5 Reasons Why Africa is Poor


Petauke Market 2

By Mubita C.Nawa

I went to America fifteen years ago to understand why America (USA) was the richest country in the world. Eight years ago I returned to Zambia and I now understand why many people in Africa remain poor.

  1. Poor leadership

    Africa is blessed by many ‘academically’ intelligent people. Yet these people are often very poor leaders. A certain local council had a $1 million dollar grader parked for four years because the council allegedly could not afford to purchase a spare part for $100.00. Leaders (some) in Africa travel abroad to get allowances not to get wisdom. They go for their second and third degree not to pursue excellence but to get the promotion. Unfortunately education is not a classroom revelation only. Real education is solving the problems of society.

  2. Dependency Syndrome

    The one billion people in Africa are trained to depend on ‘colonial masters’. This mental slavery attitude continues. Some one will litter the streets because another will pick up after them. This dependency causes people not to engage their creative juices which liberate humanity.

  3. Jealousy

    There are jealous people everywhere in the world. But the headquarters is somewhere in Africa. Over here (especially in the compound) even buying a chicken is an issue. What about the day you buy an island?

  4. Laziness

    Passing time is a hobby. Idleness and the delirious pursuit of nothing is an occupation for many. It must be the sun or the sand or the livestock or God knows what. But many people do not mind stealing their own productivity.

  5. Lack of self belief

    A four year old in America is more likely to describe their expectations, goals, vision and passion than a forty year old in other places. We hate us. We doubt us. We malign one another. We pay others more for the color of their skin than we pay us for the content of our brains.


    God never makes mistakes. Africa is not a mistake. All humanity is designed to be productive, exceptional, and deliberate. Africa, the effervescent continent, the radiant conglomeration of hope and potency, is a blessed continent. Its people must arise, shine and concur all hindrances. The future is bright. Only our past is dark.
    There are some Africans who may have brought the African name into disrepute. But there are millions more who are ready to reveal the new Africa.


    • Nawa you could have not said it any better. Unfortunately this is the reality of our situation. However, what you have failed to mention is our attitudes which determine every else

    • There is also this belief particularly in Zambia that humility (whatever that is ) brings about prosperity

    • Mubita is good at giving general statements but when it comes to specifics he lacks the ability to relate issues appropriately. Yes this is a good article because it borders on generality. However his earlier article on HH where he compared the popularity of Moses Katumbi and HH exposed his flawed views. Katumbi being an extrovert and risk taker is different from a seemly introvert and objective HH.
      Here it is important to remember that poverty plays a big part, Poverty is huge business for western governments, African governments, NGO’s Pastors, Witchdoctors and you name them so it is in their interest to perpetuate poverty this is the first hurdle we need to overcome.
      We need to give our people basic opportunity to right education at all levels and enlighten them an empowered society…

    • We need to give our people basic opportunity to right education at all levels and enlighten them an empowered society is very difficult to manipulate.

    • Mubita I second the dependency syndrome theory. It is embedded in our blood from a very young age when we are taught that all good things come from whites and all bad things from blacks. Your parents even give you white people’s names to always remind you that blacks aspire to be white. Blacks even want to emigrate to Europe. Some of us forget the real reason for our failure to embrace so called technology. It is because we identify it with whites and not with us. We be been brought up to think we can’t do that.


  1. I salute your inspiration and wisdom brother Nawa, the New Africa is on the way. Ethiopian Airlines calls it the New Spirit of Africa. We must never give up – we should turn the negatives into our strength my mobilising for Transformative and Accountable Leadership, by celebrating the success of others, by depending on ourselves – we have plenty wealth yet the so called developed countries continue to steal from us, we should promote hardwork – here again, Ethiopia is a great example and we should truly believe n our Renaissance ( Tumelo at the centre of our rising) God rchly bless you

  2. You may be right on a number of things but you are wrong to say god never makes mistakes. Read Genesis 6:6 and see how the character who doesn’t make mistakes regreted ever creating you!

