Poverty Reduction in Africa: Challenges and Policy Options

"The aim of this paper is to summarize the poverty situation in Africa as a continent, and to suggest practical measures for dealing with this debilitating and embarrassing condition. The money metric approach to poverty measurement underlies much of the analysis in the paper — the data used in the analysis being the most recent available. On the basis of results obtained, the paper tries to answer the question: can Africa make substantial and irreversible gains in poverty reduction over the next several decades? If so, what challenges must be overcome, and what policy options are available to countries? It is worthwhile to note the increasing international concern about the adoption of poverty reduction as the overarching objective of development. In various international conferences and policy documents such a concern is expressed in terms of an objective for the international community to “reduce poverty by half by the year 2015”. A number of attempts have now been made to evaluate the feasibility of attaining this objective. This paper attempts to address this issue, specifically by focussing on poverty reduction effects of policies that improve income distribution and enhance growth."