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Morocco: Poverty Update


Morocco FY01 PA
(Public)

Main Report (4.8Mb PDF)

Annexes (7.8Mb PDF)

During the last decade, social indicators improved substantially in Morocco. This was due to an increase in public social expenditures and the Government's increasing focus on rural areas (e.g., rural electrification, rural roads, potable water and BAJ). Yet, both absolute poverty and economic vulnerability increased. Sluggish GDP growth driven mainly by the drop of agriculture value-added, a collapse in employment creation, and growing inequality in rural areas are the key forces behind this poverty increase. Public expenditures in social sectors, although increasing in recent years and shifting towards rural areas, were also insufficient for lifting people out of poverty and reducing inequalities. To reduce poverty in a sustained manner in the future, Morocco will need a combined policy for economic growth at the macro level and efficient spending on social policies at the sectoral level. It may also need to spend more, and in a more targeted way, on social sectors: despite the recent efforts, its level of public expenditures remains low in relation to comparator countries. This increase is possible. It can come from an efficient use of budgetary resources, especially from its expected privatization revenues, reallocation of public spending and a redirection of the savings obtained from the rationalization and selective abolition of consumer food subsidies to strengthen its safety nets.

Based on a partial analysis of a Living Standards Measurement Survey (LSMS) conducted in 1998-99 (the survey data have not been completely processed), this report assesses the extent and trend of poverty over the last decade and reviews the role of key social policies (such as education, health, social insurance and social assistance). The aim is to provide directions for policies which can foster growth and improve the living standards of the poor.

A. Trends in Poverty and Social Conditions

The recent LSMS survey, undertaken by the Statistical Office, shows that the total number of poor increased from 13.1% of the population in 1990/91 to 19% in 1998/99 (or, from 3.4 to 5.3 million). The number of "economically vulnerable", i.e. those who are at or below 50% above the poverty line, increased from 35 to 44% (or, from 9 to 12 million).

Poverty remains largely a rural phenomenon: almost one Moroccan out of four is poor in rural areas compared to one out of ten in urban areas. Although the rural population represents 46% of the total population, 66% of the poor live in rural areas. But poverty in urban areas is rising also. The share of urban poor increased from 27 to 34% of total poor during this period, almost four times faster than rural/ urban population shift.

The increase in poverty did not coincide with a deterioration of the main social indicators. For example, adult illiteracy was reduced (from 55 to 48%), and the net primary enrollment rate has substantially improved from 58% in 1990 to 70% in 1998, particularly among rural girls (from 28 to 47%). Child labor was also reduced from 18 to 14%. The crude death rate also decreased (from 7.7 per 1000 population to 6.3) and life expectancy increased from 67 to 69 years. Access to basic infrastructure services improved both in urban and rural areas. Despite these improvements, however, Morocco's social indicators continue to lag behind comparable regional/income level countries and significant disparities remain between urban and rural areas. The primary enrollment rate remains 20% below the average enrollment rate in low middle-income countries (LMI); infant mortality and maternal mortality are high; and access to potable water and electricity in rural areas remains one of the lowest in the region. This calls for steady and increasing efforts by the Government over the coming years, as the legacy of the past remains huge.

B. Why Poverty Increased in the 1990s?

Poverty increased mainly because of slow growth which led to a decline in per capita consumption of the households. The decline in the GDP growth rate during the 1990s was driven mainly by the drop of the agriculture growth which was not offset by the small growth of non-agriculture GDP. Overall, the economy has grown annually by only 1.9% during 1991-98, compared to 4.1% during 1986-91, and non-agriculture GDP growth dropped from 4.2 to 2.8% p.a., particularly due to the slow growth in manufacturing. Given a population growth rate of 1.9% p.a., virtually the per capita income stagnated and real private consumption per capita, based on the national accounts, decreased by 1.4% p.a., compared to an increase of 1 9% over 1986-91. The LSMS data also shows similar decline in per capita consumption during the 1990)s (1.6% p.a.). Repeated droughts in the 1990s account partly for this poor performance, and have i increased vulnerability among the poor.

