25 June 2014
After a long series of conflicts and apparent macroeconomic mismanagement, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) seems to be breaking from its thorny history. It is implementing a series of economic and political reforms aimed at improving its weak institutions and ameliorating the business climate to stimulate economic growth and development. As a result, the DRC is on a path of economic recovery, with an average annual growth rate of 6.2 per cent in the last decade. Despite this economic turnaround, the majority of the DRC population still live in precarious conditions. However, this high growth has not translated into poverty reduction for the large majority of Congolese people. Most socioeconomic indicators suggest a lack of progress, and in some instances, a deterioration in the population's welfare.
In two WIDER working papers (one published and a second forthcoming), we undertake a ranking of the 11 provinces of the DRC to compare their levels of multidimensional poverty--that is severe deprivation of basic human needs, and lack of capabilities affecting a person's wellbeing within the population, using information available at the household level. The overall goal of these studies is to shed light on the welfare of the Congolese population, particularly children and women (forthcoming). This is done by looking at the prevalence of poverty through seven deprivation indicators: health, education, water, shelter, information, sanitation, and food. We adapt the definition of these deprivation indicators to capture the sample characteristics, i.e. in the first study we divide the variable for children into three age groups: 0-5, 6-17, and 0-17 years. In the study focusing on women's multidimensional poverty there are two variables: not married and married. The results of our analysis provide strong evidence of heterogeneity and disparity in child and women's poverty among the provinces. Overall, the results of the two studies have several policy implications for DRC's policy makers as the country is recovering from two decades of civil war and is moving toward reconstruction.
The prevalence and geographical distribution of multidimensional poverty Nationally, almost half of children aged between 6 and 17 years are deprived (poor) in five key indicators: water, sanitation, shelter, information, and health. Focusing on education deprivation, the data reveals that nearly a quarter of children aged between 6 and 17 are...