This paper reviews recent research on income and non-income inequalities within countries in sub-Saharan Africa. It concentrates on research conducted by national and regional institutions and by international agencies in the region. Research on income inequality in Africa is a recent phenomenon. Most studies began in the early 1990s, with the increased availability of household budget surveys for countries in the region. The advent of PRSPs and MDGs, which moved the debate towards issues of pro-poor growth, also required discussion on the nature and trends of income inequality. Another reason was the lessons coming from a number of countries that although growth may be necessary, it was not sufficient to reduce poverty.
Since the election of the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) government in 1991, the Zambian authorities have implemented sweeping economic reforms. In addition to undertaking a sharp stabilisation programme early in the decade, the government have implemented reforms in agricultural marketing, a large privatisation programme, sweeping trade policy reforms and, more recently, public sector reform. The implementation of stabilisation and structural reforms in any country can have a major impact upon poverty and inequality. In order to obtain an accurate view of these effects, it is necessary to have nationally representative household survey data from both before and after the reform episode. Fortunately, there were four such surveys in Zambia during the 1990s ñ the first in 1991 coincided with the election of the new government, and further surveys were conducted in 1993, 1996 and 1998. This paper reanalyses the household survey data from three of these surveys in order to chart the evolution of poverty and inequality during the 1990s. In addition, the economic policies pursued during the 1990s are described in detail, enabling linkages to be drawn between the policies implemented and the observed changes in poverty and inequality.
Rural poverty rates in Zambia have remained very high, at 80%, over the past decade and a half, whilst urban poverty rates have declined, from 49% in 1991 to 34% in 2006. Redressing this high rural poverty rate remains a government priority in the National Development Programs. However, solutions have proven elusive. Solid empirically based information on dynamics that have improved the welfare of small-scale farm households in Zambia, combined with an agenda for disseminating this information in public discourse, offer prospects for generating a more transparent and pro-poor policy orientation.
This brief examines the problem of income inequality in Africa. Specifically, it addresses its trend and variations as well as the role of the African Development Bank in tackling it. Africa accounts for a large share of the world’s people living in absolute poverty.
Its share of the world’s poor rose from just below 20% to close to 25% (Kayizzi-Mugerwa, 2001). Nearly 50% of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa lives on less than US$ 1 a day today: the world’s highest rate of extreme poverty in the world.
Poverty is the most profound challenge that Zambia faces today. It is a social crisis with the majority of people denied a minimum decent living standard. The latest JCTR (2001) Monthly Food Basket Survey shows that it is becoming more and more difficult for the majority to meet basic needs, because food costs have been rising while wages remain static and too far below the food cost. The gravity of the situation is such that more and more lives are being lost due to hunger, sickness and disease including HIV/AIDS. But what is the definition of poverty?
One of the most enduring types of educational inequality is that of gender. At a global level, the gender gap in education has been reduced significantly in many of the countries of the North although it remains extreme in parts of the South, particularly in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). South Asia has the largest gender gap at both the primary and secondary levels followed by SSA. In the poorest countries of the world, gender inequality is reflected in lower enrolment, attainment and achievement, and higher wastage rates for girls. While SSA has the lowest levels of education as a region, it has, nonetheless, made the most progress in increasing schooling for girls and women over the past three decades (UNESCO, 1993). Thus, the enrolment of girls has increased at a faster rate than that of boys although starting from a much lower base level. This is largely the consequence of the expansionary education policies followed by post-independence African governments. Even so, gender inequalities with respect to enrolment levels and educational outcomes are still very marked both in absolute terms and in relation to other developing countries. During the 1980s, two-thirds of primary school-aged African children who were out of school were female (Colclough, 1994). While it is true that the enrolment gap between boys and girls has diminished in many SSA countries at the primary level, the education of women and girls remains highly inequitable, particularly at the tertiary level.
At present, there are 48 countries designated by the United Nations as “least developed countries” (LDCs). These are: Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, the Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Vanuatu, Yemen and Zambia.
Between 2007 – 14, there were 341 reported PE deals in Southern Africa totaling US$6.7bn. South Africa has the most mature and sophisticated market for PE in the region (and on the continent), accounting for 76% of the deal volume and 92% of the deal value in Southern Africa from 2007 – 2014. Annual deal volumes in the region have been trending downwards slightly since 2012, in part due to slower growth in South Africa and lower prices for commodities affecting the region. Overall, Southern Africa’s share of deal activity in Africa declined from 37% in 2007 – 2010 to 31% in 2011 – 2014. There were 127 PE exits in Southern Africa from 2007 – 2014. Sales to trade buyers – many to South African companies looking to expand their footprint within South Africa and across the region – accounted for a large proportion of exits
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.
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.