Political Drivers of Inequality in Kenya

This article highlights the nature, domains and responses to inequalities in Kenya in the context of the current socio-economic and political transformational processes shaping the country’s destiny. It describes the character and drivers of inequalities and analyses the political, policy, programmatic and constitutional measures that have been instituted to address them. It also highlights lessons learnt and challenges in addressing inequalities while sketching their possible resolution.




Spotlight on Sustainable Development 2016

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted unanimously at the United Nations by world Heads of States and Governments in September 2015 is highly ambitious. If taken seriously it has the potential to change the prevailing development paradigm by re-emphasizing the multidimensional and interrelated nature of sustainable development and its universal applicability.

Tracking Progress on Macroeconomic and Social Developments in the Eastern Africa Region

Given the difficult global context, the continued resilience of economic growth in the Eastern Africa region has been quite remarkable. But this strong performance has increasingly been accompanied by growing (and sometimes quite vocal) concerns over the quality of the growth – particularly the extent to which growth has been conducive to broad-based poverty reduction and employment creation. Across the region, there is evidence to support the idea that, despite a much improved economic performance in the 2000s after two decades of economic stagnation, a lot of social and economic aspirations have still not been fulfilled. One example of this is that, although USD 1.25-a-day poverty has been reduced in relative terms in the region (from 65 per cent of the population in 2000 to 54 per cent of the population in 2011), the absolute number of citizens living below the international poverty line has actually increased, from 155 million to 166 million over the same period.

How Solid Is Economic Growth in the East African Community?

The East African Community (EAC) countries’ economic growth performance during the past decade has been impressive:1 at 6.2 percent, the EAC’s (unweighted) average growth rate in 2004–13 is in the top one-fifth of the distribution of 10-year growth rate episodes experienced by all countries worldwide since 1960. Such performance is even more remarkable taking into account that the past decade encompasses the global economic and financial crisis that began in 2007. Will this prove to be an isolated episode, with growth returning to lower levels in the years ahead, or is strong growth going to persist?

Lessons of the Global Structural Transformation Experience for the East African

Since the food price rises starting 2007 and the financial crisis that followed in 2008, the development community has been wrestling with the dual questions of threats to food security and the growing inequality accompanying economic growth. Almost all of the poverty and hunger is now concentrated in the low and lower-middle income countries of Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, most of it in rural areas. In this paper we examine the performance of a selected number of countries in Asia and Africa by analyzing agriculture’s historic role in structural transformation. A paper drawing on the experience of 109 countries over a 30 year period with a focus on China, India, Indonesia and Brazil was prepared as an input into India’s 12th Five Year Plan in 2011 (Lele et al 2011). By extending that analysis to the East African countries, we demonstrate the extent to which the late developers of the East African Community face odds which are greater than those of densely populated Asian countries in achieving structural transformation. We further demonstrate the urgency of focusing attention on agricultural productivity growth as the critical ingredient for achieving food security, poverty reduction and overall economic development.

A Comparative analysis of women’s land rights in Asia, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa

The study sought to make a systematic and critical comparative analysis of the distribution of land between men and women in the three regions of Asia, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa in order to establish if there was any discrimination against women using a gender approach (or analysis). In the study, the focus was on use rights in state-owned land or resettlement land and a critical evaluation on whether these rights were differentiated and distributed on the basis of sex. The study used archival data and document reviews. The analysis was based on farms or land acquired by governments and later redistributed to smallholder farmers. Studies in the three regions showed that women were considered a marginalized social group in land ownership although slightly better conditions were observed in Latin America. A majority of the studies blamed customary, religious and statutory laws but failed to estimate the relative importance of these variables in explaining the gendered pattern of land distribution. Women’s lower access to land in the three regions increased women’s economic dependency on men and consequently made them more vulnerable to socio- economic and environmental shocks.

