In developed countries, poverty can be defined using two different metrics; absolute poverty and relative poverty. Absolute poverty measures the number of people living under a certain income threshold. Relative poverty is a “keeping up with the Joneses” measure. In Africa the reality of absolute poverty is very real and a large percentage of people don’t have enough nutritious food, access to clean water, healthcare, flushing toilets, clothing or safe homes.
Mentioning the creation of a world in which everyone’s days are spent dreaming and doing, not scrapping and scraping, seems unrealistic if we look at the statistics. But let’s keep in mind the incredible advances we can look forward to in education, healthcare, sanitation, water and energy. That radically changes the perspective and gives us reason to be hopeful about the reduction and ultimately elimination of poverty in Africa. It will take years, some might say, but again, we will refer back to exponential growth statistics and remind you that things are changing for the better, at a much faster rate than we can fathom.
According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs, there are five levels of human need. At the bottom of the pyramid are physiological needs, followed by safety, love and belonging and esteem, and self-actualisation at the top. Physiological needs are the physical requirements for human survival: air, water, food, clothing and shelter. Physiological needs are the most important and should be met first. Sadly, many people in Africa live in such extreme poverty that reaching the self-actualisation tier might seem impossible.
Sources and further reading:
Diamandis, H.P and Kotler, S. 2012. Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think
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