Slow economic growth accounted for roughly 84% of the increase in poverty at the national level in the 1990s. The rest was due to a more unequal income distribution. Although at the national level relative inequality hardly changed during the 1990s (Gini coefficient stagnated around 39%), this appears to mask different patterns of inequality across urban and rural areas. Based on other inequality measures which are more sensitive to changes occurring in the left tail of the expenditure distribution, the impact of sluggish growth and deterioration of equality on poverty was different according to regions: in urban areas, improvement in redistribution among the poor dampened the negative impact on poverty attributable to lack of growth: the lowest decile received 22% of total per capita expenditure in 1998/99 (compared to 20.9% in 1990/91); while in rural areas both lack of growth and worsening of inequality played equal roles in the increase of rural poverty: the lowest decile received 25.4% of total per capita expenditure in 1998/99 (compared to 26.6% in 1990/91).

More specifically, the following changes are associated with the increase in poverty:

  • Decline in manufacturing exports. The appreciation of the real effective exchange rate and the increase of unit labor costs (3% compared to -7% in 1986-91) in manufacturing in the 1990s led to a reversal of the gains achieved during 1986-91. Export growth in manufacturing sector declined substantially (from 20 to 6% p.a.) and job opportunities in the manufacturing exportable sector - mainly clothing and textiles - declined significantly. This was a labor intensive sector employing mainly the low-skilled in urban areas.
  • Slowdown in employment creation led to an increase in urban unemployment. Increasing urbanization has been coupled with declining growth in labor demand (3% during 1991-98 compared to 4.6% in 1986-91) and an increase in the urban unemployment rate (from 15% in 1991 to 22% in 1999). The unemployment rate among the urban poor also increased from 30 to 32% in the 1990s, and the share of poor among the unemployed increased (from 21% in 1991 to 28% in 1998). Although poor households are larger in size, the number of unemployed members in poor households has been also increasing during the last decade (from 0.7 to 0.8).
  • Drought, agricultural policies and price changes have all contributed to an increase in rural poverty. Unfavorable climatic conditions reduced agricultural output by 1.2% p.a. in the 1990s. (The two critical survey years for the present analysis, that is. 1990/91 and 1998/99, correspond to similar climatic conditions and they were both good agriculture years.) High fluctuation in agricultural GDP is mainly the result of Government policies during the 1980s, which has promoted the expansion of cereal production on rainfed, less productive lands, worsening the impact of droughts. Since most of the rural poor earn their living from small agriculture and off- farm activities, they have been negatively affected. Moreover, the decline in rural income was accentuated by the adverse price evolution of cereals and cattle products during the 1990s.
  • Decline in international worker remittances. In the 1990s, worker remittances from abroad declined (0.9% p.a.) and dropped, according to national accounts, from about 11% of total private consumption in 1991 to 8.4 % in 1998. Although worker remittances benefit more the middle-income groups in urban areas, their decline during the 1990s may have contributed to some extent to the rise in poverty incidence. Based on 1998/99 LSMS data, on average they represented about 10% of total household expenditures per capita in urban areas and about 7% in rural areas.
  • Increased public expenditures in consumer food subsidies diverted public resources which could have been spent on the poor. As a result of higher international prices for food subsidies, especially for wheat in the mid-1990s, the budgetary cost of consumer food subsidies increased by over 20% (from 1.3% of GDP in 1990 to 1.6% in 1998). This compares to 0.2% of GDP spent on public works (Promotion Nationale) which creates about 40,000 person-year jobs benefiting the rural unemployed, including the poor. While subsidies are poorly targeted as only 25% reach the poor.
  • Public spending in social sectors increased during the 1990s but remains insufficient and inefficient to lift people out of poverty. Poverty and social indicators might have deteriorated further if it had not been for an increase in public social spending during the 1990s. Social spending rose from 35 to 43% of total public expenditures, and from 9.1 to 12.5% as percentage of GDP between 1991 and 1998.(Social expenditures include: education, health care, basic infrastructure, social security, employment programs, vocational training, consumer food subsidies, Promotion Nationale, Entraide Nationale, rural development programs and alphabetization.) Yet this increased level pales in comparison to other countries in the region and at the same level of income, who spend on average close to 20% of GDP on social programs. Two notable changes are worth noting: the decline in child labor and an increase in school enrollment, particularly in rural areas and for girls: in 1998, 66% of the children aged 7 to 15 were attending school, compared to 58% in 1991; in parallel, the percentage of working children was reduced to 14% from 18%. The reduction in child labor came mainly from non-poor households although school attendance increased for both poor and non-poor households. Nevertheless, the returns on social programs are poor (in particular for education); most programs are poorly targeted (i.e., consumer food subsidies); a large share of all social programs (education, health, social insurance, etc.) is mainly urban biased and designed to benefit the higher-middle income and the rich; and there is no comprehensive safety net in place for protecting the poor (i.e., health insurance, safety net for poor elderly and disabled, family benefits).

