Poverty in Zimbabwe since independence: incidence, intensity and trends
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Poverty reduction has taken centre stage in most policy debates in Zimbabwe. Efforts to address the issue of poverty by the Government dates as far back as 1980 (the year of Zimbabwe’s independence) when the government policy was aimed at redressing the imbalances that were inherited from the colonial regime. Concrete measures to eradicate poverty include the introduction of the Social Development Fund (SDF) in November 1991 and the launching of the Poverty Alleviation Action Plan (PAAP) in December 1993. The Social Development Fund aimed to address poverty that was a result of the initial impact of the Economic Structural Adjustment Program (ESAP). The PAAP broadened the overall scope, coverage and intended impact of targeted social programmes, with special emphasis placed on employment creation and self reliance programmes. The success of the SDF programme and the PAAP and indeed other programmes that are aimed at reducing poverty depend on a clear understanding of who the poor are, where are they located and what are their needs. More importantly it is essential that the various poverty reduction programmes are evaluated on a regular basis to find out whether or not they had any significant impact on poverty. This would make it possible to improve the programme designs before the expiry of the programme life and hence increase the impact of the programme on poverty reduction. Over time there is also a need to analyse and trace the levels and intensity of poverty. This paper aims to analyse the trends in poverty in Zimbabwe using results from available studies and data. Before we do that we review poverty measurement methodologies below.