The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What Can Be Done About It.

The Founder of Inspire Leadership & focuses on unlocking people’s potential by providing them with programs; mentorship and coaching into high performance

By Paul Collier

This week I focused on development economics by looking into the issues of poverty and ways we can end it. There is no better way of going through this topic other than reading Paul Collier's book on The Bottom Billion. Paul is a professor of economics and director of the Center for the Study of African Economies at Oxford University and a former director of Development Research at the World Bank.

This book is an essential read if you are deeply interested in how to make better livelihoods for Africans. The book provides an explanation as to why the countries that hit the bottom billion and are the worlds poorest are not their ideal state and what they can do about it.

The book is based on expertise and experience as well as providing very good insights into the situation. Paul provides a well-articulated framework that is based on data and from the analysis, he provides us with the four "traps" in which developing countries are caught up in a vicious circle of the misery of landlockedness, resources trap, conflict, and bad governance.

The Bottom Billion discusses the issues within the 50 poorest countries of the world and why they can not breakthrough. Some of the key points from the book include the fact that countries can not overcome poverty without sustainable economic growth and hence the ways and means of achieving the required growth will be key. Second is the fact that poor countries are more prone to war and therefore have a more difficult time overcoming poverty as a result of war and that wars destroy a country’s economy more than anything else.

Thirdly is the fact that the discovery of natural resources can cause more harm than good in poorer countries. Governance strengthening could be a solution as it would help in the management of self-interests, especially from the political class. Fourthly, poor and landlocked countries must rely on neighboring nations for growth and development. This will ensure the logistical nightmares are dealt with and trade is made easier.

Lastly is the fact that peacebuilding in the countries from the local to the international level would provide a possibility for some of the countries to stop or manage internal conflicts which are detrimental to the growth of nations.

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