International NGO Journal

  • Abbreviation: Int. NGOJ
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1993-8225
  • DOI: 10.5897/INGOJ
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 253

Full Length Research Paper

The participatory structures of poverty in Africa

Angela R. Pashayan
  • Angela R. Pashayan
  • Political Science Department, College of Arts and Sciences, Howard University, United States.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 18 July 2019
  •  Accepted: 30 July 2019
  •  Published: 31 July 2019


Participatory structures of poverty in Africa are founded in ideology, foreign aid, guilt from colonialism, paternalism, democracy, and capitalism. The latter two are becoming more well known to the general public, forcing the subject matter to be acknowledged in diplomacy circles. Actively participating in a structure that maintains poverty, works against humanity. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1963) is quoted “No one is free until we are all free,” suggesting that until we offer authentic economic freedom to the poor, we cannot reach our own peak of economic freedom. Other academic and experts have differing views of what poverty is and what structures maintain it. William Easterly’s, "White Man's Burden 2006” directs the blame for poverty onto Europe and the West. Robert Bates points to heads of state in Africa as maintaining structures of poverty post-colonialism. Walter Rodney identifies the colonialists as fundamental to the "underdevelopment" of Africa. Irene Gendzier chastises the US government for pushing democracy onto third world countries cloaked as charitable support. And Thomas Carothers provides an in-depth analysis of democracy promotion at its worst. The nature and uses of political theory are wrought within this discussion, though the question at the forefront remains, ‘What are the underlying causes of participatory structures of poverty?’ 


Key words: Development, poverty, Africa, NGO, structures, democracy.