Why do developing countries struggle to break their vicious cycles?

Third worldPoverty has been a huge problem for developing countries, a large percentage of people in these countries experience immense hardship, misery and starvation. As far as we can see, more developed countries are working with international organisations, aiming to eventually eradicate poverty. Therefore, the question ‘why do they stay poor’ is asked.

There are multiple reasons as to why less developed countries remain in the situation that they are in, but the main factor that comes to mind is corruption. Corruption has negatively influenced growth and welfare in these countries. For example, Somalia is number one on the list of most corrupt countries. The tax administration is absent in Somalia and most businesses operate in the informal sector, resulting in the businesses going untaxed. This allows rebel groups to create their unique tax collection systems from traders and businesses, in areas under their control.

The fact that the government officials accept bribes in return for allowing the rebels to run free does not help the situation. Corruption has drained a large sum of money from national income and international aid. For instance, the BBC news showed that approximately 32 billion dollars of aid used to help solving problems in Afghanistan has not improved the livelihood of the people, as yet, for many Afghans are still very poor.

Living in Nigeria whilst being a student in the UK for nine years, I constantly hear my father complain about the exchange rate between the Nigerian naira and the English pound. Many people in Nigeria usually do not know which presidential candidate to vote for, as both are typically either corrupt themselves, or are knowingly working with people that are corrupt. The current exchange rate between Nigeria and the UK is £1 to 457.40 naira.

Our last President, along with his colleagues, stole 3.3 billion dollars worth of funds which were meant to go towards fighting Boko Haram (a terrorist group), building more and better roads and improving education. However, they preferred to spend it on themselves. It does not help that LASTMA (Lagos State Transport Management Authority) take bribes from those they stop on the road. LASTMA stop people randomly and charge them for unnecessary things, hoping for a bribe because they are not paid enough. They are not paid enough because the government cannot afford it because they are taking the money, resulting in a cycle of corruption.

Syria’s civil war began eight years ago, when a peaceful uprising against the President became a massive civil war, leaving more than 360,000 people dead and cities devastated.

Iraq has been through multiple conflicts, such as the second Kurdish-Iraqi war (1974-1975), the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988), and the Gulf War (1990-1991).

In 2001, United States’ forces entered Afghanistan, hoping to ensure the eradication of the Taliban. However, the US clashes with the Taliban only seemed to make things worse, causing the Taliban support to increase.

Yemen has been involved in a civil war since 2015, due to two sides fighting each other claiming to be legitimate Yemeni Government.

Mexico has not been involved in any recent civil wars, however, the drug conflict has resulted in over 120,000 people dead.

Momo, Head of Ed Rich Company

Photograph credit – SINCLAIR STAMMERS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Universal Images Group