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Inheritance and the Intergenerational Transmission of Poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa: Policy Considerations

Elizabeth Cooper


In many Sub-Saharan African societies, inheritance is one of the most common means by which physical property is transferred from one generation to another. As such, policy initiatives concerning the intergenerational transmission of poverty (IGT poverty) would do well to attend to how inheritance systems are governed, and particularly which considerations affect who is included and excluded. This requires examination of both legal and political rights of property ownership, as well as context-specific values, norms and dynamics of social organisation.

This paper is a review of existing research and policy that address issues of inheritance and IGT poverty. It is organised into three main sections: the first outlines what is known about how inheritance correlates with IGT poverty; the middle section discusses specific initiatives that have been proposed or taken to affect inheritance in Sub-Saharan African countries; and the last section lists some key points for policy makers and researchers to consider in developing future initiatives concerning inheritance and IGT poverty.

Publication Type(s)

CPRC Working Paper


intergenerational transmission of poverty policy gender sub-Saharan Africa inheritance

ISBN: 978-1-906433-61-1


1 Inheritance and the IGT of Poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa PDF 361.4 KB

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