Wednesday, March 03, 2010

blue skies on the horizon

Xavier Sala-i-Martin and Maxim Pinkovskiy, two US-based academics, find that in the 10 years before the credit crunch began, poverty rates fell and inequality declined right across the continent of Africa.

"Our results show that the conventional wisdom that Africa is not reducing poverty is wrong. In fact, since 1995, African poverty has been falling steadily," the authors say. "Moreover, contrary to the commonly held idea that African growth is largely based on natural resources and helps only the rich and well-connected, we show that a great deal of this growth has accrued to the poor."

Sala-i-Martin and Pinkovskiy say that by 2006 the African poverty rate was 30% lower than in 1995, and 28% lower than in 1990. They say the Gini coefficient, an international benchmark for social inequality, has declined consistently, if slowly, since the early 1990s.

The findings in the report, published by America's National Bureau of Economic Research, contradict the views of the World Bank and the United Nations, which established the millennium goals in 1990.

Some development experts are not convinced. Stefan Dercon, of Oxford University, said the authors placed too much weight on government statistics such as GDP, and ignored other data. "They believe the evidence that many of us would least trust and throw away the evidence we tend to think is fairly accurate. Painstakingly collected household consumption and income surveys, especially when over various years using the same method in each year, give a rather detailed picture of whether there is massive enrichment or not. And unfortunately, the evidence for Ethiopia, where I have been doing this for years, doesn't show such massive improvement."

So it could be good news or still bad news . But for sure , its old news . The world economy DID suffer a drastic downturn in 2008, and has not yet recovered. Poverty is certainly more widespread today than it was in 2006.This study does nothing for the people who are starving and living in slums, whether they are millions, billions or just hundreds of thousands we should not let anyone anywhere not be able to buy food .

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