Growth, Distribution, and Poverty in Africa: Messages from the 1990s

39 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Luc Christiaensen

Luc Christiaensen

World Bank

Lionel Demery

World Bank

Stefano Paternostro

World Bank - Poverty Reduction Group (PRMPR)

Date Written: March 2002

Abstract

Christiaensen, Demery, and Paternostro review recent evidence on the trends in household well-being in Africa during the 1990s. They draw on the findings of a series of studies on poverty dynamics that use the better data sets now available. The authors begin by taking a broad view of poverty, tracing changes in both income poverty and in other more direct measures of individual welfare. Experiences have been varied: several countries have seen a sharp decline in poverty, while some have witnessed a marked increase. Yet, in the aggregate, economic growth has been pro-poor. Nonetheless, the aggregate numbers also hide significant and systematic distributional effects which have caused some groups to be left behind.

The authors draw four key conclusions: - Economic policy reforms (improving macroeconomic balances and liberalizing markets) have been conducive to reducing poverty. - Market connectedness is key for the poor to benefit from new opportunities generated by economic growth. Some population groups and regions, by virtue of their sheer remoteness, have been left behind when growth picks up. - Education and access to land further condition the extent to which households can benefit from economic opportunities and escape poverty. - Finally, rainfall variations and ill health are found to have profound effects on poverty outcomes in Africa underscoring the significance of social protection in a poverty reduction strategy.

This paper - a product of Poverty Reduction and Economic Management, Africa Technical Families - is part of a larger effort to review progress in poverty reduction in Africa. The authors may be contacted at lchristiaensen@worldbank.org, ldemery@worldbank.org, or spaternostro@worldbank.org.

Suggested Citation

Christiaensen, Luc and Demery, Lionel and Paternostro, Stefano, Growth, Distribution, and Poverty in Africa: Messages from the 1990s (March 2002). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 2810. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=636093

Luc Christiaensen (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Lionel Demery

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Stefano Paternostro

World Bank - Poverty Reduction Group (PRMPR) ( email )

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States
202-473-3492 (Phone)
202-473-8466 (Fax)

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