Investigating Factors Responsible For Causes And Effects Of Poverty On The Church Of God In The 21st Century
Poverty is usually defined as the lack of basic human needs, such as clean water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter, because of the inability to afford them where as relative poverty is the condition of having fewer resources or less income than others within a society or country, or compared to worldwide averages (http://encarta.msn.com/).
In this report, I investigated the different causes of poverty in Anglican Church in Anambra in Eastern Nigeria. I also investigated the effects and the current interventions to curb poverty. The causes of poverty in Anglican Church were found to be both personal and government stimulated. Some of these causes of poverty include: Poor government policies that do not protect citizens against theft of property and exploitation, laziness. culture, political instability, alcoholism, poor health services, poor education system that is theoretical and not practical creating job seekers other than creators, subsistence agriculture producing for consumption, brain drain, corruption and bureaucracy.
Some of the effects of poverty were found to be Hunger, less education, infant mortality child malnutrition, illiteracy, malnutrition, poor roads, poor health services and disease, development of slums, drug abuse, child sacrifice, increased crime and insecurity, corruption and high mortality rate.
The report used data from interviews carried out on town council/ district officials, business persons and some community members in Anglican Church in Anambra. Also related literature about poverty as written by previous scholars and researchers were considered.
Table of Content
- 1.1 Background to the Study
- 1.2 Statement of the Problem
- 1.3 Purpose of the Study
- 1.4 Objectives of the Study
- 1.5 Research Questions
- 1.6 Scope of the Study
- 1.7 Significance of the Study
- 1.8 Research Methodology
- 1.9 Limitations of the Study
- 1.10 Definition of Operational Terms
- 1.11 Organization of the Study
Review of Related Literature
- 2.1 Conceptual Review
- 2.2 Theoretical Review
- 2.3 Empirical Review
- 2.4 Summary of Reviewed Literature
- 3.1 Introduction
- 3.2 Research Design
- 3.3 Church of Study
- 3.4 Study Population
- 3.5 Sample Size and Selection
- 3.6 Research Procedure
- 3.7 Data Collection and Analysis
- 3.8 Research Instruments
- 3.9 Reliability of the Study
- 3.10 Validity of the Study
- 3.11 Ethical consideration
- 4.1 Introduction
- 4.2 Nature of the Respondents
Data Analysis and Result Presentation
- 4.1 Data Presentation
Conclusion and Recommendation
- 5.1 Conclusions
- 5.2 Recommendations
- 5.3 Area for Further Research
1.1 Background to the Study
Nigeria is going through hard and perilous times. Nigeria is not alone in these challenges but it is a sad and pity to observe. According to Folaranmi (2012):
Mention anything negative; corruption, violation of human rights, fallen standard of education, electoral malpractices, epileptic power outage, incessant strikes, lack of security of lives and properties, unemployment, fraud, greed and the rest, Nigeria is in the forefront. (p.vii).
The above situations have been blamed on our leaders, law enforcement agents and the populace. They portray our image, attitude and moral disposition in a bad light.
Our political leaders cannot be exonerated from Nigeria‟swoes.It is no longer news that Nigeria was ranked among the most corrupt nations of the world. Nigeria seems to be going back ward every day in all aspects of life. Hence Lawal (2012) says that: While corruption is on the increase our life expectancy seems to be decreasing, poverty and powerlessness are the order of the day. People‟s lives are being disposed of cheaply through different means such as armed robbers, hired assassins, kidnappers and pot holes on most of our high ways. (p.ix).
The implication of the above statement is that corruption breeds poverty and insecurity in Nigeria. They are the roots of sin which should not be compromised but needed a frontal’ attack in pulling down this stronghold.
Nigeria is more complex economically, socially, politically, ethnically and religiously, scholars have that to address.
Their views extend towards the Judeo-Christian world in particular and humanity in general. In Nigeria, there are also the three categories of people namely,the crowd, the revenue collectors and the politicians, were the principal actors whose activities were characterized by corruption, exploitation, degradation, avarice, selfishness, and other forms of bad image which had the moral situation to dangerously deteriorate.
