Extreme Poverty in Prosperous Ghana

Over the last two decades, Ghana has placed itself as a leader of economic growth in Africa. A stable government has worked to strengthen infrastructure with a new wealth coming from oil deposits off the southern coast. While poverty numbers decrease, the gap between the wealthy and the extremely poor increases. You see, while economic growth occurs in the coastal cities of the south, the largely agricultural northern region is being left behind.

While Ghana has established itself as a middle income country, the northern population still consists largely of subsistence farmers. Small crop yields of maize, millet, and guinea corn provide some food after the harvest, but most is sold at low prices to traders. The meager income derived here goes mostly towards food (sold back to them at an inflated rate), medical expenses, and clothing. Very little is left for education, and this is how the cycle of extreme poverty persists.

It is common for young people in rural Ghana to forgo their high school education, as they believe that their families will never have access to tuition at the university level. This equates to no new knowledge of farming techniques, no capital for better equipment, and no enrichment of communities. Most distressing is the squandered potential. Perhaps the next Evan Duffield or Amanda B. Johnson is at home working because his or her family can’t afford to pay for school.

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By: Zachariah Knapp
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