There are many reasons why the continent of Africa is so impoverished. Is it greed? Corruption? Lack of clean water? That’s what many Western nations are thinking, going about giving billions of dollars in aid, “buy one, give one” consumer products, and more. However, they never see the root cause of the problem that causes “greed”, “corruption”, and the lack of clean water: regulation. When “two truckloads” of regulations in codebooks are presented to an avid, potential entrepreneur, it is simply easier to pick up a plow and feed your family for that night. If you want to import an item that is necessary for the production of your consumer product, but the government imposes an 80% tariff, it is simply easier to go to your local bureaucrat, and pay him a hundred dollars; or him demanding money for a “loophole” through that gunk pile of regulations. Finding a way to bring up a business which has the freedom to produce, to grow, and to reap the fruits of its labor, has profound effects to which a man can put food on his table, with clean water and a bag of money to sustain himself with luxuries to which his grandfather could not have dreamed of having.
On the other hand, many Western countries have turned a blind eye, or have never thought of such a problem being the root cause of such depravity. Thereby, companies such as TOMS make their shoe products seem like charity organizations that send out a pair of free shoes to impoverished communities every time they buy a pair. No matter if they see this as a good way to make money, or have genuine intents in mind, the fact of the matter is that this does not help Africa in the long term. In that impoverished community, sending many pairs of free shoes will ultimately put the shoemaker out of business. When the United Nations passed a resolution that demands gender equality or the end to climate change in Africa, it will only provide for a general ladder to climb onto, but with no steps to climb. With a shift in focus from these general pathways to more substantial and specific commitments in cutting down regulations, new businesses will be able to pop up and sustain a growing economy to put more clean energy into the continent, and more opportunities for women in the job market.
This trend can be found elsewhere. China was once an impoverished state like some countries in Africa. However, they allowed for free enterprise to pop up in controlled sectors of their countries and thereby, their economy flourished. In India, the process of getting a business license is incredibly difficult and therefore had allowed many to go into the streets with an empty belly, leading unhappy lives. But if they only looked towards shining examples of leading economies such as Hong Kong, the solution is not a difficult one, as obtaining a business license in Hong Kong is a process that takes less than a day. Growing economies will lead to better lives; increased gender equality, less pollution, and a more stable state. This does not include the fact that regime change is necessary.
Dictatorships, such as China, did not have some sort of “bourgeois revolution” that forced the state to implement such policies. In fact, this sort of economic revitalization was essential if the communist party of China wanted to survive, compete, and thrive against powers such as Russia, the United States, and other Western countries. The problem lies with the lack of information being spread. If only people were educated enough to understand and to be able to share such ideas, reform and change can be implemented so that the child in Africa which was so post to starve to death, can sit on a couch, get fat on McDonald’s, and watch Breaking Bad.