    • walasa muntu wandi. very true. Ba Nawa starts the article bwino bwino but like us all, he fell ku last by as usual bringing in God in everything. Start with yourself bo Nawa, liberate yourself from these religions and false doctrines which have dumbed down our people. Honestly, Africa was a million times better before the white man came. I dare anyone to challenge that. but why is it in shambles with the so called introduction of white civilization?

    • Genesis 6:6… And it repented the Lord that he had made man on earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

      Genesis 6:7… And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.

    • Kwena Pseudo man you bring to the fore the fictitious nature of God. What you are exposing is that God was created by a man. When man created God the man proceeded to give God the attributes he could see in himself here on earth. Thus the contradictions in logic: that the created God makes no mistakes but since he has created a flawed man he must have made a mistake


  3. Very correct ,it even goes to relatives as well they are also jealous of the achievement of one member of a family. Can you imagine so many people are studying not be innovative but just to gain promotion, and it will be just a matter of time I’m hiring PHD holders in accounts to become my accounts clerks.

  4. Africans are poor because you believe in a non existent- god to solve your problems instead of using your brains.

    • Psalm 53:1 (CEB) Fools say in their hearts, There’s no God. They are corrupt and do horrible deeds; not one of them does anything good.

  5. Brilliant article, and straight to the point.
    There is ONE common denominator to all these points raised. LOW SELF ESTEEM. Self esteem is how we feel about ourselves. This is the backbone to our self concept. To change our self concept to that of doers and winners we have to change our backbone. The more we learn to like ourselves and not hate ourselves, the better we perform.
    Well done Bo Nawa.

  6. You missed accountability, in Zambia no leader is acountabl. Projects can go upside down and no one is to blame. They usually blame the word economy.

  7. While I appreciate what the author was trying to bring out and send a loud message to our people in Zambia and Africa at large ,It is worth noting that development issues are far much more complicated than the simplified summary above . From the numerous researches conducted by renown Economists have proven that certain developing countries carries the right characteristics to develop or rather take off but they are still struggling to make head-ways . We can talk of change in attitude and attitudes are largely influenced by our culture and within our culture is a part called traditions which have characteristics of rejecting change . If the attitudes are a function of traditions rather than change responsive part of culture ,then we can struggle to reverse our ways of life

    • Assuming everything went right and people started producing the much sorted out value added finished products ,will still be faced with a lot of market issues . The signing of trade treaties such as free trade further complicate our predicament . I.e There is only market for two computer manufactures in the whole world

    • That’s where the problem lies. ComplicatING what isn’t complicated. This leads you to look for complicated solutions where simple ones suffice

    • @Luapulan: if a country is overrun by a culture that is full of negative attributes (like the Bembas who believe that one should steal from what one is tending or things always happen or problems always solve themselves) then you get a rotten nation. Zambia is one such place.

  8. The Hindus believe in reincarnation. Once reincarnated, one can get a better, or a worst life, depending on one’s deeds during current life. If a person reincarnates as a human, in a worst form, and not an animal, he is reincarnated in AFRICA. By this token, we are lesser beings in Africa than normal humans. This ties in with this well-written article.

    • @10. Phiipe Lacoste,
      …And you believe in this Hindu reincarnation myth? And are you so hopelessly joked to it that you do not believe that Africa is the cradle of human beings as established by history and science? Or do you just enjoy running yourself down because you hate yourself or Africans so much? Learn to love yourself because it will improve your self esteem and make you a better person.

    • That is a naked lie. You have made your own interpretation of Hinduism. Just go read it before disseminating lies. By the way reincarnation is not restricted to Hinduism. There are many other groupings that believe in reincarnation

  9. Dangote cement @ 55, I woul rather vote for him for president next year than our own leaders. He seems to love us more these political masqueraders.

