Income Inequality Trends in sub-Saharan Africa

Divergence, Determinants, and Consequences

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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 Trends in sub-Saharan Africa: Divergence, Determinants and Consequences, was prepared by UNDP Africa’s internal and external experts. It benefitted from the overall and strategic guidance of Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, Director UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa (RBA). The corporate guidance from Selim Jahan, Director, UNDP Human Development Report Office, and the administrative guidance from Ruby Sandhu-Rojon, RBA Deputy Director, are duly acknowledged. The entire preparation process and the overall technical editorial works were coordinated by Ayodele Odusola, Chief Economist and Head of the Strategy and Analysis Team, UNDP Africa.

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