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Africa is rich, but Africans are poor

Despite foreign aid sent on the African continent, millions of adults and children still struggle to eat one meal a day. One may wonder why hunger and poverty are still occurring in this part of the world. Or perhaps, the African continent is made of rich countries but poor people.

Africa is rich yet Africans are poor (Photo: World Bank)

According to WhyPovery.net, prices on global exchanges for maize and wheat have tripled in the last five years. Maize has been the best-performing investment since the worldwide financial crisis began. In a short documentary titled “Hunger For Profit,” WhyPovery.net simultaneously shows on one side of the world the effects of poverty in two ends of our world.


American start investor Jim Rogers who provides in-depth information about investments and movement of money around the world and on the other side of the world market, the vendors in Kenya who feel the effects.

The documentary "Hunger For Profit" clearly depicts how hunger is used for profit. One side of the world, some investors are making millions out of food shortages. On the other side of the world, farmers who are the primary producers of crops, are hungry. According to WhyPovery.net, the number of people going hungry have reached almost 1 billion but meanwhile 200 billion dollars have been speculated on food.  

The World Bank stated that Africa continues to grow strongly but poverty and inequality remain persistently high; almost one out of every two Africans lives in extreme poverty today. According to the World Bank report, most of our world's poor people by 2013 will live in Africa.

Let us also remember that the African continent has the youngest population in the world with 200 million people aged between 15 and 24, as stated by Africa Renewal. The current trend goes so fast that experts stated that the number of young people in Africa will double by 2045.  

We need to recognize that when it comes to poverty and hunger on the African continent, we can choose to be part of the problem … or the solution. Eradicating poverty on the African continent is a reality that will take place with the dedication of every world's citizen.

The future of Africa is actually bright. Africa's youthful population is an opportunity for African and world leaders to make poverty and hunger history. As stated by the African Economic Outlook, Africa's youth population is getting better education: 59% of 20-24 year old will have secondary education in 2030, compared to 42% today. This will translate into 137 million of 20-24 year old with secondary education and 12 million with tertiary education in 2030.

Africa's economic outlook is promising, as stated by the African Economic Outlook. Africa's economy is projected to grow by 4.8% in 2013 and accelerate further to 5.3% In 2014. The World Bank's Africa's Pulse stated that almost a third of countries in the region are growing at 6% and more; African countries are now among the fastest-growing countries in the world. Africa Pulse is a twice-yearly analysis of the issues shaping Africa's economic prospects.

Africa’s agricultural, mining and energy resources could boost the continent’s economic growth and pave the way for a breakthrough in human development, as stated by the African Economic Outlook. The African Development BankGroup (AfDB) stated that Africa has 120 billion barrels of oil reserves, no less than half of Saudi Arabia, and 600 million hectares of uncultivated arable land, half of the world total. According to AfDB, the continent's resources will contribute over $30 billion per annum in government over the next 20 years.  

In a special online CNN report, Caroline Kende-Robb, the Executive Director of the Africa Progress Panel, explained how Africa's natural resources can liftmillions out of poverty.

“Africa's natural resource wealth has certainly fueled a decade of rapid growth, but most Africans have still not seen the benefits. More urgently, rapid population growth combined with deepening inequality could one day prove explosive,” Kende-Robb stated.

Kende-Robb has urged for transparency to reduce opportunity for corruption and invited the international community to do more regarding issues of money laundering and anonymous shell companies, which facilitate corruption by hiding the true recipients of corrupt payments.  

For example, the Democratic Republic of Congo lost an estimated US $1.36 billion through the systematic undervaluation and sale of nationally owned mineral assets to unknown buyers, she stated. She said that the losses were equal to more than double the combined 2012 budget for health and education. The Democratic Republic of Congo has some of the world's worst malnutrition, over seven million children out of school and the sixth highest child mortality rate, Kende-Robb said.

Africa's natural resources fuel the world, as an online CNN report demonstrated. In 2012, South Africa produces 72% and 83% of the world's platinum and rhodium respectively. Platinum and rhodium are key components of catalytic converters that are fitted to cars to reduce pollution. South Africa is a major producer of gold, diamonds, coal, iron ore.

Cellphones, laptops and other small electronic devices use parts made of tantalum, the same CNN reporttstated. In the 2011 global production, Africa's tantalum represented a total of 71% with countries such as Mozambique (24%), Rwanda (20%), Democratic Republic of Congo (11%), Ethiopia (9%) and others (7%). Mozambique's economy still heavily relied on agriculture.

In 2011, Africa produced more than half of the world's diamonds with countries such as Botswana (19%), Zimbabwe (16%), Democratic Republic of Congo (7%), South Africa (7%), Angola (7%), other (1%). Botswana is qualified as a middle-income country, as stated by the same CNN report.

Even though the world depends on Africa's natural resources, it fails to reward Africans for their hard work and generosity. The African continent is richer than we think because Africa has not only the youngest population in the world but also it is the primary producer of the world's natural resources. 

It is heartbreaking that millions of African adults and children still go to bed hungry. Most Africans may be struggling with poverty and hunger but their continent is certainly rich. Closing the cycle of poverty and hunger on the African continent will start with each of us.


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