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Poverty in Africa

Posted on Apr 29, 2007  |   4380 views  

Poverty has various manifestations, including lack of income and productive resources sufficient to ensure sustainable livelihoods; hunger and malnutrition, ill health, limited or lack of access to education and other basic services; increased morbidity and mortality from illness; homelessness and inadequate housing; unsafe environments; and social discrimination and exclusion. It is also characterised by a lack of participation in decision-making and in civil, social and cultural life. Poverty is inseparably linked to lack of control over resources, including land, skills, knowledge, capital and social connections. Without those resources, people are easily neglected by policy makers and have limited access to institutions, markets, employment and public services. The eradication of poverty cannot therefore be accomplished through anti-poverty programmes alone but will require democratic participation and changes in economic structures in order to ensure equitable distribution of wealth and income, to provide social protection for those who cannot support themselves, and to assist people confronted by unforeseen catastrophe, whether individuals or collective, natural, social or technological.1 Finally, the principle that rulers are chosen by and accountable to the people implies that democracy is government by the consent of the governed, who must approve not only the rules by which they are administered, but also the rules themselves, as well as the policies the latter will implement. Here is where the notion of accountability comes in: that rules are accountable to the people for their acts


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