C. Who are the Poor, their Sources of Income and why are they Poor?

Despite the increase in poverty, the profile of the poor remained relatively constant. Both in rural and urban areas the poor generally lack human capital and live in large households, with many children and few working members. Incidence of poverty among children (less than 15 years of age) is about 1.5 times higher than among the adults: about 44% of the poor are children under 15 years of age and about 25% of the total children are poor compared to 16% of the total adults. About 64% of the poor are illiterate (compared to 52% for the non poor), and most of the poor households are headed by men. Most of the poor live in the Center and Northwest regions, and the incidence of poverty in BAJ provinces (27%) is higher than in the non-BAJ provinces (16%). Urban poor household heads are most likely to be working in services and construction as private sector employees or self-employed. Their rural counterparts are mainly self-employed and work in agriculture.

Unemployment among the urban poor (31.5%) is higher than the national level (25.7%) and has increased during the last decade. The incidence of poverty has increased only slightly among the elderly (from 15 to 17.1%) while it has dramatically increased for both the disabled (from 13.5 to 22.6%), and the pensioners (retrait6s) (from 2.5 to 7%). Thus, poverty during the l990s appear to have hit the disabled most severely and it appears that even the pension recipients among the non-employed are also facing the poverty risk and they are not relatively well hedged against economic vulnerability.

Labor is the main income-generating asset of the poor, particularly in urban areas. But rural households derive their income from multiple sources within the rural economy (agricultural own-production, production for market, sale of labor in rural markets, rental of productive assets such as land or capital goods, sale of crafts and other small-scale manufactures) and from the urban economy as well. Once the information on various sources of income and assets would be available, the discrepancy between the labor income of the poor and the non-poor as well as their assets, in both rural and urban areas would need to be investigated. At national level, public and private transfers have helped to reduce the poverty incidence by 24% (19 instead of 24.7%) and the poverty gap by 50% (4.4 instead of 10.8%). Private transfers have a larger impact on the incidence of poverty than public transfers (which are mainly formal pensions), particularly in rural areas, while public transfers are more effective in improving the condition of the very poor particularly in the urban areas.

Because of the dynamics of urbanization in Morocco, the structural causes of urban and rural poverty are closely related. Poor rural households engaged in productive activities typically have access to agriculture land but their landholdings are small, rarely irrigated, and often exhibit low productivity, especially in rainfed areas; and due to lack of land titles and registration they cannot obtain formal credit and invest in their property. On the other hand the urban poor are also facing multiple deprivations such as lack of employment, inadequacy of access to land, housing and basic services.

D. Policy Directions for Poverty Reduction

Promoting Sustained Economic Growth

The key to reduce poverty will be to revitalize economic growth, as the elasticity of poverty to growth in Morocco is high (2.7 during 1991-98). The impact of growth on poverty reduction is expected to be higher in urban areas than in rural ones where a decline in inequality can also lead to a significant poverty reduction. If the macro policies of the 1990s continue, the GDP will grow at about 3% per annum (corresponding to about 1% annual per capita private consumption growth over 2000-2005) and poverty incidence would reach about 4.5 million in 2005 (about 15% of the population). But with a more aggressive and comprehensive growth oriented strategy, assuming that growth will be about 6% per annum, (this corresponds to about 2.5% annual per capita private consumption growth over 2000-2005) and poverty would decline to about 3.6 million in 2005 (about 12% of the population). Since most of the poor live in rural areas, pro-rural growth and particularly pro-agricultural sector growth would have a higher impact on poverty reduction. However, given the high variability of agriculture output to climate conditions, particularly the cereal production, the prospects for the agricultural sector are uncertain. Sustainable growth is more likely to originate from the development of the industrial sector especially in labor intensive sub-sectors where there are specific comparative advantages such as manufacturing, tourism and fisheries. To this effect, an export-oriented approach needs to be adopted through acceleration of trade liberalization and a more flexible exchange rate policy. In addition to tight fiscal and active monetary policies, an export-oriented growth strategy would also require simplifying procedures for setting up new small and medium enterprises and increasing access to land and credits for the SME. (See "Morocco: Sources of Growth', World Bank, April 2000.)

