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Working Paper 149 - Accounting for Poverty in Africa: Illustration with Survey Data from Nigeria


One of the targets for reducing extreme poverty in Africa involves halving the proportion of people living in absolute poverty from 48 percent in 1990 to 24 percent by 2015. Available data so far indicate that it is only the North African countries of Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia as well as Mauritius that have already met this target. Available data indicate, for example, that in Sub-Saharan Africa, the $1.25 a day poverty rate has shown no sustained decline over the whole period since 1981, starting and ending at roughly 50 percent at 2008 purchasing power parity (PPP) – the highest in the world (Figure 1). Indeed, in absolute terms, the number of poor people nearly doubled from 205 million in 1981 to 386 million in 2008 (Figure 2). If current trend continues, the proportion of people living in extreme poverty in Africa as a whole would be about 39 percent by 2015 – far greater than the targeted 24 percent.

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