Level of Deprivation in Sub-Saharan Africa
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The first of the millennium development goals, halving poverty by 2015, was not achieved in Sub-Saharan Africa. To make matters worse, for the period from 1990 to 2013 the number of poor increased in this region. In this dissertation, I consider the possibility that current measures of poverty are not appropriate for Sub-Saharan African countries. The limitations of current poverty measures include poor data quality and inappropriateness of selected indicators. In addition, I add a third limitation in that most social indicators used to measure poverty are highly correlated with income, therefore making them redundant in capturing other non-income domains associated with deprivation. To this I have used principal component analysis to construct composite deprivation and income-independent deprivation indices which are ultimately used to rank 31 Sub-Saharan African countries for the years of 2000, 2005, 2010, and 2014. The results obtained in this dissertation include large volatility in the ranking of the countries when comparing to those of the universal Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) and real gross domestic product per capita. The volatility in rankings signals that a few low-income countries are far better than one would expected given their level of income is low as regards to the level of deprivation experienced by their citizens. This dissertation adds to the debate that human development or well-being should not be regarded as a mere unidimensional economic concept. Policymakers need to look beyond income to formulate policies which will ultimately increase overall well-being in their countries.