Poverty in Developing Countries and the Role of Government


Basic to the existence of governments are the protection of rights, liberties, and properties of all citizens. The future of a nation rests in the strength of society. Governments take necessary steps in order to support the needs of the people to make flourishing communities, as this is considered as the foundation of a healthy society. In so doing, national government policies direct towards the attainability of a sustainable future through people empowerment and state and local cooperation. Branches of government function to help deliver the services according to priorities. These branches institutionalise a portfolio of initiatives to different sectors of society specifically the services for health, education, food. Affected citizens are empowered through voluntary memberships in local civic and non-governmental organisations to assist government in the discharge of their basic functions. This type of local initiative strengthens the arms of society and collaborates with governmental efforts to make flourishing communities. Hudson (2009), states that collaborative actions exploit synergies, reduce duplication, and produce interaction (p. 13). Addressing the issue on poverty in developing countries requires willingness of federal, state, and local governments to carry on a platform of change. Synchronised approaches with these subdivisions of government on the areas of strengthening community –driven agenda, employment, and infrastructure developments can help alleviate the ill effects of poverty and other national issues.

This essay discusses the issue on poverty in developing countries and the role of governments in general. Arguments are structured of the context of the ideal function of the governments in contrast to the failure of the governments of third world countries to carry effectively its roles and responsibilities to the people. Causes of poverty are also taken with emphasis on high birth rate, lack of education, corruption, low wages, and lack of infrastructure facilities. Inefficient policies of national governments results in the disintegration of state and local governments’ functions delaying basic services to the people causing the upswing of poverty.

How can the various levels of government – local, state and federal – help to improve sustainability?

It is imperative that all levels of government work in unison in a collective passion to ensure that sustainability is maximised. As mentioned in the lecture, the three levels of governments all look after different areas of administration. However, many of these areas are related and interlinked with one another. Working together would assist the nation to raise the needed revenues for distribution and use by different political subdivisions of government. But this is not always the case. Corruption and politically inclined motivations of government officials hinder the efficient distribution of these resources causing serious delays in the delivery of basic services to the people. Budget in health like vaccines, medicines, and other medical supplies always fall short of demand due to overpriced proposals in public biddings. Government officials position themselves not to the service of the people but for their own selfish interests. They cheat during elections and take away peoples’ money. Corruption threatens security and peoples’ way of life affecting quality of government services like good roads, adequate number of schools, and the protection of neighborhoods (FBI, 2015).  In effect, corruptions in developing countries are exhausting meager public funds resulting to extreme poverty. In contrast, efficient distribution of public funds helps with the economics and funding levels of all states. Each state or local council then decides on the specific priorities in funds allocation. This type of action would assist in the implementation of effective policies regarding sustainability. Communication is a key aspect.

Each level of government can implement different programs to assist with improving sustainability. However, one should also consider the implementing costs of different individual programs adopted by local governments in relation to the money spent on large national campaigns and investing in sustainability projects. As a basic rule, Governments follow the concept of departmentalisation. Each subdivision within the government is created to support national structure. Failure to coordinate efforts will result to unwanted setbacks that jeopardises the welfare of the people.

From my understanding, we are fortunate in the sense we follow the Westminster system, meaning that the upper house has the ability and power to pass legislation easily and could implement policies and legislations relating to sustainability if it chooses.  This feature is called on the fusion of powers typical in parliamentary democracies (Museum of Australian Democracy, 2015). Fusion of powers refers to the intermingling of powers between the executive and the legislative branches of government. This is in contrast to presidential democracies in which the three branches of government function to check and balance powers between them.

On the other hand, high fertility rates cause extreme poverty (Merrick, 2002). Annual births in Tanzania as of 2012 are 1.9 million while fertility rate is 5.4 children per woman (Haub, 2012). Projected population in the country for the year 2050 is 138 million while year 2012 population is only 48 million or a dramatic increase of 187.5 percent over a period of 38 years. Alarming trends of rising birth rates in developing countries have resulted to inability of the population to support their needs. Addressing to reduce incidence of poverty globally is both a moral and an ethical imperative. The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights stresses a firm hold that people have the right to live a life away from poverty and hunger. In reality, power of national governments in developing countries become limited due to the growing influence of transnational businesses operating in their midst (Hale, 2010). Policy frameworks designed to attract foreign direct investments by poor countries will potentially harm governments’ power to be in command of their economies for fear that these investors might pull out their investments and relocate to other countries (Hale, 2010). In short, what are left of national governments are the strategies that aim towards the maximisation of their limited resources through cooperation efforts with state and local governments.

Civic and non-government organisations function to assist governments in areas needing immediate or even long term assistance. The federal form of government would be ideal in the distribution or government resources considering that bigger portion of local income goes immediately to local or state coffers. Sadly, this type of government is only adopted by developed countries such as UK, Australia, US, and Canada. Many of the world’s poorest countries adopt a Representative form of government that requires local income to be remitted to the national treasury for Congress to appropriate. The inability of local governments to raise the required revenue through local taxing schemes results to deprivation of local communities from the benefits of good infrastructure reforms and other basic services. Effects have grown more complex and institutional reforms deny the privilege of time for local communities to flourish. People eventually become deprived of education causing them to be absorbed only in low-paying jobs. As their families grow bigger, their income becomes insufficient to support household expenditures causing malnutrition and poverty. For a solution, Cooperation between the government and the private sector is a strong driving force to community sustainability.

What would it take to make this happen?

Essentially, the way how developing countries develop solutions to reverse worsening economic conditions are difficult as the effects of climate change. As discussed by Hale (2010), he argued that it takes approximately 30 to 40 years to be seen and Executive branch of governments are only in power for an average of 4 years. Due to the lag in time it is difficult to for governments to enforce decisions that will potentially affect people today to ensure of a sustainable future. But this does not mean that there is no more way out. Building better communities start with change in individual mindset and essentially good education. The promotion of local entrepreneurship as a sustainability approach is a good program that empowers local people with the necessary skills and resource oriented strategies. When local business industries stand to survive with the adversities of business pursuits, it can grow to compete with foreign industry participant in their countries. Effects of both short and long term goals must be considered and mitigated, where possible.


Policies of governments should direct to short-term and long-term projections. Foreign investments provide a helpful solution in lessening the percentage of unemployment while raising revenues for the government. As mentioned, their presence eventually put them in command to dictate governments. The inefficient policies adopted by national governments have pervasive effects to their own political and economic structure in the sense that basic services for the people are delayed causing poverty and other related problems. It is imperative that national and local governments position themselves as one strategic unit to translate plans into action and produce results. Corruption can be addressed through cooperation and transparency of public transactions. Flourishing communities make up healthy societies equally receptive to sustainability. Cooperation between government subdivisions lessens administrative costs and expenses for community infrastructures and other projects. By building sustainable communities,   people will have greater access to efficient healthcare system, good education, and higher opportunities for work and pay.


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