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Social Capital and Poverty: Conceptual Framework and Evidence

Dr. Barassou Diawara
2 Fairbairn Drive Mt. Pleasant, ACBF Boardroom
23 May, 2014
11:00 – 13:00 Hrs


During the last two decades the concept of social capital is being actively popularized by scholars, namely economists, sociologists, political scientists and policy makers. The notion is seen as an important factor explaining the development level of the nations, the wealth of individuals and households and welfare of communities. Some scholars have even found that social capital matters more for household welfare than human capital.

The objective of the brown bag seminar and related note is to empirically show that associational relationships, social norms and cohesion are important in partly explaining the poverty status of individuals. To achieve that objective we will discuss the importance and recent attention paid to the concept of social capital, cover some of the definitions and measurements of the concept and explain the mechanisms through which social capital can affect welfare and thereafter poverty.

Our discussion will therefore turn to the macro and micro evidence. The micro evidence is drawn from a background paper on the relationship between social capital and poverty in Senegal. We make use of the 2005 Senegalese Household Survey to construct an index of social capital and show that it is correlated with the economic situation of the households.

The presentation will also highlight the role of capacity building in the debate on the importance of social capital in Africa before drawing some lessons.


Thomas Kwesi Quartey

ACBF has been granted the status of a specialized agency because of the potential to transform Africa through capacity development.

H.E. Thomas Kwesi Quartey, Deputy Chairperson, AU Commission
Erastus Mwencha

The recognition of ACBF as the African Union’s Specialized Agency for Capacity Development launches the beginning of a new era for capacity building by ACBF, which will require an appropriate level of political commitment and financial support from all stakeholders.

H.E. Erastus Mwencha, Chair, ACBF Executive Board
Lamin Momodou

The remarkable achievements ACBF has registered over the past 26 years is not by accident in our opinion. They have come through hard work, dedication, commitment, purposeful leadership, support from the member countries as well as productive partnership building.

Mr. Lamin Momodou MANNEH, Director, UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa
Goodall Gondwe

Africa needs ACBF as much, probably more now, than at the time it was created in 1991.

Hon. Goodall Gondwe, former Chair of the ACBF Board of Governors and Minister of Finance – Malawi
Ken Ofori Atta

Ghana’s partnership with ACBF is a tremendous blessing for us and therefore the opportunity for Ghana to host the 26th ACBF Board of Governors Meeting is something that we treasure.

Hon Ken Ofori Atta, Chair of the ACBF Board of Governors and Minister of Finance - Ghana