facts about poverty in Africa

Many people are aware that Africa suffers from widespread poverty, but many do not know what that poverty consists of or why it exists. Understanding the facts and seeing the statistics can result in change. Here are 15 facts about poverty in Africa.

Facts and Stats about Africa Poverty

  1. Africa is by far the poorest continent on the planet. 28 of the world’s poorest countries are African.
  2. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to the second largest population of hungry people. The largest is in Asia.
  3. Half of the African population lives in poverty. These people do not have access to basic human needs, such as nutrition, clean water, shelter and more. 47 percent of the African population is living on $1.90 or less a day.
  4. Two in five African adults are illiterate. While the continent’s number of schools are increasing, the quality of learning and general attendance is still down due to local violence and gender oppression.
  5. It is projected that the global poor will become more concentrated in Africa. With the population rising at such a high rate on the continent, and having such a large number of poverty-stricken countries, it becomes very difficult to prevent increasing poverty.
  6. One in four people in the sub-Saharan region are malnourished. This is the highest amount of hungry people in the world.
  7. The causes for African hunger are poverty, conflict, the environment and overpopulation. These causes create issues such as disease, floods, genocide and many other resulting crises that result in a lack of food and health within many communities.
  8. Corruption on the continent makes it very difficult to conquer the poverty numbers. With governments confiscating donations from abroad, local militias slaughtering villagers and cultural leaders denying women the right and safety to attend school, poverty perpetuates.
  9. While worldwide poverty is declining — it has been divided in half in the last 30 years — in Africa the progress has been much slower. This is largely due to the rising population and the young age of its government systems, stemming from a history of colonization.
  10. Most of the perpetuation of poverty involves social issues. It is less a matter of wealth, as it is with how the wealth is distributed and shared.
  11. The African governments have not existed for very long. Even in 1950, only four of the 55 African countries had independent governments. Studies state that a government requires several decades at least to stabilize.
  12. The economic gap is huge and still growing. The class system contains huge gaps between the rich and poor, with little mobility due to gender inequality and corruption.
  13. Those living in regions affected by violence are 50 percent more likely to become impoverished. This makes them twice as likely to be affected by hunger. Much of Africa is war-torn and experiencing conflict.
  14. The average woman living in sub-Saharan Africa will give birth to 5.2 kids in her lifetime. While Africa is globally the poorest continent, it is also home to the highest birth rate. With a growing population, this is causing unemployment, disease and hunger.
  15. While the decline of the number of poor in Africa is slower than the global rate, it has recently decreased. It fell from 56 percent in 1990 to 43 percent in 2012.

Knowing the facts about poverty in Africa can illustrate not only the work that needs to be done but also the progress that has been implemented. Africa is a struggling continent, and these facts about poverty in Africa point to a complex problem of young governments, few resources and a growing population. There is plenty of work still to be done.

– Emily Degn

Photo: Flickr

poverty in Africa
From U.S. leaders speaking about African countries that do not exist, to people thinking Africa is a single country, misconceptions about the continent and its circumstances are far too common and dangerous to people in need. This past year illustrated this point clearly: most in the public eye do not know what is actually going on there, and when they do, they fail to describe it correctly.

But as the financial conditions in Africa change, so should the concepts and terms used to describe it. Clearing this air is fundamental for the comprehension and, possibly, alleviation of poverty in Africa.

There is no single story, country, color or solution to poverty in Africa.

Africa is not homogeneous; this misconception largely comes from gross oversimplifications by colonists or other invaders (past and present). The inability to accurately describe the large region’s complexities coupled with a historic, persistent desire to control the various narratives there is where wrongful assumptions are made. Thinking it is one country inhabited by people who all look the same or that all African populations are the descendants of slaves is extremely problematic when it comes to helping those in need.

The Sahara Desert makes up a third of the continent, but its exotic wildlife and rare tribes have become more of an icon for the entire landmass’s culture than the other 66 percent of the actual continent. The same can be said of Africa’s immense rainforest, which covers even less of the continent.