Government Impartiality and Sustained Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa

Many studies suggest that one of the main reasons for Africa’s dismal growth performance over most of the 20th century is its degree of ethnic fragmentation. Yet, there is still insufficient knowledge about whether ethnic diversity necessarily entails large economic costs, or whether the implications of diversity depend, inter alia, on the government’s approach toward the ethnic question. We note that economic growth tends to increase average incomes, but it also affects the income distribution. Then, if growth is accompanied by growing economic inequality, the perception of the impartiality of the government toward different ethnic groups is likely to be important for whether growth can be sustained, or whether sparks of growth will evaporate because of rising political divisions and internal conflicts. In this paper, we study whether the degree of ethnic impartiality in the government’s policies is related to the emergence of sustained growth in sub-Saharan Africa, irrespective of the actual content of the policies. We measure perceptions about the impartiality of the government with survey data from the Afrobarometer covering 20 countries starting in the late 1990 s. Our main definition of sustained growth is when there is a GDP per capita growth rate of at least 2% for at least five consecutive years. Our empirical results suggest that countries whose governments are perceived as impartial are more likely to experience sustained growth. We conclude that in order to ensure economic development, it is not only important to choose the ‘‘right” policies, but also to implement these policies in a fair manner.

Urban Health Disparities in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia: Trends in Maternal and Child Health Care Access, Utilization and Outcomes among Urban Slum Residents

As the world becomes more urban and slums continue to grow in developing countries, research is needed to measure utilization of health services, health outcomes, and access to health care providers among urban slum residents. Estimating trends in urban health among slum residents relative to other urban inhabitants provides evidence of health disparities for priority-setting by program implementers and policy- makers. Research on the negative effects of slum environments on human health has started to emerge, yet there remains a paucity of evidence on morbidity trends over time and inequalities between slum residents and other urban residents. The goal of this study is to quantify maternal and child health care access, utilization and outcomes among urban slum dwellers in selected countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia over time. These three areas are addressed in three separate dissertation manuscripts.

Africa Rising . Inequalities and the essential role of fair taxation.

This report investigates the issue of income inequality in eight sub-Saharan African countries (Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe). While there is growing public recognition that inequality is the issue for our time – both globally and in sub-Saharan Africa – there is little definitive analysis of income inequality trends on the continent. This report seeks to contribute in this area, looking at whether income inequality is, in fact, rising and in what context this is occurring. In particular, this report seeks to locate an analysis of tax systems in sub-Saharan Africa in the context of these economic inequalities, given the primary importance of national tax systems in redistributing wealth.

The report looks at national taxation systems and international taxation issues – and, critically, the relationship between them. In this way it reveals how the enabling environment for tax dodging impacts on national tax systems in sub-Saharan Africa. It also dissects the trends in revenue generation, tax equity and tax reforms across the eight countries. It has a special focus on the experiences of two countries – Kenya and South Africa – which have two of the stronger tax systems in sub-Saharan Africa but which also have extensive shortcomings in the area of tax equity.

The evidence gathered in this report shows that increasing income inequality should be of huge concern to governments in at least six out of the eight countries – Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia, Kenya and Malawi. In Ghana and Nigeria, income inequality is rising strongly. In Nigeria, between 1986 and 2010, there has been a 75% increase in the concentration of income in the country. In Ghana there has been a 50% increase in the concentration of income over an 18-year period. In Zambia income inequality is now at its highest levels since data was collected. South Africa has one of the highest levels of inequality in the world and one which keeps increasing. The sharp rise in the incomes of the richest 5% is driving the increase at the top end. Yet there is no evidence of progress in tackling this inequality, or even much preoccupation with it, in South Africa’s new National Development Plan.

Inequality of Child Mortality Among Ethnic Groups in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Accounts by journalists of war in several countries of sub-Saharan Africa in the 1990s have raised concern that ethnic cleavages and overlapping religious and racial affiliations may widen inequalities in health and survival among ethnic groups throughout the region, particularly among children. Paradoxically, there has been no systematic examination of ethnic inequality in child survival chances across countries in the region. This paper uses survey data collected in the 1990s in 11 countries ( Central African Republic , Cote d Ivoire , Ghana, Kenya , Mali , Namibia , Niger , Rwanda , Senegal , Uganda and Zambia) to examine whether ethnic inequality in child mortality has been present and spreading in sub-Saharan Africa since 1980s. The focus was on one or two groups in each country which may have experienced distinct child health ans survival chances , compared to the rest of the national population as a result of their geographical location .

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