Poverty is a disease. It is certainly terrible. It is undesirable, yet it is very common in some parts of the world while it is nearly unknown in some other parts of the world. Africa is one of the continents of the world. In fact, the continent is the second largest continent in the world and is only surpassed by Asia which is the largest. The size of Africa is estimated at about 30.2 million km² (11.7 million sq mi) to include adjacent islands and it covers 6% of the Earth’s total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area.
The continent is mostly occupied by people referred to as Africans and the people are mostly black in complexion. This is however not to suggest that there are no people with other complexions. Some Africans are even white while there are other complexions in-between. The complexions in Africa are best described as beautiful and elegant mix as well as pot-pourri. Between 1982-2009, the population of the continent has doubled and the population is currently estimated at 1 billion. The continent is tropical and poverty is common.
Poverty, whether by relative definition or absolute one is prevalent on the continent as about 70 percent of Africans still live on less than $2 a day and par capita income is extremely low. Hence, unemployment in most African countries is in excess of 20% while diseases and wars have ravaged many. The capacity for self improvement of many has been compromised predisposing many to crime and premature deaths. Hence, illiteracy is high and governance is weak. Against weak development indicators and wide spread poverty, Africa as a continent is usually referred to as a developing/least developed continent.
On the continent, poverty is in fact deadlier than HIV/AIDS. Although the problem is curable, its prevalence and endemic nature on the continent suggests that it is nearly incurable. Most people on the continent are poor and trapped in the problem. Although they wanted to be out of the problem, it is impossible for them to. Systemic problems appear to have kept them perpetually there. Many battle the problem all their lives and their generations are also banished into it explaining the term Inter generational poverty trap.
The following are the causes of poverty in Africa:
Corruption and Poor leadership: Many government officials on the continent are corrupt and abuse their public offices. The governance environment is largely irresponsible. Resources meant for all the citizenry are cornered and embezzled by few just because they are privileged to be in government or corridors of power.
Lifestyles: The lifestyles of many Africans induce poverty. Many engage in ways of life that keep them forever in the problem. For instance, many celebrate normal events like naming ceremony in outlandish manners. Africans throw parties on nearly anything. They even borrow money to celebrate dead people in events called burial ceremonies. People without stable income borrow money with huge interests just to meet cultural expectations through needless celebrations. This is one of the major causes of the problem on the continent
Illiteracy: There is high level of illiteracy on the continent. Very many Africans do not have access to formal education. This affects their reasoning faculties and drastically reduces their capacity to generate income in the modern environment being driven competitively by knowledge in the knowledge industry
Resignation: So many people on the continent have resigned to faith and accepted their situation as normal and sometimes divine. Their thinking now reflect poverty and they have come to see themselves as poor and that there is nothing they could do. They thus live a life that accepts the problem and perceive it as normal.
Systemic dis-empowerment: Life on the continent favors the rich and poor people find it difficult to actualize themselves in the system. In many instances, employment and opportunities are hijacked by the rich and those from poor background find it difficult to move up the ladder of success and affluence. The environment thus perpetrates and perpetuates the problem on the continent.