The islands on the coast vary by the hundreds: Comoros and Réunion in the east, Ascension and St. Helena south of those, Cape Verde in the southwest and the Canary Islands in the northwest, to name a few. All of these are domains of Africa and their economic diversity goes unrecognized in relation to the continent’s popularized image.

Each country faces different problems brought on by varying systemic, societal and historical issues. Assuming there is a single plan that can “fix” all of Africa is not just naive but severely condescending.

Africa is not poor, just severely exploited (still).

Seychelles, an African archipelago of 115 islands that boasts only 1 percent unemployment, was ranked as the richest nation in Africa last year. A growing population of wealthy people are living and moving to places like Mauritius, an island just east of Madagascar. Africa’s islands are home to many of the world’s wealthiest people, not just Africa’s. On the mainland, South Africa, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and Egypt are among the richest countries on the continent.

Some of the poverty in Africa is not by accident, but by design. An estimated $203 billion leaves the continent each year and around $41 billion was made off of sub-Saharan Africa alone last year. The sheer inequality is startling because the amount loaned to African countries ($162 billion) is less than the amount leaving, but nothing is being repaid.

According to a recent report, some of it is attributed to “trade misinvoicing”, where African nations receive an influx of foreign aid but subsequently lose three times that amount from “multinational companies deliberately misreporting the value of their imports or exports to reduce tax.” This means that many resource-rich African countries receiving aid are being manipulated by corporations, disenfranchising populations for denationalized profits.

This continues a history of economic exploitation that African countries have endured for centuries.

Not all tribes in Africa are poor. Or small. Or even “tribes”.

The common conception of African tribes is of black and brown people living in straw huts, hunting for food and thriving off the land. Even though Africa is home to around 3,000 tribes, many encompass populations of countries by the millions and do not live like that at all.

In Nigeria, 20 to 35 percent (approximately 45 million people) of the population identifies with the Yoruba tribe; many have white-collar jobs and live in a city. Many other tribes such as the Pedi, Igbo, Suri, Fulani and especially the Zulu, have become prominent in both size and wealth too, living in cities as taxpaying, working citizens. This raises the question: what is a tribe?

This notable misconception concerns the terminology itself. The term “tribe” insinuates a community of indigenous people, which they are, but it also comes with more negative connotations than the term “ethnic group” which, by definition, is what such populations can also be called. The name “language groups” applies even more because many speakers of various “tribal” languages are only that, speakers of a language, not “members” of a “tribe”.

For example, while it is common to speak about the displacement of various ethnic groups, the displacement of tribes in Africa is lesser known or communicated internationally. The term “ethnic group” tends to conjure empathy, while “tribe” tends to establish a sense of otherness. The ethnic diversity of such a well-populated continent needs a strikingly more complex lexicon to even begin to accurately depict populations that are far from the definition of “tribes”.

Breaking down such misconceptions helps diversify aid by simply being more culturally sensitive and aware. Addressing ineffective communication about poverty in Africa starts with using more accurate and inclusive language. Using precise vocabulary to paint a clear, distinct picture of the complex problems is how more successful solutions are established.

– Toni Paz

Photo: Flickr

Electrification to Reduce Poverty in AfricaLack of infrastructure in Africa has continued to perpetuate its impoverished state. Poverty in Africa is caused by dozens of factors that contribute to intergenerational poverty, but a key issue is access to electricity. Although access to electricity has advanced, there are still many more improvements to be made.

In Africa, access to electricity has been a serious challenge. Two out of three people in sub-Saharan Africa lack access to electricity. In total, there are over 600 million Africans without connection to an electrical network. Reports from the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Africa Outlook state that on average, electricity consumption per capita is not even enough to power a 50-watt light bulb continuously.

Even with electricity, reliability is low. Twenty-five of the 54 countries in Africa report frequent power crises including outages, irregular supply and high electricity costs. This creates numerous problems and constraints for individuals and businesses.

Investments in Africa’s electrification offer many benefits beyond the important direct job creation in energy infrastructure. Evidence suggests that household electrification also increases job opportunities due to its ability to allow people more working time, and enables the growth of rural micro-entrepreneurship. Improvements appear to be underway, with a variety of recent initiatives aimed at investment in electrification.

