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Beating the Odds: Sustaining Inclusion in a Growing Economy -- A Mozambique Poverty, Gender and Social Assessment

Sponsors: Thematic Group on Poverty Impact Analysis,  Monitoring and Evaluation; Africa PREM; PREM Gender
Presenters: Louise Fox, Lead Specialist (AFTPM) & Malcolm Ehrenpreis, Gender Specialist (PRMGE)
When: December 4, 12:30 - 2:00pm
Since the mid 1990s, Mozambique has pursued sound economic policy - which induced a high growth in private investment - and received high levels of foreign aid, allowing the achievement of an average 7 percent growth, one of the highest and longest sustained growth spells in Africa. This high growth, supported by increased public investments in infrastructure rehabilitation, allowed per capita consumption to increase by 2% per year between 1997-2003, and  with no increase in inequality, poverty fell by 15 percentage points. Growth was pro-poor because of the changes in the structure of production. Agriculture became more productive (reducing rural poverty) and this increase in domestic demand allowed  labor to move from low productivity agriculture to higher productivity sectors, including the urban informal sector. Labor market shifts were not gender neutral as mostly men moved out of agriculture. Government spending also raised welfare and built human capital, as the number of primary schools increased by 50 percent in rural areas, and net enrollments shot up. Gender gaps in primary school enrollment have narrowed. 

Despite these achievements, problems with nutrition and HIV/AIDS persist, and health outcomes of the poorest have not improved significantly. Despite spending over 20 percent of the government budget on education, only 50 percent of those who start primary education complete; the ratio is even worse for girls. More recent data suggest that patterns of growth are shifting and inequality is increasing, especially in rural areas where female headed households, which are not able to diversify their sources of income, lose out. In both rural and urban areas, people still feel poor and vulnerable. As the economy develops and demands a more educated work force, large swaths of the labor force with little or no education may get left behind.   

This presentation will outline the integrated analytical framework adopted for the Mozambique Poverty, Gender, and Social Assessment and highlight the main findings and recommendations that arise from this integrated approach. The Task Team adopted a livelihood approach to link structural changes to the labor force and household welfare. Through various diagnostics, we get a coherent story of how growth was effective in reducing poverty as well as a picture of some of the key challenges that still need to be tackled. The presenters will also discuss the pros and cons of integrating poverty, gender, and social analysis and synthesize key lessons for other country teams.


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