Global Multi-Dimensional Poverty – Africa’s Blackmail?

By Uchenna Nnadi

“The time of international crisis in the financial markets; the ongoing food shortage triggering riots among the extreme poor; the failure of the Doha Round and the inability of the World Trade Organization to sell a framework of multilateral agreements in which the European Union and the United States are not willing to give up their agricultural subsidies; the questioned role of the International Monetary Fund; the politicization of the World Bank in the post-Wolfensohn era; and the increase of inequality and extreme poverty numbers on a global scale put us in a scenario in which a new economic paradigm is necessary—a new consensus able to substitute the old-fashioned and virtually dead Washington Consensus,” Jaime Pozuelo-Monfort

A drowning person always appears to be smiling and will even make it difficult for rescuers to help. This often highlights the “rich get richer and the poor get poorer” recurring pendulum of coexistence among extreme multitude of anomalies in our normal existence. Yet blaming the rich or blaming the poor is a lose-lose game.

As UNDP and Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative (OPHI) unveiled their 2023 Global Multidimensional Poverty Index, the following summary hits one as the dazing punch of Anthony Joshua against Francis Ngannoun:

1. Across 110 countries surveyed, 1.1 billion out of 6.1 billion people are poor (over 18% poverty rate).

2. 534 million out of 1.1 billion poor people live in Sub-Saharan Africa (nearly half of all poor people).

3. 389 million out of 1.1 billion poor people live in South Asia (over a third of all poor people).

4. 10 million out of 12 million poor people with the highest deprivation scores (90-100%) live in Sub-Saharan Africa.

5. Half of the 1.1 billion poor people (566 million) are children under 18 years of age. Children trafficking, children labour, children delinquency and so on have superfluous supply.

6. 84% of all poor people live in rural areas.

The dimensions of poverty were derived from three areas:

A. Health (,nutrition and child mortality)

B. Education (years of schooling and school attendance)

C. Living standards (cooking fuel, sanitation, drinking water, electricity, housing and assets).

On the other hand, World Bank reports that Nigeria’s poverty rate has risen from 40% (79 million) in 2018 to 46% (104 million) in 2023.

Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) puts Nigeria’s multidimensional poverty index of 2022 at 63% (133 million).

The myriad of poverty data above shows that Africa, nay, Nigeria is on an emergency situation, some would say on a war situation, war of extreme poverty, war of extreme lack of healthcare, education and low living standards. It does not matter whether one believes or disbelieves the oft-circulated thoughts of Richard Smith about Africans or Black people. Africa’s extreme poverty, extreme deprivation, despite Africa’s rich material resources, is so extreme that only in war is such extreme situation known and experienced. But Africans, nay, Nigerians live as if they are in peace time; but what do you expect them to do?

No, they do not live as if they are in peace time, they ethnicized and individualized it, and are leaving Nigeria and Africa. Yes, but only those in urban areas are leaving, while 84% of poor people live in rural areas. Yes, the rural dwellers are migrating to urban areas, and from there they either leave or continue to…

Continue to… what? Continue to make the numbers of poor people in the next year’s poverty count across the earth.

The leaders of extremely poor continents, particularly that of Sub-Saharan Africa live and lead their people as if these leaders were the first cousins of the European slave traders and colonists of the past. It is such that many Sub-Saharan Africans contemplate “benign” military government or even handing back rulership to the colonists with some deliberately crafted MoUs with Key Performance Indicators to provide global minimum public goods that have eluded Africa for so long.

Hoping for benign dictator or recolonization as remedy for Africa’s mess is a wishful shortcut that wastes one’s energy from actually improving terrible condition.

Africa’s mess is here for Africans to clean it up. We have to start the cleaning before any real help can come our away from elsewhere. If we continue to point fingers or expect others to start the cleaning of our mess for us, then Africa will remain the continent of extreme poverty, where the rest can come to add to our mess as they harvest Africa’s natural resources on their own terms. Nigeria can and should lead in cleaning this MESS, and Nigeria looks up to you, yes, you, to be one of the champions of such cleaning.

Key of such mess is the ethnic conflicts being reproduced in and by the artificial State sovereigns that the colonists manufactured and locked us into. These conflicts have climaxed in several genocides across Africa, and perpetuate extreme poverty with weak manufacturing capabilities. These conflicts have also matured into layers of complex anomalies that we often feel helpless about as they sabotage every development policies and projects. We have to accept and understand these conflicts, and seek non-violent, win-win manner of dealing with them. The honesty and courage to deal with them are available to Africans.

May we succeed!

Uchenna Nnadị wrote from Nsukka

Adadainfo is an online newspaper reporting Nigerian news. Email: Phone: 08071790941

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