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7 Conclusion

The paper has provided a broad survey of economic literature to understand lessons learned from recent growth experiences in SSA. The penultimate objective was to determine if recent economic growth acceleration in SSA has been inclusive and pro-poor. Multilateral and donor institutions began investigating the pro-poor growth agenda for developing countries some two decades ago. Three important related issues upon which economists have reached consensus are delineated. First, sustained economic growth is fundamental in alleviating poverty. Second, the poor are not typically left behind in the growth process but share in the gains from growth. However, the rate at which poverty reduction occurs with growth differs in each country based on the level of income inequality and changes in inequality over time. Third, changes in income distribution should lead to improving poverty when economic growth occurs.

From a thorough review of the economic literature, it appears that the initial levels of income and inequality in a country are important in determining how economic growth affects the poor. This is crucial enough that in many low-income developing countries, including many in SSA, there is expressed urgency to accelerate pro-poor growth strategies as the means to reducing poverty and in making growth more inclusive. This agenda has been given voice through the call to accelerate progress toward achieving the poverty dimension of the MDGs by 2015.

This paper has also revealed that despite reports of recent growth acceleration in the African region, growth trajectories have not moved in tandem with poverty reduction. This calls for a greater focus on pro-growth strategies that are more inclusive and also pro-poor. Since growth is found to be the most important longrun driver of poverty reduction, it is important that pro-poor growth policies overlap with intensified overall aggregate growth policies for each SSA economy. Poverty reduction is also found to be good for growth. The paper provides many suggestions on how public policies may be used to stimulate inclusive and pro-poor growth. They include macroeconomic, institutional and social dimensions to reduce poverty.

To improve growth, SSA economies must implement further reforms. There is room for many countries to increase their growth rates as a precondition to undertaking inclusive growth policies aimed at reducing poverty. Such growth rates must also be sustained well into the future beyond what even leading SSA accelerators have experienced, and must be spread to all countries in the region. Substantially higher growth rates per capita would be needed for many countries to make giant strides in reducing poverty. African countries must provide appropriate incentives to boost infrastructure, strengthen human capital and skills development, foster technological growth, embark on industrial growth, increase agricultural sector investment, and develop policies to target poverty reduction goals. To be successful, these countries must strengthen their institutions and foster regional market integration, and then use agreements and protocols to induce greater intraand inter-regional trade.

However, there may be country-specific challenges that are not captured by the regional analysis undertaken by the paper. Although country level analysis of inclusive and pro-poor growth is at an early stage, it is important to find data to empirically analyze and orient policies toward growth, inclusiveness, the elasticity of poverty to growth, and the distributional components of growth in alleviating poverty.

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