Investigating resilience thresholds in sub-Saharan Africa

The post-2015 development agenda is leading to a focus on eradicating extreme poverty by 2030 – or ‘getting to zero.’ However, people who escape poverty, but remain living just above the poverty line are vulnerable to be pushed back into poverty due to shocks and stresses.  Getting to zero, and staying there, involves not just ensuring that people currently in poverty escape from living in it but also that people do not fall into poverty in the future. 

This leads to the question of whether there is a ‘resilience threshold’ or ‘security from poverty line’ (Sumner, 2013): a line that, once people are living over, means that they are highly unlikely to live in poverty in the future. If there is such a threshold,  what form would it take? For instance, would it be based on achieving a certain level of income/ expenditure; a particular number of years of education or access to a particular type of (informal) insurance arrangement? This paper explores these questions by focusing on extreme poverty in several countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Authors: Lucy Scott, Debbie Hillier and Helen Underhill

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