The Role of Government and Public Policy in Poverty Alleviation in Sub-Saharan Africa

"This paper reviews recent literature on poverty alleviation in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), focusing on the role of government and public policy. It is prepared as part of the AERC research programme on Poverty, Income Distribution and Labour Market Issues in sub-Saharan Africa. The AERC proposal raises four major issues. First, the objective of sustainable poverty reduction has not yet been sufficiently incorporated into a relevant theoretical framework that can be used to inform policy prescriptions. Second, there is insufficient (though rapidly improving) information about the magnitude and behaviour of African poverty. The third important concern is the causal link between stabilization and structural adjustment, on the one hand, and poverty and its reduction on the other hand. The fourth concern regards the effect of economic growth on poverty. The AERC preparatory document distinguishes two approaches to poverty alleviation: a focus on productive employment opportunities, and a focus on the role of government in areas directly or indirectly linked with poverty alleviation."