The standard of living of many poor countries has been driven to the brink of total collapse. This is comprehensively true for many African countries, and significantly true for the countries whose citizens live far below a dollar a day.
Where the standard of living is in abject state, everything faces a high risk of failure; the level of poverty becomes ghastly and reigns topically. The human cost of poverty living among the living is wasteful and deadly; and where poverty has a controlling stake in the life of the people and has a continuing presence and poses great challenge to growth and development, the fortunes of the victims fail to fascinate. All sectors of the economy suffer because it is a risk to let poverty thrive. It is hard to see poor countries with great success in literature, art, science and technology.
At a United Nations summit in 2000, the UN Millennium Development Goals were set up to fight poverty, and one of the many targets is to raise the standard of living of poor countries by 2015.
MDGs were winning formula projected to put poverty on the defensive and crush it. The goals are a campaign to do things on excellent terms to lower the bar of suffering of many people in the world who live in slums, who eat poor food (if they have any to eat), who are unable to provide good education for themselves and their children, and who live in environments that kill creativity.
MDGs are aimed to dramatically change the lives of many people around the world with the help of developed countries. But the big questions are: how many people have been freed from the clutches of poverty? How many people in Africa have the intelligence and financial capability to order a book in Dubai through online shopping? Are more books of better creative quality published in Africa today? How many new libraries have been built in Nigeria? Can the salary of a professor of literature actually deliver all he or she needs to excel in the critical world of literature. How many scholarly journals thrive in Egypt?
The conditions of living in Africa cast a huge doubt and a long shadow over the bright possibilities the MDGs promise. There has not been remarkable advancement in the life of poor people. Many of them continue to be victims of hardship. A diminishing economy does not have the promise of a strong access to Information Technology for the people. The hard line stance of poverty remains unacceptably high.
The MDGs began with a grand international show of support by many developed countries. They saw the brilliant goals as giant arsenals of progress and strategies to be converted to victory over the mass of problems that repeatedly assault the progress of poor countries in the world.
But rich countries have not given record supports needed to drive the MDGs into success. The expanded expectations of poor countries have not been greatly met. The irony is that many poor countries are great architects of their own inability to be on stronger course to meet the target of attaining improved standard of living by 2015. The fact is that they have a tremendous financial role to play, and have failed to invest in education and food production. Rather they are accomplished in the act of purchasing arms and ammunitions and funding conflicts. Some of the policies they foster are disastrous and are dangerous to the very MDGs they accepted to accomplish. Many leaders of these countries are stubbornly interested in the consolidation of the clout of corruption.
Africa has the worst performance. 99% of African countries have derailed in the journey to make 2015 the year of elegant standard of living for the poorest continent in the world.
The malignancy of a great number of preventable problems are steering the big continent out of course and towards a collision with a disappointing failure.
Who knows how Somali writers in Mogadishu are faring in the face of an expanded level of poverty. Some East African countries are repeatedly hosted by drought and famine, which brings poverty and hunger, and one wonders how the children can effectively read a poem in the midst of dying cattle. And many African leaders still gallantly deny the people the color of true leadership.