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WP 04/089 - Half Measures: The ANC's Unemployment and Poverty Reduction Goals

Author: 
Charles Meth

Date of Publication: 
December 2004

Abstract: 
Simulations suggest that under the most optimistic conditions, halving the official rate of unemployment would require 3.7 million jobs to be created between 2004 and 2014. Halving the number of expanded unemployed under pessimistic assumptions about the growth rate of the economically active would require 11 million jobs in the same period. Unlike unemployment, poverty levels can, through the social security system, be directly affected by government. One of the goals of the United Nations Millennium Declaration is to halve absolute poverty (defined, in the absence of a national poverty line, as being below $1(US)/day). In the first place, there is no agreed poverty line. Given the margin of ignorance in the data examined, it is probably impossible to say much about poverty headcounts, rates or gaps at the poverty line chosen to denote absolute poverty. As the poverty line is raised, the number of poor stabilises at a high level (roughly 20 million). It shows little sensitivity to increases in the assumed values of the social wage.

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