Re-Examining the Growth Poverty-Inequality Nexus in an Unstable Low-Income Economy: Case of Malawi

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Chipeta, Chinyamata
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African Economic Research Consortium
Malawi suffers from a high incidence of poverty that has not fallen significantly over the last two decades. When the first integrated household survey was conducted in 1997/98, it was found that 54.1 percent of its population was living below the national poverty line. Six years later, the proportion of people living below the national poverty line had declined to 52.4 percent, before declining further to 50.7 percent in 2010. But, subsequently, it increased to 51.5 percent in 2016, then fell again to 50.7 percent in 2019. Thus, apart from the brief period when poverty rates decreased, the rate of poverty has been stagnant, fluctuating marginally. About one-half of the population of Malawi lives on very low incomes. These impoverished people suffer from food insecurity, undernutrition and poor health, have little education, live in environmentally degraded areas, and attempt to earn a meagre living on small and marginal farms or in dilapidated urban slums. In this policy brief, we set the stage for re-examining the problem of poverty in Malawi and how it can be reduced.