Homelessness In Africa

homelessness_in_africaPoverty continues to be one of Africa’s dark horses, hindering any progress in GDP growth. Despite being gifted with wealthy resources, Africa remains the poorest continent in the world. From the poor neighborhoods in El Masr, Egypt to the tree-lined streets in Bamako, Mali through to the most expensive city in Africa in the name of Douala, Cameroon, the incidence of extreme poverty never seems to go down.

It is quite normal to see women sleeping with children amid ashes, in the open air, desperate only for their government to help with housing. It is also normal to find children spend their teenage years homeless, playing music on the streets of Bamako, Mali’s capital city. Issues of politics and governance are for many overshadowed by more basic concerns, like lack of jobs, low salaries, inadequate housing and the price of food. Floods and landslides, social unrest, mass forced evictions without alternative shelter or compensation have all but pushed most families to the streets where life is unbearable. Men, children and women alike are forced to grapple with diseases like elephantiasis and challenges which have left some of them blind, deaf or both. Women and men would occasionally be found sifting through rubbish on a dump in the Malian capital Bamako for rags and old clothes which they recycle and sell in order to feed themselves. Everyday, more people rendered homeless eke out a meagre living by scavenging everything from lumps of charcoal to old plastic sandals and bits of scrap iron from rubbish dumps. In Cameroon more than 7000 people, most of who were low-income earners were left homeless in 2008 when the government carried out mass forced evictions and demolitions against the inhabitants of the City of Yaoundé. But poverty trends continue to soar in Africa in spite of decades of work by African governments and non-governmental organizations dedicating their work in reversing the trend. Poverty in Africa is caused by a number of factors, ranging from poor infrastructure, lack of enough employment opportunities, poor resource management and lack of exploitation on it, corruption and poor governance, wars and unending conflicts, among others. This destitution has also taken many forms, observed in cases where hundreds of people have been left homeless, thanks partly to poverty and bulldozers which have been employed by various governments to pull down houses.

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