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Income Inequality Trends in sub-Saharan Africa

Divergence, Determinants, and Consequences

image of Income Inequality Trends in sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) recorded a remarkable economic performance in the first 15 years of the 21st century. Such an encouraging trend, which reversed the stagnation or decline of the prior 25 years, was accompanied by a perceptible, modest, but uneven decline in aggregate poverty, together with substantial cross-country variation in the poverty-reducing power of growth. This is reflected in, and partially driven by, the variation of inequality levels and trends among the African countries. Proper documentation of inequality levels and trends in the region therefore becomes essential in order to better understand the slow and varying rate of decline of poverty reduction in the region. To this end, this book, an outcome of a comprehensive study of income inequality in SSA, documents the initial conditions and changes in income inequality that have taken place in the region since the early 1990s. It proposes hypotheses to account for this experience and draws relevant lessons that could help accelerate reduction in income disparities.

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Income inequality and population growth in Africa

Africa’s population is expected to almost quadruple by 2100, from about 1.19 billion in 2015 to 4.39 billion. It will thus account for 39.12 per cent of the world’s population by 2100, against 16.14 per cent in 2015. The continent remains the most youthful globally, with a median age of 19.4 years compared to 29.6 globally, 29.2 for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and 30.2 for Asia. Furthermore, more than 60 per cent of the continent’s population is below the age of 25 years, compared to around 42 per cent globally. While most other regions are experiencing population ageing, Africa is not. Therefore, the continent plays a significant role in global population dynamics due to its size, its youthful population and structure of the world’s population.

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