The above moral dilemma is no exception in Nigeria with over 200,000,000 people, more than 800 languages and dialects. Nigeria‟s pluralism is compounded by long military rule or effective occupation which explained avarice, corruption, armed robbery, kidnapping, bad leadership, drug-pushing, fake drugs and other vices which had cast aspersion on Nigerians as indecent, notorious and disgraceful.
There is a saying that for evil to triumph, every God fearing person has maintained mute, indifference and cold complexity. An exposition of the moral situation and the need for repentance is imperative not only to launder the damaged image of Nigerians, but to re-interpret the quest for ethical orientation from Nigerian perspective. It is significantly observed that the anti-snake poisons we need, therefore, is regeneration, a spiritual rebirth and a national repentance which Uche (2006) says is lacking. The same God who called John the Baptist audience to repentance through his message is calling on Nigerians to get back on the right track. This response would advance moral and spiritual development and character moulding of Nigerians by subscribing to a system of prohibitions to limit the range of the neonle. Poverty is one of the most serious problems confronting both the government and people of Anambra state in particular and Nigeria in general. Anambra state is among the South Eastern states of Nigeria with the widest gap between the rich and the poor. Despite her abundant human and material resources, Anambra state still lives in abject poverty.
In the words of Ejekwu (2003), “to be poor is a painful and regrettable state. It is more excruciating when one is poor and wretched in the midst of plenty” (p.l). Aliyu (2001) posits that, “the commonly accepted socio-economic profile of Nigerians is that nearly 70 percent are below the poverty line” (p.20). This situation calls for concerted effort at checking the scourge of poverty in Anambra State in particular and Nigeria in general.
However, in the face of this poverty threat, rays of hope have started emerging that poverty will not be allowed to continue unabated. There seems to be renewed efforts by world leaders at reducing or eradicating poverty in Nigeria. The third millennium is said to be a millennium of prosperity for African continent. In the view of Nwuba (2007) “this means that in the new dispensation, the people of Africa will be emancipated from the shackles of poverty” (p.31).In pursuance to this objective, Nwosu (2007) reports that: 189 world leaders, including Nigeria‟s immediate past president, OlusegunObasanjo, met in September 2000 at the United Nations for the Millennium summit. The outcome of the gathering was the adoption of the Millennium Declaration, a commitment by the leaders to relatively reduce extreme poverty by half by 2015 among other issues (p.21).
Poverty reduction and alleviation is therefore paramount to the average Anambrarian in particular and Nigerian in general. The millennium goal is that by the year 2015, extreme poverty and hunger must be eradicated. Since the declaration, there have been increased sustainable efforts aimed at poverty alleviation or eradication by the Nigeria Government. The government has not relented in mobilizing her citizenry in the fight against poverty in the land. The federal government of Nigeria had equally carried the poverty alleviation efforts at the state level with Anambra State inclusive. In the midst of this poverty alleviation and the need for poverty alleviation or eradication the tempo of poverty alleviation in Anambra State has been heighten through mobilization of her members in this direction.
Earlier in March 2000 about 157 delegates participated in the conference on Alleviating poverty in Africa, sponsored by the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa (CAPA), and the World Bank, in partnership with the Network of Anglicans in the mission. The conference which was held at Kenya College of Communication Technology, Nairobi from March 6-10, 2000, traced its origins to a letter from the then Archbishop of Canterbury the Most Rev. Dr. George Carey to the president of world Bank James Woltensohn in May, 1999 inviting the Bank‟s participation in a Council of Anglican Provinces of African (CAPA) training course for new Bishops in Ibadan, Nigeria. The conference which was opened by the vice-president of Kenya, Rt. Hon. Professor George Saitoti, attracted participants from 20 African nations, and 17 Christian denominations, with representatives of the Archbishop of Canterbury and of the president of the pontifical council for Justice and Peace based in the Vatican. They were joined by partners in development from Australia, Germany, Netherland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The vice president for Africa, Mr. Callisto Madaro, led the World Bank team of twenty seniour staff.