    • Excay you have a point.!! I bought the same Dangote Cement in Kafue 380km from, NdoLa where it is manufactured @ K65 when Chilanga cement made 20km away costs K75. This situ is dangerously interesting. Can some igo-igos start selling I LOVE DANGOTE stickers…!!!

  10. No 1 is laziness! All want to be rich without sweat! Result is pilfering of public resources. Leaders are just as bad as the followers

  11. Bo Nawa, you better be teaching these things at your Inspire Leadership Academy. There is too much talking (that is another point) and very little action. And we leave everything to our incompetent politicians (boma iyanganepo). Lusaka City Council is run by a bunch of retard councillors with very low (I hate the word humble in reference to schooling) education. And these are the people who run our everyday affairs and we run to so that bayanganepo? We are all a bunch of retards ruled by retards for the retards. That is why our politics and way of thinking is too retarded and impervious to change!

  12. I agree with Mubita that lack of self belief is one of the major problems. He is a good example of that by making reference to the USA. I find it amazing that Mr Mubita finds it pleasing to talk about USA and when others do so he calls it lack of self belief. Come on man.

    All in all the article is too basic and lacks facts. No example of lazy people has been provided. No example of jealous people has been given or the nature of kalinjo. Such articles are typical of alarmists who portray an impression USA does not have poor people. Come on did you really live in the USA?

    Articles must be supported by statistics. And Nawa may be a good example of lack of self belief.

    Great miss.

  13. To begin with, we have to understand that Africa is not poor. Africa is actually the richest place on earth. If you rob someone and stop them from getting rich, then claim that they are poor, then your definition of poverty is one-sided.

    Yes, Africa is not as developed as the West but this has many reasons, a lot for which African people are not responsible. By mentioning 5 deficits in African people, the author has only polarized but not helped us to see the whole picture nor understand the entire problem. A lecture on problem background, coherencies, solutions and proposals would have been more helpful than blatant criticism.

    • @Nine Chale,
      LOL. To begin with, you come across as contradicting yourself.
      In your first paragraph, you are basically saying Africa is not poor, it was robbed. But in the second paragraph you are saying Africa is poor, but it is not its fault.
      Seriously, to call the clear points raised in the article as ‘blatant criticism’ is living in denial. This attitude of denial is what has caused us to lag behind other parts of the World in terms to development. Instead of developing a mindset that says ‘IF IT IS TO BE, IT IS UP TO ME!’ you would prefer us to say ”I am like this today because 50+years ago, the colonial masters did this to my grandfather”.

      As you know, studies have shown that about 85% of our accomplishments are due to our attitudes and only 15% due to aptitude.

  14. All said in the article by nawa and bloggers is rubbish.
    Africa is poor because they have failed to see that it is only technology that brings development. Make a car, computer a mobile phone, plane, robot etc. This is what education given to Africans has failed to yield. Education given to Africans is basic and creates a dependent animal. In Africa, its lawyers, economics, judges who own and run businesses. In America it is technology driven people who create business. This knife must be made blunt for people to see what makes development. I sound basic but this is a fact.

    • @The Game,
      LOL. All what is said is rubbish?
      Well, I suppose it is very difficult for one to see and admit to flaw when one is part of, or a contributor to that flaw. I am guessing you are all these flaws rolled into one.

  15. Bo Mubita has just said what we all talk about LOUDLY. He could just as well have picked it up from some software somewhere.
    And that’s the biggest problem we have, always in our armchairs reading the big books & doing little nothings.
    Look at how our politicians are driving this economy into the mad? Who has courage to stand up to them. Nobody.
    We would rather sit back & blame someone else or write big articles on what is right or wrong. Action ZERO.

    • @itizi turu,
      Well, at least Bo Nawa has made progress by talking LOUDLY something we all talk about quietly, don’t you think?.

      So, to move on beyond talking loudly, what is your suggestion as the next step as a way of action?