Improving Efficiency and Quality of Public Expenditures in Social Sectors

Restoration of economic growth is a pre-requisite for reducing poverty but will not be sufficient. Policies that reduce inequality should also provide additional ammunition for poverty and vulnerability reduction in Morocco. Such policies can be distinguished between those which contribute to longer tern development (such as investments in education, health, infrastructure, better urban planning, action to facilitate empowerment of the poor); those which enable better employment outcomes (especially among the less skilled and poorer workers) and provide sustainable, yet efficient labor insurance (such as pensions), and those which directly affect the poor (such as social assistance). Since late 1990s, there has been a new emphasis on social and rural programs to reduce regional gaps and improve social conditions of the poor. Among these recent measures which have been introduced or are under development are (i) acceleration of rural infrastructure programs (electricity, potable water and roads) with the aim of reaching 60-70% of the rural population by 2004; (ii) consensus building on education reform; (iii) creation of a Social Fund which will support community-based development; (iv) restructuring of the Entraide Nationale; (v) Government endorsement of the Gender Action Plan prepared by NGOs and women representatives; (vi) partnerships between Government and civil society for education and literacy programs; (vii) drought emergency programs targeted to poor rural areas; (viii) participatory rural development programs; and (ix) extension of medical insurance to the poor. In addition, since the mid 1990s, NGOs are increasingly becoming active in social programs; they are providing new avenues for public/private partnerships and new approaches for poverty reduction. Inevitably, these programs will help the poor/vulnerable, but these efforts will need to be substantially increased to have a rapid impact on poverty reduction.

The available data and analysis in this report do not address all these issues. The following selective list of policy directions is driven by the need for (i) improving the efficiency and quality of established social development mechanisms; (ii) introducing various social safety net measures for preventing the vulnerable from falling into poverty and helping those who are temporarily or permanently unable to take advantage of income earning opportunities; and (iii) increasing budgetary resources towards social sectors. The increase in budgetary resources for social sectors could be obtained through reallocating budgetary spending, redirecting savings obtained from the consumer food subsidies reform (about 0.8% of GDP), additional general revenues notably from privatization proceeds, and redirecting budgetary wage expenses. It is roughly estimated that the Government could obtain a saving of about 2% of GDP that could be allocated to social sectors.

Education and Literacy. Literacy and quality education are integral parts of a multi-dimensional concept of poverty. Based on the 1998/99 LSMS findings, actions to build up human assets of the poor need to focus on:

  • Universal Lower Basic Education. To increase lower basic schooling and reduce gender gaps, factors that are affecting low school attendance of the poor, such as indirect costs and access, need to be addressed. Although reaching under-represented groups may be relatively costly, it would require (i) reallocating the education budget towards basic schooling (with special priority on serving rural girls); (ii) continuing building school facilities in remote rural areas and designing the school facilities to attract rural girls; (iii) providing extra services and additional incentives to attract rural children, particularly girls (i.e. school meals, free books, cash transfers for attending school, etc.); (iv) expanding BAJ experiences in other poor rural provinces; (v) fostering school autonomy in order to give accountability and ownership at local level; and (vi) reinforcing NGOs and non-formal education programs at the lower-basic level while evaluating and monitoring their outcomes.
  • Increase Access and Improve the Quality of Upper Basic and Secondary Education. As shown by the 1998/99 LSMS the main reasons for high dropouts at 12 years of age, is lack of access to upper basic education (mainly in rural areas) and lack of incentive and value-added in staying in school. Improving the quality and increasing access to upper basic as well as secondary education would help to keep children out of labor markets, provide them opportunities for continuing schooling, and increase their skills as future labor force. The cost of increasing access to upper basic and secondary vi education may be substantial, but it could be financed through introduction of selective cost recovery mechanisms at the secondary and higher education levels.
  • Adult illiteracy reduction. Given the high correlation between poverty and illiteracy, and the positive links between maternal literacy and health conditions, the Government goal is to reduce adult illiteracy to around 20% over a period of 14 years. This means the illiteracy program will need to reach about 500,000 people a year, compared to the current level of about 100,000. Thus t} e current functional literacy programs undertaken by the Ministry of Social Development, which contract out provision of services to other public/private agencies and local NGOs, after careful review of their effectiveness, need to be expanded and adequately funded. Based on preliminary estimates, to achieve its goal, the adult literacy budget will need to increase by threefold (from DH 30 million to .bout DH 90 million per year or about 0.4% of education budget).

