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View Full Version : Any hope to solve Africa's poverty problems ?



Maciamo
18-02-05, 14:58
Please take a look at this article from the Japan Times : A laggard plan to end African poverty (http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/geted.pl5?eo20050213a1.htm)

Do you think that the creation of an International Finance Facility ("Marshal Plan for Africa") could solve anything ?

I tend to agree with the reporter. Corruption is so high in about all African countries that aid funds are always diverted by the leaders. After the European powers granted independence to African countries betwen the 1950's and 70's, these countries had an efficeint, democratic, Western-style political organization, a relatvely good education system, railways, mines, and quite a lot of infrastructure. In just a few decades, the corruped and selfish dictators of most of these countries have managed to destroy all this, abuse and impoversih their citizens, while they were building palaces with hundreds of concubines and servants for themselves, and placing their money in Swiss banks.

I think that the problem of Africa is not a lack of resources (they have more than Europe, Japan, Singapore, etc.), not a problem of colonial past (Singapore, Hong Kong, etc. flourished on the system implemented by Britain), not really a matter of climate or environment (Singapore is as tropical as Congo, and Arizona or Nevada as dry as subsaharan regions), but a problem of mentality. People there are just too selfish. once someone take power, they only care about oppressing their people, not helping them build a nation and educate or give jobs to people, as they would do in Asia or South America.

We could claim that communication is also a problem, especially in Western African states like Nigera, Togo, Benin, Cote d'Ivoir or Sierra Leone, where there are hundreds of unrealted languages and ethnies cohabiting on a relatively small territory, which eventually causes wars and massacres. But there are over 800 languages in India and most people aren't much richer and live in a similar natural environment. However few countries in the world can claim to be as peaceful as India compared to the size of their population (I have stayed there for 5 months and felt safer than in some European cities, and certainly much safer than in the States). The difference is that Indian politicians are better educated (Oxford & Cambridge graduates for about all PM since the independene), and much more enlightened and caring about their own people. In fact, there is almost no hunger in India nowadays, despite that many people still live in slums with no jobs, and the density of population is hundreds of times higher than in most African countries.

When they became independent from the UK, countries like Kenya, Zambia, Liberia or Nigeria and India were left with a similar British system, and the people had the same chance to take their destiny in their own hands. Nowadays India has its own space program, its own "silicon valley", and manufactures its own cars and trains, although it has almost no natural resources. What African country can boast half as much ? South Africa ? Right, because it was and is still mostly governed by people of European descent. Any other candidate ? Probably not. I don't think there will much hope for Africa so long as the people don't change their attitude to each others and way of thinking. It might take many decades, if not centuries...

In other words, that means that "giving money for Africa" is pointless, as it will end in the pockets of some dictator or corruped officials. Better promote a way of changing people's minds.

lexico
18-02-05, 15:21
In other words, that means that "giving money for Africa" is pointless, as it will end in the pockets of some dictator or corruped officials. Better promote a way of changing people's minds.I really don't know much about politics or the general situation of African nations. But since you ask about changing peope's minds, what better than educational resources?

Teachers, books, libraries, gymnasiums, dormitories, food producing technology, and some martial arts so they can defend themselves? It becomes very difficult to sway with dictatorship over an educated / and armed mass.

If the disarray goes for much longer, then eventually the disgruntled, hungry people might have no other choice but to go for communist uprising, the last thing they want for a better condition of living in the long run.

How about language exchange? And give them the Africa Forum (subforums for each country or language group) to talk among themselves, and with us, too!

JustJosh
18-02-05, 16:07
I don't think ending poverty in anyway is possible. If the whole world consumed liked Americans, we'd need 3 Earths to support us for just a short time. So you could say poverty is part of the descructive cycle of nature that keeps the circle of life going. Harsh, or just realistic?

Cimmerianbloke
13-11-11, 04:57
Teach them to get up in the morning and work. Simple enough.

Antigone
13-11-11, 10:27
Teach them to get up in the morning and work. Simple enough.

Mark Malloch Brown (http://www.eupedia.com/wiki/Mark_Malloch_Brown), former head of the United Nations Development Program, estimated that farm subsidies cost poor countries about USD$50 billion a year in lost agricultural exports:

"It is the extraordinary distortion of global trade, where the West spends $360 billion a year on protecting its agriculture with a network of subsidies and tariffs that costs developing countries about US$50 billion in potential lost agricultural exports. Fifty billion dollars is the equivalent of today's level of development assistance."[26] (http://www.eupedia.com/forum/#cite_note-25)[27] (http://www.eupedia.com/forum/#cite_note-26)
The impact of agricultural subsidies in developed countries upon developing-country farmers and international development (http://www.eupedia.com/wiki/International_development) is well documented. Agricultural subsidies depress world prices and mean that unsubsidised developing-country farmers cannot compete; and the effects on poverty are particularly negative when subsidies are provided for crops that are also grown in developing countries since developing-country farmers must then compete directly with subsidised developed-country farmers, for example in cotton and sugar.[28] (http://www.eupedia.com/forum/#cite_note-27) The IFPRI (http://www.eupedia.com/wiki/IFPRI) has estimated in 2003 that the impact of subsidies costs developing countries $24Bn in lost incomes going to agricultural and agro-industrial production; and more than $40Bn is displaced from net agricultural exports.[29] (http://www.eupedia.com/forum/#cite_note-28) Moreover the same study found that the Least Developed Countries (http://www.eupedia.com/wiki/Least_Developed_Countries) have a higher proportion of GDP dependent upon agriculture, at around 36.7%, thus may be even more vulnerable to the effects of subsidies. It has been argued that subsidised agriculture in the developed world is one of the greatest obstacles to economic growth in the developing world; which has an indirect impact on reducing the income available to invest in rural infrastructure such as health, safe water supplies and electricity for the rural poor.[30] (http://www.eupedia.com/forum/#cite_note-29) The total amount of subsidies that go towards agriculture in OECD countries far exceeds the amount that countries provide in development aid (http://www.eupedia.com/wiki/Development_aid).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farm_subsidies

