May 9, 2012, 4:04 PM
Poverty is a state of not having enough money to take care of basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter. In other words, it is a deficiency or deprivation. Poverty is also a social problem that depends on the environment you find yourself in.
For example, poverty in Europe may not be poverty in Africa. This could be due to the level of development these continents have reached.
Africa is a continent known for its deep history and rich culture, but is also known as a continent battling against poverty and disease.
Most Africans in rural areas are engaged in either subsistence or commercial farming, but these people cannot be regarded as an average group of people because commercial farmers grow crops and rear animals for sale, and so it makes them dependent on people to buy their farm produce.
Subsistence farmers grow crops and rear animals for sustenance of themselves and their families, and while they might be able to provide food for their families, they might not be able to provide other basic needs like shelter and clothing.
Going into the causes of poverty in Africa, our African culture and beliefs have also driven some people to poverty.
Take, for example, a culture that considers giving birth to many children as a sign of blessing from God.
This belief could drive someone to poverty, because with a large number of children it becomes a problem to cater for each of their needs. Also lack of education leads to poverty.
Some parents don’t see the importance of educating their children; whereas some do not have enough money to send their children to school. Such parents sometimes prefer sending their kids to hawk on the streets, an activity that does not save them from poverty.
Natural disaster brings about poverty; for example, the epidemic of bird flu that affects poultry.
It affects not only poultry, but also poultry farmers. These farmers lost income at that time because of the reduction in the consumption of poultry, and those that are badly affected may be driven into poverty.
Aside from epidemics, other natural disasters include floods, earthquakes, and hurricanes.
Governments should also provide free education at least at the primary and secondary levels; government should also encourage the uneducated ones through skills appreciation programs such as teaching them how to sew to make them more useful to themselves and to society.
We have seen most African government’s blaming the West for the continent’s failure.
In our view, this should not be the case, because it is only Africans who can redeem Africa from its litany of woes.
It is not enough for us to blame our predicament on the West as the perpetrators of colonialism. That is a defeatist mentality.
It is time we sat down and think hard for ourselves how to get out of the woods.
“Poverty is the worst form of violence.”