Health Care. Despite important achievements in health outcomes over the last decade, policies still favor the hospital subsector in the major urban areas, thereby de-emphasizing, de facto, priority to primary health services, particularly in rural areas. The 1998/99 LSMS data indicate that (i) the urban-rural disparity in access to services is still far from being reduced; (ii) the rural population and urban poor are deprived of adequate provision of health services; and (iii) the low level of utilization of public services indicates the need to increase both access and quality of public services. To achieve these goals, based on the 1998/99 LSMS and other sector work on health, the following priority areas would need to be addressed/strengthened:

  • Reducing infant and maternal mortality rates. This would require strengthening maternal and child health programs, especially in rural areas and increasing responsibilities of local authorities.
  • Improving equity and expanding health coverage. This would require redirection of health care resources towards primary health care, more emphasis on cost-effective interventions, and strengthening partnerships with the private sector, non-governmental organizations and local communities and authorities. This would improve quality and access to health services and contribute to reducing rural-urban and inter-regional inequities.
  • Ensuring long-term sector financial sustainability. To improve financial sustainability through health financing reforms that will enhance health sector revenues, and financial access to cost- effective health services, to move towards universal health insurance coverage and to implement hospital reforms to improve the efficiency of the system and promote cost recovery. The first step in this process could be to introduce a compulsory health insurance scheme for the formal sector and expand access to health care services by putting in place a national health assistance fund for indigents.
  • Increasing financial resources for the health sector. To improve quality and increase access to health services, there is a need for an increase of the efficiency of public and private spending in order to get more value for the monies spent. In addition, the Government needs to consider increasing resources for the health sector, as public health spending is below the level of other comparable income countries.
  • Improving overall sector management. This could be achieved through the implementation of effective decentralization policies and the strengthening of core functions at the central level.

Social Insurance System. The system coverage is limited to public and formal private sector and targets mainly the middle-income urban wage earners. Coverage is low mainly due to evasion among salaried workers as well as the large proportion of self-employed who are not affiliated. Overall the poor do not benefit from family allowances and pension benefits: in 1998/99 only about 5% of poor elderly received a formal pension. However, as shown by the 1998/99 LSMS, public transfers, which are mainly composed of formal pensions, have a non-negligible impact on poverty and income inequality reduction: Assuming there are no household behavioral responses and no substitution effect between public and private transfers, eliminating public transfers, mainly formal pension benefits, would increase the incidence of poverty from 19 to 21%, and particularly the poor would become poorer because the mean income gap would almost double, from 4.4 to 8.7% and the distribution among the poor would worsen. Moreover with an aging population, addressing the financial sustainability of the formal pension system is relevant from a poverty perspective because it could impose additional burden on the budget as well as jeopardizing the old age protection for the formal urban wage earners, including for the poorest among the poor. From a poverty perspective the following areas could be reformed:

  • Introducing safety net schemes for poor households with children. Except for family allowances, there is no other cash transfer scheme in Morocco for providing income support for families to raise their children. As part of the safety net program, options for selective cash transfers to the poorest groups could be considered. Such a transfer can be scholarships to poor children, financed through general revenues. The level of benefits, targeted groups and cost would need to be evaluated.
  • Introducing social safety nets for elderly poor. Since there are no alternative safety nets for the old age in Morocco, introduction of targeted old-age cash transfer programs which would provide a basic pension as a safety net to every poor individual who reaches 60 years of age could be considered. This scheme could be means tested and financed by the general revenues. Although this type of old age cash transfer system can be expensive, in places with a tight family structure, such as Morocco, it will have the advantage of providing a safety net not only to the elderly poor but to their families.
  • Addressing Financial sustainability of the pension system. Creating links between benefits and contributions would improve the financial sustainability of the scheme while reducing evasion and distortions on the functioning of the labor market. The Government should explore the feasibility of implementing parametric or structural reforms. Among the parametric reforms, it is recommended to review benefit formula and eligibility rules, in particular the years of covered work requirement. Among the structural reforms, the government could consider the creation of a second pillar to channel part of the retirement savings. Based on the results of the ongoing actuarial projections a financially sustainable pension system could be designed.

Social Assistance Programs. Overall social assistance programs are marginally targeted to the poor, they face efficiency problems and are limited in scope and effectiveness, and their coverage is modest compared to the existing number of poor and needy population.

