Kakuma News Reflector – A Refugee Free Press

We are Poor Because We are Poor

Posted in Opinion by KANERE on December 22, 2009

After considering how common economic reasoning may apply to the African context, the author concludes that Africans suffer not because of poor resources, young histories, colonial legacies, or international interference—but because Africans themselves hold poor attitudes towards development.

If we are to have a snap shot at our African continent and then juxtapose it with other continents, one cannot help but shed a tear at the litany of problems that our continent is grappling with. Almost all African countries, despite being under the illusion that they are independent, are actually in some way or another dependent on aid from other countries, their external debts are extremely high, the income per capita is extremely low, the gap rates are despicable, the standards of living are very low, all basic indices remain grim, very lousy roads, no medicine in hospitals, low quality education, very lousy and corrupt governments, wars, hunger and starvation are the order of the day, and all these emanate from one cause and that is POVERTY. So a question arises, why is it that we are poor while countries from other continents are rich?

What were we doing while those countries were getting rich? And what have we done to get rich like those countries? Could it be that people from those countries are super humans while for us we are ordinary humans?

In trying to find answers to those questions I bumped into two economists’ works, Adam Smith and Rostow, who tried but failed to explain the African poverty complexity. Adam Smith attributes our poverty to lack of resources and that those other countries are very rich because they are well endowed with resources which we do not have in sufficient quantities here. However, if we are to contextualize this reasoning in the African frame, why is it that countries with vast resource endowments like DRC are still very poor yet a very small country like Japan with no real mineral resources to brag about is almost the richest country in the world? So Adam Smith’s reasoning falls short when it comes to Africa’s poverty.

Rostow tries to attribute our poverty to the age of our countries. He says those countries are rich because they are older in age than ours and that they were at one point poor like us when they were still at our age, but again if we are to Africanize this reasoning, why is it that countries like Egypt which is over 2000 years old is still poor yet young countries like Australia, New Zealand and Canada which are just over 100 years old are rich?

At the end of the day, the African poverty phenomenon is not a question of economics, neither is it a religious question. We are poor not because we lack resources, neither are we poor because we are young nations, we are poor because we ourselves are poor. We Africans have very poor attitudes towards development, we lack ethics as a principle to foster our development, we lack integrity, we are very irresponsible, we do not have the will to comply with those functional principles of rich and developed societies. We do not have the will to develop our selves. Our attitudes are poor and we do not have the urge to get ourselves out of our poverty. Instead we expect others to get us out of it. We cannot think of developing ourselves without outsiders giving us a hand. We do not have will to sacrifice for ourselves; instead, we just waste time blaming historical factors, educational systems, and people in the rich countries for creating the current development impasse on our continent.

No one has the urge to help a people who do not have any will to develop themselves. Instead of wasted looking upon others, it’s high time we did away with our poor attitudes towards development or we shall remain poor.

13 Responses

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  1. George Blessing said, on March 31, 2010 at 10:06 am

    I really enjoy your views 2 the question i asked. But to b candid you really lambast Africa.

  2. Regine Malisa said, on September 19, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    at least i get an idea about what’s going on. I really ,really enjoy it.!

  3. Myhotkid livingstone said, on March 7, 2013 at 1:58 am

    It’s all true. It is the reason why we are poor.

  4. Ogboi Goodluck said, on March 9, 2013 at 3:55 am

    Were it was publish

  5. Felly kanini said, on March 12, 2013 at 11:49 am

    I do agree with u thats why we are poor

  6. Isibongo said, on April 17, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    I now know the reason why we africans are poor.

  7. Towongo Justin said, on June 12, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    I agree that Africa is poor not because Africa lacks resources. Africa has a wealth of resources for the development of its countries. However, Africa’s lack of development is attributed greatly to the African people themselves.

    From time of independence, African leaders failed to development a way forward as far as development is concerned, Africa lacked development strategies. This has continued to date, Africans are never foused and determined to stand and say, “yes we can”. The systems of governance and governance structures and thier institutions do not support any development. Corruption is at the peak.

    However, the facts about colonial history, can not be ignored, it contributed to Africa’s style of leadership.

  8. Shadrack Sure said, on November 28, 2013 at 6:43 am

    I have really enjoyed reading your article and I do agree with you entirely on the reasons behind the poverty that is bedeviling our continent. The continent is endowed with massive resources unlike other parts of the world. You have simply given me the appetite to read and research more on this topic.

  9. Byamugisha Theodre said, on September 19, 2014 at 10:37 am

    So Great! I like this article..”we are poor because we are poor”

  10. Mulunda said, on September 24, 2014 at 5:00 am

    I agree! The location of that camp in it self is disgusting place for human being to live. I think other Agency workers are just comfortably making good money!!

  11. Janeth mpangala said, on January 6, 2015 at 11:53 pm

    it pains a lot to know that we are the reasons why we are poor, of-course we can move from poverty if we aim to.

    Keep up Kanere.

  12. WILLY...SHOTBWOSS said, on April 29, 2015 at 9:48 am

    Hope vision 2030 will make positive changes starting with myself.

  13. Richard christopher said, on November 29, 2017 at 10:13 am

    Very nice ideas, am very interested.

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