If you have followed my blog the over the past week, you are now at the end of my journey through East Africa.
Leaving Africa I headed back to the UK where I live with a renewed sense of I MUST DO MORE TO HELP GET THESE WOMEN HANDICRAFTS AND TEXTILES TO MARKET!
I had seen women in dire circumstances but doing whatever they could to help themselves out of poverty, without feeling sorry for themselves whatever neither did they ask for handouts of money. One by one they asked that we share our skills with them so that they could improve their products and be able to compete in world markets, they asked for fair access to world markets and skills to enable them to serve the sick in their communities!
I also felt that although money was important to kick start programmes it was not necessarily the only factor in efforts to end poverty for reasons of exclusion and practices such as those of Vulture Funds amongst other things. In my minds eye the answer lay in Trade as this is a more sustainable route out of poverty and yet Africa lags behind other continents in trade terms and international trade is very low.
It is largely agreed that the economies of countries cannot grow or be sustained on the basis of international loans or grants. This is certainly true for African women too. The governments/economies lending or giving the money do not have an infinite amount from which to lend/give indefinitely. As well as being unsustainable it is undignified.
Consideration should be given to the kind of trade that adds value at source wherever possible to enable governments to generate income through increased tax revenue. The process of value addition must encompass investments in human resources to ensure that women in particular have the right skills to lift their families out of poverty. There are more details about this on www.raisetrade.com
I hope that my recent blogs have given you the reader an insight of what life if like for folk on the ground and that it ahs demonstrated that resolving poverty in Africa is not simply about the money. I would be interested in others’ view points as well as experiences on issues relating to poverty in Africa