Economic inequality has worsened significantly in Malawi in recent years. In 2004, the richest 10 percent of Malawians consumed 22 times more than the poorest 10 percent. By 2011 this had risen to see the richest 10 percent spending 34 times more than the poorest. Yet even this shocking statistic is likely to be a significant underestimate1. Anyone who has seen the many large mansions springing up on the edges of Lilongwe and Blantyre, and the plethora of new shopping malls being opened, knows that conspicuous consumption amongst the richest is dramatically growing. Malawi’s Gini coefficient, the key measure of inequality, also shows the extent to which robust economic growth is benefiting the rich whilst leaving the poor behind. In seven years of impressive growth, the Gini has leapt up from 0.39, on a par with Cameroon, to 0.45, on a par with the Democratic Republic of Congo.
This publication, launched in Nairobi on 15 May 2007, analyses inequality from the perspectives of 8 different sectors of Kenya’s economy. Contributions have been made by some of the leading experts in Kenya. As the first volume in this planned series of publications on inequality in the region, this book carries on from Pulling Apart: Facts and Figures on Inequality in Kenya, which was launched in October 2004 and looked at the status of inequality in Kenya. The publications are part of SID’s programme on Rich and Poor: National Discourses on Poverty, Inequality and Growth .
This publication is part of the Rich and Poor: National Discourses on Poverty, Inequality and Growth Project (RAPP). Basing its contents exclusively on secondary sources, the report captures the facts and presents the portrait of the unequal development of a nation.