Living Standards in Africa

Sahn, David E.; Younger, Stephen

Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the poorest regions in the world. Whether it is the poorest region is difficult to establish, for all of the conceptual and practical problems in inter-country poverty comparisons laid out in other chapters of this volume. We can avoid some of those problems, though certainly not all, when we make intertemporal poverty comparisons in one country. Here, too, Africa's performance is disappointing. Poverty reduction has been halting and irregular in Africa, in contrast to other regions of the world that have grown more rapidly and made greater progress on poverty reduction. The first task of this paper is to substantiate these two claims -- that Africa is poor compared to the rest of the world and that poverty in Africa is not declining consistently or significantly -- while fully recognizing the problems inherent in using income and expenditure data in Africa and elsewhere.



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Initiative for Policy Dialogue
Initiative for Policy Dialogue
Initiative for Policy Dialogue Working Paper Series
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October 31, 2012