African poverty is reducing much faster than you think!

From the abstract:

The conventional wisdom that Africa is not reducing poverty is wrong.

Using the methodology of Pinkovskiy and Sala‐i‐Martin (2009), we estimate income distributions, poverty rates, and inequality and welfare indices for African countries for the period 1970‐2006.

We show that:

(1) African poverty is falling and is falling rapidly.

(2) If present trends continue, the poverty Millennium Development Goal of halving the proportion of people with incomes less than one dollar a day will be achieved on time.

(3) The growth spurt that began in 1995 decreased African income inequality instead of increasing it.

(4) African poverty reduction is remarkably general: it cannot be explained by a large country, or even by a single set of countries possessing some beneficial geographical or historical characteristic. All classes of countries, including those with disadvantageous geography and history, experience reductions in poverty. In particular, poverty fell for both landlocked as well as coastal countries; for mineral‐rich as well as mineral‐poor countries; for countries with favorable or with unfavorable agriculture; for countries regardless of colonial origin; and for countries with below‐ or above‐median slave exports per capita during the African slave trade.

The paper’s from 2010; I wonder whether then-current trends have continued at enough of a pace to keep Africa on track to achieve MDG. If you were wondering what they are:

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are eight international development goals that were established following the Millennium Summit of the United Nations in 2000, following the adoption of the United Nations Millennium Declaration. All 189 United Nations member states at the time (there are 193 currently) and at least 23 international organizations committed to help achieve the following Millennium Development Goals by 2015:

  1. To eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  2. To achieve universal primary education
  3. To promote gender equality and empower women
  4. To reduce child mortality
  5. To improve maternal health
  6. To combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
  7. To ensure environmental sustainability
  8. To develop a global partnership for development

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