Profiling Poverty in West Africa: A Sub-Regional Survey
AbstractThe thrust of this project is informed by the fact that, most times, the statistical figures presented by Governments and its agencies do not tell the whole story of the state of poverty of citizens; this is more so in regard the sixteen countries that constitute West African. The paper is also premised on the argument that the level of poverty amongst the citizens of a country is a big threat to democracy hence, in most of the countries, what we see is what has been aptly dubbed “democracy without Elections.” This is because the people who should be the defenders of democracy are too hungry and preoccupied by bread and butter issues. The issue of poverty is even worse in the resource rich nations in West Africa such as Nigeria, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia etc. This is because most of the strategic mineral resources encourage secrecy, unaccountability and corruption in the exploration and exploitation process. Hence, in a “do or die” fashion, the political elites seek to control the levers of power with which they can be in a better position to steal the resources in collaboration with foreign multinational corporations. Since the resources disappear into individual pockets, hunger, poverty and squalor become the dividends of democracy for the citizens. It is concluded that future insecurity and instability will be prevented in the West African sub-region if we rein in the frontiers of poverty beginning with the guarantee of food security; and if the relevant policies are pursued from the exogenous perspective, the process will generate employment and enhance the GDP to the greater good of the society.
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