In its communique issued in March 2000, the conference seems to point out the background or base for church‟s active role in poverty alleviation and reduction when it quoted Jesus‟ statement about his mission on earth as stated in the gospela ccording to Saint Luke thus: The spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord (4:18-19).
From the above Biblical quotation, we see that the gospel of Jesus Christ is directed at the poor, the broken-hearted, the oppressed and the captives. And the church being the Assembly of God‟s people determined to tread the footsteps of Jesus Christ, the founder, must gear its mission towards the poor, and the likes as mentioned above. That is why the church uses its position as the moral conscience of the state and its closeness to the poor, to influence its members and governments. The conference claims in its communique thus:
The churches in Africa have been shaped by biblical story and held it up as the source of liberation, transformation for abundant life, and human dignity of all people. The churches take spiritual issues seriously and see development as more than secular process. Therefore the church seeks to hold forth the humane and spiritual values to underpin social, political and economic development. These values have kept the churches close to the poor in ways in which international development institutions and many government agencies are not. The church represents the poor and the marginalized and can speak for them truthfully and forcefully. (p.2).
From the United Nations Millennium declaration and agreement reached at the Council of Anglican Provinces of Africa‟s sponsored Conference on alleviating poverty in Africa, it is expected that each of the participating member country will go back home to start the implementation of the various decisions reached.
Nigeria, being the most populous nation in the African continent and a major player in the two conferences, is our focus for discussion. However the work focuses moreon Anambra which is one of the 36 states in Nigeria. How has the government sustained poverty reduction, alleviation and eradication efforts in Anambra state in particular and Nigeria in general?
1.2 Statement of the Problem
From the background to the study, Nigeria has large reserve of solid minerals, with proven reserve of crude petroleum and natural gas. These indicate great solid base for development and great potential for greatness. Given the vastly untapped wealth, raw materials, together with her entrepreneurial and energetic people alongside great agricultural resources, the Nigerian Economic Summit (1996) Nigeria has great potential for greatness. The reverse seems the case as Nigeria has continued to fall behind so many other countries in an increasing global economic system. Obadan (1998) says that in spite of Nigeria‟s great potential to achieve greatness and guaranteed improved welfare and high standard of living for the masses, Nigeria has continued to witness low growth, high poverty rates, squalor and misery in the midst of plenty
Poverty has become endemic and is fast becoming a ravaging global scourge. The high rate of poverty, especially in the third world countries and South East Asia is giving the international community much concern and they have devoted the new millennium as a period of poverty reduction and eradication. Nigeria being a member of the international community and one of the third world countries that is badly affected by poverty scourge has been waging sustainable war against poverty increase among her citizenry. But despite the government‟s sustained efforts such as setting up cottage industries, giving soft loans, training through National Directorate of Employment and empowering members through workshops, seminars aimed at poverty alleviation in Anambra State and Nigeria at large, poverty keeps escalating.
However, it seems that the church is shying away from this responsibility because of misunderstanding of her mission and criticism in some quarters that the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches‟ involvement in poverty reduction and eradication amounted to secularism and interference in the duty of government. And all efforts of the government at poverty alleviation in the country seem not to have been yielding improved dividend. This research, however, is a response to the quest for re-orientation in poverty alleviation.
The study is disturbed with the turgent, retrogressive and multiplying sociopolitical cultural, economic and moral crisis in Nigeria. Nigeria has been bedeviled by series of multi-faceted crises. These crises have continued to impede the growth and development of the country. Inspite of the fact that there are three major religions namely Christianity, Islam and African traditional religion there appear to be no concerted approach towards harnessing their potential in bringing about functional solution to the above multi-dimensional problems.
Besides the failures of several approaches by the government such as series of constitutional reforms, changes of government from military to democratic rules, War Against Indiscipline, (WAI), Mass Mobilization for Self-Reliance, Social Justice and Economic Recovery (MAMSER), National Orientation Agency (NOA), Unity Secondary Schools, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Federal Character Commission, amongst others according to Anunnadi (2007) to birth a Nigeria where peace, unity, love, equity and justice would reigns (p.4). Nigeria in this decade has been plunged into the darkest hour” in history.
