Labour Market Performance and Pro-poor Growth in Cameroon

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Mongbet, Ousseni
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African Economic Research consortium
This study uses the 1996, 2001 and 2007 Cameroon household surveys to investigate the implications of changes in labour market performance for propoor growth in the period before (1996-2001) and after the Decision Point of the heavily-indebted poor countries initiative (2001-2007). The study also investigates growth in income within the period under review, with the aim of understanding how growth in income relates to pro-poor growth. This study uses absolute and relative pro-poor growth measures to unveil the implications of specific employment sector growth and changes in labour market performance indicators for income growth, propoor growth and inequality in Cameroon in the periods 1996-2001 and 2001-2007. The results show that growth was not pro-poor in relative terms between 1996 and 2001 in Cameroon, and that it was accompanied by an increase in social inequalities. On the other hand, between 2001 and 2007, the growth was pro-poor in relative terms in all the sectors considered because poor households benefited relatively more from the fruits of growth than the other households. On the whole, between 1996 and 2001, the growth in per capita income (0.11 points) is explained by growth in employment rate (0.03 points), number of days worked per employed person (0.12 points) and participation rate of the workforce (0.02 points). Between 2001 and 2007, the pro-poor growth rate of real income of the households (2.86 points) is largely explained by the pro-poor growth rate of daily real income of the households (2.78 points), followed by the pro-poor growth rate of number of days worked per employed persons (0.42 points). We note, however, that this pro-poor growth is slowed down by the decline of the pro-poor participation growth rate (-0.16 points) and the pro-poor employment growth rate (-0.17 points). Relevant policy recommendations derived from the results include: (1) Increase household income per time period (for instance per day as used in this study or per month), and the number of days worked per employed person, because the reduction in pro-poor growth is mainly due to low household daily incomes and days worked per week by employed individuals; (2) Increase employability and the quality of the labour force in poor households because analyses reveals that the gains of growth are also slowed down by reduction in the pro-poor growth rate of labour force participation (0.16 points) and the pro-poor growth rate of employment (0.17 points).