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By: Florian Kutz Grade 8 English J8 Summit 2012 1.06.2012 ZIS

By: Florian Kutz Grade 8 English J8 Summit 2012



By: Florian Kutz Grade 8 English J8 Summit 2012 1.06.2012 ZIS

Africa is the poorest continent in the world and there are no significant signs for improvement. Professor for Foreign Service at Georgetown Carol Lancaster calculated that at the end of the twentieth century over 315 million people were living in poverty in Africa and she believes this number will increase till 2015 to 400 million. The Human Development Index given out by the United Nation Development Programs (UNDP) shows, from the 24 countries with the lowest development 22 are in Africa. There is no or not enough economical growth in Africa because of the environmental conditions, the corrupt governments and very little governments’ services.

Harsh environmental conditions make living very difficult. Especially the sub-Sahara area has, in general, very little rain, which makes it hard for the people to have access to clean water for themselves, their cattle and to water their fields. Some years have been even worse. In 1984/85 there was a disastrous drought in Ethiopia which killed over 1 million people and their cattle. (Elliott Michael, Die Welt) Since 2010 is again an absolute drought in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia and again many people died of starvation. Many abandoned their homes and have taken refuge in camps which are built and sponsored from international relieve organizations. Now they are not working and making money for their living, these people are relying on charitable donations. Another reason for hunger and poverty is the deforestation. Africans cut their trees for their personal use, such as building houses or making fire, but the main reason is to sell the wood. Deforestation is increasing in Kenya, as it is throughout Africa. Only 2 % of Kenya is still covered by forest. (World Bank) Selling wood gives them only money once. When the trees are cut they have only fallow land which dries out fast and when it rains it causes flooding because the soil cannot hold the water. Tropical deforestation is leading to rainfall reduction because less moisture is being returned to the atmosphere when the trees are gone. This is not a good base for any agriculture, so the people have no food again. Also studies from scientists show that the effects of global warming will also be seen in Africa. The rising temperature will increase the already existing water shortage. So it will be even harder for the poor people to find clean water. They have to walk miles to get it and carry it home. Tropical regions like Africa have a corn base agriculture and scientist found out that corn does not adapt well to the raising level of carbon dioxide. (Kim, Soo Hyung) This will be another reason for poor harvest. All of

the research shows that poverty will remain a challenge and it is impossible for Africa to produce enough food themselves to feed their people.

Most African countries have a poor or even bad government which leads to corruption, insecurity and the absence of law. Corruption is a very big problem in many countries in Africa because there are not enough resources. People try everything to get to it or sell it the best and they ignore rules and laws, also there is nobody really to claim justice. There is high level corruption over millions of dollars or low level bribes to police officers. John Githongo head of the anti-corruption commission uncovered that a nonexistent company in Kenya called Anglo Leasing got several huge government contracts. (Stephanie Hanson) Nobody found out where the money really went and the attorney-general did not even want to prosecute the case because of the bad reputation for corruption many foreign investors hesitate to invest in Africa and investments is what they need. 40 % of African wealth is held outside the region, in banks and investments in Europe and USA. Not even the Africans trust their people. The African analyst Moeletsi Mbeki said: “What greater corruption could there be than stealing an election?” This is another way of corruption in Africa. Leaders, who have most or all their relatives and friends in leading positions, just want to stay in power so they buy votes or rig elections. This is less difficult than trying to gain voters by providing a good government. African countries are mainly ruled by dictators instead of democracies. These presidents or dictator control the justice and the police branch so there would never be an investigation against them. This leads to the fact that the people have little trust in their government. According to the World Bank, one out of four African countries currently suffers the effects of armed conflicts. There are tribe conflicts, fights about water or oil, etc. The results out of these fights are not only the killing; it makes the people homeless and moneyless. The fights also destroy roads, houses and factories as well as health and education facilities that are necessary for a good economy. Governments do not use their money for rebuilding instead they buy weapons for more destruction. Some rebels mine illegally diamonds and use the money to finance their fighting. If we want to fight poverty, the UN and the aid giving countries have to fight corruption first or there is no chance that poverty will get less.

There is only a very limited chance to get an education or a good health care. Most African governments are not able to provide governmental services, such as education, health care and build roads. Ending the cycle of poverty for children and their families begins with education. Education is very poor in Africa. Less than half primary school children go to school and only half of them complete primary school. Either because they had to work on fields, help their families or just live too far away. The school like I already said is most important because it would give them knowledge and they would start making the right decisions. This could lead to a chance to get jobs for them to support their families. Not just knowledge could break the cycle but also the reduction of HIV/ AIDS or other sicknesses such as Cholera and malaria. Also knowledge about health care could help them not become sick or even die. It is a big problem because people look down on the others with HIV/ AIDS and throw them out like trash. Between twelve to fourteen million children are orphaned because of HIV/ AIDS. No one wants to take care of a sick baby, that cannot ever be able to work. For them it would just be a waste of money that they don’t have. In 2004, 25 million Africans were living with HIV/ AIDS. Which resulted in 2 million deaths, 3 million were new infected, because of this, and the life expectancy is less than 50 years in most parts of Africa.(Lancaster, Carol) Sadly the government does not help them because they are too busy making money for themselves like I said earlier. Africa is far a way to offer a modern infrastructure such as roads, electricity, water and sanitation, transportation etc., but all this would be necessary for a growing economic which could lead out of poverty. Institutions like companies and governments work bad or are too unorganized to build effective power plants or water storages to bring water and electricity to their people. Rainfall is seasonal and varies, so Africans have to learn and invest into water storage, only than they could provide water when it is needed. Bad management and conflicts about water resources make this challenging. More than 60 % of Africa’s population has no or limited access to sanitations and only one out of three rural Africans has the possibility to reach an all-season road. (Infrastructure) There are seasons when the farmers cannot get their products to the markets. Over all Africa lacks in all kinds of infrastructure and it is unfortunately mostly available for the wealthier people.

All this reasons show that poverty in Africa keeps on the rise. They do not have one problem to fight; they have many: such as floods, droughts, lack of food, sicknesses, insufficient

health care, horrible infrastructure, bad access to education, political and economic incompetence, civil wars, corruption and so on. To improve their living standards Africa depends on international help. But to help the situation in the long term, they do not need just money and food for the people in distress; they need stability and knowledge to work them out of poverty into economic growth.

Work cited Page

Elliott, Micheal. "Afrika braucht unser Geld nicht." Die Welt 24 5 12: cols. Politik.

Hanson, Stephanie. Corruption in Sub-Saharan Africa. August 6, 2009 Council on Foreign Relations. 19.05.2012 <


Infrastructure. African Development Bank Group. 28.05.2012 <>.

Kim, Soo Hyung. Temperature Dependence of growth. 1.12.2007 USDA. 28.05.2012 <


Lancaster, Carol. ”Development in Africa : The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.” Current History. 01 May. 2005: 222.

"South Africa & Brazil: Hunger as a Common Issue to Overcome." Online Image. QU 301 South Africa. April, 18, 2012. 02.06.2012 <>.

The World Bank, Africa Eyes Carbon Market. May, 25, 2010 The World Bank. 24.05.2012 <,