Poor people in Africa have to contend with a minimum wage.
Is this sentence correct ? Or should I say that poor people have to contendo with the problems that earning only the minimum wage brings? (CONTEND WITH the salary seems weird to me, since "to contend with" means to have to deal with sth unpleasant, and this is not the case. Am I right?)
Your suggested revision is a definite improvement over the original. While the original is grammatically correct, it doesn't make much sense.
I think you are right.