The questions then arise, what next? Can religion especially the Christian religion provide the answers to the causes and effect of poverty in the church? The answers to this question is why this study is being carried out. In other words, there is a need for a fresh enquiry on the quests for poverty in the church of God, causes and effect.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
Not much attention has been given to this aspect of research in factors responsible for causes and effects of poverty on the Church of God in the 21st century
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The purpose of this study therefore is to:
- To establish various causes of poverty in Anglican Church
- To establish the characteristics of poverty in Anglican Church
- To Suggest possible solutions to reduce poverty in Anglican Church
1.5 Research Questions
- What are the characteristics of poverty?
- What are the causes of poverty?
- What are the effects of poverty?
- What are some of the efforts in place intended to reduce poverty?
- Suggest possible measures to do away with poverty?
1.6 Scope of the Study
The scope of this study will cover a brief historical background of the nation (Nigeria), the catalogue of national problems hindering poverty alleviation and how ethical re-orientation could be harnessed to bring about sustainable development.
This study has been intentionally limited to Anambra state in particular and Nigeria in general and the Christian church. The scope of the research is therefore ethical re-orientation and quest for alleviationpoverty as show cased in Anambra State and Nigeria andthe emerging role of Christian Church,will be delved into, and the unrelenting efforts of the government towards poverty alleviation in Nigeria. Thenthe role the stakeholders could play in that direction comes under the scope of this research. The choice of Anambra State in particular and Nigeria in general as a case study is informed by being prevalence of povertyrelated and moral situation. The privilege of living and observing these challenges in Anambra State and in Nigeria is informed by their activities towards poverty alleviation which have reliable data on their activities and also the researcher‟s involvement as a minister of the gospel in one of the denominations. For coherency and easy understanding, this study is divided into six chapters with various subheadings.
1.7 Significance of the Study
The work will provide the necessary framework for explaining and understanding the issue of ethical re-orientation and quest for poverty alleviation in Nigeria. To that extent, the research will stimulate further research in the areas of providing resource materials for those interested in carrying out further study related to ethical re-orientation and poverty alleviation in Anambra State in particular and Nigeria in general. The research is empirically significant as the conclusions and recommendations will assist national decision makers who are responsible for providing a framework for national development.
The mere mentioning of the word “poverty” instills fear and provokes one to anger. Poverty inflicts untold hardship and misery on people‟s lives. It is demeaning, dehumanizing and an affront to human existence. Man is therefore naturally embattled whenever poverty exists as it is today. The rate of poverty in Nigeria today has reached such an alarming proportion that it seems to have virtually defiled attempts at combating it. This study will draw meaningful attention to other aspects or efforts which will be considered very effective and reliable in tackling the ravaging scourge of poverty in Anambra State in particular and Nigeria in general. The work also seeks to address the problem of the prevailing corruption, greed, dishonesty, laziness, selfishness, wickedness by exposing the significant quest for ethical re-orientation in poverty alleviation in tackling the menace of man‟s in humanity to man.
The significance of the study to the society therefore lies in its relevant contribution to solving the problem of poverty scourge. If the government could partner with the churches and rise to her responsibility, there must be drastic alleviation if not total elimination of poverty in Anambra State in particular and Nigeria in general.
It is also significant as a reference document that may be used to articulate functional policies on the emerging role of the church in sustainable poverty alleviation in Anambra State and Nigeria in general
1.8 Research Methodology
The approach that will be used in this work is analytical methods. A review of the available literature is done to examine the extent of efforts in poverty reduction and eradication in Anambra State and Nigeria and the emerging role of the Christian churches. The gathering of primary and secondary materials will also be used in this study. The information classified under the primary source comes mainly from personal interview and observation. The secondary materials come from documentary sources of both published and unpublished works: They are mainly used to buttress the points and also to give the work a sense of comparison with other researchers.
Participant observation will play very important role in this study. It is pertinent to mention that the researcher is a clergy man who is working with non- government agency and is currently serving as a bishop in Anambra State. Hence he is in advantage position of being an insider and will also look at the issue from an objective point of view devoid of bias.
