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AEC 2012 - Inclusive Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa Evidence from Selected Countries During the Recent High-Growth Period


Most countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) have experienced a period of high economic growth beginning around the mid 1990s, leading to renewed optimism about the region’s development prospects.2 Furthermore, most countries in the region weathered the global economic crisis of 2008–2009 remarkably well, contrasting with previous episodes when growth collapsed as a result of external shocks.

Despite this acceleration of growth and increased resilience, how certain are we of the magnitude of the acceleration? The statistical base on which real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita is measured is extremely weak in most countries in SSA, so there is a large degree of uncertainty associated with these growth estimates.

Even if one is willing to take data on the growth of real GDP at face value, the perception exists among policymakers and citizens in the region that SSA growth has not been shared evenly among the population or accompanied by an increase in employment opportunities in many countries (jobless growth), especially where growth has been concentrated on the extraction of natural resources. What is the evidence that higher levels of output are being translated into greater job creation, improved access to key services, and higher living standards for the majority of the population?

This chapter presents a diagnostic of whether the population at large has benefitted from the recent high-growth episode in SSA. Section II focuses on well being indicators measured by access to basic services, ownership of durable goods, and household consumption using household survey data from Cameroon, Ghana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.4 The section looks at the distribution of changes over time in real consumption per capita among the population through the estimation of growth incidence curves (GIC) and also analyzes the

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