Poverty in Africa: Causes and solutions

Africa is the second largest continent in the whole world after Asia in terms of both population and size. Nonetheless, the continent is however faced with tons of issues, one of which includes the high rate of Poverty in some areas of the continent.

Statistics show that more than 60% of Africans in over 90% of the countries on the continent earn less than a Dollar a day. Most shocking is the continuous increase of this trend, without the hope for a reduction in the coming years. This trend coupled with increased corruption in governance has caused widespread poverty across Africa.

Causes of poverty in Africa

1. Bad governance and corruption

It is beyond doubt that Africa is blessed with natural resources from Coal, Gold, Cotton, diamond, and large oil reserves which have considerably increased the level of African economies. Africa is home to the largest concentration of natural resources of all continents, having over 30% of the world’s entire natural resources.

The continent has never faced a problem with wealth or resources, nonetheless, the gains from these resources are shared with a select few, leaving a majority of the continent to wallow in abject poverty. Corruption at all levels has been the bane of poverty on the continent, with politicians swindling the commonwealth of their citizens at every opportunity.

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2. Rapid population growth

According to the Malthusian theory of inflation, ‘The population of a country is growing at a geometric rate and Food supply is at arithmetic progression’ this invariably means that food would not cover the entire population of the country. This is the exact circumstance facing the African continent. 

Hence, the population of Africa has almost doubled its size with countries like Nigeria growing at an uncontrollable rate. The continuous growth in the population of Africa is not equated to the distribution of food on the continent, this has led to food shortages in major parts of the continent.

3. War and Disaster

Africa has been known for rapid wars across the continent, from community conflicts to full-blown civil wars leading to thousands of deaths and extreme poverty. Examples of African countries thrown into severe poverty after their civil wars include Liberia, Sierra Leone, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

In addition, natural and human-made disasters in Africa have caused widespread suffering on the continent. Africa has had its fair share of disasters from earthquakes to floods, which is a key disaster occurring on the continent.

4. Poor Health Services

As the saying goes, “A healthy nation, A wealthy nation” 

People can’t carry out their work or activities in a poor state of health. Proper health services have been shown to provide the best living conditions for people. With Africans living in poor health conditions, their impact on poverty on the continent cannot be over-emphasized. 

Also read: Top 10 richest African countries

5. Lack of political will to curb poverty

Changing the poverty level in a nation can be a tasking event, it is therefore expedient for the government to create schemes and programme institutions that would develop strategies to pull people out of poverty.

For example, the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) established by the Nigerian government was significant in reducing poverty in Nigeria in the late 90s. Nonetheless, the continuous refusal of the government to fund or create activities that would reduce poverty has occasioned a continued rise in poverty.

6. Inadequate Education

There are areas in the African continent that are highly uneducated. Female education suffers the most from this difficulty. The ignorance of most Africans caused by the lack of education is overwhelming and ways significantly on the continent.

The lack of education occasions a reduction in the level of human capital, which eventually leads to less productivity with the resultant effect of poverty.

7. Poor Agriculture transportation system

One of the main sources of income for Africans is agriculture.

Africa as a continent has a strong focus on agricultural activities, this serves as a source of employment for over 60% of the continent. 

Nonetheless, poor infrastructure that aids the trade of agricultural products has contributed to the rise of poverty in Africa in no small way. 

Solutions to problems of poverty in Africa

1. Encourage Education

An investment in education can’t be overestimated, education can highly impact the already existing efforts put in place by Africa. 

Africans should be encouraged to take up education, which would invariably improve their lives in various areas of speciality.

Most importantly, gender discrimination in education should be highly discouraged, and the banner for education for all should be spread across the continent, with an emphasis on female education.

An increased education level can expose a majority of the continent to abundant opportunities in Africa.

Education should also go beyond formal education. For public education on elections and electoral rights can help stop the voting in of bad leaders.

2. Provision of efficient transportation facilities

Facilities include proper roads, efficient transportation and any other activity that would aid the ease of the transportation of goods from one place to another. 

This should enhance trade and reduce goods spoilage in the course of mobility.

Government should ensure access to storage facilities, and the provisions of Fertilizers and machines for the improvement of agriculture.

3. Standard health system

Governments in Africa should provide proper health facilities for the masses.

The health sector should be prioritized. Providing a healthy workforce would encourage Africans to work more and be productive. Hospitals and increased health education should be given to the general public with an emphasis on the advancement of human well-being. 

4. Establishment and funding of institutions to curb poverty

Institutions, Schemes and methods of poverty elevation should be established to curb the growing rate of poverty in Africa.

These institutions could be the Poverty Eradication programme, the provision of infrastructure for jobs and many more. This would help educate the minds of Africans and put the population to good use while creating additional jobs.

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5. Increase in industrial activities

African governments must create industries to build more jobs for its citizen and hence reduce the poverty level.

With the high reserves of natural resources, it is undoubted that Africa possesses lots of industries, nonetheless, the issue is Africa fails to export these resources.


Africa has the youngest population in the world, for the continent to pull through poverty, it must invest rapidly in the development of its people.

Other solutions to Africa’s poverty are the reduction of war, encouragement of job creation and many more.

Lately, most nations in Africa have risen against bad governance. Africa has been fighting the increase of bad governance through strikes, protests and others.

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Richard Okoroafor

Richard Okoroafor

Richard is a brilliant legal content writer who doubles as a finance lawyer. He brings his wealth of legal knowledge in corporate commercial transactions to bear, offering the best value that exceeds expectations.

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