UNU-WIDER’s Growth and Poverty Project (GAPP) addresses the challenge of reconciling Africa’s development trends, and in so doing, provide evidence to the ongoing debate surrounding African growth and poverty and on the effectiveness of foreign aid and domestic policies. The GAPP’s objectives are threefold. First, develop tools to measure monetary poverty in consistent and comparable ways, and make these tools readily accessible to scholars in Africa and other developing regions. Secondly, conduct detailed country case studies that measure poverty trends in Africa, and then “triangulate” these monetary measures with other development indicators, such as on non-monetary poverty, demographic changes, macroeconomic trends and external shocks. Thirdly, develop a consistent macro-micro analytical framework and use this to conduct more detailed research in countries where poverty and economic growth trends are inconsistent, and use this to help explain observed outcomes.
Country case studies are conducted in 18 of the 25 most populous countries of Sub-Saharan Africa where adequate data is available to assess the evolution of poverty and inequality. These studies will employ the standard poverty toolkit to develop a new African poverty database. The studies will also attempt to reconcile monetary poverty trends with other micro- and macroeconomic indicators. These detailed case studies will be complemented by briefer studies seeking to assess what can be said in larger countries where the data situation is weaker; and another study will provide a summary of the poverty situation in the remaining less populous countries.
Country Case Studies in the GAPP
Case study on Burkina Faso
Michael Grimm is lead author of the case study on Burkina Faso.
Claude Wetta, Centre d’Etudes, de Documentation et Recherches Economiques et Sociales (CEDRES) de l’Université Ouagadougou II, Burkina Faso
Aude Nikiema, Institut National des Sciences Sociales (INSS) du Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique et Technologique (CNRST), Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso: Escaping the Malthusian Trap
According to National Accounts Burkina Faso has experienced relatively sustained economic growth since the mid-nineties, almost three percent per capita per year. However, according to the official poverty estimates, poverty has hardly declined. Although we show that poverty may have declined a bit faster than what the official numbers suggest, at least in rural areas, the pace of change definitely lags far behind aggregate growth. Our analysis shows that the key bottleneck that hinders sustained poverty reduction is the still very high population growth in conjunction with the absence of major technological change in agriculture and the absence of any significant structural transformation of the urban economy. The induced continuous rise in food prices further pushed by regular droughts does not only erode the purchasing power of the poor but also keeps children’s malnutrition and mortality at high levels and by now certainly constitutes a major risk for the political and social stability of the country. Escaping these Malthusian forces is the main development challenge for Burkina Faso in the decade to come.
M. Grimm, C. Wetta and N. Nikiema (2016), Burkina Faso: Shipping around the Malthusian trap. In C. Arndt, A. McKay and F. Tarp (eds.), Growth and Poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa, Oxford: Oxford University Press. Also available as WIDER Working Paper 2014-124, UNU-WIDER, Helsinki.
Other papers on Burkina Faso by Michael Grimm
M. Grimm, R. Hartwig and J. Lay (2016), Does forced solidarity hamper investment in small and micro enterprises? Forthcoming in Journal of Comparative Economics.
G. Bensch, M. Grimm and J. Peters (2015), Why do households forego high returns from technology adoption? Evidence from improved cooking stoves in Burkina Faso. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 116: 187-205.
M. Grimm (2011), Does Household Income Matter for Children's Schooling? Evidence for Rural Sub-Saharan Africa. Economics of Education Review 30 (4): 740-754.
J. Gräb and M. Grimm (2011), Inequality in Burkina Faso - To what extent do household, community and regional factors matter?Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society), 174 (3): 759-784.
M. Grimm and I. Günther (2007), Growth and Poverty in Burkina Faso. A Reassessment of the Paradox. Journal of African Economies, 16: 70-101.
M. Grimm and I. Günther (2007), Measuring pro-poor growth when relative prices shift, Journal of Development Economics, 82 (1): 245-256.
M. Grimm and I. Günther (2007), Pro-Poor Growth in Burkina Faso. The role of price shocks, In M. Grimm, A. McKay and S. Klasen (Eds.), Determinants of Pro-Poor Growth: Analytical Issues and Findings from Country Cases (pp. 135-163). London: Palgrave-Macmillan.
M. Grimm and S. Klasen (2007), Findings and Challenges in the Measurement and Analysis of Pro-Poor Growth. In M. Grimm, A. McKay and S. Klasen, Determinants of Pro-Poor Growth: Analytical Issues and Findings from Country Cases (pp. 1-19), London: Palgrave Macmillan.
M. Grimm and I. Günther (2004), How to achieve pro-poor growth in a poor economy. The case of Burkina Faso. Report prepared for the ‘Operationalizing Pro-Poor-Growth’-Project sponsored by the World Bank, DFID, AFD, GTZ, and KFW. GTZ, Eschborn.