WIDER Discussion Papers // World Institute for Development Economics (UNU-WIDER) 2003/70
This study traces the interactions between economic growth, income inequality and consumption poverty in a sample of African countries during the 1990s. It draws on the much-improved household data sets now available in the region. It finds that experiences have varied: some countries have seen sharp falls in income poverty; others have witnessed marked increases. Economic growth has been ‘pro-poor’ in that the incomes of poor households have typically grown at similar or faster rates than average income. But the aggregate numbers hide significant and systematic distributional effects which have caused some groups and regions to be left behind. The paper explores the contours of these effects, and draws three key conclusions. First, agricultural market liberalization has been conducive to reductions in rural poverty. Second, market connectedness is crucial for poor producers to take advantage of the opportunities offered by economic growth.