  • Reforming food subsidies for better targeting of the funds to the poor. Eighty percent of the assistance programs in Morocco is devoted to universal consumer food subsidies: they are mainly transfers to processors and producers, and only 25% of funds reach the poor. Although, the poor benefit four times more than the rich in relative terms from food subsidies, Government resources could be more efficiently targeted to the poor through a parallel reduction of tariff protection and subsidies on food products and introduction of complementary targeted assistance to low-income groups. This would allow the reallocation of budgetary funds freed up by reduced subsidy expenditures, estimated at DH 2.7 billion (or 0.8% GDP) savings, to programs benefiting the poor (e.g., literacy, basic services in rural areas, public works programs and assistance programs targeted to the poor). Reduction of tariff protection would lead to domestic price decline which in turn would benefit consumers (domestic prices of vegetable oils, flour, would be reduced by about 10% and 14% respectively, and it would remain stable for sugar). In addition, in the medium term it would allow to strengthen agricultural policy by focusing on crops where Morocco has a comparative advantage in order to ensure adequate income for the rural population, including the poor. However, in the short- term about 2 million farmers and agriculture workers would be affected by the tariff reduction and would need compensatory measures (i.e., programs to help small land holders to convert to other and better suited alternatives; expansion of the existing labor intensive public works projects (PN); basic infrastructure development in affected rural areas; and community development programs in remote viii rural areas). To start dismantling the border protection system, since November 2000, the Government has begun liberalizing oil prices, and has reduced the import tariffs on oilseeds. As a result, the consumer prices on oil have dropped, and the savings are expected to be used for decentralized rural programs to compensate farmers. Nevertheless, these reforms need to be extended to the other two commodities (sugar and wheat) which are politically more sensitive.
  • Expanding existing Public Works (PN) to labor intensive activities. Currently public works, managed by PN, are largely targeted to rural areas and about 40% of the funds are reaching the poorest among the unemployed and those who are affected by transitional shocks, such as drought. Given the recent increase in poverty, the PN, without any institutional changes, could: (i) implement large scale employment programs in rural areas while ensuring that labor intensive methods are applied to implement projects targeted to the most disadvantaged regions; (ii) help other Government agencies in selecting public works' projects that are executed using labor intensive methods, and (iii) contract out certain urban projects to the private sector and NGOs while focusing its resources on labor intensive rural works located in the most disadvantaged regions.
  • Restructuring the in-kind Welfare Program (EN). To improve the efficiency of EN, since 1999, the Government has launched a two-year restructuring effort piloted in four provinces to introduce changes in service delivery. The objective of this effort was to test the impact of the changes and examine restructuring alternatives. Based on lessons learned from the restructuring in piloted provinces, an expansion of the restructuring of EN needs to be launched in order to (i) better identify target groups and their needs; (ii) better focus EN activities, improve cost-effectiveness. of the programs and increase beneficiary coverage; and (iii) strengthen its institutional capacity to monitor the impact of its activities.

E. Future Agenda

The report addressed the trend of poverty over the last decade and the role of key social policies based on a partial analysis of the 1998/99 LSMS due to data limitations. But additional work would be rec2uired to address the following issues:

  • Evaluation of regional poverty and better understanding of the determinants of poverty in both rural and urban areas, through the econometric modeling/analysis of the risk of being poor.
  • Refinement and update of the analysis (poverty profile and social public expenditures), once the data from the 2001 Household Expenditure survey is available.
  • Assessment of the sensitivity of the poverty profile to economies of scale.
  • Evaluation of sources of income for the poor in both urban and rural areas (including agriculture and off-farm activities, physical assets, migration, land, etc.) * Impact of rural development and ongoing agriculture policies on the poor.
  • Urban development and livelihoods of urban poor (access to land, housing, basic services, etc.).
  • Fine tuning the micro and macro analysis and clarifying the labor market issues.
  • Impact of devaluation and export oriented growth on the poor.
  • Links between employment expansion, including informal sector, and poverty.
  • Incidence analysis of consumer food subsidies based on the 1998/99 LSMS data and clarification on who are the net producers and consumers.
  • Construction of a poverty map to improve targeting of public policies.
  • Participatory poverty assessment to review how the poor people view poverty and well-being? What are their problems and priorities? What is their experience with the institutions of the state, markets and civil society? and How are gender relations faring within households and communities?

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