Africa’s demand for electricity is also growing. With a current growth rate of 6 percent per year, it will likely exceed GDP growth until 2040. This has sparked private investment and stimulated more diversified project financing. As a result, sub-Saharan Africa has seen power generation increase by 21 percent, with Chinese contractors accounting for 30 percent of this growth, to reach 115 gigawatts between 2010 and 2015.

Investment interest in Africa’s electrification has continued to increase since 2011. Of the 38 sectors reported in the Financial Times fDi Markets database, which monitors investment projects, capital investment and job creation, the alternative/renewable energy sector was the third most attractive for companies that invested in Africa in 2015 and 2016.

One major investment highlight was the $21 billion for new projects, many of which focus on renewable sources of energy. Investment trends in the renewable energy sector continue to be especially impressive, further combating poverty in Africa. Ethiopia has been seen as a leader in clean energy infrastructure, having generated the bulk of its energy needs from hydropower and other investments in geothermal, solar and wind. Its recent creation of the Ashegoda wind farm has the capacity of generating 120MW.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the development of the Grand Inga Dam has the potential to generate 40,000MW of electricity. Both of these provide Africans with not only more access to electricity but also ways to make it more affordable.

Improving access to electricity is essential to decreasing poverty in Africa. It provides households and businesses with a tool for successful operation. There have been great strides in solving this problem in Africa, yet much work still needs to be done. Estimates from the World Bank concluded that 93 percent of Africa’s economically viable hydropower potential remains unexploited.

Persistent challenges need to be addressed by the government. A Greenpeace South Africa report found that two main challenges are changing misconceptions about renewable energy’s capabilities and developing the political will to invest in clean energy infrastructure. There is no doubt that through the electrification of Africa, many new opportunities for its countries will be brought to light.

– Ashley Quigley

Photo: Flickr


The causes of poverty in Africa cannot be narrowed down to one single source. As a developing country, Africa has a lengthy history of external, internal and man-made forces at work to bring about the circumstances this continent suffers from today.

In sub-Saharan Africa, almost 220 million people, half the population, live in poverty. Worsened by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, cultural conflict and ethnic cleansing, Africa faces many challenges that directly correlate with its impoverished status.

Poor Governance

Poor governance, one of the major causes of poverty in Africa, involves various malpractices by the state and its workers. This malpractice has led many African leaders to push away the needs of the people. Having created the “personal rule paradigm,” where they treat their offices as a form of property and personal gain, these leaders openly appoint underqualified personnel in key positions at state-owned institutions and government departments. This type of governance affects the poorest people and leaves them vulnerable, as they are denied basic necessities such as healthcare, food and shelter.


Corruption has been and still is a major issue in the development of and fight against poverty in Africa, specifically sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). SSA is considered to be among the most corrupt places in the world. According to a survey conducted by World Anti-Corruption, corruption in Africa is “due to the fact that many people in Africa believe that family relations are more important than country identity. Therefore, those in power use bias and bribery for the gain of their relatives at the expense of their country.”

Corruption costs SSA roughly $150 billion a year in lost revenue. While some countries in Africa, such as Ghana, Tanzania and Rwanda, have made some progress in the fight against corruption, there are still many lagging very far behind. A lack of effort to solve this issue only worsens the causes of poverty in Africa today.

Poor Education

Lack of education is also a serious issue that contributes to the causes of poverty in Africa. This absence is especially felt in sub-Saharan Africa, which has the highest rates of educational exclusion. Over one-fifth of children between the ages of about six and 11 are out of school, followed by one-third of youth between the ages of about 12 and 14. Almost 60 percent of youth between the ages of about 15 and 17 are not in school.

Education for girls has become a major focus of support groups like UNICEF, UNESCO and the UIS. With poor access to school, lack of sanitary facilities and social norms like female genital mutilation and child marriage, the right to women’s education is even less of a priority in impoverished communities.

However, education, especially girls’ education, has been proven to be one of the most cost-effective strategies for promoting economic growth. According to UNICEF, “studies have shown that educated mothers tend to have healthier, better-nourished babies and that their own children are more likely to attend school; thus helping break the vicious cycle of poverty.”


