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Ghana Journal of Geography

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Becoming poor in Ghana

Jan Hesselberg

Abstract


This short article shows through a few cases in both urban and rural Ghana reasons why non-poor families fall into poverty. The causes can be found at different geographical levels, and the process of becoming poor often consists of a sequence of negative events. Most of these events could easily be mitigated by rather simple and inexpensive social protection policies. Poverty alleviation policies are nearly always focused on how to help poor people out of their low level of consumption, and out of their problems of access to social services, jobs and resources. In the present article it is argued that another equally important focus is to formulate and implement policies that can prevent people, who are clearly not poor, from entering a down-ward spiral of negative events and circumstances, both personal and work or income related, in order to bring their consumption below the poverty line for a short or long time.

Keywords: Poverty; social protection; safety nets; Ghana




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