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Are cash transfers better chunky or smooth? Evidence from Nigeria

Gautam Gustav Bastian's picture

Imagine this: You open your mail and it says that you are owed $1,200 from overpaid taxes! After recovering from your elation, you read on. The letter requests you to choose if you would like to be paid over the next year in increments of $100 every month or $300 every three months?

Urbanization in Nigeria: Planning for the Unplanned

Salim Rouhana's picture
Since 2011, when floods destroyed the bridge that once stood here, the only way members of this Ibadan community can cross the river is by walking across it when the water is low. As the river grows during the rainy season, the community remains separated from the city. © Ivan Bruce, World Bank

“City plans must fit the people, not the other way round.” Jane Jacobs, journalist and urban studies author

Ibadan,  the third largest metropolitan area in Nigeria after Lagos and Kano,  has organically grown from around 60,000 inhabitants in the early 1800’s to more than three million today, and is projected to reach 5.6 million by 2033. The city’s urban footprint continues to sprawl due to weak land use planning that leads to the proliferation of informal settlements in flood prone areas. 

Disruptive innovation: The most viable strategy for economic development in Africa

Efosa Ojomo's picture
Also available in: Français
Without question, Africa is the poorest region in the world. The chart below shows the growth of gross domestic product (GDP) per person – an imperfect but widely used measure – for Africa and the rest of the world. Not only is the rest of the world six times richer than Africa, GDP per person has grown at a faster rate. These numbers are significant because they do not simply represent the macro-economic realities that governments in African countries must manage; they also translate to the circumstances in which millions of people live their lives.

Innovation de rupture: La stratégie la plus viable pour le développement économique en Afrique

Efosa Ojomo's picture
Also available in: English

Sans aucun doute, l'Afrique est la région la plus pauvre du monde. Le tableau ci-dessous montre la croissance du produit intérieur brut (PIB) par personne - une mesure imparfaite, mais largement utilisé - pour l'Afrique et le reste du monde. Non seulement le reste du monde est six fois plus riche que l'Afrique, mais son PIB par personne ne cesse d’augmenter. Ces chiffres sont importants car au-delà de représenter les réalités macro-économiques que les gouvernements des pays africains doivent gérer; ils traduisent également les circonstances dans lesquelles des millions de personnes vivent au quotidien. Les chiffres démontrent que depuis les années 90, il faut rajouter plus de 50 millions de personnes en Afrique qui vivent aujourd'hui dans une pauvreté extrême. Il s’agit de millions de bébés, d’enfants et de mères qui meurent chaque année car ils n’ont pas les moyens de s’offrir des médicaments vitaux pour eux. Les chiffres traduisent aussi une flambée du chômage, qui facilite l’enrôlement des jeunes dans des activités terroristes. Les chiffres sont très significatifs.

Niger and Lake Chad Basin countries take important strides towards building climate resilience, in line with Paris Agreement

Jennifer J. Sara's picture

Climate change imposes stark challenges in West and Central Africa, where droughts and floods are already frequent. Vast portions of the region’s populations are poor, dependent on natural resources for their livelihoods, and unable to prepare and respond adequately to extreme weather events. Weak monitoring and information systems, absence of proper infrastructure, and limited governance capacity render countries in the region unable to manage their climate risks, threatening food and energy security, economic development, ecosystem health, and overall regional stability.

The work of women in Nigeria

Sara Johansson de Silva's picture

In Nigeria, Africa’s largest and most populous country, more women are engaging in work than ever before. By 2011, more than half (57%) of women 15-64 years old were in some form of employment. The increase in women working has been driven by women with the least amount of schooling finding work –these are the women who are more likely to be out of work than those who have had access to more schooling.

Smackdown: Provide the people of Africa with training, or with cold, hard cash?

David Evans's picture

In recent years, growing evidence supports the value of cash transfers. Research demonstrates that cash transfers lead to productive investments (in Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia), that they improve human capital investments for children (in Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Lesotho, Zambia, and Malawi), and that they don’t get spent on alcohol (all over the world).

At the same time, the vast majority of governments invest large sums in training programs, whether business training for entrepreneurs or vocational training for youth, with the goal of helping to increase incomes and opportunities.

Nourrir l’Afrique de l’Ouest : un agenda pour le commerce régional

Jean-Christophe Maur's picture
Also available in: English
L’agriculture est la pierre angulaire des économies africaines : en Afrique subsaharienne, les produits de base — le bétail et la viande, les céréales, les légumineuses, les racines et les tubercules — constituent les principales sources d’apports caloriques. En Afrique de l’Ouest, où vivent 300 millions de personnes, l’agriculture emploie 60 % de la population active. Mais malgré son immense potentiel, la région devient dépendante des importations de denrées alimentaires pour couvrir ses besoins de consommation : celles-ci ont plus que triplé en dix ans.

Relaunching Africa Can and Sharing Africa’s Growth

Francisco Ferreira's picture

Dear Africa Can readers, we’ve heard from many of you since our former Africa Chief Economist Shanta Devarajan left the region for a new Bank position that you want Africa Can to continue highlighting the economic challenges and amazing successes that face the continent. We agree.

Today, we are re-launching Africa Can as a forum for discussing ideas about economic policy reform in Africa as a useful, if not essential, tool in the quest to end poverty in the region.

You’ll continue to hear from many of the same bloggers who you’ve followed over the past five years, and you’ll hear from many new voices – economists working in African countries and abroad engaging in the evidence-based debate that will help shape reform. On occasion, you’ll hear from me, the new Deputy Chief Economist for the World Bank in Africa.

We invite you to continue to share your ideas and challenge ours in pursuit of development that really works to improve the lives of all people throughout Africa.

Here is my first post. I look forward to your comments.

In 1990, poverty incidence (with respect to a poverty line of $1.25) was almost exactly the same in sub-Saharan Africa and in East Asia: about 57%. Twenty years on, East Asia has shed 44 percentage points (to 13%) whereas Africa has only lost 8 points (to 49%). And this is not only about China: poverty has also fallen much faster in South Asia than in Africa.

These differences in performance are partly explained by differences in growth rates during the 1990s, when emerging Asia was already on the move, and Africa was still in the doldrums. But even in the 2000s, when Africa’s GDP growth picked up to 4.6% or thereabouts, and a number of countries in the region were amongst the fastest-growing nations in the world, still poverty fell more slowly in Africa than in other regions. Why is that?