Majority of the world’s people and nations live in poverty. Is it fair to blame the poor people for their own unfortunate predicament? Are they entirely responsible for their plight? Could it be laziness and bad decisions? Do their governments have anything to do with this, like policies that deter positive development? The global causes of poverty are often less discussed because the poor have no say anyway, or do they? Global decisions, policies and practices are always influenced or formulated by the rich and powerful who are usually leaders of rich countries, multinational corporations, institutions etc. That way, governments of poor nations and their people are often powerless and remain struggling.
The poorest countries in the world are India (with 33% of the world’s poor), China (13%), Nigeria (7%), Bangladesh (6%) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (5%). Others include Indonesia, Pakistan, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Kenya. Of all the 26 countries where the rate of extreme poverty is over 40%, 24 are in sub-Saharan Africa. Lacking basic necessities is a common thing here. A lot of people in these poor nations still rely on wood, crop waste, dung and other biomass to cook and to heat their homes since they still live without access to electricity. And reading that a certain stadium; AT&T in Dallas uses more electricity at game time than the entire country of Liberia; this just makes me sad.
This poverty affects children most. According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each DAY due to poverty be it because of hunger obviously because the poor lack the resources to grow or purchase the food they need; or killer diseases like malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia, TB, just to mention a few. (Did you know Americans spend more on Halloween than the entire world spends on malaria in a year, how scary is this mind-blowing fact? First world problems right there). What is sadder is the fact that these children die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world, neither heard nor seen. These young dying populations’ deaths are even invisible just because they are timid and weak in life.
In many developing nations people live off under $2.50 a day but extreme poverty rates are witnessed in rural areas where people live on a budget of less than $1 to $1.25 a day for food, medicine and shelter. Mostly these depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. Urbanization on the other hand, not being synonymous with human progress, has seen urban slum growth outpacing urban growth by a wide margin. Approximately half the world’s population now lives in cities and towns; and one out of three urban dwellers (approximately 1 billion people) live in slum conditions.
Isn’t it just surprising how things go around in this world of ours? On one hand we have a small number of people get the entire resources and facilities and all the good that this world has to offer, whereas the other remaining world’s population barely managing to keep it up trying to fight their fate’s brutality and dying every second of the day, not living life the way it was meant to be lived; abundantly. Being aware about all this and still reading about how 12 percent of the world’s population uses 85 percent of all the water and none of the 12 percent lies in the developing nations, how Africa uses less than 3% of the world’s energy, despite having 12.5% of the world’s population and how less than $40 billion is only required to offer basic education, clean water, and sanitation, reproductive health care for women, and basic health and nutrition to every person in every single developing country; just frustrates us to the core, it does, maybe for a little while, but it surely is irking, however it doesn’t mean we will ever be able to do anything about it, will we? Well maybe, just maybe. Extreme poverty has been cut in half in the last 20 years, and the facts show that we can get it to virtually zero within a generation (say 2030), cool? I know. This can only be achieved if we work towards it, though.