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JSPES, Vol. 46, No. 1-2 (Spring-Summer 2021)
pp. 95-115

The Political Economy of Poverty: Lack of Political Will or Poor Economic Policy In Africa
(A Case Study of Nigeria)

Ojo Olawole
Babcock University, Ilisan-Remo, Ogun State, Nigeria
Koledade Abiodun
Babcock University, Ilisan-Remo, Ogun State, Nigeria

Political economy as a concept has shaped the understanding of human society in relations with different social structures that functions to the betterment of the status-quo. Inequality formation of why some are rich and some are poor, some ruled and few are rulers, the class analysis in the society and its effects brought about the social responsibility of the state, and the underlying forces and motives behind government policies, actions and inactions that affects the mode and means of production. African political economy has been greatly affected by its political and economic elites through the indices of dysfunctional economic growth, unequal income distribution, negative international economic system and high poverty level which has limited the expected growth through a dysfunctional economic policy, economic inequality and hegemonic economic elite’s domination that plagued the development of Africa as a continent and Nigeria as a nation. The objective of this paper therefore, was to articulate the poverty dimension that characterizes underdevelopment in Africa in general and Nigeria in particular through a Marxist political economy approach and dependency theory principles. The examination of basic thrust of capitalism, viz, labour wages, surplus and its corresponding influence on African development, growth and poverty level was part of the milieu that shaped our understanding of African classical political economy. The study recommends policies based on the need for African leaders to separate politics from economics considering political bankruptcy in Africa and direct interference of investible capital out of Africa play fundamental roles of restricting the prospects of growth and development in African nations. It is also important for policymakers in Africa to have people-centered economic policies especially as it pertains to lowest class of the society. Preventing sharp drops in economic growth resulting from shocks and economic adjustments will reduce the political economy of poverty on the continent.