Poverty: Global Challenges, Role of Inequality and Reduction Strategies

Chukwuma Agu (Editor)
Institute for Development Studies, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, Nigeria

Series: Hunger and Poverty: Causes, Impacts and Eradication
BISAC: SOC045000

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Poverty reduction and inequality are undeniably the buzz issues of the millennium. And where else would one go to understand the dynamics and paradoxes they raise for policies other than Africa, the continent historically synonymous with poverty until recently when chants of ‘Africa rising’ seem to have replaced mourning for ‘the dark continent’? Humongous resources have been dedicated to policy, research and intervention programmes and projects to reduce poverty and inequality, with Africa and South Asia getting more than their fair shares. But while everyone agrees that something is amiss with the input-output ratio of efforts aimed at poverty reduction, these efforts continue unquestioningly. This book is borne out of the need to question that missing link.

It sets out to examine contents, contexts and interventions. The work begins with continent-wide evidence on Africa, examining the rising penury in the midst of abundant endowments and growth. The conclusion that the authors have come to: something is not right with definitions, measurements and policy measures for tackling poverty across the land. Country experiences (Nigeria, Cameroon, Australia and the United States) also agree with the position that poverty reduction seems to raise, indifferent to the broad policy environment within which it thrives. This book shows why poverty may not have been responsive to growth in developing countries in recent years. It examines outcomes of policies and insists that poverty, inequality and reduction strategies need not only be context-specific, but should involve much more than just narrow interventions. If, therefore, you are interested in questioning conventional positions about poverty and inequality, this book is for you. (Imprint: Nova)

Introduction

Chapter 1. Economic Growth and Welfare ‘Paradox’: Is Africa’s Growth Experience Really ‘Unique’?
(Onyukwu E. Onyukwu, Uzochukwu Amakom, and Chukwuma Agu, Department of Economics, Institute for Development Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria)

Chapter 2. Metaphors of Poverty: Paraconsistency, Polycontextuality, Health-Disease and Complexity
(Fernando Juarez, Universidad del Rosario, Bogotá, Colombia)

Chapter 3. Health and Economic Growth: A Survey of Theory and Evidence
(H.E. Ichoku, A.I. Ifelunini, Department of Economics, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria)

Chapter 4. Regional Poverty and Inequality in Nigeria: Do Sectoral Growth Dynamics Matter?
(Chukwuma Agu, Anthony Orji, Institute for Development Studies, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, Department of Economics, University of Nigeria, Nsukka)

Chapter 5. Rural-Urban Contributions to Poverty Changes in Cameroon: A Non-Parametric Analysis
(Francis Menjo Baye, Boniface Ngah Epo, Dickson Thomas Ndamsa, Faculty of Economics and Management, University of Yaoundé II, Cameroon, Yaoundé)

Chapter 6. Inequality, Polarization and Poverty in Cameroon
(Talla Fokam Dieu Ne Dort, Paul Ningaye, Department of Economic Analysis, University of Dschang, Cameroon)

Chapter 7. Indigenous Health Gap Reframed: Addressing Root causes by Poverty Alleviation
(Yuejen Zhao, Centre for Remote Health, Flinders University and Charles Darwin University, Australia)

Chapter 8. Ameliorating the Negative Impact of Poverty on Education Achievement: Exemplar Programs and Practices
(Deborah Duncan Owens, Elmira College, USA)

Chapter 9. Conclusion: Challenging the Stereotype on Growth, Poverty and Sectoral Outcomes in Africa
(Chukwuma Agu, Anthony Orji, Institute for Development Studies, Department of Economics, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus)

Index

“This volume, edited by leading Nigeria poverty researcher Chukwuma Agu, brings together a range of disciplines and perspectives to look at poverty and the role growth and other factors may play in reducing it. It comprises both conceptual chapters and country case studies; it focuses mostly on Africa but draws complementary insights from studies of indigenous populations in Australia and of a US programme seeking to minimise the impact of poverty on education achievement. Among other things it seeks to understand why growth is sometimes more and less effective at reducing poverty; it examines spatial patterns of poverty, inequality or polarisation; and it seeks to introduce psychological dimensions to the understanding of poverty and poverty reduction.” - Andy Mckay, Professor of Development Economics, University of Sussex