Antigone
14-11-11, 07:39
Why has my post still not appeared after 24hrs? It said it was under moderation, which is fair enough but I haven't received a notice or anything to say why it hasn't been passed. Or has it not been reviewed yet because it was the weekend?

Mzungu mchagga
14-11-11, 14:01
Why has my post still not appeared after 24hrs? It said it was under moderation, which is fair enough but I haven't received a notice or anything to say why it hasn't been passed. Or has it not been reviewed yet because it was the weekend?

The same happened to me in another thread. It's a system failure, there is nobody who reviews it. You have to write it again, sorry!

Antigone
14-11-11, 15:40
Ok shall try again, and thanks MM!

Spion Stirlitz
14-11-11, 17:25
Africa is a VERY important subject nowadays. However, I don't think that many people of the forum (me included) knows from first hand the situation and the causes of poverty in Africa.

The exception here is of course @Mzungu.

However, to make things more interesting, I am willing to play here the role of "devil's advocate" (hopping that it will not cause my immediate expulsion of the forum), and put on the carpet the old and seemingly obsolete thesis of Western imperialism as cause of misery of Africa.

Recently, as the "conservative Revolution" took new impulse in the West, the thesis of Imperialism was more and more rejected. Many people choosed to buy the idea that Africans are "natural losers", and the point of view (specially in France and secondarily in England) that what Africa really needs is some sort of "recolonization" that "put order" in the current chaos, as supposedly the colonial situation in the 1950s - 60s looked "rosy" in comparison with the situation of civil wars, rates of infaction of VHI upto 40% in adults, repeated Hunger in the Horn of Africa every X years, pirates, and so on.

However, how those these ideas of "helping Africans" look recently.

Well, we had an extraordinary successful country, where literacy reached 80%+, a strong social security, beautiful cities with almost no beggars in the streets, adult population with almost 25% college degree.

Libya.

And now, after an extraordinary "effort of help", the former modern and relatively prosperous urban lanscapes, like Sirte, were transformed in something like Sarajevo 93, or Dresden 1945.

If that is the kind of help that former colonial powers will offer in the future, my position would be that the Africans will better be left alone.

And I have to say, that the history of that adventure has not ended yet. It is being written.

++++++++++++++++

Do I consider the Africans uncapable of take care of themselves? That they cannot do it well without European / Western help?

Till now, there has not been scientifically proved that people of African origin is fundamentally and inherently inferior.

What I believe is that their historical conditions have been very unfavorable.

More education of the average people and the rulers in the relevant managment skills, will be of much help (Well, that didn't helped much the Libyans, isn't it?).

But yes, if something could by done by the Africans themselves, it has to start from there.

Regards.

Antigone
14-11-11, 17:48
Much of Africa's problem is neither "laziness" nor former western imperialism but the inability to fairly compete against developed countries who subsidise their agriculture industry.

Although some critics and proponents of the World Trade Organization (http://www.eupedia.com/wiki/World_Trade_Organization) have noted that export subsidies, by driving down the price of commodities, can provide cheap food for consumers in developing countries,[22] (http://www.eupedia.com/forum/#cite_note-21)[23] (http://www.eupedia.com/forum/#cite_note-22) low prices are harmful to farmers not receiving the subsidy. Because it is usually wealthy countries that can afford domestic subsidies, critics argue that they promote poverty (http://www.eupedia.com/wiki/Poverty) in developing countries (http://www.eupedia.com/wiki/Developing_country) by artificially driving down world crop prices.[24] (http://www.eupedia.com/forum/#cite_note-23) Agriculture is one of the few areas where developing countries have a comparative advantage (http://www.eupedia.com/wiki/Comparative_advantage), but low crop prices encourage developing countries to be dependent buyers of food from wealthy countries. So local farmers, instead of improving the agricultural and economic self-sufficiency of their home country, are instead forced out of the market and perhaps even off their land. This occurs as a result of a process known as "international dumping" in which subsidized farmers are able to "dump" low-cost agricultural goods on foreign markets at costs that un-subsidized farmers cannot compete with. Agricultural subsidies often are a common stumbling block in trade negotiations. In 2006, talks at the Doha round (http://www.eupedia.com/wiki/Doha_round) of WTO trade negotiations stalled because the US refused to cut subsidies to a level where other countries' non-subsidized exports would have been competitive.[25] (http://www.eupedia.com/forum/#cite_note-24)
Others argue that a world market with farm subsidies and other market distortions (http://www.eupedia.com/wiki/Market_distortion) (as happens today) results in higher food prices, rather than lower food prices, as compared to a free market.

