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Poverty Reduction and Human Development in Africa


  • Ben Arimah


This paper uses cross-national data to investigate the extent to which the adoption of human development strategies has resulted in a reduction of poverty in Africa. Inter-country variations in income and human poverty reinforce the established patterns of well-being within the continent, as countries in Northern and Southern Africa have the lowest levels of poverty. The empirical analysis reveals that inter- country differences in poverty levels can be accounted for by variables indicative of the different facets of human development. These include public expenditure on education, primary school enrolment, female educational enrolment, expenditure on health, and good governance. Other significant variables apart from those pertaining to human development are economic growth, high external debt, the prevalence of HIV/AIDS and the geographical disadvantage of being a landlocked country. The paper also shows that foreign aid has had a limited effect on poverty reduction in Africa.

Suggested Citation

  • Ben Arimah, 2004. "Poverty Reduction and Human Development in Africa," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(3), pages 399-415.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jhudca:v:5:y:2004:i:3:p:399-415 DOI: 10.1080/1464988042000277260

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    6. François Bourguignon & Satya Chakravarty, 2003. "The Measurement of Multidimensional Poverty," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 1(1), pages 25-49, April.
    7. Sudhir Anand & Amartya Sen, 2000. "The Income Component of the Human Development Index," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(1), pages 83-106.
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    11. Stephan Klasen, 1997. "Poverty, Inequality and Deprivation in South Africa: An Analysis of the 1993 SALDRU Survey," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 41(1), pages 51-94, July.
    12. Maasoumi, Esfandiar, 1986. "The Measurement and Decomposition of Multi-dimensional Inequality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(4), pages 991-997, July.
    13. A. Atkinson, 2003. "Multidimensional Deprivation: Contrasting Social Welfare and Counting Approaches," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 1(1), pages 51-65, April.
    14. Indranil Dutta & Prasanta K. Pattanaik & Yongsheng Xu, 2003. "On Measuring Deprivation and the Standard of Living in a Multidimensional Framework on the Basis of Aggregate Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 70(278), pages 197-221, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. López, Ramón & Galinato, Gregmar I. & Islam, Asif, 2011. "Fiscal spending and the environment: Theory and empirics," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 180-198, September.
    2. Prabir De, 2010. "Governance, Institutions, and Regional Infrastructure in Asia," Working Papers id:3029, eSocialSciences.
    3. David O. Omole & Julius M. Ndambuki, 2014. "Sustainable Living in Africa: Case of Water, Sanitation, Air Pollution and Energy," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(8), pages 1-16, August.
    4. Prabir De, 2010. "Governance, Institutions, and Regional Infrastructure in Asia," Governance Working Papers 22878, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
    5. Lopez, Ramon E. & Galinato, Gregmar I. & Islam, Asif M., 2009. "Pollution and the State: The Role of the Structure of Government," 2009 Conference (53rd), February 11-13, 2009, Cairns, Australia 48055, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    6. Nazeem ud din & Khalid Zaman & Shagufta Ashraf & Faiza Sajjad & Sundas Saleem & Uzma Raja, 2015. "Quality versus quantity in health care and educational reforms: combating poverty," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 49(1), pages 267-293, January.
    7. Lawrence Sáez, 2013. "Methods in governance research: a review of research approaches," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series esid-017-13, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
    8. Arimah, C. Ben, 2010. "The Face of Urban Poverty Explaining the Prevalence of Slums in Developing Countries," WIDER Working Paper Series 030, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).


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