It is therefore important that the international community should seriously engage and try to tackle this problem which is widely spread in the developing world, to safe thousands of lives dieing every day because of poverty, hunger and ramping diseases. We believe reduction if not complete eradication of poverty can be achieved if the international community is committed to the programme of "Make Poverty History" . This is a noble idea set by the World Vision and 400 other organisations, who formed a coalition, campaigning to make poverty history. They lobbied the G8 nations at their last meeting in Scotland this year, demanding trade justice - not free trade and to cancel the debits from poor African countries.
We believe that if we are to challenge the root causes of poverty and to address the problems effectively we will then be closer to reduce poverty or eliminating it all together from the world, similar to the World Health organisation programme set for the eradication of Small Pox from the world thirty years ago which was successful.
The root causes for poverty in African vary from one country to another. However, in many cases it is a combination of many contributing factors, that can be classified as intrinsic and extrinsic factors. The intrinsic factors include economic, political upheaval, mismanagement, and civil wars, whereas the extrinsic are associated with natural disasters (earthquakes, hurricanes, flood, famine, ramping diseases etc) debts, trade barriers and unfair trade. However, the main contributing factors in many cases in Africa that lead to poverty are the lack of accountability, corruptions and lack of human care by some African states. In this case the power is being abused and usually is concentrated in the hands of, fewer people who are sometimes are not democratically elected, and most cases based on tribal or ethnic selection. They do not care about the well being of their fellow citizens. In most cases they do not take measures to deal with problem associated with poverty immediately when it starts but allow it to grow until it becomes bigger and difficult to manage. For example the humanitarian crisis and the famine which occurred in Sudan (in Darfur) 1984 could have been avoided if clear agricultural policy was put in place by the government. However, Instead the government allowed the World Bank to dictate its own agricultural policy and no agricultural approach was taken to secure food security.
The current humanitarian crisis which is responsible for the death and suffering of million of poor people in some parts of Africa - for example: in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Sudan, Malawi (AID), Niger and many others can not be attributed to drought and desertification alone, nor can it be blamed on the lack of stability or mismanagement of the economy alone but it is also sometimes due to combination of one or more of the factors mentioned earlier.
For example: in Zimbabwe, poverty is related not to draught or desertification but it is because of mismanagement, abuse of power and lack of democracy, as thousands of people went to the neighbouring African countries, living in an appalling conditions. In addition, there is mismanagement, lack of transparency and coupled with natural disasters. In Malawi, most of the combining factors attributed to the striking poverty, in addition to the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the community and the abuse of power by the state, which did not care for its people. In Niger, currently drought and desertification are the main factors for the poverty.
The long civil wars, coupled with land degradation, loss of livestock, loss of wild life, excessive marginalisation of rural communities and agricultural expansion at the expense of indigenous farmers and pastoralists, all these have also played an important part in the suffering of many people in Africa.
The question now, can Africa makes poverty history? or will African alone be able to tackle the root causes of poverty in the content? We believe that eradication of poverty is a huge task. It will require massive efforts from the international community as well as from African nations who should take the lead in this campaign. African states must care for its people and this will require welfare policy based on education, medical care, training of people how to manage and develop their agricultural lands and animal husbandry. However, it is well known that African people are custodian to the land. It is highly important that there should be democratic participation of the poor people and their voices must be heard. There should be also development of rural people in social, political and economic decision-making.
What is also needed to tackle the root causes of poverty in African states is transparency, progressive development, management of land, water resources, education for the farmers on mechanized farming and the use of land and irrigation systems effectively as well as improving the subsistence farming. It is of significant importance that African states should have agricultural policy for the country as well as the policy for food security, which should be the priority. We believe that if these measures are taken into account, it will help to improve the quality of life and reduce poverty among many Africa communities who are living below poverty line.
Furthermore, education, healthcare and empowerment of the people are essential elements for the community to flourish and become physically and mentally fit to contribute for development of their communities as well as their societies and nation building.
The World Bank, the IMF and the G8 wealthy nations should do more to help poor African countries to stand on their feet, to be able to tackle poverty in their countries. This should be through assisting them in a well controlled and supervised programmes set to reduce poverty. They should clear off the debts of countries who cannot afford to pay back their long outstanding debts.
The international community should do all efforts to stop the civil wars in Africa, which are the main contributing factors to the suffering of the people. It should also take measures to tackle the ramping diseases such as malaria infections and HIV/AIDS which is endemic in some African countries. World Health Organization (WHO) and other UN humanitarian agencies should be involved in helping African countries to fight the rampant diseases and infections as well as help to save African children, through making vaccines available to them, as one child dies every three seconds in Africa due to the lack of every essential thing, including lack of vaccinations for life threatening viral infections.
We believe that the international community has moral obligations to help poor African nations to fight the root causes of poverty, including taking measures to stop civil wars, help to fight diseases, drought, desertification, lack of development and mismanagement. Since all of these elements have played the role in exacerbating the prevalence of poverty in Africa.
In conclusion, the author believes making poverty history is a daunting task , it will need massive efforts by the international community. It is important that brutal civil wars should be stopped, democracy, transparency, management should be encouraged in all African states. Finally, Africa needs sustainable peace , development and democratic governments in order to make poverty history.