Which Inequalities Matter for Africa's Sustained Growth and Poverty Reduction? A Macro- Micro Comparative Analysis with Case Studies on Cameroon and South Africa

Africa has been the second-fastest growing region in the world over the past decade. Some countries like Rwanda have done well; Ethiopia has been showing promise. Angola, Tanzania, and Mozambique are growing fast. Ensuring access to and equity of opportunities created by economic growth, including equal access to basic social services (such as education and h ealth services) is of utmost importance. But it is paradoxical that most poor people live in Africa. It seems the high growth performance is not translating into shared opportunities in social, human, and physical development or well-being. Poverty is still a scourge in many African countries and unemployment is increasing even as these countries achieve higher growth rates and increased investments and trade volume. Why is higher economic growth not translating into better living standards and lower poverty rates? This paper examines the growth, poverty, and inequality dynamics in a macro-micro comparative approach using disaggregated measures of inequality. The findings suggest that policy efforts should target class inequality, especially gender and age related. Among other recommendations, this paper suggests that countries like South Africa should shift focus from interracial inequality to inter-class inequality broadly, which is affecting its economic performance.