7 Reasons Why Africans are Poor and How to be Rich in Africa

I remember those days in the economics class when our teacher taught us that there are “three worlds,” first world countries, second world countries and the third world countries.

Some of us wondered why there are three worlds, until it was properly explained by our teacher that those worlds are actually categorized according to their economy. Unfortunately, most countries in our dear continent (Africa) are referred to as the third world countries.

Why are Africans so poor?

Some people are of the opinion that, it was due to the about unusually long 500 years of colonization.

Why there is no doubt we were greatly affected by this long years of enslavement, I am of the opinion that we can, or should have healed that wound. I don’t know what you think. That’s what I think.

Some other people are of the opinion that our poverty is due to bad political leaders. While I would have loved to agree with this, I can help but to disagree. Why?

Because leaders of any given society, club or country are just the picture of that society, club or country at large.

This is what I mean. People are trained by the society. The value system of that given society is what teaches them what to believe, how to behave, what to pursue with their lives and how to lead their people. That is the reason why Joseph Maistre said, “every nation has the government it deserves.”

You take for instance, an average American boy of age 16 may be happy to spend the rest of his life in the laboratory finding the cure for AIDS or Ebola. Why? Because he has been trained in a society that appreciates sacrifice for a better humanity.

Suggest a similar idea to an African boy of the same age and you will blame yourself, if you’re lucky not to see his parents’ anger.

When a society defines success as making the world a better place and another society defines success as building five houses, do you think both of them will produce the same kinds of leaders? You know the answer. Yes. An average political leader in Africa is a thief. But I have the reason not to blame them, instead, I dare to blame our values as a continent. Believe me, the president of your country will not change when he becomes a president. Presidency only gives him an opportunity to reveal his true self … that self our society built in him from his age 3-40.

So if I think we should have overcome the pain of colonization and I am of the opinion that our leaders are not the reason for our poverty… instead, they are the real picture of who we are, what then are the causes of our poverty? You get it?

Who we are, how we live, what we believe, etc. Let me explain one after another.

7 Reasons why Africans are poor.

1. Most Africans are religious, but not spiritual.

I don’t know why I started here but let’s move on anyway. Religion is a significant part of Africans, but unfortunately, average Africans really don’t know how God works. Most Africans (blindly) believe that God can make them rich, if they will pray enough. This is heresy and unbiblical. I love the way, a pastor puts it, “God doesn’t give us money. He gives us business ideas and strength to work it out.”

God doesn’t give anybody money and praying for money is as good as praying for maize. Yes, God is the one who gives us maize to eat, but we are the one to plant it. Though we may pray that it rains at the appropriate time, we have responsibility to go into the bush and get dirty.

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Do you go to the mountain to pray for 21 days because you want God to give you maize? If no, you don’t have to go to the mountain to beg God to give you money. He is willing to give you money. He loves you and has already prepared all the money you need to live a good life, even before you were born.

Read Matthew 6:8 and see what Jesus says there; your Father (God) already knows what you need, even before you ask.

God loves you and he is willing to give you money, but you have to understand how money is being made. Just as there are principles of planting, growing and harvesting maize, there are principles of money making.

I’ll explain further…

2. Most Africans hate knowledge, including financial knowledge.

In the last point above, I made it known that farmers have to understand the principles of planting, growing and harvesting maize. How do they understand this? Well, not by praying or fasting but by learning.

My grandfather was a farmer. He taught my father how to farm. My father taught all of us how to farm. Without the knowledge of how to plant maize, grow it, protect it from animals and insects and harvesting it, you can go and pray for 40 days, you cannot have a good maize farm.

Money making has principles… which has to be learned like someone reading a book. These principles have long being discovered by rich men of old, starting from Abraham. These men (not Abraham now) have written so many books to reveal their secrets.

Till today, book is still the greatest revealer of secrets. But Africans will not read. If you want to hide something from an African, they say, keep it in a book.

I have tears in my heart.

I am crying and telling my fellow continent people, we cannot be richer than other people around us except we know what they don’t know.

May be I should repeat that.

You cannot be richer than people around you … until you know what they don`t know. Abraham was not rich because God gave him money. Open your Bible and read it. Father Abraham was rich because he knew what others didn’t know.

