Africa is an endowed continent in terms of natural and human resources. This fact is well known as for centuries, it has formed some of the world’s major phenomena, from slave trade to colonialism. The trans-Saharan trade and the contact to the outside world from as early as the 14th century underline the wealth existent on the continent. The earliest explorers of the continent wrote and reported of a land so rich in minerals and other natural resources that were for the most part unexploited.
Why poverty remains high
But putting away the historical injustices and focusing on Africa as a continent, especially after the majority of her members gained independence, one cannot help but notice a continent badly affected by poor management as the main cause of her problems. Major hitches are recorded in the manner in which natural resources such as land have been managed. Despite the continent owning huge chunks of arable and fertile land, most of it is owned by single individuals, a reason for the below par crop productions. As a result of this, there are frequent droughts and famine which claim many lives every time they strike. A case in point is the controversial land reforms in Zimbabwe which sent the country’s economy on a free fall, one which it has yet to recover from. Corruption and political upheavals have only worked to aggravate the situations. Many sub-Saharan countries are embroiled in political tussles which leave many killed, maimed and severely impoverished. Poor infrastructure, from the transport to health and communication has worked immensely against trade among the countries and the rest of the world. These are just but some of the reasons why poverty remains on the continent.
Reports on growth are only inflated figures
Africa’s GDP, by the 2011 IMF estimates, is only 2.5% of the global GDP. The report also shows that only 17 of the African countries have a GDP per capita of more than $2000. Even in the seventeen mentioned above, only a small class really enjoys the benefits of the rather favorable numbers. Majority of the people do not realize the benefits of improving GDPs due to poor wealth distribution. Although many African countries are priding themselves of growing economies as measured by the size of their GDPs, inequitable wealth distribution has continued to impede growth and public participation. As a result of this, it is today estimated that the average European worker earns twenty times what the average African worker does.
Even with the ever growing GDP figures, African economies have had to deal with economic inequality related problems such as diseases, ignorance, famine, and avoidable natural catastrophes. This has derailed true growth and development on the continent.