Mark Malloch Brown (http://www.eupedia.com/wiki/Mark_Malloch_Brown), former head of the United Nations Development Program, estimated that farm subsidies cost poor countries about USD$50 billion a year in lost agricultural exports:
"It is the extraordinary distortion of global trade, where the West spends $360 billion a year on protecting its agriculture with a network of subsidies and tariffs that costs developing countries about US$50 billion in potential lost agricultural exports. Fifty billion dollars is the equivalent of today's level of development assistance."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agriculture_subsidies

Cimmerianbloke
16-11-11, 06:28
From Wikipedia:

"The continent is believed to hold 90% of the world’s cobalt (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cobalt), 90% of its platinum (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platinum), 50% of its gold (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gold), 98% of its chromium (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromium), 70% of its tantalite (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tantalite),[70] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Africa#cite_note-69) 64% of its manganese (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manganese) and one-third of its uranium (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uranium).[71] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Africa#cite_note-70) The Democratic Republic of the Congo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_Republic_of_the_Congo) (DRC) has 70% of the world’s coltan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coltan), and most mobile phones in the world are made with elements refined from this mineral. The DRC also has more than 30% of the world’s diamond (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diamond) reserves.[72] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Africa#cite_note-71) Guinea (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guinea) is the world’s largest exporter of bauxite (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bauxite).[73] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Africa#cite_note-72)[/URL] [URL="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Africa#cite_note-Africa-74"] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Africa#cite_note-73)A Harvard University study showed that Africa could easily feed itself, if only it had decent governance.[76] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Africa#cite_note-75)"



Call me insensitive, but these people are sitting on the most abundant reserves of every single metal available on the planet. Yet they are not able to find an organisation of society that would allow them to prosper and grow out of their misery. And please do not blame the bad white man, otherwise I will have to tell you how good Africans had it when we, Europeans, were "looting and pillaging" the continent, how the Dutch, Belgians and English built hospitals, railroads, cities and provided for the poor black souls, and I would sound like a colonialist and a racist...

Yetos
16-11-11, 07:31
I agree,

but it is more easy to sell them guns to genocide each other
than to sell them technology and heavy industry,
the first that must change in Africa is the educational system

Antigone
16-11-11, 07:36
Blaming the problem entirely on Africa is as silly as entirely blaming the west for the problems. The answer is, as it always is, somewhere in the middle. It is a combination of both.

There is no use listing the mineral resources of Africa, everyone knows (and many fear) that it is a wealthy continent which is entirely capable of feeding itself. What needs to be looked at is why and exactly who controls the many mining and oil interests. Is it the various govenments of Africa, therefore the people of Africa or is the mining of natural resources controlled by foreigners and foreign companies? And, therefore the profits and benefits of those resources do not remain in Africa.

But what you are really saying is that you resent the fact that Africa has not become another Europe. That in only 200 years (much less since independance) Africa hasn't evolved into what it took Europe thousands of years to become? Give them a break, they'll find their own way and do it much quicker without greedy foreign interference.

Cimmerianbloke
17-11-11, 04:00
I don't think anybody here resents Africans for not being to come up with a decent social civilizational structure. What I find rather appalling and irresistibly ironic is the fact that the African ( and to some extent Asian) world was begging for its independence and wanted self-governance, and that the experience proves that as societies, they are unable to find a balance and prosper. If I agree that greedy foreign interference has a negative impact on the development of a healthy social and economic structure, Antigone, I tend to think of it as one side of the coin, the other being generous humanitarian help and subsidies paid in one way or another to national African governments. As a matter of fact, Belgium trains every year a certain number of residents of the ex-Belgian Congo (whatever it is called today...), but all of these candidates for high-paid jobs in their native countries fail to go back home and invest themselves into their homeland development. They prefer to stay in Europe, where welfare is generous, and it does not bother them much to know their fellow countrymen are struggling to live another year. As I mentioned earlier, education and teaching them they bear a responsability into the situation they are in is the solution.

Antigone
17-11-11, 05:40
I don't think anybody here resents Africans for not being to come up with a decent social civilizational structure. What I find rather appalling and irresistibly ironic is the fact that the African ( and to some extent Asian) world was begging for its independence and wanted self-governance, and that the experience proves that as societies, they are unable to find a balance and prosper.

I don't find it ironic nor strange that anyone would want self determination, I couldn't think of anything worse than being dictated to by a foreign power and treated like a second class citizen in my own land. Nor do I think that they are unable to find the balance that leads to prosperity. Rather that Africa is still in the process of achieving that balance, shedding the shackles of the past, re-organising and finding itself again. But it will be Africa's way and not the European way.

It takes a long time and the process is still happening in Europe also. Look at the Balkans and Eastern Europe, or the EU for that matter. But we can agree on one thing at least, education is always the answer.