While there are many competing explanations for widespread & persistent poverty (e.g., lack of education, absence of democracy, overpopulation, etc), none of them strikes at the heart of what keeps people from improving their own lives. As it is, no poor person awakes each day with the desire to remain poor. Presumably, if given the chance, they will do what they can to improve their own lives & that of their families.
People are poor because they do not have jobs (or cannot engage in income-earning trades, usually due to regulations).
There are not enough jobs because there are too few new businesses being created to employ more people.
There are too few businesses being created because there is insufficient capital accumulation (or the taxation/regulation regime is too burdensome).
There is insufficient capital accumulation due to government policies.
And so, people are poor because governments make the wrong choices.
I have developed an instinct that whenever there are persistent economic or political or social imbalances, I look for a government policy that stops people from solving problems.