By Halima Imam
Africa is extremely rich in natural resources but her people live in extreme poverty. Thirty of the 50 poorest countries in the world are from the African continent. A lot of countries in Africa have terrible road networks, poor education systems, currencies without value, terrible healthcare systems, unsafe drinking water, epileptic power supply, inflated prices of goods and services, and an overall poor living standards.
Africa has a huge market and a tremendous business potential. That’s why this continent is a place where people do not just come to invest but a place where investors must come. Dreams are turned into gold and investment into huge return. Africa has got a huge population of people that are resilient, a people that believe that the hand that works is the one that feeds. The strength and hard work that the African people put into their work, is one that doesn’t tire, it never wanes, and it just keeps going.
African countries continue to be neck deep in debt because leaders and politicians continue to spend more money than is being raised as tax. Often times, they waste these monies on God knows what, at the expense of the people they have sworn to serve. When they are done spending the money, they borrow from the West, and borrow again, and the debt just keeps mounting.
Angola’s multidimensional poverty index by the OPHI (Oxford poverty and human development) shows that 48 per cent of Angolans are poor.
The Dos Santos family has the richest woman in Africa, one that has been accused and is being investigated for embezzling billions from her country. The former president was said to have led one of the most corrupt regimes in Africa, with nearly seventy per cent of the population living on less than two dollar a day.
The Democratic Republic of Congo has eighty per cent of her population living in extreme poverty. And wealth in this country is a major determinant for access to sanitation and medical services. Former president, Mobutu Sese Seko was said to have been notorious for nepotism and embezzlement, between four to 15 billion dollars was said to have been embezzled during his three decades long rule.
Liberia is one of the poorest countries in the world with about eighty four per cent of its population living below one dollar per day and ninety four per cent of workers live on less than two dollars per day. An ex – leader of the same country, Charles Taylor was said to have robbed his people of money totalling one hundred million dollars, coupled with war crimes and other crimes against humanity.
The poverty level in Sudan has been put at forty seven per cent, according to the IMF. Despite a rising income in the country, the human development outcome remains weak. A leaked United States diplomatic cable alleged that Omar Al-Bashir had stolen a whopping nine billion dollars.
Zimbabwe, a country with the highest number of educated people in Africa i,s said to have thirty four per cent of its population beliw poverty level. The former president is alleged to have saved for himself around eight hundred and forty four million euros.
The story is the same in Equatorial Guinea, Chad, South Africa, Swaziland etcetera. Nigeria has a scary level of corruption with each successive leader having a glaring case of corruption and embezzlement against them. It is alleged that over five hundred and eighty two billion dollars have been stolen from Nigeria since independence, according to a publication in 2019. It is unfortunate that a continent that defines loyalty has one of the most disloyal leaders in the World.
The amount of embezzlement that rocks the African continent makes sure that she remains a continent referred to as ‘third World’. Greed for more and unnecessary wealth accumulation has led those who are crippling Africa financially to spend excess wealth on things they do not need, to impress people who do not really care, those who don’t see them as evolved and those who see them as second class citizens and racially unequal. It’s a classic case of a fool’s paradise.
Imam is Founder of Climate Action Team
Originally Published via City Voice Newspaper