Presentations

Present Conditions of Children's Rights and what is expected of the religious people - Poverty and it's effects on people

POVERTY AND ITS EFFECTS ON CHILDREN

The 1990s will go into history as the decade which most of the population in Africa struggled for survival with bitterness.

Africa was quoted as being: -

  •    One of the regions where the poor tripled in 20 years
  •     Population doubled in 20 years
  •     Economic growth drastically dropped
  •     The debt owed to the first world was greater than what is could harness.
  •     Most families in Africa earned less than one dollar per month compared to an average US$200 per day in some developed countries.
  •     50% of the poorest countries are found in Africa.
  •     Over 50% of the 600 million poor children are found in Africa.                                        

Poverty was one single factor contributing to drop out rate of girls in school, increased infection of preventable diseases, increased number of homeless children or street children and major push factor of children into child lavour situations.

Some of the causes for unprecedented growth of poverty have been as stated earlier, corruption, lack of conducive policy environment for economic investment, lack of social development policies which recognize basic needs such as shelter, food, education, health care as basic rights.

Although most national constitutions purport to have a chapter on fundamental rights of its people, many governments have not implemented obligations stated in their governance documents.

The national poverty eradication strategy, have remained blue print known to a few, either by omission or commission.

In some countries targeting of poor people has remained an academic talk at conferences and seminars.

The religious people can play the role of information dissemination of information on resources available for poverty eradication.

In Africa, poverty eradication strategies will need to address issues: -

  •    Land use and land ownership
  •    Governance and distribution of wealth
  •    Policies which support farmers to produce enough food and get fair pay for the labour.
  •    Policies which enable every child to get at least basic primary education.

In addition to the above, Africa debt cancer cannot be ignored in the fight for eradication of poverty.

A debt strategy that leads to effective reduction of the debt stock and takes account of the capacity of debtor countries to generate export earnings is urgently needed.

I suggest we support the World Council of Churches in their jubilee 2000 debt forgiveness campaign for rich countries to forgive poor countries. I am aware this already happening but a lot more still needs to be done.

Even with less struggling debt strategy, resource flowing to developing countries will take time to recover significantly. The transfer of capital and technology to Africa needs to be assisted by improving available financing mechanisms for investments.