After two ‘lost decades’ from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s, Africa’s economic growth has resumed in the last twenty years. In the last decade in particular (i.e. between 2003-2014), GDP growth in the region has averaged 5.1%, making it the second fastest-growing region in the world, after East Asia. Yet, with approximately 49% of Africans still living below $1.25 per person per day, this growth is not translating into poverty reduction as effectively as anyone would like. This talk will investigate possible reasons for the ‘broken link’ between Africa’s growth and poverty reduction, exploring demographic factors, the sector composition of the growth process, the role of natural resources and conflict, and the importance of inequality. Possible policy directions to harness the power of growth for faster poverty reduction will also be discussed.


Francisco H. G. Ferreira is the World Bank’s Chief Economist for the Africa Region and a Research Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA, Bonn). He was formerly a lead economist in the Bank’s Research Department, and has also served as Deputy Chief Economist for Latin America and the Caribbean, and as co-Director of the World Development Report 2006, on Equity and Development.
Francisco has published widely in the fields of poverty and inequality in developing countries. He was awarded the Haralambos Simeonides and the Adriano Romariz Duarte Prizes by the Brazilian Economic and Econometric Societies, respectively, and the Kendricks Prize by the International Association for Research in Income and Wealth. He also serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Economic Inequality, the Review of Income and Wealth, the World Bank Economic Review and the Economic Analysis Review. Francisco has taught at the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro and at the Paris School of Economics. He was born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil, and holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the London School of Economics.