The moral implications of Odera Oruka’s ‘Human Minimum’ for Africa’s fight against extreme poverty

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis


In this dissertation, I consider a hitherto underexplored concept of ‘human minimum’ as proposed by H. Odera Oruka to obligate responsibility as an approach to tackling extreme poverty in Africa and beyond. I aim to establish, among other things, why it is morally problematic and economically counterproductive to demand equal moral responsibility from all moral agents irrespective of their economic differences to ensure the implementation of the human minimum or the elimination of extreme poverty. To achieve the aforementioned, I attempt to answer two significant questions, to wit: What are some of the moral implications of ensuring that a society attains the human minimum as an approach to fighting extreme poverty? Who has a greater moral responsibility for ensuring the attainment of the human minimum between the government, non-governmental/nonprofit organisations, and individual members of society? In Oruka’s philosophy, enforcement of a global human minimum is the equal moral obligation of all moral agents—all those situated above the poverty line. I will demonstrate why ignoring the economic differences – and inequalities – of those who qualify as moral agents in Oruka’s conceptualisation of extreme poverty, particularly in continental Africa, risks plunging more of those who live a little above the human minimum threshold into poverty. I then argue that a disproportionate distribution of responsibility that is sensitive to the economic disparities that exist among the non-poor population holds a better promise for success in the fight
against extreme poverty in Africa.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationMaster of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Pretoria
  • Okeke, Jonathan Chimakonam, Supervisor, External person
Award date5 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Africa
  • Poverty
  • Foreign Aid
  • Human Minimum
  • Odera Oruka
  • Dimensions of Poverty


Dive into the research topics of 'The moral implications of Odera Oruka’s ‘Human Minimum’ for Africa’s fight against extreme poverty'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this