Trends in Poverty and Inequality in Seven African Countries
This paper aims to analyse trends in poverty and inequality in seven African countries using an asset index constructed from comparable, nationally representative surveys using multiple correspondence analysis. Improvements in the asset index are largely driven by progress in the accumulation of private assets, while access to public services has deteriorated. Continued efforts at the expansion of access to public services such as waterborne sanitation and piped water, particularly in rural areas, are thus required. Overall poverty has declined in five of the seven countries. The trends in urban and rural poverty for the most part mirror these trends in overall poverty. Five of the seven countries experienced an improvement in overall inequality. Only in Zambia has overall inequality increased. Experiences in regards to trends in urban and rural inequality are mixed. These results, however, should be interpreted with caution, given the various conceptual and methodological limitations of the asset index approach to poverty analysis.
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