIDS is insome countries wiping out all the gains in life expectancy of the last 40 years(Benn).
Poverty Topic Paper 2006 Topic Meeting 
Page 3 
The Response Thus Far
Faced with the grim reality of poverty in the developing world, the G8 leaders agreed to asignificant package of aid for Africa, doubling the G8’s annual aid to Africa to $50 billionfrom the current total of $25 billion by 2010. (Moscow Times). British Prime MinisterTony Blair was optimistic about the campaign, suggesting, “If we implement this, we willmake poverty history.” (CNN International) However, aid groups have made theargument that the steps, while significant are not nearly enough.The G-8's aid increase could save the lives of 5 million children by 2010 - but 50million children's lives will still be lost because the G-8 didn't go as far as they should have done,'' said Jo Leadbeater, head of policy for British-based OxfamInternational. (Crutsinger, 2005)Others were even less positive about the results of the summit. Caroline SandeMukulkira, of Action Aid, argued that “Once again, Africa's people have beenshortchanged” (CNN International), and Peter Hardstaff, head of policy for the WorldDevelopment Movement described his reaction as furious. He declared the final proposal"a disaster for the world's poor." "The agreements on trade, debt, aid and climatechange are nowhere near sufficient to tackle the global poverty and environmentalcrisis we face," he said. "We are furious, but not surprised." (CNN International)The example of Ethiopia demonstrates that these first steps have not been enough. TheUN News Service reports that,Despite the enthusiasm surrounding the last weekend’s Live 8 concerts in the runup to the G8 summit meeting, The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has warned that donors are showing increasingly worrying signs of “compassionfatigue” over the plight of Ethiopia’s severely malnourished and dying children.Preventable diseases and malnutrition on average kill up to half a millionEthiopian children a year – more than the entire population of Edinburgh, close tothe site of the G8 Summit of the world’s most industrialized nations, which kickedoff today. (2005) Action by the United States has been less than specific, with no clear assurances wherethe aid money will come from. There is also no guarantee that the money will actually reach Africa.The track record of delivery is rather appalling. Recall the Millennium Challenge Account announced by the United States in 2002 to provide $5billion dollars tosupport Africa's development. Three years later, the United States managed todeliver only $17 million dollars to Madagascar bizarrely in support of landprivatisation and the introduction of a cheque-account system in commercialbanks. ...The Enhanced HIPC debt relief initiative promised, in 1999 a debt relief package for all eligible highly indebted poor countries to the tune of $100bn. Six years later, as the HIPC regime threatens to fold up, they have delivered $40bn

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