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Growth, Inequality, and Poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa: Recent Progress in a Global Context


  • Augustin Kwasi Fosu


The present study employs recent World Bank data to shed light, in a global context, on the transformation of income and inequality changes to poverty reduction for a large number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The study begins by shedding light on SSA’s progress on poverty. Next, it presents data on how various African countries have fared on poverty incidence relative to other countries, with special emphasis on the more recent period since the mid-1990s when SSA has generally experienced growth resurgence. The paper, then, decomposes performance on poverty in to income and inequality changes for a sample of SSA countries with the requisite data. The findings are that the recent progress on poverty has been considerable, in contrast to the earlier period. Compared with the progress in a global sample of countries, however, progress has been mixed; although African countries lag behind the BRIC group of countries generally, many of them have actually outperformed India. While income growth is, furthermore, found to be the main engine for poverty reduction in SSA generally, the role of inequality is crucial in certain countries. Moreover, viewed in a global context, the low levels of in come have retarded the effectiveness of income and inequality improvements in reducing poverty in many African countries.

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  • Augustin Kwasi Fosu, 2014. "Growth, Inequality, and Poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa: Recent Progress in a Global Context," CSAE Working Paper Series 2014-17, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  • Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2014-17

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    1. Shaohua Chen & Martin Ravallion, 2010. "The Developing World is Poorer than We Thought, But No Less Successful in the Fight Against Poverty," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1577-1625.
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