Structural Transformation and Inequality: Evidence from Nigeria

This article highlights that the persistent high levels of poverty and inequality are being mainly propelled by the structure of the Nigerian economy and the inability of annual public expenditure, despite its large size, to guarantee improved access to functional facilities and social services. It also illustrates how the emerging structural transformation, led by the services sector, needs to be consolidated and properly managed in order to promote sustainable development, including the eradication of poverty and the reduction of inequality.

 


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.


Socioeconomic Inequalities in Infant and Child Mortality among Urban and Rural Areas in Sub-Saharan Africa

Studies on urban-rural mortality differentials in Sub-Saharan Africa show that overall mortality, and infant and child mortality in particular, is generally lower in urbanthan in rural areas. Various factors account for this, including the high concentration of salaried workers (who generally have higher incomes) in urban centers, better education in urban areas, the concentration of public infrastructure in urban areas that provides sanitation services, including water supply, household waste and excreta removal and disinfection, and hospital infrastructure, with health conditions that are more favorable in urban than in rural areas.

This paper discusses the factors likely to explain the observed urban-rural differences in infant and child mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa. The paper addresses five points: the first two discusses the factors likely to be associated with excess urban mortality; the third assesses recent trends in infant and child mortality in a few selected countries in Sub-Saharan Africa; the fourth point deals with the determinants of infant and child mortality, with emphasis on the role of urban-rural residence as a differentiating factor. The last point provides the most salient results and a few recommendations


Gender considerations and poverty reduction in West-Africa

The rising poverty levels in Africa remain a challenge to national governments and the international community. In many African countries, poverty has become one of the most intractable and prolonged socio-economic problems. The authors argue that since women are generally poorer than men, poverty reduction strategies should target women and address gender inequality in access to and control of resources. This article, therefore, advocates for a more comprehensive approach to poverty reduction by highlighting vital issues that contribute to the ever-widening poverty gap between men and women, and which invariably retard poverty reduction efforts in West-Africa. Specifically, this exploration of the literature focuses on (a) poverty reduction strategies from the 1980’s to 2011, (b) poverty reduction initiatives and gender sensitivity, (c) gender inequality in resource acquisition and utilization and (d) women’s contributions to development of West-Africa. The article concludes by bringing to light some implications of gender inequality and poverty reduction strategies for sustainable development in West-Africa


Structural Transformation, Poverty and Inequality in Nigeria: An ARDL Bound Testing Technique

This paper uses ARDL bound testing technique to investigate the interrelationship among structural transformation, growth, inequality and poverty using Nigerian data. The results show that despite very low rate of structural transformation in Nigeria, there exists long-run relationship among the variables in the study. The insignificance of the structural transformation variable in the model indicates that the structural transformation is very slow in the country. The transformation that started in Nigeria in the early 1960s was disrupted by the emergence of oil as the mainstay of the economy leading to neglect of the other real sectors by the government. The failure of making best use of revenues from oil to support structural transformation of the economy led to the ‘paradox of plenty’, a rich country with lots of poor people.


Child Health Inequalities in Nigeria: Magnitude and Determinants of Mortality in Children Under Five

This study aimed to assess the magnitude of inequalities in mortality in children under the age of five across socio-cultural groups in Nigeria. A cross-sectional study using the dataset of women in reproductive age group obtained from the 2008 Nigeria Demographic Health Survey was examined. Mortality among children under five born to women between the years 2003-2008 was explored. Wide inequalities were observed across population groups

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Relationship between Objective and Subjective Horizontal Inequalities: Evidence from five African countries.

While the quantitative studies on horizontal inequalities and violent conflict have contributed enormously towards establishing the relationship between these two concepts, the operationalization of horizontal inequalities in objective terms is to some extent problematic because people act on the basis of their perceptions of the world they live in, and these perceptions may differ substantially from the ‘objective’ reality. The question to what extent objective and subjective horizontal inequalities are consistent in practice is an important empirical question, which this paper explores in five African countries: Ghana, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Nigeria and Kenya.


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