Poverty in Africa Essay

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Most people have heard the phrase “poverty in Africa.” It is a prevalent issue that many Americans, though on the other side of the world, want to help out with. Several charities spawn every year to help the African countries that are in need, and cause groups help raise awareness of the issue. However, the amount of poverty in Africa rose 43% from 1994 to 2004, and the numbers keep rising (IRIN Africa). Also, 33 of the 49 least-wealthy countries are in Africa (UN-OHRLLS). The statistics are eye-opening and beg the questions, why are many areas of Africa so impoverished, to what scale are they impoverished, and how deep-rooted are these causes?
Agricultural Problems
In 1901, Great Britain entered Nigeria to start a trading relationship. The British soon introduced two main cash crops – cotton and groundnuts – to the Nigerian farmers. However, the farmers raised these crops the same way they raised all their other crops because they were not told how to adapt their techniques to the cotton and groundnuts. In the beginning, though, these cash crops became a good source of income for the farmers; the British in Nigeria wanted the resources and were willing to trade to get them. The popularity of the two crops led to an exponential growth of cotton and groundnut farms in Nigeria. One article said, “The volume of the cash crop commodities expanded in parallel; from a gross production in 1915 of 9,000 tons of groundnuts and 1,500 tons of cotton, by 1936 production had expanded to 189,000 tons and 12,000 tons – a 2,000 and 700 percent increase respectively” (Milich).
There are pros and cons to growing groundnuts and cotton. While most crops need to go through soil rotation to avoid sucking all the nutrients out of the soil, groundnut...

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...eb. 28 Feb. 2010. .
Milich, Len. "Household Coping Options in Hausaland, West Africa." The University of Arizona. Web. 28 Feb. 2010. .
"Running Dry: the humanitarian impact of the global water crisis." IRIN News. Oct. 2006. Web. 01 Mar. 2010. .
Simmins, Charles. "Agricultural problems facing Africa in the 21st century." Helium. Web. 28 Feb. 2010. .
"Somalia 'most unstable state'" Al Jazeera. 24 June 2008. Web. 01 Mar. 2010. .
"The World at War." Global Security. Web. 01 Mar. 2010. .

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