Resilience and sustainable poverty escapes in Malawi: National Report

Impoverishment is a problem in Malawi. Recent analysis of Malawi’s fourth Integrated Household Survey 2016/17 (IHS4) reveals that the incidence of poverty using the national poverty line barely changed between 2010/11 and 2016/17 (50.7% to 51.5%) and that ultra-poverty (consumption below the national food poverty line) declined from 24.5% to 20.1% over the same period (NSO and World Bank 2018). However, poverty dynamics analysis of Malawi’s Integrated Household Panel Survey (IHPS) reveals a more nuanced picture and that, between 2010 and 2013, 14 per cent of non-poor households slipped into poverty while 19 per cent remained in poverty. Meanwhile, 15 per cent of households escaped poverty.

Understanding the reasons for poverty escapes and descents is a key feature of this report. This includes understanding pathways of poverty escape, of why some households then fell back into poverty, what they did differently compared to sustained escapers and how wider political, economic and climatic context and relationships either supported or constrained poverty escapes. Insight into the character and pathways of sustained escapes over the recent past can further guide policy to promote the resilience of those that have escaped.

Authors: Lucia da Corta, Lucy Scott, Marta Eichsteller, and Anderson Gondwe.

Download the report here.

Strategies for sustained poverty escapes and related policy recommendations can be found in the accompanying Policy Implication Brief.