Poor healthcare is a major cause of poverty in Africa because the poor cannot afford to purchase what is needed for good health, including sufficient quantities of quality food and healthcare itself. With a lack of education on preventing infectious diseases like malaria and HIV/AIDS, as well as the costs of consultations, tests and medicine, people living in poverty are at a severe disadvantage that only perpetuates the poverty cycle.

With a strong fight against many forces still ahead of this nation, Africa must weed out the corruption and poor government, and promote strong education and efficient healthcare for all, in order to take a big leap forward in its development as a continent.

– Kailey Brennan

Photo: Flickr

Poverty in Africa Facts Statistics Suffering Poverty Line
How bad is poverty in Africa? The situation is improving, but Africa remains the poorest continent on Earth. But what many people may not know are the effects of poverty in Africa—including hunger, disease and a lack of basic necessities.


Leading Facts About Poverty in Africa


  1. Seventy-five percent of the world’s poorest countries are located in Africa, including Zimbabwe, Liberia and Ethiopia. The Central African Republic ranked the poorest in the world with a GDP per capita of $656 in 2016.
  1. According to Gallup World, in 2013, the 10 countries with the highest proportion of residents living in extreme poverty were all in sub-Saharan Africa. Extreme poverty is defined as living on $1.25 or less a day. In 2010, 414 million people were living in extreme poverty across sub-Saharan Africa. According to the World Bank, those living on $1.25 a day accounted for 48.5 percent of the population in that region in 2010.
  1. Approximately one in three people living in sub-Saharan Africa are undernourished. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations estimated that 239 million people (around 30 percent of the population) in sub-Saharan Africa were hungry in 2010. This is the highest percentage of any region in the world. In addition, the U.N. Millennium Project reported that over 40 percent of all Africans are unable to regularly obtain sufficient food.
  1. In sub-Saharan Africa, 589 million people live without electricity. As a result, a staggering 80 percent of the population relies on biomass products such as wood, charcoal and dung in order to cook.
  1. Of the 738 million people globally who lack access to clean water, 37 percent are living in sub-Saharan Africa. Poverty in Africa results in more than 500 million people suffering from waterborne diseases. According to the U.N. Millennium Project, more than 50 percent of Africans have a water-related illness like cholera.
  1. Every year, sub-Saharan Africa misses out on about $30 billion as productivity is compromised by water and sanitation problems. This amount accounts for approximately five percent of the region’s gross domestic product (GDP), exceeding the total amount of foreign aid sent to sub-Saharan Africa in 2003.
  1. Due to continuing violence, conflict and widespread human rights abuses, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that 18 million people are of concern to the agency, including stateless people and returnees.
  1. Fewer than 20 percent of African women have access to education. Uneducated African women are twice as likely to contract AIDS and 50 percent less likely to immunize their children. Meanwhile, the children of African women with at least five years of schooling have a 40 percent higher chance of survival.
  1. Women in sub-Saharan Africa are more than 230 times more likely to die during childbirth or pregnancy than women in North America. Approximately one in 16 women living in sub-Saharan African will die during childbirth or pregnancy; only one in 4,000 women in North America will.
  1. More than one million people, mostly children under the age of five, die every year from malaria. Malaria deaths in Africa alone account for 90 percent of all malaria deaths worldwide. Eighty percent of these victims are African children. The U.N. Millennium Project has calculated that a child in Africa dies from malaria every 30 seconds, or about 3,000 each day.

– Jordanna Packtor

Sources: Global Issues, World Hunger, World Bank, World Population Review, The Richest, Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute, UNHCR, The Water Project, Gallup, Global Finance


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Poverty in the Democratic Republic Of The Congo
Since the development of the Democratic Republic of the Congo—commonly known as the DRC or the DR Congo—the nation has been the center of what many historians refer to as “Africa’s World War.” Although the country is vastly populated with an innumerable amount of resources, poverty in the Democratic Republic of the Congo still defines the lives of children and adults.