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While many people in his days were working as labourers (what you’ll call employees today), Abraham was a business man with hundreds of staff (over 300 to be specific). Until we start learning, reading and upgrading our minds, Africa will forever be poor.

3. Most Africans still love job.

When will Africans start to hate job? We have to start to hate job today! We have to start telling our young children from age 9 and above that job is not available again, and if it is available, it is no more good like the days of our fathers. We are very poor because we love job.

4. Most Africans are not business oriented.

There was a time I was reading about the youngest female millionaire, Elizabeth Holmes, who started her company at the age of 19 (just as Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder did) and she later dropped out of school when her business required that she did so. How did a 19 year old lady get courage to start a business?

Because she (and millions other young Americans) have been rightly oriented that job is a mess and that becoming a business owner is greatly rewarding. What do you think an average African 19 year old guy and girl is doing?

Watching football matches, following fashion trends or best, getting busy with school to earn good certificate. Nobody is out there to tell our young adults that they are the hope of this continent, that they are the ones to create jobs for themselves and others, that they have to be entrepreneurs and not employees.

How can we be rich as a continent when we are not creating businesses?

5. Africans are poor because we run businesses like mere “buying and selling.”

While majority of Africans don’t think about being business owners, those who think (or who condition forced to be business owners) are not running business like 21st century business, instead, they are running business like 15th century’s business. You know, in the 15th century, all you have to do is to figure out a product or service to sell. If you can smile a little people will love you and patronize your business.

Now however, business requires more strategies and innovations than ever before, just as the name of Seth Godin’s book sounds, Purple Cow. If it is not purple cow (unique), nobody sees it or buys it. If you’re dull and your product/service is dumb, nobody notices you.

Most Africans are dull and their businesses are dumb. More of the reasons (should you care to know) lie on what I discussed with you in the second point above… knowledge!

6. Africans are poor because an average African is irresponsible.

After all I am your brother, so you won’t say I am abusing Africans. Most Africans are so much concerned about what they get, and not what they give. Few years ago, I heard a man of about age 30 complaining that his father didn’t give him money (or something like that).

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How dumb is that? Very dumb!!!

An average 16 year old boy in many advanced countries of the world has being planning how he will get out of his father’s home and create his own life. Most 30 years old Africans still see themselves as infants, who need help. We love to receive a ready-made, stress free success.

Unfortunately, maize doesn’t come to life until a farmer gets dirty. Africans have to (urgently) wake up and be responsible.

At around age 20, I started planning how I will be independent of my parents financially. I started thinking, how can I make Nigeria (my country) a better place? How can I influence Africans for good?

When I was 21 and six months old, it was time to forsake mediocre and get busy in the world. I announced to my parents and family that I am going into the business world, and that I will never need to collect my certificate from the school. It wasn’t a smooth journey and I have not become a millionaire yet (as at the time of writing this) but, I was lucky to think different.

7. Africans are poor because we are still proud of school and certificate.

I can see a time coming, when our so called universities and polytechnics will all be destroyed and our youths will be taught to embrace education in its true sense, but for now, the situation is pathetic.

I have said it before now, universities and polytechnics are not giving the kinds of education we need now and therefore should be killed. There will ever be poverty in Africa until people embrace education and not certificate. As for me, library and google are the best universities there are in the 21st century.

Read. Read and read!!!.

You want to be rich and wealthy? Go and start reading books about business and wealth creation. Do you desire a better marriage? Visit a bookshop and buy some good books about marriage. Do you desire to be more spiritual? Search google, download some great books written by the great Christians of old.

Read and read, then you’ll know how to be rich, how to have a great marriage, how to be more spiritual and how to do just anything worthwhile.

Does school teach you how to be rich? Does school teach you how to have a great marriage? Does school teach you how to be spiritual? Then, what does school teach us?

Africans have to start loving education (not school) if we want to be rich.

Finally, I want to thank you so much for reading this article and I want to say that the above opinion is mine, and since I am a little boy, I may be wrong (or bias) in my expression.

Was this article useful? Kindly leave your comment.

Follow #TSH on Facebook and Twitter for more awesome articles.


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    1. True, Wambui, you can be an instrument of change by sharing these points with those around you. Thank you.

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