1.9 Limitations of the Study
The researcher came across undesirable hindrances during the study and these included;
- Unwillingness of respondents to disclose information on the research questions.
- Delay in filling the semi-structured questionnaires by some respondents who were very busy.
- Unreliable information from respondents who did not know much about poverty.
1.10 Definition of Operational Terms
For proper understanding of the topic, it will be pertinent to define some of the operational terms in the light of this research. Such terms include: poverty, quest, reorientation, ethical- reorientation, alleviation, poverty alleviation.
Hornby (2000) also defines poverty as the state of being poor which in turn is having very little money; not having enough money for basic needs; deserving pity and sympathy (p.910). Poverty, in effect, is the miserable condition of lack especially of the basic necessities.
But in view of the meaning ascribed the word in its general usage in the sociopolitical matrix of the present day world, poverty has assumed other dimensions like social, psychological other than economic. For the purpose of this study, poverty is perceived and used in much wider sense as a condition of helplessness, not just of material lack. Its usage thus connotes all forms of hardship, difficulties and sufferings from injustice, oppression, wickedness and so on.
Quest refers to the desire to attain a given height in life. It means the zeal to achieve an enviable position or success in a chosen sphere of life.
Alleviation explains making something less severe; reduce the effect of say suffering in man and in society.
Poverty alleviation means or involves improving the living conditions of people who are already poor. It could mean ways of improving or rendering aid in medical and scientific areas. It is essential in providing better lives.
1.11 Organization of the Study
This study is divided into five chapters. Chapter one is introduction which consists of the background to the study, statement of problem, research questions, research hypotheses, objectives of the study, the significance of the study, the scope and limitations of the study and finally the organization of the study. Chapter two deals with the literature review which consists of the conceptual literature, theoretical literature, empirical literature, theoretical framework. Chapter three gives the research methodology including research design, population of study, sample size, sampling technique, method of data collection, instrument of data analysis, method of data analysis, validity/reliability of instrument. Chapter four is presentation and analysis of data, discussion of findings. Chapter five gives the summary, conclusion and recommendations.
Conclusion and Recommendations
Discussion of several of the major topics dealt with in this report appears to lead to a general conclusion that there is evidence of poverty in the Church and that poverty in Anglican Church Council Anambra has many causes and effects on the people living there. The study therefore came up with the following conclusions.
Firstly, it is concluded that there are various causes of poverty in Anglican Church and these include: Poor government policies that do not protect citizens against theft of property and exploitation, people are sometimes lazy to work and end up just being dependants on others especially friends and relatives, some cultural values are increase poverty for example communal drinking and less consideration of the girl child for education, political instability and crime has also been seen to cause poverty since it kills business and creativeness , substance abuse especially the use of drugs and excessive alcoholism, poor health services in public health centres which has increased the mortality rate , poor education system that is theoretical and not practical creating job seekers other than creators, subsistence agriculture producing for consumption leaving little for sale, exploitation of Nigerian labour by foreign companies is evident in the Indian and other companies where Nigerians are over worked for little pay, as a result of better paying jobs abroad Nigerian professionals are leaving the country thus brain drain, corruption is rampant today which has left a lot of services un provided for example the embezzlement of the global fund which left health services not provided to people, bureaucratic procedures in decision making and high taxes also leave the citizens with nothing.
Secondary, from the study, it was thus found that the presence of poverty in the Church has had various effects on the people and the Church at large. Where there is poverty there are situations like; Hunger, less education, infant mortality, child malnutrition, illiteracy, malnutrition, poor roads, poor health services and disease, development of slums, drug abuse, child sacrifice, increased crime and insecurity, corruption and high mortality rate.
The study also concluded that despite the interventions to cub poverty which include; Federal Government Poverty alleviation programme, NAADS programme, increased micro financial institutions, NGO development programmes, immunization, infrastructural developments and task forces on corruption poverty still prevails among church members . Therefore, more has to be done in order to combat poverty.
Finally, it is seen that poverty has tended to become a way of life for the people of Anglican Church Council and that a lot more has to be done to combat it.
