The Elasticity of Poverty with respect to Sectoral Growth in Africa

Research paper by Nicoletta Berardi, Federica Marzo

Indexed on: 14 Mar '16Published on: 14 May '15Published in: Review of Income and Wealth


The African continent has grown by more than 4 percent yearly on average during the past decade. However, the link between this remarkable growth rate and poverty reduction is neither obvious nor simple. This paper focuses on the elasticity of poverty with respect to GDP growth at the sectoral level and takes into account the fact that economic growth may affect poverty directly as well as indirectly through sectoral labor share intensity. It develops a methodology that sheds light on the contribution of sectoral growth to poverty reduction country‐by‐country in Africa, guiding policy recommendations. As the composition of growth matters at least as much as its overall intensity, it is key to identify the sectors that have the strongest impact on poverty reduction and unleash their potential; if growth happens to concentrate in sectors with scarce pro‐poor potential, like commodity‐driven growth, redistributive strategies are necessary to compensate the weak effect on poverty.