Examining Poverty in the Democratic Republic of the Congo



One of the main causes of poverty in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is health threats, specifically a malaria outbreak, which resulted in approximately 6.7 million cases nationwide in 2009. Infectious diseases, like malaria, divert intentions for economic investments, threaten public health and contribute to child mortality rates.

Yet, health risks are not the only notable sources of poverty in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is estimated that there are about 4 million orphans whose population has been created not only by disease but also by the intense conflict in the area.

However, the violent area of South Kivu is gradually returning to a more peaceful and prosperous region, improving the lives of people in the conflict zones.


In 2001, the World Bank reengaged with the DRC by providing financial and technical assistance through the application of several emergency plans to aid in the recovery of the health of the region’s people.

Projects like the Karhale Water Supply Project improved public access to potable water for 2,750 households in Bukavu, reducing travel time by placing water standpipes in strategic locations. With more access to potable water, Bukavu significantly reduced the transmission of water-borne illnesses, like the parasitic worm infection, schistosomiasis.

More recently, the World Bank’s assistance has shifted its efforts to supporting institutional capacity through the Enhancing Governance Capacity Project (PRCG) and the Public Administration Capacity Building Project (PRC-GAP).

Before the PRCG closed in February 2016, the project implemented new human resource management and public finance systems in the central and provincial governments of the region, which allowed the South Kivu Province to double its revenue between 2009 and 2014.

The project’s final goal is to reorganize the current government to permit the development of economic performance at the local level. Currently, the project has facilitated the rehabilitation of eight centers to facilitate the ongoing training of government officials throughout the nation.

The DRC will be able to reduce its dependency on external technical assistance via resources such as training at universities and higher education institutions. The Catholic University of Bukavu benefitted directly from this project, as it now runs one of the most recognized centers for excellence for the area.

When visiting Bukavu for the first time, the World Bank Country Director for the DRC, Ahmadou Moustapha Ndiaye, explained in a 2016 press release how the World Bank progresses with the success of the nation. “Our goal is to lay the foundation for sustainable development in the South Kivu Province, and throughout the country, which entails establishing efficient and transparent institutions and management systems.”

Veronica Ung-Kono

Photo: Flickr

Yoga and Poverty Reduction
The health benefits, both physical and mental, of yoga are fairly well known. However, the ancient practice is now being used to benefit the poor. The Africa Yoga Project is using yoga as a means to improve the well-being of impoverished communities while also giving its members steady streams of income.

Founded in 2007 by long-time yoga instructor Paige Elenson, the group aims to instruct youth, most of whom come from some of the poorest areas in Kenya, in becoming yoga instructors.

As yoga instructors, these young people not only have a new means of income and economic empowerment, but they also become leaders in their community promoting healthy living. Eighty percent of Kenya’s unemployed population is made up of young people. Africa Yoga Project seeks to shrink that statistic.

“Some AYP teachers have moved from living in what they referred to as slums to new homes, starting families, supporting family members with school fees, and working on new income-generating projects,” Elenson says.

Applicants to the program must be 18 to 35 years old, they must be African, and according to Elenson, “be committed to becoming a yoga teacher and serving communities.”

Once accepted, teachers in training earn a stipend of $100 USD per month and are employed as private for-hire instructors by Africa Yoga Project upon completion of their 200-hour training. The project sends its teachers out to hospitals, orphanages, HIV centers and even jails.

Through the course of running the program, administrators found that some applicants did not end up enjoying teaching yoga or did not view it as a long-term career.

It is for this reason that the project is expanding its services to help instructors and applicants alike. Africa Yoga Project is now offering career counseling services and other mentorship opportunities within the communities it services. The project has proved so successful in Kenya, that it is expanding operations to South Africa, Uganda, and Rwanda.

Joe Kitaj

Sources: Takepart, Africa Yoga Project
Photo: One

ghanaWhile this may come as a shock, Ghana has recently been proclaimed a poverty alleviation success story. Sergiy Kulyk, the World Bank Country Coordinator for Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone, is certainly a credible source. He applauds the anti-poverty action that has taken place in Ghana, and plans for an even brighter future.