From the study different recommendations were given that will help in combating poverty. Below are some of the recommendations given.
Primary Health Care has been shown to be one of the most efficient ways in which absolute poverty can be eradicated in comparison to Primary Health Care which has a target of treating diseases. Disease prevention is the focus of Selective Primary Health
Care which puts this system on higher grounds in terms of preventing malnutrition and illness, thus putting an end to Absolute Poverty (Walsh, Julia A, and Kenneth S. Wan•en, 2008).
Historically, poverty reduction has been largely a result of economic growth. The industrial revolution led to high economic growth and eliminated mass poverty in what is now considered the developed world (http://www.nytimes.com/). In 1820, 75% of humanity lived on less than a dollar a day, while in 2001, only about 20% do (Vásquez 2009). As three poor live in the country side, the World Bank cites helping small farmers as the heart of the fight against poverty (http://www.nytimes.com/). Economic growth in agriculture is, on average, at least twice as effective in benefiting the poorest half of a country’s population as generated in non-agricultural sectors (http://web.worldbank.org/). However, aid is essential in providing better lives for those who are already poor and in sponsoring medical and scientific efforts such as the green revolution and the eradication of smallpox (http://www.newsweek.com/ http://news.bbc.co.uk/).
Information and communication technologies for development help to fight poverty. Ian Vásquez, director of the Cato Institute’s Project on Global Economic Liberty, wrote that extending property rights protection to the poor is one of the most important poverty reduction strategies a nation could take (Vásquez 2009). Securing property rights to land, the largest asset for most societies, is vital to their economic freedom (http://www.newsweek.com/). The World Bank concludes increasing land rights is ‘the key to reducing poverty’ citing that land rights greatly increase poor people’s wealth, in some cases doubling it (http://news.bbc.co.uk/). Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto has estimated that state recognition of the property of the poor would give them assets worth 40 times all the foreign aid since 1945 (Vásquez 2009).. Although approaches varied, the World Bank said the key issues were security of tenure and ensuring land transactions were low cost (http://news.bbc.co.uk/).
In China and India, noted reductions in poverty in recent decades have occurred mostly as a result of the abandonment of collective farming in China and the cutting of government red tape in India (http://news.bbc.co.uk/). However, ending government sponsorship of social programs is sometimes advocated as a free market principle with tragic consequences. For example, the World Bank presses poor nations to eliminate subsidies for fertilizer even while many fanners cannot afford them at market prices (http://www.nytimes.com/). The reconfiguration of public financing in former Soviet states during their transition to a market economy called for reduced spending on health and education, sharply increasing poverty (The World Bank 2002).
Trade liberalization increases the total surplus of trading nations. Remittances sent to poor countries, such as India, are sometimes larger than foreign direct investment and total remittances are more than double aid flows from OECD countries (http://www.economist.com/). Foreign investment and export industries helped fuel the economic expansion of fast growing Asian nations (Vogel 1991). However, trade rules are often unfair as they block access to richer nations’ markets and ban poorer nations from supporting their industries (http://www.nytimes.com/).
Processed products from poorer nations, in contrast to raw materials, get vastly higher tariffs at richer nations’ ports (http://www.oxfam.ca/). A University of Toronto study found the dropping of duty charges on thousands of products from African nations because of the African Growth and Opportunity Act was directly responsible for a “surprisingly large” increase in imports from Africa (http://www.news.utoronto.ca/). However, Chinese textile and clothing exports have encountered criticism from Europe, the United States and some African countries (IRIN Africa June 29, 2005/ Chinadaily.com.cn March 21, 2007).
Deals can also be negotiated to favour developing countries such as China, where laws compel foreign multinationals to train their future Chinese competitors in strategic industries and render themselves redundant in the long term (http://www.spiegel.de/). In Thailand, the 5 1 percent rule compels multinational corporations starting operations in Thailand give 51 percent control to a Thai company in a joint venture (Muscat 1994).
