Growth and Poverty Reduction : Case Studies from West Africa
The objective of this volume is to assess the relationships between growth and poverty reduction on the basis of a number of case studies, all but one of which are based on recent household survey data. The first part of the volume presents data on Ghana and Senegal, two countries that have benefited from high levels of growth over the last dozen years. The analysis suggests that growth led to substantial reductions in the share of the population in poverty. Yet growth could not be said to be "pro-poor" because the gains in consumption for better off households were proportionately larger than the gains for poorer households. In the second part of the volume, case studies for Burkina Faso and Cape Verde are presented to solve the paradox of high growth without poverty reduction. It was initially believed in both countries that there had been no poverty reduction despite high growth during the 1990s. Yet a closer examination of the data suggests that this paradox was actually due to measurement errors: more careful work confirmed that poverty reduction was substantial. The third and last part of the volume presents case studies for Guinea-Bissau and Nigeria on the impediments to growth, with a focus on the negative impact of conflict and macroeconomic volatility on growth, and thereby on poverty. Overall, this volume makes a strong case for the positive impact of growth for the reduction in income and consumption poverty in West Africa but it also points to the need to pay close attention to changes in inequality as such changes have limited the gains from growth for the poor in several of the countries considered here.
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