Through a carefully crafted recipe of World Bank support, social protection, and government intervention, Ghana has been able to overcome major economic and societal hurdles. It was the first in sub-Saharan Africa to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of reducing poverty and hunger ahead of the 2015 deadline.

Kulyk originally recommended a reverse mission between the World Bank and Ghana under Ghana’s Social Protection program. This was the first of its kind in the history of the World Bank’s relations with Ghana. Its theme, “Safety nets in Ghana- Innovation and Successes,” helped guide anti-poverty action in the right direction.

Currently, the World Bank supports Social Protection interventions in Ghana through an $88.6 million Social Opportunities Project. Additionally, $50 million is financed for ongoing projects, making the Bank’s total contribution $138.6 million. In the future, the Bank will continue to help reverse Ghana’s poverty situation.

In terms of social protection, there are forty-four programs targeting extremely poor individuals, households, and entire communities in Ghana. For Ghana’s most vulnerable and severely marginalized, these mechanisms bring the social assistance and capacity enhancement needed to break out of poverty.

The government is currently working to ensure that the living conditions of Ghana’s poor population are improved through social intervention programs. Specifically, labor-intensive programs implemented across sixty districts will soon be scaled up in order to achieve the best poverty-reducing and livelihood-improving results.

In countries like Bangladesh, Mexico, and Ghana, regular cash and asset transfers to the poor have helped alleviate poverty by securing food needs and improving access to health and education. Additionally, small, regular income transfers enable the poor to make small investments — a hugely important step in poverty reduction.

It is important to note that while Ghana has successfully cut poverty in half, nine years from now approximately 6 million people will still live in poverty, with 2.2 million living in extreme poverty. Although this does not negate the significance of what has already been achieved, it is a crucial reminder of what is to come.

It is true that there is no perfect model for poverty alleviation. However, there are certainly key elements of focus that have consistently brought the most significant results. By adhering to this wide-reaching, gradually emerging poverty-fighting recipe, Ghana has made leaps and bounds in its poverty fight.

The most common poverty-fighting packages include some combination of microcredit financial aid, public works, training, agricultural extension services, financial literacy and links to credit units. In other African countries like Rwanda, childhood development and childcare services have become key areas of focus too.

Poverty is a complex issue that can be attacked from an infinite number of points. Depending on the time, place, and people involved, target areas fluctuate in terms of severity and significance. Still, at the most basic level, there is a lot to be learned from such success stories. Hopefully, Ghana’s model will spur more like its kind.

– Sarah Bernard

Sources: Graphic Online, allAfrica
Photo: Flickr

poverty in abidjanUntil the 1990s, Côte d’Ivoire was West Africa’s most stable and prosperous country. Its capital, Abidjan, offered opportunity to domestic migrants and refuge to immigrants from Côte d’Ivoire’s war-torn neighbors. But even before Côte d’Ivoire descended into chaos in 1999, the Ivorian capital saw poverty spike as the economy began to falter. In the turbulent years since 1999, Abidjan has seen its poor population placed under ever greater economic pressure. With more than a third of Abidjan’s population living in slums, the situation for Abidjan’s poor remains dire even as calm is restored in Côte d’Ivoire.

After gaining its independence from France in 1960, Côte d’Ivoire quickly stood out as a paragon of good governance. With its economy boosted by cocoa and coffee exports, the country retained strong relations with the West (particularly the U.S.) and never flirted with socialism. Côte d’Ivoire’s capital, Abidjan, became the focal point of the country’s export-oriented economy and thus attracted migrants from around the country: its population tripled between 1965 and 1975. The city also attracted refugees who fled poverty and war in Côte d’Ivoire’s neighbors, with foreigners comprising about 20 percent of the Ivorian population in 1999. Abidjan’s residents made remarkably good livelihoods, with poverty rates in the city below 5 percent until the early 1990s.