"Poverty: Global Challenges, Role of Inequality and Reduction Strategies is intended to make a significant contribution to the debate on economic growth and its relationship with poverty alleviation. This volume, written by seasoned scholars of development, contains an extremely rigorous and informative analysis of the growth-poverty nexus, and makes critical suggestions for policies to deal effectively and fully with poverty, not only in Africa but also among indigenous groups in Australia. One important lesson that can be drawn from these contributors’ skillful analyses is that public programs to deal with poverty that do not take into consideration the specificities of each community are not likely to produce the desired results. For example, poverty reduction programs developed to deal with the urban poor cannot simply be applied to the country’s rural sectors-a significant level of policy-tailoring is critical. Hence, a participatory and inclusive approach to the design and implementation of anti-poverty programs is recommended. Professor Agu and his fellow contributors present a compelling and credible story for making effective poverty reduction the center of a country’s development policy. This is a refreshing, rigorous, informative and multidisciplinary analysis of poverty reduction, with special emphasis on Africa. Students of development studies in general, African political economy, in particular, as well as policymakers, and anyone interested in the plight of the poor, should find this study especially useful. - John Mukum Mbaku, Professor of Economics, Weber State University, Utah, USA

“Chukwuma Agu’s book on Poverty: Global Challenges, Role of Inequality and Reduction Strategies provides a detailed analysis of current growth and poverty trends in Africa. The book has a number of strong messages. The good news is that African countries are growing. The bad news is that high levels of poverty persist in many countries. Agu and co-authors provide compelling new evidence based on cross-country and case studies. If you want to find out how to create more prosperous and equitable societies in Africa, read this book!” - Anke Hoeffler

"This book brings together a fascinating set of perspectives on the dynamics of economic growth and poverty reduction. Its primary geographic focus is the major economies of West Africa – Nigeria and Cameroon – and its dominant methodological approach is economics. But what makes this a particularly interesting collection, and what serves to highlight the multi-dimensional and highly non-linear relationship between economic growth and poverty, is how the editor has combined insights from mainstream economics with those from the fields of psychology, health economics and education." - Christopher Adam, Professor of Development Economics, University of Oxford, UK

“This book is an admirable collection of high quality works by experienced scholars and researchers who have examined the vexing issue of growth, poverty, inequality nexus from different perspectives. The first section of the book focusing on theoretical and empirical issues of growth poverty nexus should be of interest to scholars and students of development economics. The second section presenting country case studies of Nigeria, Cameroon, Australia and United States offers a rich analysis of various dimensions of the growth, poverty and inequality nexus at national, sub-national, rural and urban levels should be of interest to development policy analysis, practitioners and development community. I, therefore, recommend the book to a wide range of audience who are interested in understanding the vexing issue of growth, poverty and inequality paradox at theoretical and practical levels.” - Olu Ajakaiye, Executive Chairman, African Centre for Shared Development, Capacity Building, Ibadan, Nigeria, and President Nigerian Economic Society

"This book is courageous enough to tackle complex and seemingly impossible problems of poverty, growth and inequality. It offers a varied range of chapters touching on certain facets of these complex problems. The book not only gives evidence, and arguments as to why these problems persist but also offers some suggestions for a way forward. The contributions come from well known names in this field. This textbook is a must read for all academic and practitioners concerned with the problems of economic development and welfare issues.What is appealing about this book is that it combines theory and applications, some in the form of case studies, in the same text. This makes it applicable to a wide range of audience from practitioners to academics. It will also serve as a reference text for students interested in this area of economics." - Margaret Chitiga

The work will be useful to Professionals, Researchers, Students, and policy makers. For example, while students will find robust discussion of issues in the literature in the work, policy makers will find examples of what works and where they have worked.

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