Poverty - Does it affect the mind?
A GNA feature by Hannah Asomaning
Accra, Sept. 12, Ghanadot/GNA - It is the poor man that goes to seek
advice from a rich man and not vice versa, Kwame said when
discussing the issue of development and international
relations with the writer.
This statement is true in all aspects of our Ghanaian
society and even beyond. It is even seen in our religious
In the churches when there is a fund raising programme
people forget that it is God that gives. The rich members of
the church are selected as chairmen to preside over the
This may imply that the poor man does not have the capacity
to gain wisdom, not to talk of giving his opinion when there
is a problem.
One might therefore ask: “Does poverty affect the mind or
does it affect one's thinking level?” Is the development of
the mind associated with wealth?
This scenario described above is reflective of the
relationship between developing countries and the developed
When Leaders of developing countries travel abroad to
negotiate with their European counterparts or with other
leaders from the developed countries are they able to speak
on behalf of their people?
Do the ideas they put across reflect what is happening in
the Third World or they talk about what suits them?
Is the observation of Ms Maria Martens, a member of the
European Parliament in Brussels, that African leaders had no
capacity to negotiate with their European counterparts true?
Ms Martens made the remark when African members of The Third
Chamber, a Netherlands-based NGO that advocates strengthened
political support for international cooperation and
sustainable development, visited the European Parliament to
have first hand knowledge about the work of the European
It was not the first time that members were hearing that
after 50 years of EU support to Africa there continued to be
more poor people on the Continent.
It is very ironic that after meetings with the G8, IMF and
the World Bank, services that were needed most by the
developing countries were more expensive than in the
For instance, one does not need up to 1,000 dollars or even
half of that sum to travel from Europe to America but when
one is travelling from Africa to any European country or
America one certainly needs more.
Certainly leaders of developing countries know that God
knows what is being done about it. Internet services in
Ghana are more expensive compared to Internet services in
the developed world.
Telephone facilities are equally more expensive compared to
telephone services abroad. For example with one 7.50 Ghana
cedis (75,000 cedis) of Areeba (MTN) rechargeable card, one
can only talk for about 25 minutes, while with 2.50 pounds
(4.5 Ghana cedis) one could call Ghana from London and talk
for well over an hour.
It is very fascinating when "white people" visit Ghana and
one observes how people worship them. Some think that
"whites" have all the answers to poverty and it is very
common to hear people call out to the whites "Obroni (white
person) give me money”.
It looks like when the white man talks no one else dares
talk, so is white better than black?
Dr Kwesi Jonah, a political scientist at the University of
Ghana, says there is not much difference between liberal and
social democrats in the African political setting.
He said even though there were some cardinal differences
between the two systems, developing countries were not
entirely independent in deciding the approaches to their
He maintained that these economic programmes were handed
down from Bretton Woods institutions and thus eroded the
impact of the political ideology of governments on their
Dr Jonah said governance in Africa was not even determined
by who was ruling, but was determined by where the money
Does this imply that when a country has a bad economy, its
Leaders become puppets?
Could it be compared to a person going to a money lender to
borrow money where the person is compelled to go by the
terms of the lender be it a Shylock or altruistic lender?
As it is, the hands of developing countries appeared to have
been tied by the level of poverty in their countries. So
does poverty affect the mind?