Opportunities First: A new lens to shape priorities for action in middle-income countries

08 Aug 2017, by Admin
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Far too many people are trapped in poverty in middle-income countries like South Africa. CDE’s new report, OPPORTUNITIES FIRST: A new lens to shape priorities for action argues that instead of programmes that ameliorate poverty, we should focus more attention on eradicating it; focus less on inequality and far more on how to expand dramatically the opportunities available to poor people. Aspirations to social mobility and justice are more effectively addressed by multiplying poor people’s access to income generating activities that can provide routes out of poverty and into the middle class.

In the past few decades, global poverty has fallen for an expanding population. The key cause of this stunning advance was economic growth and expanded employment. The best places to generate opportunities for the poor is in dynamic, inclusive cities.

An opportunity-first approach cannot afford to ignore the challenges thrown up by politics and history, which arise in demands for redress and redistribution across many middle-income developing countries. The key to this is for effective states coupled with competitive markets to expand new opportunities for the poor, rather than redistribute a finite number of existing ones. Click here for the full report.

Global Experts’ Perspectives


Expanding Opportunities for the poor: What is the right framework – Tyler Cowen

The Silent March of Freedom – William Easterly

Expanding and Measuring Opportunities – Charles Kenny

Citizenship Opportunity and Redistribution – Dipankar Gupta

Expanding Opportunity for the Urban Poor – Brandon Fuller

The informal economy as a path to expanding opportunities – Colin Williams

Expanding opportunities: Malaysia case study – Graham Brown