Capital, Infrastructure and Technology
Investments in human capital, in the form of health, is needed for economic growth. Nations do not necessarily need wealth to gain health (http://www.dcp2.org/). For example, Sri Lanka had a maternal mortality rate of 2% in the 1930s, higher than any nation today. It reduced it to .5-.6% in the 1950s and to .06% today while spending less each year on maternal health because it learned what worked and what did not (http://www.washingtonpost.com/). Cheap water filters and promoting hand washing are some of the most cost effective health interventions and can cut deaths from diarrhea and pneumonia (http://news.bbc.co.uk/). Knowledge on the cost effectiveness of healthcare interventions can be elusive but educational measures to disseminate what works are available, such as the disease control priorities project (http://www.dcp2.org/).
Human capital, in the form of education, is an even more important determinant of economic growth than physical capital (Krugman 2009). Deworming children costs about 50 cents per child per year and reduces non-attendance from anemia, illness and malnutrition and is only a twenty-fifth as expensive to increase school attendance as by constructing schools (http://www.nytimes.com/
UN economists argue that good infrastructure, such as roads and information networks, helps market reforms to work (http://news.bbc.co.uk/). China claims it is investing in railways, roads, ports and rural telephones in African countries as part of its formula for economic development (http://news.bbc.co.uk/). It was the technology of the steam engine that originally began the dramatic decreases in poverty levels. Cell phone technology brings the market to poor or rural sections (http://www.csmonitor.com/). With necessary inf01mation, remote fanners can produce specific crops to sell to the buyers that brings the best price (http://www.csmonitor.com/).
Such technology also makes financial services accessible to the poor. Those in poverty place overwhelming importance on having a safe place to save money, much more so than receiving loans. Also, a large part of microfinance loans are spent on products that would usually be paid by a checking or savings account. Mobile banking addresses the problem of the heavy regulation and costly maintenance of saving accounts (http://www.time.com/). Mobile financial services in the developing world, ahead of the developed world in this respect, could be worth $5 billion by 2012 (http://news.bbc.co.uk/). Safaricom’s M-Pesa launched one of the first systems where a network of agents of mostly shopkeepers, instead of bank branches, would take deposits in cash and translate these onto a virtual account on customers’ phones. Cash transfers can be done between phones and issued back in cash with a small commission, making remittances safer (http://news.bbc.co.uk/).
Local citizens from the Janabi Village wait their turn to gather goods from the Sons of Iraq (Abna al-Iraq) in a military operation conducted in Yusufiyah, Iraq. (U.S. Army photo by Spc Luke Thornberry)
Aid in its simplest form is a basic income grant, a form of social security periodically providing citizens with money. In pilot projects in Namibia, where such a program pays just $13 a month, people were able to pay tuition fees,
raising the proportion of children going to school by 92%, child malnutrition rates fell from 420/0 to 10% and economic activity grew by 10% (http://www.spiegel.de/). Researchers say it is more efficient to support the families and extended families that care for the vast majority of orphans with simple allocations of cash than supporting orphanages, who get most of the aid (http://www.nytimes.com/).
Some aid, such as Conditional Cash Transfers, can be rewarded based on desirable actions such as enrolling children in school or receiving vaccinations (http://origin.csmonitor.com/). In Mexico, for example, dropout rates of 16-19 year olds in rural Church dropped by 20% and children gained half an inch in height (http://www.csmonitor.com/). Initial fears that the program would encourage families to stay at home rather than work to collect benefits have proven to be unfounded. Instead, there is less excuse for neglectful behavior as, for example, children stopped begging on the streets instead of going to school because it could result in suspension from the program (http://www.csmonitor.com/).
Another form of aid is microloans, made famous by the Grameen Bank, where small amounts of money are loaned to farmers or villages, mostly women, who can then obtain physical capital to increase their economic rewards. For example, the Thai government’s People’s Bank, makes loans of $100 to $300 to help farmers buy equipment or seeds, help street vendors acquire an inventory to sell, or help others set up small shops. While advancing the woman and her household’s position economically, microloans empower women and enable them to voice their opinions in general household decisions (Grasmuck 2000).
