Over the last couple of years, as I travelled through the Rwandan countryside and talked with farmers, it was clear that something really interesting was happening. This was confirmed on Tuesday, February 7th when the results of the 3rd Rwandan Household Living Conditions Survey, EICV 3 were released. The results were, in the words of Paul Collier “deeply impressive” with Rwanda pulling off the very rarely
Throughout the slums of this world, poor children are dreaming of becoming football stars and playing in the World Cup. Some of them from Kibera—Kenya’s largest slum—had a shot last weekend, when the International School of Kenya hosted the third “Mini World Cup”.
The event involved more than sixty teams made-up of Kenyan and international children from all walks of life. Two teams from Kibera made it to the top eight teams of the tournament, keeping their dream alive to win the “Cup” in one of the next years. The great thing about football is that all teams, no matter what their social background, have an equal opportunity to win. They start on a level playing field, and they all play by the same rules. When the final whistle blows, there is no reason why one of the teams from Kibera should not lift the Mini World Cup next time, just as Ghana’s Black Stars overcame Team USA in the 2010 World Cup, despite the huge disparity in wealth between the two nations.
In economic development, the equivalent of having a level playing field is equality of access to basic services.
Today, October 31, 2011 our planet reaches a new milestone: we are 7 billion people on earth.
In the past, when the world’s population was a fraction of what it is today, the expansion of humanity was a source of alarm and many apocalyptic tales. More than 200 years ago, Thomas Malthus, one of the leading scholars and economists at that time predicted that the world would simply run out of food. Then, we were less than one billion people.
Now I want to take you on a journey into the future.
It’s a long ride on a non-motorable road to Pujehun district in the south of Sierra Leone. We are on a visit to see how the country’s Free Health Care Initiative (FHCI) for pregnant women and young children is working out.
In the maternity ward of the district hospital, a woman proudly shows us her new born baby – it’s her third child and fourth pregnancy. But, more importantly, her first child to be delivered in a hospital. She is among the thousands of women who have delivered in hospitals for the first time since the introduction of free health care. Are we seeing early signs of a change in health seeking behavior among the poor in the country?
I felt privileged to speak to the freshman class of Princeton University, my alma mater, at the annual “Reflections on Service” event organized by the Pace Center. In my speech, I drew on my work on the 2004 World Development Report, Making Service Work for Poor People and since then in South Asia and Africa, as well as my village immersion experience living and working with a woman in Gujarat, India who earns $1.25 a day.
Both sets of experiences taught me how government programs—in health, education, water, sanitation, agriculture, infrastructure—that are intended to benefit the poor often fail to do so because they are captured by the non-poor who are politically more powerful. I suggested to the students that, in addition to getting a good education and undertaking volunteer activities, they consider using their education to inform poor people, so that they can bring pressure to bear on politicians for pro-poor reforms. The two examples I used to illustrate—citizen report cards in Bangalore and public expenditure tracking surveys in Uganda—were from the 1990s; with the penetration of cell phones in Africa and South Asia, getting knowledge to poor people in 2011 should be easier.
Comme beaucoup de lecteurs, j’étais consciente de la discrimination et du sévère désavantage auxquels les veuves font face dans de nombreux pays.
Néanmoins, ce que j’ai trouvé en examinant des données maliennes était bien pire encore que ce que j’imaginais. Comme je le documente dans un récent article (Effets persistants du veuvage sur le bien-être dans un pays pauvre, 5734), les femmes maliennes qui ont connu le choc d’un veuvage ont un bien-être moins élevé que d’autres femmes du même âge. Par ailleurs, les effets négatifs du veuvage persistent après un remariage et sont transmis aux enfants – probablement plus à leurs filles – ce qui suggère une transmission intergénérationnelle de la pauvreté engendrée par le veuvage.
Kenya is again in the middle of an economic storm.
The quality of service delivery is fundamental for people's wellbeing, especially for the poor. This is why the situation in Cameroon is worrisome.
Indicators for service delivery in Cameroon tend to trail behind those observed in countries at similar income levels; and for indicators such as primary school completion or child mortality, the country does even worse than the average for Sub-Saharan Africa.
La qualité des services publics est fondamentale pour le bien-être de la population, en particulier les pauvres. C’est la raison pour laquelle la situation au Cameroun est préoccupante.
Les indicateurs de prestations de services au Cameroun sont généralement inférieurs à ceux de pays ayant des niveaux de revenu similaire.
Under-5 mortality is often used—perhaps implicitly—as a measure of “population health”. But what is happening to adult mortality in Africa?
In a recent working paperi , we combine data from 84 Demographic and Health Surveys from 46 countries, and calculate mortality based on the sibling mortality reports collected from female respondents aged 15-49. The working paper is available here and the database we used for the analysis can be found here.
We find that adult mortality is quite different from child mortality (under-5 mortality)1. This is perhaps obvious to most readers, but is clearly illustrated in figure 1. While in general both under-5 and adult mortality decline with per-capita income, and over time, the latter effect is much smaller for adult mortality, which has barely shifted in countries outside Africa between 1975-79 and 2000-04.
But in sub-Saharan Africa, contrary to under-5 mortality everywhere and to adult mortality outside of Africa, adult mortality increased between 1975-79 and 2000-04 and the relationship between adult mortality and income became positive in Africa as indicated by the upward sloping line in 2000-04.
This diverging and dramatic trend for sub-Saharan Africa is mainly driven by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.