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Volume 699: debated on Wednesday 20 February 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they can explain the increase between 1999 and 2003 in the proportion of people living in poverty, at a time of overall economic growth, in the 16 African countries targeted in the Department for International Development's public service agreements. [HL1491]

Reliable estimates of poverty rates in the 16 African countries mentioned are not available for 1999-03, as poverty rates are measured only intermittently. In general terms, as population has increased, the numbers living in absolute poverty have been rising in Africa, while the rate of poverty as a share of the population has started to fall.