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.
Research also suggests education can entrench intolerance, create or perpetuate inequality and intensify social tensions that can lead to civil a key determinant of income, influence and power. Inequalities in educational access can lead to other inequalities – in income, employment, nutrition and health as well as political position, which can be an important source of conflict.
Economic globalization can be evaluated with reference to at least three dimensions:trade, private capital flows, and migration. For each of these dimensions, pathways can be identified through which economic globalization can help or hurt poor people. For example, exports of labor-intensive goods have the potential of supporting the incomes of poor people, but imports of armaments can have disastrous impacts,especially for poor children. Capital inflows in the form of FDI can enhance employment and technological learning, but unwise bond finance and commercial bank lending can precipitate crises with devastating effects for poor people.Sorting out the positive and negative impacts of increased globalization from the point of view of poor people is therefore of great importance. This paper attempts to do so using the particular circumstances of Ethiopia as a central reference point
The Regional Network for Equity in Health in east and southern Africa (EQUINET) identified at its Regional Conference in June 2004 an agenda of “Reclaiming the state, advancing people’s health, challenging injustice”. To give profile to the issues and options for action to strengthen health equity, EQUINET is developing a Regional Equity Analysis. This report explores the health equity issues in Malawi, as a country equity analysis and contribution to this regional picture. It explores the current equity situation in Malawi, and the way forward to promote equity in health through a strong network of equity actors whose voice would advocate for equitable access to basic quality health care in Malawi.
Inequalities in health outcomes and health care are important. From a “rights” perspective, health policies should seek to narrow inequalities and provide equal health care for equal need. From an economic perspective, health care resources are more efficiently used if they are directed towards the groups that need them most. From the perspective of national health progress, catch-up by disadvantaged groups offers the best prospects for rapid progress towards national targets.
In 1993, the first democratically elected president of Burundi, who belonged to the majority Hutu ethnic group, was assassinated along with his close collaborators. The killing triggered the massacre of innocent Tutsi by members of the president’s party. Acts of revenge followed, leading to the creation of militias within both groups, and the ensuing fighting Balkanised entire neighbourhoods. The retaliations escalated into a full-scale civil war and an associated rebellion in Hutu refugee camps in Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. Civil war resulted in the loss of an estimated 300,000 lives and a massive displacement of people both internally and as refugees. It also destroyed the country’s precarious social fabric, leading to extreme suspicion between people of different ethnicity.
Health inequalities are no longer an issue only for developed countries. In recent years there is agreement that all countries present health inequalities regardless of their level of wealth. In low-income countries and especially in sub-Saharan Africa where the majority of the poor people live as well as their children, research on child health inequalities is still scarce. This review of evidence suggests that if Mozambique is to achieve the millennium development goals (MDGs) by 2015 further research on important determinants of disparities in child mortality is urgently needed
This study documents and compares the magnitude of inequities in child malnutrition across urban and rural areas, and investigates the extent to which within-urban disparities in child malnutrition are accounted for by the characteristics of communities, households and individuals.
The study finds that across countries in sub-Saharan Africa, though socioeconomic inequalities in stunting do exist in both urban and rural areas, they are significantly larger in urban areas. Intra-urban differences in child malnutrition are larger than overall urban-rural differentials in child malnutrition, and there seem to be no visible relationships between within-urban inequities in child health on the one hand, and urban population growth, urban malnutrition, or overall rural-urban differentials in malnutrition, on the other. Finally, maternal and father’s education, community socio economic status and other measurable covariates at the mother and child levels only explain a slight part of the within-urban differences in child malnutrition.
This paper argues that the reduction of Horizontal Inequalities (HIs), or inequalities between culturally defined groups, should inform aid policy in heterogeneous countries with severe HIs. It shows how this would change aid allocation across countries, leading to more aid to heterogeneous countries relative to homogeneous ones, the opposite of the existing bias in aid distribution. It explores how adopting an HI approach would affect the use of particular aid instruments, arguing that different instruments are appropriate according to the attitude and capacity of the government in relation to correcting HIs. Drawing on case studies of Ghana and Nepal it argues that at present there is neglect of HI considerations in aid policy, which can be particularly damaging where aid forms a large part of government resources.
The first section of this paper will review the international literature on inequality and agricultural productivity, with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa. The majority of work linking agricultural productivity to inequality is rooted in the mainstream agricultural economics literature. One strand focuses on the technical relationships between asset distribution and agricultural growth: for instance, the large literatures on the inverse farm-size- productivity relationship, economies of scale, and land tenure reform. The policy implications coming from this literature emphasize a redistributive role for the state. Other research focuses less on distributional outcomes and more on asset accumulation and wealth differentials. In this literature an increasing number of econometric and dynamic simulation studies aim to explore the linkages between risk, wealth accumulation, market failures and production. This work shows that it is the combination of asset inequality and market failures that have a negative effect on growth, rather than asset inequality per se. We will review this work and the implications the results have for policy. Within the economics literature in general, agricultural productivity is typically equated with production efficiency (allocative and/or technical) where farm productivity is defined by a range of physical factors of production, such as land, machinery, labour, irrigation and livestock. Inequality in this literature is defined in terms of wealth differentials (outcomes), where wealth can refer to income or a range of different assets.