This collection of essays by leading development economists provides an excellent introduction to the causes and effects of poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. Although some of the papers are dated, they remain useful. One section of the book includes several contributions about the nature of poverty in the region, with a particularly informative chapter on poverty in the African countryside. Another section questions the conventional wisdom that economic reforms in the 1980s and 1990s aggravated poverty, painting a more nuanced picture. Although poverty in the region worsened during this period, it does not appear to have increased more in countries that implemented reforms than in those that did not. Because the available economic data on Africa are mired by low quality and major gaps, however, the conclusions of several chapters are limited.
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