Doris Alesia Cassidy
Professor Tiffani Davis
31 August 2012
Many Third World Nations are stricken with poverty issues. It’s vital to understand the importance of poverty in Third World Nations many suffer from the lack of clean water, low literacy rate, education, food, and several infectious diseases. Kenya is a culture with an abundance of natural resources, wildlife, a high literacy rate, coffee farms and several tea plantations. The nation is the fourth largest producer of tea in the world. In spite of these factors, Kenya like other developing countries in Africa is crippled with major poverty issue. Some key elements that causes of poverty in Kenya are the lack of opportunity, limited economic diversity, and government corruption.
Unfortunately, poverty causes consequences such as quality of education, unemployment, HIV/AIDS, and Malaria. The Walter Reed Army Project and United Nations Development Programs are making a difference in this nation, to help reduce poverty issues, providing research, health care, and education on HIV/AIDS and Malaria. When looking at Kenya as a Third World Nation some questions must be asked. Is corruption and poor leadership a contributing factor, why Kenya is in their state of poverty despite the abundance of natural resources? Let’s take a step further to first examine Kenya’s historical background.
The Republic of Kenya was once under the colonial rule of England struggling from political and social freedom from 1920 until the nation gained their independence in 1964. It is estimated that about 41 million people live in Kenya and about 22 percent of the total population of Kenya lives in urban cities such as Nairobi the capital town of Kenya with about 3.5 million people. Another, major city is Mombasa with a population of about 1 million people. The life expectancy is around 45 years, and a birth rate is on average 3.3 per woman. There is a blend of several different cultures and ethnic groups living in Kenya with at least 40 different ethnic groups. The dominant ethnic group is Kikuyu forming about 22 percent of the total population. Others include Luhya 14 percent, Luo 13 percent, Kalenjin 12 percent, Kamba 11 percent, Kisii 6 percent, Meru 6 percent other African 15 percent, non-African (Asian, European, and Arab) 1% (New York Times, 2012).
The country’s religions demographics consist of Protestant: 45 percent, Roman Catholic 33 percent, indigenous beliefs: 10 percent, Muslim: 10 percent and other: two percent. A percentage of the population, that practices Islam or indigenous beliefs vary widely, but the majority of Kenyans are Christians. This nation, with a vast amount of natural resources such limestone, soda ash, salt, gemstones, zinc, diatomite, gypsum and hydropower, is geographically located in Eastern Africa and also lies on the equator bordering the Indian Ocean , between Somalia and Tanzania. Their official languages are English and Kiswahili with various other indigenous languages (New York Times, 2012).
The lack of opportunity is one of the many contributing factors of poverty in Kenya. According to the (Africaw, 2011), about 50 percent of the total Kenyan population lives below poverty line. The poverty statistics shows that one quarter and half of the population earns less than $ 1US each day which causes an extremely low annual Gross Domestic Product per capita that is around $360 US. Education is a key factor but poor families lack sufficient income to pay for school fees to advance and find jobs. Therefore, this limits their opportunities for advancement. About 75 percent of the population is subsistence farmers who grow crops and rear animals for their food and monetary income. Often, the unpredictable climate, recurring droughts and flooding during the rainy season hinder the crops, which cause families to starve and put rural families in nothing but