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Poverty and its impact on the nation

By Parek Maduot Bol

 

Any discussion of social class and mobility would be incomplete without a discussion of poverty, which is defined as the lack of the minimum food and shelter necessary for maintaining life. More specifically, this condition is known as absolute poverty. The poor are those who lack what is needed to live decently because they earn less than half of the nation’s median income. South Sudan is a country whose citizens are severely poverty ridden and ravaged by the civil war, corruption and no services delivery. South Sudan has no proper roads and running water is scarce. Despite the decades-long civil war with Sudan, South Sudan depends largely on imports goods. South Sudan is landlocked and subsistence agriculture provides a living for the vast majority of the population. Economic activity and market development have been stalled by conflict-related disruptions and inadequate infrastructure. Additionally, “most rural households have few or no assets. 

Poverty is an exceptionally complicated social phenomenon, and trying to discover its causes is equally complicated. The stereotypic and simplistic explanation persists that the poor cause their own poverty based on the notion that anything is free of charge in South Sudan. Some theorists have accused the poor of having little concern for the future and preferring to “live for the moment”; others have accused them of engaging in self‐defeating behavior. Still other theorists have characterized the poor as fatalists, resigning themselves to a culture of poverty in which nothing can be done to change their economic outcomes. In this culture of poverty which passes from generation to generation the poor feel negative, inferior, passive, hopeless, and powerless. 

The “blame the poor” perspective is stereotypic and not applicable to all of the underclass. Not only are most poor people able and willing to work hard, they do so when given the chance. The real trouble has to do with such problems as minimum wages, lack of access to the education and high rate of unemployment. On an individual basis, poverty is caused by the level of education, skill, and experience one has. Mental and physical handicaps, feebleness due to age and discrimination due to sexual orientation, tribe, sex and other bigotry also are causes. Causes on a societal level include warfare, agricultural cycles, natural disasters, droughts and flooding.

In other words, case theories believe in combating poverty by addressing individual causes. Generic theory, on the other hand, believes in combating poverty by addressing the overarching social and economic issues that cause it. For example, in case theory, if the cause of poverty is believed to be lack of education or skills, then the solution is better to educate individuals in poverty. According to generic theory, however, the issue of poverty would be better solved by improving the quantity and quality of jobs in the nationwide. 

Some scholars who like a generic approach say that some underlying problems that cause poverty include the fact that there aren’t enough employment opportunities that produce a livable wage, or the fact that a country has a low national income. Another country-specific example is warfare. For example, the per capita GDP of Iraq dropped from $2,500 to $761 due to the Persian Gulf War between 1990 to 1993.

 

The effects of poverty

The effects of poverty are serious. Children who grow up in poverty suffer more persistent, frequent, and severe health problems than do children who grow up under better financial circumstances. 

Many infants born into poverty have a low birth weight, which is associated with many preventable mental and physical disabilities. Not only are these poor infants more likely to be irritable or sickly, they are also more likely to die before getting old.

Children raised in poverty tend to miss school more often because of illness and lack of financial support. These children also have a much higher rate of accidents than do other children, and they are twice as likely to have impaired vision and hearing, iron deficiency anemia, and higher than normal levels of lead in the blood, which can impair brain function.

Levels of stress in the family have also been shown to correlate with economic circumstances. Studies during economic recessions indicate that job loss and subsequent poverty are associated with violence in families, including child and elder abuse, illiteracy and unemployment. Poor families experience much more stress than middle‐class families. Besides financial uncertainty, these families are more likely to be exposed to series of negative events and “bad luck,” including illness, depression, eviction, unemployment and criminal victimization. Parents who experience hard economic times may become excessively punitive and erratic, issuing demands backed by insults, threats, and corporal punishment.

Homelessness, or extreme poverty, carries with it a particularly strong set of risks for families, especially children. Compared to children living in poverty but having homes, homeless children are less likely to receive proper nutrition and immunization. Hence, they experience more health problems. Homeless women experience higher rates of low‐birth‐weight babies, miscarriages, and infant mortality, probably due to not having access to adequate prenatal care for their babies. Homeless families experience even greater life stress than other families, including increased, no food to eat, children don’t go to school, family relationships, and friendships. 

Climbing out of poverty is difficult for anyone, perhaps because, at its worst, poverty can become a self‐perpetuating cycle. Children of poverty are at an extreme disadvantage in the job market; in turn, the lack of good jobs ensures continued poverty. The cycle ends up repeating itself until the pattern is somehow broken.

 

Recommendations 

The Government of South Sudan Should looks at the agricultural sector to drive growth and contribute to further reducing poverty. By employing as much as 85 per cent of the total labor force, the sector has potential for vibrant and diversified growth. But agricultural development faces several challenges, foremost among them infrastructure and access to markets. Because South Sudan is landlocked, international and regional exports and imports involve long overland hauls through neighboring countries to and from distant seaports, while poor internal road linkages hinder domestic marketing. There is a need to improve the country’s transport infrastructure, particularly rural access roads and the national road network.

The government should addresses poverty by creating Agriculture National Development Plan (ANDP), as a comprehensive policy that will aim at guiding development planning. The objectives of the policy are as following:

Give priority to the agricultural sector for increasing economic growth

Encourage citizens by providing farming materials for example tools, seed and fertilizers

The government should buy from farmers with a high price for example if the bag of a maize is 50 South Sudanese Pounds in the market then the government will buy it at 80 South Sudanese Pounds from the farmers

Support private-public partnerships across a range of investment and service sectors

Promote efficiency gains and improve revenue generation and collection

Develop infrastructure.

This is to transform South Sudan into a modern, prosperous country within short period of time, the ANDP will recognizes the need for a development framework that will attract private investment and promote competitiveness within a liberal and open economy. The government should developed agricultural sector policy with plans for supporting investments as part of its development sector investment plan. The plan’s vision is to achieve a competitive, profitable and sustainable agricultural sector with the overall aim of transforming subsistence farming into commercial agriculture. To ensure consistency and national ownership, the government should takes the lead by coming up with development initiatives, while development partners provide technical and financial support. 

In conclusion; there are things that some people until now can’t apprehend. Aside from the everyday expenditure, many people have vices such as cigarettes and alcohols which we weren’t able to include in our daily expenses. When people begin to get wages or salaries, they immediately spend the money for worthless and nonsense things instead of saving it. Some of them, if it is not for their vices, they spend their money in stakes, testing their luck and expecting to be rich immediately. 

As we all know, poverty is a curse. It was written in the Bible that God has curse man, “In toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.” This only means that man can’t eat without working hard. God will only provide for those who are persistent. There’s no place in this world for lazy people.

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