It is common to always focus on the economic strata once poverty is mentioned. Unusually, scientists have come up with an unsubstantiated supposition that Africa’s tag as the world’s poorest is linked to the concept of poverty genetics. According to them, Africa is poor because it is in their genes to be poor.
Many arguments have sprung up on this with many sects of people projecting their ideas and beliefs; and countering what the scientists suggest. Both liberals and conservatives disagree to a large extent. Racially this is definitely not going down well with the African community. However two Economics professors, Quamrul Ashraf and Oded Galorare are almost certain that there is a link between poverty and some alleles. And this is the reason why Africa is the world’s poorest.
If their hypothesis is anything to go by it would clearly mean that Africa is incapable of breaking the poverty jinx because it is supposedly part of our biological make up. As many get puzzled and curious about this, so also have many considered the assertion a baseless and conclusively incorrect fallacy. They insist that Africa’s tag as the world’s poorest region has no biological ties.
Does it mean then that when the child of a wealthy man becomes affluent, and the child of a poor man becomes poor, it is simply summed up under genetic factors? If that is so, how do we explain African billionaires who have fallen so far from the tree of abject poverty that they were born into? Supposing it is true, does DNA determine anyone’s destiny?
According to both men, the level of genetic diversity of a region affects the productivity level of the area. The higher the level of genetic diversity there is, the lesser the productivity yielded in the region. They say with the genetic variations, there is bound to be conflicts and poor co-operation among the people. Scientists generally agree that the most genetically diverse countries are in sub-Saharan Africa.
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Based on the above mentioned, they believe that the poverty genes is most likely the reason the region has remained the world’s poorest region till date. This makes you wonder if this is why Africans have less faith in each other. Is that why they co-operate even less than expected? However what we know for sure is that Africa’s problem is a range of problems – with the climax based on colonialism.
Some have argued that if the imperialists never interfered, perhaps these scientific suggestions could make more sense. The African system operated conveniently with their ancient civilization patterns till the imperialist era.
It is equally common sense to know that sometimes what takes a few seconds to destroy might not be fixed in many years to come. The Hiroshima episode is a perfect example. Surprisingly, many have never recovered from the effects of that nuclear explosion. It is equally so with some parts of Africa.
As Africa finally succeeded in chasing away the imperialists, the pattern of administration was not clearly defined. Africa was not prepared enough to administer the democratic government. As such, there was many trial and error rules in Africa. This affected the wealth and productivity of the African populace.
Even in this modern dispensation, there are still detectable traces of subtle and indirect colonization of some African countries by western/developed countries. Many concerns have been raised about the sudden global trend of investing in Africa at this point in time.
It will not be totally wrong also to rule out the opportunity factor – education. If many had the means in Africa, things will be better. But with so much wars/conflicts, wealth management, international interference and exploits, Africa’s problem might just have absolutely nothing to do with the genes.