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Poverty

The European refugee crisis: What we can learn from refugees in Sub-Saharan Africa

Philip Verwimp's picture
Also available in: Français

The thousands of people crossing the European borders in 2015 have attracted considerable media attention. While such an attention is welcomed, we do not hear much about the millions of refugees hosted in developing countries.

Developing countries host about 85% of the total number of refugees in the world. Although Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) also hosts refugees from other regions, the number of refugees originating from SSA follows closely those hosted in the region, suggesting that most SSA refugees remain in countries within the region (Figure 1).

There is no doubt that the logistical, institutional, and socio-economic challenges are even fiercer in developing countries. Focusing mainly on Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, we reviewed the recent literature to draw a few lessons in a new working paper, prepared as background to the Poverty in a Rising Africa report.

Who will fund poverty surveys in “Volkswagen” countries?

Johannes Hoogeveen's picture
Also available in: Français

It must not have been easy to be a statistician at Volkswagen. At least Martin Winterkorn, former CEO of the car company, may not have been very fond of them.
 
Independent researchers published data showing how cars produced by Volkswagen were anything but the “clean diesels” they were proclaimed to be. In fact, the cars were shown to be very polluting, pumping out up to 40 times the allowed level of nitrogen oxide. Statistics revealed the truth, and the once powerful CEO is now a person in disgrace who may have to spend time in jail.
 
Countries are not companies, and a country’s leader is not to be compared with the CEO. Still, at times, their behavior reminds one of the self-interested take on life one expects from the head of a profit-maximizing company but not from an official representing its people. Countries with such self-interested profit maximizing leaders, let’s call them “Volkswagen” countries, prefer their statistical systems to be underfunded and of low capacity. It prevents the false claims about the country’s successes from being uncovered.

Africa is rising! But are people better off?

Kathleen Beegle's picture
Also available in: Français

This brief review of the key insights and focus of the Poverty in Rising Africa report serves to introduce a blog series elaborating on the findings. The next blog, to be posted on Monday, Dec. 21, will dig deeper in the challenges of improving Africa’s poverty data landscape.   

From Accra to Addis to Angola, Africa’s rise is undeniable. Shopping malls, high-rises and an urban middle class are now familiar features of Africa’s cities. Following two decades of unprecedented economic growth, “Africa Can” and “Africa’s 21st Century” have become the defining narratives for the region.

On the other hand, nagging questions remain about the extent to which Africa’s people’s lives have improved. As one taxi driver kept on telling us in Accra: “I can’t eat growth.” Unfortunately, there is little systematic evidence available to show our driver.

Terra Ranca! A fresh start for Guinea-Bissau

Marek Hanusch's picture
Also available in: Portuguese

@ Daniella Van Leggelo Padilla, World Bank Group

As international donors gather this week in Brussels to mobilize resources for Guinea-Bissau, the government and people of this West African nation appear ready for a fresh start.

The ten richest Africans own as much as the poorest half of the continent

Christoph Lakner's picture
In January 2014, Oxfam released a widely-cited briefing paper which argued that the richest 85 people in the world owned more than the poorest half of the population in 2013 (Oxfam, 2014).[1] In this blog post I estimate this statistic for Africa. The blog builds on background research for an upcoming flagship report “The State of Poverty and Inequality in Africa” led by the World Bank’s Africa Chief Economist Office.

How significant could Africa’s demographic dividend be for growth and poverty reduction?

S. Amer Ahmed's picture
Also available in: Français
Total dependency ratio, 1950-2030
Total dependency ratio, 1950-2030 *


Africa’s population grew at an average annual rate of 2.6 percent between 1950 and 2014, much faster than the global average of 1.7 percent as estimated from UN population projection data. During this time, the region experienced a demographic transition, moving from a period of high mortality and fertility rates to one of lower mortality, yet still high fertility rates. Other regions, most notably East Asia, took advantage of their transitions to accelerate growth, and reap a so-called ‘demographic dividend’. Africa is now being presented a similar opportunity.

Poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa: “A historical perspective on land and labor”

Gareth Austin's picture
A Ghanaian carpenter shapes wood for a coffin in his workshop. ©Jonathan Ernst/World Bank

The inaugural Annual Bank Conference on Africa examined strategies for converting economic growth into poverty reduction. Taking an economic historian’s perspective, the prospects are complicated by long-term shifts in fundamental patterns, specifically from land abundance to land scarcity and, relatedly, from labor repression to landlessness as the principal source of poverty.

Looking at Poverty…Through the Eyes of a Child

Bekele Shiferaw's picture
Looking at Poverty…Through the Eyes of a Child  - Photo© Curt Carnemark / World Bank


“I am always hungry, as oftentimes my family and I skip meals. I want to go to school like my friends, but my parents always say it is too expensive. If I go to school, then I can’t work to help them buy food, and then I am hungry again. I am helpless when it comes to changing my situation, I have no voice and there are few people that see things the way I do.”

Measuring Poverty and Inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa: Knowledge Gaps and Ways to Address them

Stephan Klasen's picture
Local children sit on a boulder overlooking the Kenyan slum of Kibera @Gates Foundation
Local children sit on a boulder overlooking the Kenyan slum of Kibera
​@Gates Foundation 



Despite hundreds of millions spent on more and better household surveys across Africa in recent decades, we only have a very rough idea about the levels and trends in income poverty and inequality in sub-Saharan Africa.  Many reasons contribute to this unfortunate state of affairs.

Africa’s big gender gap in agriculture #AfricaBigIdeas

Michael O’Sullivan's picture
Also available in: Français


Women are less productive farmers than men in Sub-Saharan Africa. A new evidence-based policy report from the World Bank and the ONE Campaign, Leveling the Field: Improving Opportunities for Women Farmers in Africa, shows just how large these gender gaps are. In Ethiopia, for example, women produce 23% less per hectare than men. While this finding might not be a “big” counter-intuitive idea (or a particularly new one), it’s a costly reality that has big implications for women and their children, households, and national economies.

The policy prescription for Africa’s gender gap has seemed straightforward: help women access the same amounts of productive resources (including farm inputs) as men and they will achieve similar farm yields. Numerous flagship reports and academic papers have made this very argument.

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