This rosy scene began to deteriorate in 1986 when the economy entered a protracted recession. Economic conditions slid further in the 1990s as cocoa and coffee prices fell. By 2000, GNP per capita had fallen a third from its 1980 level. With the national economy in a tailspin, poverty in Abidjan and the nation spiked. According to MIT sources, the poor formed 20 percent of Abidjan’s population in 1995, up from under 5 percent two years prior. Abidjan’s poor suffered disproportionately in the late 1990s from cuts to foreign aid in response to government mismanagement. More recently, the poor have borne the brunt of the intermittent civil conflict that has engulfed the country since 1999. By the time national reconciliation efforts began bearing fruit in 2008, many Abidjan residents considered two daily meals a rare luxury, and school fees proved wholly unaffordable for many families.

As in many commercial hubs of developing nations, the poor of Abidjan live largely in slums. According to recent estimates, more than one-third of Abidjan’s population resides in slums, up from 13.8 percent in 1988. The slum population is just as cosmopolitan as the city as a whole, if not more so: as of 1994, only 40 percent of slum dwellers were born in Côte d’Ivoire – most slum dwellers were born in nearby West African states. But Abidjan’s slums offer none of the promise that these immigrants and domestic migrants alike sought. According to Ivorian government surveys, more than two-thirds of slum households reside in the slums for lack of means to live elsewhere.

Recent civil calm in Côte d’Ivoire should offer solace to the poor of Abidjan – at long last, their country is on the mend. But only time will tell if Côte d’Ivoire will ever regain its reputation as a beacon of prosperity in the world’s poorest region.

– Leo Zucker

Sources: Bureau National d’Etudes Techniques et de
MIT IRIN News Global Edge-Michigan State University Abidjan US Embassy BBC BBC Skyscraper Cit
Photo: Needpix

Poverty is defined as being in a state of having no money or goods. This definition reins true for so many people facing global poverty. In fact many people live on less than $1.25 a day. Among many things needed to get out of poverty a few personality traits that come in handy are the ability to be a self-starter, determination, and passion. Here are 2 individuals who have acquired just that. They have risen out of poverty in Africa and right in to success.

Andrew Mupuya

Store clerks usually ask: Will that be paper or plastic? However, in Uganda, that question is no longer asked.  Plastic bags have been banned. Who would have thought that when this ban was implemented in 2008, a 16 year old boy would shine a light on a new business venture involving paper? Incredible enough that 16 year old was Andrew Mupuya. At the time, Mupuya was living with his parents in poverty. His parents both lost their jobs and could no longer afford to support his basic needs, leaving him to care for himself. “I had to get to meet my basic needs by myself,” stated Mupuya. After the plastics ban, the young entrepreneur had an idea to support the increased need for paper bags. This idea spawned the company now called Youth Entrepreneurial Link Investments, the first registered paper company in Uganda. Mupuya raised and collected the 36,000 Ugandan shillings ($18) needed to start his new business.  From there on Mupuya and his team of 14 employees produced paper bags without the help of machines. The team assembles over 20,000 bags per week and supplies numerous companies around the country. From all of these efforts the young entrepreneur won the Anzisha Prize, awarded to African entrepreneurs. He has also been able to finish school and earn a bachelor’s degree in Commerce, as well as support his family.

Fomba Trawally

In 1989, a war broke out in Liberia forcing many citizens, including Fomba Trawally to flee to Gambia. Years passed by and Trawally decided to return home to restart a business he pursued before the war. “When the war took place people had to be displaced from another point to another point. So, in the process of that they don’t take their shoes and they walk with their bare feet. And the 200 I brought from Gambia I decided to invest in to slippers.” The business which began with Trawally selling footwear out of a wheel barrel morphed in to a company to be proud of. His new company, Kombu Beindu and Sons imports plastic, such as, diapers and cosmetics from countries around the world. These are eventually sent out to supply neighboring towns with goods. So far, Trawally has made over 600,000 dollars and is able to open 3 more stores. He never expected to rise out of poverty and become a wealthy business man. “My advice to other friends around the world, including Liberia, is that you should be encouraged and believe that you can do everything with 100 or 500.” These two entrepreneurs are proof that people can rise above poverty and end up in a better environment. – Amy Robinson Sources: CNN, African Leadership, CNN-2, BBC Photo: Osa’s Eye