    • ok, next step. let us meet on tuesday in the afternoon and march to state house and demand the president to fire minister chikwanda and his whole crew. if the whole of lusaka shows up at state house gates, chikwanda will be fired. we will also demand that a month be considered in which we the people of zambia will choose our own minister of finance by setting the standards and criteria for minister. applicants start preparing your CV for review by a committee of experts from the university of zambia and zimbabwe.

    • details of the meeting place. we shall all meet at longacres market area at exactly 9 a.m. we will be adressed by me and then we shall march to state house. the placards and demonstration material will be brought by myself.

    • mwebantu, i waited pa longacres lelo and there was no one there. i thought you asked, what do we do now. i gave options but nobody came. even if just to listen, you did not have to march to state house with us. where were you guys????
      this is why people prefer to talk anonymously, because they know they will be left to hang by themselves without the very people they seem to fight for.
      Thomas Sankara was left to die alone.
      Patrice lumumba was left to die alone.
      Malcolm was left to die alone.
      when are we going to stand up and die with our leaders who fight for our cause. this matyrship does not work. nothing changes unless the whole community rises. Arab spring took the whole lot of the citizens standing up together to make a change.

  16. Bomubita-your article is shallow as well as immaterial in that your perceived hurdles to Africa’s development are tips of an ice berg- superficial!In addition to some above,emphases is on technological know how- technological transfer as well as value addition to our raw materials! Look at China,Malaysia,Singapore-…these countries have no bookish type of education but they are developed simply because of their R & D mentality on their education system-its practical & progressive as well as global-one wonders how jealous,for instance,can hinder development honestly-these reasons are from a shallow magazine or wikipedia!

    • You are just jealous of this article. If you have the truth, then go ahead and type your own article. That is if you will be able to put correct sentences together.

  17. Mubita I second the dependency syndrome theory. It is embedded in our blood from a very young age when we are taught that all good things come from whites and all bad things from blacks. Your parents even give you white people’s names to always remind you that blacks aspire to be white. Blacks even want to emigrate to Europe. Just check the exit ques from Africa to Europe.

    • Very true my brother. There is no pride in being African. Noone wants to identify with Africa. Just ask yourself why a Bemba man will not name himself after a lozi and vice versa? They had rather name themselves after some white man who conquered them. Why is our President edgar Lungu and not Mwansa Lungu? \His father couldn’t have named him after another african. Lets focus on ourselves. Lets be proud of ourselves and acknowledge each other as great neighbours. Dont look for heroes overseas

  18. People who speak against religion without thinking must do their research well. America, the richest country in the world, was founded on Godly princeples. On the American dollar till today, you find the words IN GOD WE TRUST.
    Those who do not believe in God, how rich are they, I mean what difference has it made in their lives as non believers where prosperity is concerned as compared to those who trust in God. Some of the richest people in the world are people who believe in God. Read your histories well and research.

    • The so called American currency are the notes of a corporation called the Federal Reserve, which is the bankers, not government…where was this trust when these thieves were ripping people off before the market crashed during the subprime mortgage crisis 2007- 2009.
      You Zombies still do not get it that religion is merely used to control your docile minds of sheep.

      Wake up even the art and design on that currency was based on our African ancestors from the Egyptian/Kemetic era.

      Wake up and study about self!!

    • What Godly principles when Americans were taking Africans as slaves to their farms? So God is the one who sent them to Africa to take slaves from here? We africans like listening to fairy tales too much and the white man capitalised by giving us fairy tales about a white God in the sky whom we should all obey. What balderdash!

  19. This author forgot one other important reason ….If he did an honest research he would have added RELIGION to that list but we all know that the author is a so called “born again” Christian…..Religion is the cancer that is eating Africa inside out; the Great Pan African Pioneer leaders like Lumumba, Sankara and Nkrumah knew about this evil and they warned us. Imagine if China embraced Christianity in the 50s it would be a puppet of the west in 2015?

