Africa has been witnessing fast-paced economic growth since the last decade. Yet the continent is facing many development challenges, ranging from poor education and health outcomes to gender disparity, youth unemployment and rising poverty. African countries and development agencies are responding to these challenges through several interventions, programs and policies. The PEPMA research area evaluates the effectiveness of various programs, policies and projects aimed at addressing these development challenges. Broadly, the PEPMA research area cuts across impact evaluation of government and development programs, poverty measurement and reduction strategies, growth pro-poorness and poverty, gender disparity, social inclusion and inequality. More specifically, PEPMA comprises two main elements: Program Evaluation, and Poverty Measurement and Analysis.
The program evaluation component focuses on impact evaluation of public and donor programs and interventions. It seeks to evaluate the impact of social and economic programs using various evaluation techniques. For example, it seeks to evaluate the impact of school programs as well as interventions aimed at increasing access to health services and the quality of health care. It also seeks to evaluate the impact of agricultural interventions.
Poverty Measurement and Analysis
The second component, poverty measurement and analysis, seeks to investigate the pro-poor nature of economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa, with emphasis on the country-specific characteristics that affect poverty reduction programs and aid the poor to benefit from economic growth. This element of the PEPMA program starts with the assumption that the traditional approach to poverty measurement, which focuses on the monetary dimensions, such as income, is inadequate for a complete understanding of the drivers of poverty. In this area, PEPMA focuses on examining the poverty dynamics and its multi-dimensionality.
Related to poverty is the issue of inequality. Inequality plays a significant role in poverty reduction efforts. The poor benefit little or nothing from economic growth when income among economic groups is highly skewed. The PEPMA program, therefore, examines the implication of income and wealth inequality for poverty reduction. In addition, PEPMA seeks to study the gender disparity dimensions of poverty and their implications for sustainable development.