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Poverty, Inequality and Labour Markets in Africa: A Descriptive Overview

Author

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  • Haroon Bhorat

    () (Development Policy Research Unit, University of Cape Town)

Abstract

This paper examines, through the application of available data, the poverty, inequality and labour market challenges facing Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The paper illustrates that apart from levels of poverty and inequality that are inordinately high in SSA, the region is also beset with perhaps the more worrying problem of accounting for almost all of the world’s ultra-poor: namely those individuals living on less than half of the standard $1 a day poverty line. In addition we show that the both the level and nature of economic growth in SSA are not conducive to poverty reduction. In addition, the diluting effect of income redistribution through growth, suggests that much higher levels of income growth are required to maximise the impact on absolute and relative poverty levels in the region. The labour market analysis alludes to the rapid projected growth of the labour force in the region, hence further raising the importance of improving the character and level of growth rates on the continent. A caricature of the region where the dominant form of employment remains rural-based and at low skill levels, combined with burgeoning, but haphazard urban informal employment – is the underlying labour market descriptor of the welfare challenges faced by the continent.

Suggested Citation

  • Haroon Bhorat, 2005. "Poverty, Inequality and Labour Markets in Africa: A Descriptive Overview," Working Papers 05092, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
  • Handle: RePEc:ctw:wpaper:05092
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    File URL: http://www.dpru.uct.ac.za/sites/default/files/image_tool/images/36/DPRU%20WP05-092.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2005
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 565-591, September.
    2. Ravallion, Martin, 2001. "Growth, Inequality and Poverty: Looking Beyond Averages," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(11), pages 1803-1815, November.
    3. Kakwani, Nanak, 1993. "Poverty and Economic Growth with Application to Cote d'Ivoire," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 39(2), pages 121-139, June.
    4. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 565-591, September.
    5. Ravallion, Martin, 2004. "Pro-poor growth : A primer," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3242, The World Bank.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Abigail Barr & Justine Burns & Luis Miller & Ingrid Shaw, "undated". "Individual notions of distributive justice and relative economic status," Discussion Papers 11/10, University of Nottingham, School of Economics.
    2. Fan, Shenggen & Johnson, Michael & Saurkar, Anuja & Makombe, Tsitsi, 2008. "Investing in African agriculture to halve poverty by 2015:," IFPRI discussion papers 751, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. Badiane, Ousmane & Ulimwengu, John, 2009. "The growth-poverty convergence agenda: Optimizing social expenditures to maximize their impact on agricultural labor productivity, growth, and poverty reduction in Africa," IFPRI discussion papers 906, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    South Africa: poverty; inequality; labour market; labour force growth;

    JEL classification:

    • A1 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics

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