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How the new poverty agenda neglected social and employment policies in Africa

By Thandika Mkandawire


This article argues that a shift towards issues of poverty is a welcome antidote to policy‐making that had expunged poverty from the central agenda to focus on stabilization, debt management and static allocative efficiency. Unfortunately, in correcting a narrow policy agenda the new focus pushes a good point too far when it focuses attention only on the proximate causes of poverty and narrows the development agenda. Development was aimed at more than poverty and, significantly in countries that have successfully combated poverty, the most important policy measures were not explicitly directed at poverty. Indeed in many cases, other objectives — pre‐empting social unrest, nation‐building, ‘human capital’ developmental considerations — lay behind the policies that, ex post, can be read as poverty reducing. Eradication of poverty is always embedded in social and economic development. The determinants of human development goals are multiple and cut across sectors. The new challenge in Africa is to bring back development, but now one that is democratically anchored and socially inclusive

Topics: HC Economic History and Conditions, JA Political science (General)
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Year: 2010
DOI identifier: 10.1080/19452820903481400
OAI identifier:
Provided by: LSE Research Online
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