Free «Economic Trends in Africa» Essay Sample


Africa is known to harbor some of the poorest populations on earth. Many people in Africa have been living in very poor conditions because they lack access to basic amenities and commodities such as clean water, food and education (Noman, Botchwey and Stein 2012). Actually, for many years, people in most countries in Africa survive on less than a dollar a month. There are many factors that have led to the deterioration of these conditions, most of which are human, but some are natural. The human factors that have fueled poverty in Africa are bad governance coupled with high levels of corruption, gender inequality and HIV and AIDS. Famine and drought form some of the natural disasters hindering poverty reduction in Africa. Although both natural and human factors contribute to poverty levels in Africa, many countries in Africa Experience poverty due to human factors. Leaders in Africa and the world at large have held many conventions, aimed at tackling the problem of poverty in Africa.



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Karl Marx’s Economic Theory

Karl Marx was a German economist who lived in the 19th century. He was a proponent of an economic theory that saw capitalism from a pessimist’s perspective. Karl Marx argued that once the people with the means of production and organizational skills set up production factories, value is created from exploiting labor from employees. According to this economic theory, the employees are over-exploited by the owners of capital. Those with the means of capital continue feelling economically better, while those providing labor continue to struggle economically to survive. One factor that is at the center of this theory is the existence of social classes. There exist classes of the wealthy and those underpaid and under-privileged. Karl Marx asserts that this struggle intensifies with time and finally the less privileged will become owners of the means of production. This theory expects that once labor suppliers become empowered, they will become owners of production means and will have no need to exploit labor. As a result, at the end, the community will be transformed from being capitalists to communists. Karl Marx argues that capitalism will be replaced by communism.

Karl Marx’s Economic Theory and Poverty in Africa

Struggles related to poverty in Africa exhibit several aspects explained by Karl Marx. According to Karl Marx theory, owners of capital oppress those who provide labor by underpaying them. This situation has been experienced in Africa for many years. Investors have been mostly influential people politically. To ensure they remain in power for as long as it is possible, they have constantly underpaid people working in their factories so that they remain poor and loyal to them politically. When people remain poor, they cannot afford quality education (Harber, 1997). Consequently, they do not gain the necessary skills and ability to fight for their rights as workers and citizens. This situation renders them helpless for many years. However, this trend has changed significantly in the last two decades. The Economic commission for Africa, initiated by the United Nations, has reported that the number of Africans living below $ 1.25 per day had decreased for the first time. This has shown that over time, providers of labor become better economically despite the challenges they face, thereby supporting Karl Marx assertion that the struggle between the owners of capital and labors providers intensify over time and that the gap between them will reduce as the struggle continues (Marx, 2004). For Karl Marx theory to hold, the labor providers must improve their lot in skills and knowledge. This has been experienced in Africa where the number of people completing their education has been on the rise. Moreover, the gender issues in education and leadership positions in different countries have significantly been addressed though more needs to be done. As Karl Marx asserts, many labor providers are becoming better each day, which represent both men and women. The increase in the number of women who are becoming empowered is a new phenomenon that will reduce the gap between owners of capital and providers of labor.

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Economic Theory and Its Alignment with Poverty Issues in Africa

The news articles reports on the improvement in performance by African countries in their quest to eradicate extreme poverty. The fight against poverty in Africa was strengthened by the United Nations in the year 2000. The improvement that has been noted was in line with Millennium development goals set by African nations (ECA Press Release, 2012). The article states that primary school enrolment in many African countries has improved to a great extent. Moreover, the problem of gender inequality in primary education has significantly been addressed, making it possible for most girls to access education. Bearing mind that women bear the biggest burden in family upbringing, their involvement in education is a positive step towards reducing poverty and gap in income levels between the wealthy and the poor. There has been a tremendous improvement in the fight against HIV and AIDS in Africa, a step that has made the fight against poverty easier than before. The little income that people in Africa used to earn was very much strained, especially in caring for family members with HIV. The reduced rate of HIV infection means that people’s income will be spared to better their lives rather .than using it to combat HIV and AIDS. The issue of reduced poverty in Africa according to the article is to some extent in line with Karl Marx’s Economic theory. The article represents a capitalism system that is found in most African countries. The wealthy continues to be to get rich, while the poor continue to be poor. This is expected according to Karl Marx’s theory of economics. The theory expects that the struggle between those who own capital and those who provide labor for production will intensify over time. This has been experienced in Africa. More than half of the African population has been reported in the past as living below a dollar per day.

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However, this situation has changed significantly from 394.9 million to 386.0 million. The trend explained by the article by all means makes sense economically. First, due to the low education standards in many African countries, the masses were uneducated and had no bargaining power. This meant that the wealthy few continued to dominate the many who were poor. As the struggle continued between the two classes, education systems improved, gender imbalance reduced and HIV, a large consumer of income was finally being brought under control. Despite Karl Marx’s theory supporting the improvement in poverty eradication, it has some few shortcomings with regard to the trend of income levels over time. The levels of income in many African countries have experienced some improvement over the years. This means that both the wealthy capital owners and poor labor suppliers benefit economically. This opposes Karl Marx’s view that labor providers are exploited and that they do not benefit economically from their labor supply. Moreover, Karl Marx’s assertion that communism will replace capitalism at the end has not been experienced in Africa despite the many milestones made in the fight against poverty. In conclusion, poverty in Africa has been reducing at a faster rate than expected. This trend has been observed from the year 1995-2006. This achievement in reducing poverty and improving the lives of all people has been boosted by the existence of Millennium development goals that have acted as milestones for poverty eradication.


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