Africa’s Extreme Poverty

SummaryAcknowledgementIntroductionWhy Should We Help?The BenefitsThe Venture ItselfHow to Avoid the Marie Antoinette SyndromeThe Action PlanConclusionSelected Bibliography


The daunting combination of geography and disease has mired Africa in poverty. Almost half of the 680 million population lives in what Sachs terms extreme poverty. (Sachs, 2005, p. 20) This is poverty so grim that people (struggle for survival) and do not have access to (the basic standards of nutrition, health, water and sanitation, shelter and other minimum needs for survival). (Sachs, 2005, p. 24) They are at risk of dying from starvation and disease.

Poverty in Africa has been exacerbated since the mid-1980s by the draconian policies of the World Bank and the International Money Fund (IMF). These powerful organizations insisted that African countries not only funnel much money to servicing their decades-old debts, but also cut back on social services (teachers, health care workers, etc.) to satisfy the Reaganomic policies prevalent at the time. The education and health systems were drastically weakened, with disastrous results. (Sachs, 2005, pp. 81-82)

We in the developed world should be appalled and ashamed that these organizations that our tax dollars support have been such a destructive force in Africa. Our ODA dollars, pitifully inadequate though they are, could surely have been better spent.

But the greater problem is that Africa suffers from so many strikes against it that it is virtually impossible for its peoples to get stronger without massive help. Today’s ODA levels, which average about 0.25 percent, are not enough. (Sachs, 2005, pp. 301-302) To make any difference, ODA should be at least the 0.7 percent promised by the Western countries. In the final analysis, the problem is not that ODA money is wasted. The problem is that more ODA money is needed. (Sachs, 2005, pp. 296-301)


Read More: It’s Their Own Fault If They Are PoorJared Diamond and Western (Cargo)Ineffective AidMuhammad Yunus and MicrocreditUnscrupulous PeopleThe SystemGrameen BankIt Doesn’t Affect Us, So Why Should We Care?The Poor Will Always Be With UsThere Is No Point In Giving AidWhere Does All The Money Go?Africa’s Onerous ChallengesAfrica’s Extreme PovertyCorruption and Poor GovernanceLack of Modern Values and Free Market EconomiesA Population Explosion?Why Not Leave It to the United Nations and the World’s Governments?The UNThe Governments of the WorldGrassroots Movements