Causes of Poverty In Africa

Created by Craig Grant

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Causes of Poverty in Africa


1. ColonialismIn the 1880s, European nations began taking territory in Africa. By 1900 nearly all of Africa was in European hands.
They were attracted by:
- Gold and Diamonds
- Crops - tea, sugar, coffee
- Cheap labour
- Access to sell their goods


The main results of colonialism for the Africans were:

1. The loss of the best land to Europeans
2. They lost valuable resources
3. Forced to work in low paid jobs
4. Had to pay taxes to the new European
5. No development of African skills or
6. No money – this had gone to Europe


2. High Foreign DebtThe Governments of many African countries have borrowed money to pay for things like oil.

They need to pay back their debts.

They encourage the farmers to grow cash crops to sell to other countries.


Because of debt some African countries had to increase exports and cut back on spending.

Fewer food crops were grown and less money spent on health and education.

The poor became poorer and many African nations are now trapped in the cycle of poverty


3. ClimateA further contributing factor to poverty in Africa is climate, relating to the temperature and amount of rainfall.


Most of Africa is dry (arid).

Only the area around the equator is it wet.

Low rainfall makes it very vulnerable to the effects of drought and flooding.


Many African people still rely on farming for their survival.

The failure of crops due to climate is devastating.

The farmers do not have other resources to save themselves when the crops die.


4. War and ConflictIn Africa, war and conflict can have many complex causes. These can include:

- Inequalities between groups (social, economic, political)

- Ethnic Rivalry

- Corrupt and ineffective governments

- Natural resource scarcity

- Conservation issues

- Economic decline

- Colonial History


War and conflict has had a devastating effect on people throughout many parts of Africa. These effects include:

- Casualties (8 million since 1960)

- Famine & epidemic diseases

- The loss of crops, shops & livelihoods have had an impact on families & economies

- Loss of services such as schools & hospitals

- Child soldiers - there are approx 200,000 in Africa

- Loss of infrastructure such as roads, sewers, electricity & telecommunications

- Refugees


Evaluate the causesThe main causes of poverty in Africa are:
1. Colonialism
2. High Foreign Debt
3. Climate
4. War and Conflict
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