Factors that Hinder Economic Growth in Africa

Africa remains the poorest continent in the world, a trend attributed to low economic growth rate and poor inhabitants. Since the 1960s, this continent has continued to deteriorate financially as each state designs and implements wrong trade policies, while the inadequacy of capital leaves them vulnerable to the slightest economic crisis. For that reason, this continent has lost immense opportunities to grow economically, where it now relies on foreign aid and financial support from major industrial giants. Africa has a vicious poverty cycle, so it is crucial for each member state to recognize the obstacles that hinder it from growing and stabilizing this continent financially, as will be discussed.

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Two vicious cycles, which include low demand and supply chains, persistently facilitate continued poverty in Africa. As such, the economic unproductivity leads to extreme poverty, where an average African family lives below the standard of 2 dollars daily (Njong 2015, 297). Moreover, African industries and working environments pay inadequate wages to the workers due to the insufficient skills and marginal profits to cater for their salaries. For that reason, saving and investing becomes impossible since even the current lifestyles are substandard to nurture a healthy labor force. As a result, the African labor market continually stagnates or deters economic growth while poverty levels keep rising.

Indeed, various obstacles hinder Africa’s economic growth. First, Africans are governed by inappropriately structured state policies (Njong 2015, 299). Mostly, policy makers over-reliance on the public sector and forget to invest in private enterprises, which are helpful in growing the economy of any country. Another obstacle to African growth is the existence of corrupt governments. In this case, dictators who embezzle, neglect, mismanage, and misuse the available natural resources in their countries lead most African states. For example, President Daniel Arap Moi ruled Kenya through a dictatorship regime and robbed the country’s resources to large extents. Still, African states are consistently faced with civil conflicts on ethnic lines, which undermine the continent’s economic stability and growth (Njong 2015, 300). In addition, Africa has diverse demographic cultures that continually advocate for childbearing, and in return, large populations become financial burdens for states and deter them from rapid growth.

On the other hand, Africa’s topographical location is between the tropical and subtropical zones, which have rough weather conditions. As a result, climatic changes have uncertain outcomes, especially in this continent’s agricultural and industrial sectors. LDCs record small savings and low investment rates, which lead governments into massive borrowing internationally, a process that increase debt burdens and decelerates their chances of growing economically (Njong 2015, 302). Lastly, the economic constraint deterring Africa from developing is their over-reliance on the exportation of primary products to the extent of neglecting other revenue generation products (Njong 2015, 303). As a result, market changes expose Africa to global economic instability and other negative social impacts whenever commodity prices fall abroad. 

In essence, Africa has a vicious cycle facilitated by extremely low demand and supply chains characterized by low incomes, investment rates, savings, and scarce capital. On the other hand, Africa’s growth is hindered by inappropriate governmental structures, dictatorship regimes, civil conflicts, diverse cultures, the continent’s topography, poor saving strategies, international burdens, and over-reliance on exportation revenues.  

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Njong, M. A. (2015). “Towards an African Renaissance: Pan-Africanism and African in the

Diaspora” (re)Tracing Africa: A Multi-Disciplinary Study of African History, Societies, and Cultures. Ed. Salome Nnoromele and Ogechi.Anyanwu, Kendall Hunt.

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