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How Poverty can be reduced

Poverty is one of the biggest concerns experienced globally and is by a very large population. Third world countries are the most affected by poverty with the gap between the poor and the rich being very large. Statistics have shown that a very large population has to survive on less than a dollar per day which is unfathomable because most of these families comprise of many members.

Poverty is manifested by different factors such as inaccessibility to basic needs like good health care facilities, education, food clothing and clean drinking water. It is also exhibited by an upsurge of unemployment leading to idleness and crime. Third world countries experience these because of poor governance by their leaders and poor utilization and mismanagement of resources. Public resources such as land are grabbed by leaders for their own gain. The institutions that are mandated to carry out transactions regarding these resources have employees who ask for bribes from the public, and involve themselves in a lot of corrupt deals.

Corruption affects poor people in many channels. It biases the government spending away from socially valuable goods such as education. It diverts public resources from infrastructure investments that could benefit poor people such as health clinics, and tends to increase public spending on capital intensive investments that offer more opportunities for kickbacks such as defense contracts. Corruption also undermines public service delivery.(World Bank 2001:201)

The mortality rate of children and the general population due to preventable diseases such as malaria, water-borne diseases like cholera and dysentery is also very high in these regions. Additionally the HIV/Aids prevalence is also high owing to the fact that many women turn to promiscuity in order to survive. Deaths that are reported in connection with HIV/Aids are also numerous due to ignorance about the disease and lack of access to anti- retroviral drugs. Developing countries also have large debts that are owed to the first world countries. As a result all that they earn goes to repaying the interests that are attracted by these loans. The situation is very serious because these countries are never at a position to repay the whole amount of the loan given. The loans just continue gaining interest as the time of repayment continues to increase. These debts largely contribute to poverty in the third countries because the latter spend a lot on foreign debt instead of utilizing their resources on the improvement of their infrastructure, health and social amenities. Poor infrastructure is a very common feature in developing countries and a major setback to economic growth and development. Poor transport systems such as roads and good airports lead to the ever growing poverty levels because producers in the rural areas are not able to transport their goods to manufacturers without incurring high costs which in turn discourages them from engaging in any productive activity.

However certain measures can be taken to reduce or completely stop poverty. Industrialized countries can be of great importance in the fight against poverty. They can participate in alleviation of poverty through ensuring that there is fair trade between them and the developing countries. The first world countries should relieve third world countries of the debts owed to them because the amount is so large that the probability of it being cleared is zero.

Debt relief assists developing countries to invest in the future. It can include buybacks, debt exchanges, debt service reduction, forgiveness, rescheduling and refinancing. Often debt relief is conditional on investment in health and education services to improve the lives of the poor. As aid levels have been falling, debt relief is a way to support future development. (Global Education: 2008).

Developing countries have a problem with the debt because they pay interest on loans at the expense of investing on the times to come e.g. on health and education. Another intervention measure is the improvement of trade relations between less developed countries and the first world countries. This is because the trade is usually a source of employment for the country’s citizens as well as a source of revenue for the countries governments. Problems with trade set in because of barriers that are put in place on taxes imposed on exports and imports as well as regulations that put obstacles some products that are produced by the third world countries.

For poverty levels to go down, the private sector has to be improved. This is because it creates employment for many people and contributes to the increment of the Gross domestic product as well as the Gross national income, which are also indicators of poverty. In line with this the governments of poor countries should help their citizens to be productive by giving them loans through microfinance institutions that enable them to start their own businesses after which they repay back their loans at reasonable rates. Such a move would also reduce the instances of prostitution and illegal businesses whose consequences are detrimental to citizens’ health.

For the overall success of these intervention measures, there has to be proper governance where transparency and the rule of law are observed. The rule of law should be taken with utmost seriousness because failure to do so discourages those observing the law. People who have been involved in crime regardless of their affiliations should be brought to book and justice done to them. The governments of third and fourth world countries should take up the burden of dealing with the poor by inventing policies that enable the latter to be at a position to enjoy the benefits that come with economic growth like technology, education and markets for their products as well as property rights.

According to the Food Agricultural Organization, hunger should be addressed appropriately because when people are hungry they are too weak to engage in any productive activity and thus there is vicious cycle of poverty that the afflicted cannot get them out of. Further it recommends good agricultural methods because agriculture has a big influence on the environment and other resources. Water is used in agriculture as land itself. In the process of searching agricultural land, forests are felled as water catchment areas are encroached on leading to degradation of the environment. Governments of third world countries should be cautious as they encourage agriculture to make sure that other resources are not worked on negatively.

International Humanitarian Organizations such as the United Nations should also step in. Their effort of alleviating poverty through setting millennium development goals is also very effective. The governments of developing countries who are member states of the United Nations came together in one summit and agreed upon some targets. Millennium goals were endorsed by both poor and rich countries in the year 2000 and should be achieved by 2015. It was agreed, by poor countries, that they would see to it that they pay greater attention to issues of education and health as well as other basic necessities like food for their citizens. They also agreed on improving the performance of their governments. They would make it a priority to the eradication of poverty. On the other hand, the rich countries pledged to improve terms of trade and give aid to the poor countries which would help them to fund projects. The rich countries were also to forgive poor countries of the large debt owed to them. This comes with the expectation that governments will provide basic necessities for its citizens.( Booth, David:2003).

Good governance is also a prerequisite for alleviation of poverty. The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are mandated to oversee the governance in their member countries. Good governance includes good management of the public resources where such vices as bribery and corruption are not present. There needs to be accountability and transparency on the part of the government on how it handles transactions that have to do with the use of public amenities. There should be policies put in place that suppress any attempts by officials in charge of administration as well as institutions to ask for any sort of favors in order to execute their duties. These measures facilitate in boosting the macroeconomic status of third world countries.(IMF: 1997)

Developing countries should allocate money for intensive research in all fields for example in the health sector, the agricultural sector and also in the industrial sector. This is important because it leads to invention and creativity. In the health sector it can enable the countries to learn more about diseases and the drugs that would be most appropriate for them. An example that demonstrates the need for research is the mushrooming of a resistant type of tuberculosis that attacks former patients who do not take drugs according to instructions given. The new strain is very difficult to treat and costs a fortune to treat it completely. Had research been intensified on this disease, the medical team would have ready solutions to combat this disease. Invention is only possible when there is research underway and it usually results in more effective and efficient products than those that are being used presently. It aids technological advancement for instance in agriculture where it would call for farmers to adopt new farming techniques that increase output more effectively and efficiently. This technology if advanced would place the developing countries at a better place to compete with their developed counterparts.

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Booth, David (Ed),"Fighting Poverty in Africa: Are PRSPs Making a Difference?" Overseas Development Institute, December, 2003.

Global Education. Debt relief..15 October 2008. Common Wealth Australia.25 October 2008.

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International Monetary Fund. Good Governance: The IMF’s Role. International Monetary Fund. 1997. 24 November 2008.

World Bank. Attacking Poverty. Oxford University Press. World Development Report 2000/2001

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