Aid from non-governmental organizations may be more effective than governmental aid; this may be because it is better at reaching the poor and better controlled at the grassroots level (http://abcnews.go.com/). Critics argue that some of the foreign aid is stolen by corrupt governments and officials, and that higher aid levels erode the quality of governance. Policy becomes much more oriented toward what will get more aid money than it does towards meeting the needs of the people. Supporters of aid argue that these problems may be solved with better auditing of how the aid is used (http://abcnews.go.com/). Immunization campaigns for children, such as against polio, diphtheria and measles have save millions of lives (http://news.bbc.co.uk/).
A major proportion of aid from donor nations is tied, mandating that a receiving nation spend on products and expertise originating only from the donor country. For example, Eritrea is forced to spend aid money on foreign goods and services to build a network of railways even though it is cheaper to use local expertise and resources (http://ipsnews.net/). US law requires food aid be spent on buying food at home, instead of where the hungry live, and, as a result, half of what is spent is used on transport (http://www.newsweek.com/).
One of the proposed ways to help poor countries has been debt relief. Many less developed nations have gotten themselves into extensive debt to banks and governments from the rich nations and interest payments on these debts are often more than a country can generate per year in profits from exports (World Bank and International Monetary Fund 2001). If poor countries do not have to spend so much on debt payments, they can use the money instead for priorities which help reduce poverty such as basic health-care and education (http://news.bbc.co.uk/). For example, Zambia began offering services, such as free health care even while overwhelming the health care infrastructure, because of savings that resulted from the rounds of debt relief in 2005 (http://news.bbc.co.uld).
Efficient institutions that are not corrupt and obey the rule of law make and enforce good laws that provide security to property and businesses. Efficient and fair governments would work to invest in the long-term interests of the nation rather than plunder resources through corruption (Krugman 2009). Researchers at UC Berkeley developed what they called a “Weberianness scale” which measures aspects of bureaucracies and governments Max Weber described as most important for rationallegal and efficient government over 100 years ago. Comparative research has found that the scale is correlated with higher rates of economic development (Evans, 1999). With their related concept of good governance World Bank researchers have found much the same: Data from 150 nations have shown several measures of good governance (such as accountability, effectiveness, rule of law, low corruption) to be related to higher rates of economic development. The United Nations Development Program published a report in April 2000 which focused on good governance in poor countries as a key to economic development and overcoming the selfish interests of wealthy elites often behind state actions in developing nations. The report concludes that “Without good governance, reliance on trickle-down economic development and a host of other strategies will not work” (UNDP Report 2000).
Examples of good governance leading to economic development and poverty reduction include Thailand, Taiwan, Malaysia, South Korea, and Vietnam, which tend to have a strong government, called a hard state or development state. These “hard states” have the will and authority to create and maintain policies that lead to long-term development that helps all their citizens, not just the wealthy. Multinational corporations are regulated so that they follow reasonable standards for pay and labor conditions, pay reasonable taxes to help develop the country, and keep some of the profits in the country, reinvesting them to provide further development. In 1957 South Korea had a lower per capita GDP than Ghana (The Independent July 13, 2006. ), and by 2008 it was 17 times as high as Ghana’s (IMF 2008).
Funds from aid and natural resources are often diverted into private hands and then sent to banks overseas as a result of graft (http://www.economist.com/). If Western banks rejected stolen money, says a report by Global Witness, ordinary people would benefit “in a way that aid flows will never achieve”. The report asked for more regulation of banks as they have proved capable of stanching the flow of funds linked to terrorism, money-laundering or tax evasion (http://www.economist.com/).
Empowering women has helped some countries increase and sustain economic development (Scientific American July 29, 2009). When given more rights and opportunities women begin to receive more education, thus increasing the overall human capital of the country; when given more influence women seem to act more responsibly in helping people in the family or village; and when better educated and more in control of their lives, women are more successful in bringing down rapid population growth because they have more say in family planning (World Bank 2001)
5.3 Area for Further Research
Comparative studies should be carried out in different places to find out the causes of the same in order to compare situations, a research study can be carried on individual causes of poverty mentioned to find out the extent to which it causes poverty and how it can be limited. Research studies can be undertaken to find out the root causes of poverty in Nigeria as a whole and how they can be tackled.
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