    • Very true. religion is like opium. It gives you false happiness while you get enslaved. The europeans used it on docile africans and then stole everything the africans had while promising them heaven at the end of life. Bishop Tutu said the European arrived and told us “let us close our eyes and pray” when we opened them the white man had grabbed our land

  20. I find that we often fail to debate wisely on many occasions. Nawa has raised some issues. He is saying what he thinks and not saying that this the whole truth and everybody must believe it. In case you have a divergent view,politely bring it on. If you have addition points,expand where Nawa has not done. Refute or support the idea not the person.This is how evidence and scientific knowledge grow. It is very easy to criticize and insult others …(Kaponya approach)…as long as you have hit back or physically bitten a person then you have won..But really what we want are your thoughts and idea that refute or support the proposal given by Nawa.Debate on

    • @Wils,
      You hit the nail right on the head. I have come to understand that this miserable failure to debate objectively, and not subjectively, within topic is due to lack of capacity. Period.

    • Very true my brother. I thought people came to discuss something because they were looking for solutions. How do you progress towards solutions if all you do is shut the other guy up? An insult will provoke another insult then how does that help find a solution?

  21. Another reason is religion. People are taught to leave everything in the hands of God instead of working hard. They prefer to invest money in their pastors through church offerings than investing in tangible businesses. In fact they are taught that money is the route of a evils, when the lack of it contributes more.

  22. You also neglected to mention that had you NOT been denied a reentry visa you’d be back in the U.S. today.

    Ukamulipile wankongole mosa chedwa!

  23. There is reason why God created white and black people, otherwise we would all have been created black. In all cultures around the globe, black is associated with dackness, bad or even evil. In fact, we all dont want to associate ourselves with darkness. Somebody has mentioned the lack of technological innovations in africa, yes, very true, we lack capacity, intelligence. How does one explain the rapid advancement technologically of some asian countries despite former colonies like us. Even the so called billionaires in africa, most of them have acquired corruptly wealth through govt tenders with nothing tangible to talk about. Conclusion: Africans lack capacity/intelligence to produce innovative technological products and this cuts across everyone including PHD holders and motivational…

  24. This is a good article. It does not only raise a health debate but it touches on core issues that when judiciously amplified gives a very close symptom as to why several years after political independence, Africa does not seem to know whether she is coming or going. The issues raised in the article are true. We are a self defeating race and those that benefit from our syndrome will not help the other way but themselves. This explains why tonnes and tonnes of aid into Africa has yielded very little or nothing. The real development will not come from without but from within. We must start with the simpler issues clean our environment, learn to generate our own sustainable growth, manage our resources prudently on issues that matter not by- elections etc.

  25. Good exposition bo Nawa. The plain fact is that the white man is better, smarter, more intelligent, more hardworking, more objective etc. The blackman will never reach the whiteman’s level, Never!

    • “As a man thinketh,so he is”

      If you Jamakudi think the black man is inferior it also means you are inferior and will never reach anywhere.

      The white man has reached where he is by valuing himself and thinking of what is possible yet here you’re thinking of whats not possible.

  26. The author of this article ,while certainly well meaning,has unfortunately a very simplistic approach to a very complex issue.

  27. Yes indeed, we have everything else we need to prosper, but wisdom and attitude. Hand to mouth is our motto, while our own education system does not have a sound foundation for teaching our children to prosper. Lets start from somewhere here. Imiti Ikula, empanga.

  28. NAWA well said but a lot of loose strings are missing:-
    1. We want to buy clothes from abroad and destroy our Textile industry. If improved or protected we could be exporting and earn more currency.
    2.canned foods are all being imported why? Even things like peanut butter.

    The list is endless. We need a protection policy and encourage local produce by paying good prices. Value addition and sensitisation very important.
    Lower taxes for local produce and higher taxes for imports.
    I rest my case- you decide

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