Economics is a science that tries to unearth, explain, and influence the conditions responsible for the lifestyles people lead. It’s both an easy and difficult concept to grasp. On one hand we have simple truths that even a child can understand (such as the prices of commodities), and on the other hand we have varying economic facts that have scholars on edge. That’s not to say economics is entirely impossible. An understanding of economics in modern times has been achieved ground up; from individual decisions, to households, to community, and eventually to the state. It’s an accepted fact that people’s lifestyles in developed and underdeveloped countries vary enormously. In this article, I talk about the economics in African countries, factors that play a role, and economic development.
Economists use the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita to measure the economy’s total output. In other terms, GDP and national income go hand in hand. Recent GDP per capita analyses reveal three states of economy: rich, middle, and poor income nations. Most of the African countries fall in the latter category with little to no hopes of ever catching up with the more developed countries. The GDP per capita of rich countries continues to grow day by day whereas the GDP per capita of poor countries, especially Sub Saharan Africa countries, continues to decline.
We can pin point to a number of obvious factors responsible for the poor economies in African countries. Topping the list is lack of efficient equipments to work with; be it electronics or antibiotics. Secondly, people in African countries are largely illiterate or poorly educated and hence unable to make use of the knowledge acquired through schooling. Many economists speculate that the economic growth of a nation is highly fueled by production of novel ideas. Another factor responsible for poor economies is health and population growth. The life expectancy in African countries is bordering on late 50s, and cases such as malnutrition, poor hygiene, susceptibility to infections, draughts, and other natural calamities still reign. Furthermore, the high population growth rate in African countries has only served to add pressure in resource sharing.What is holding back economic development in African countries?
When comparing rich and poor countries, developed countries stand out for having established effective governments and policies that promote development. This is something difficult to achieve in African countries which are riddled with corruption and wastage of resources. African governments tend to be undisciplined, corrupt, ineffective, and disobey the rules; a factor that consequentially leads to low productivity. Common citizens are forced to bribe in order to get services that should otherwise be freely given by the government. In turn, bribery raises the production costs leading to production of fewer products and price elevation. At the end of the day, the common citizen continues to suffer the most.
All in all, economics is a crucial topic because in one way or another we are all natural economists. African countries have poor economies and that is attributed to a number of factors such as poor governance and policies, poor infrastructure, illiteracy, poor living conditions etc. Growth in GDP per capita is the first step in improvement of the quality of life of a country’s people. However there is no standard way of ensuring economic growth: economists agree it’s a combination of accumulated manufactured capital, human capital and the implementation of new ideas.