Research Topics

Publication Date: 09/09/2022
Type: Research Brief

Climate change is predicted to have increasingly dire effects on the largely rainfed agriculture of sub-Saharan agriculture, a livelihood that also contributes to climate change. Within this context, multilateral funding institutions are increasingly funding projects devoted to the adaptation to or mitigation of climate change. Data from the Organisation for Economic Development (OECD) provide an overview of climate-related project data, but the intersection of climate-related projects and projects intended to develop rural and agricultural economies is less explored. This paper focuses on climate-related projects in sub-Saharan Africa in the context of rural and agricultural project funding. We use a custom dataset from three separate multilaterals (the World Bank, African Development Bank, and International Fund for Agricultural Development) to answer the following research questions:

  1. What proportion of agriculture-related lending across the three multilaterals of interest has a climate component?
  2. Which countries are borrowing most for climate-related agricultural projects? Is the amount of borrowing correlated with a country’s climate risk?


Of all financing projects in our dataset (N = 1,846), we identified 203 as being climate-related (11%) and 505 as being related to rural agricultural economies (27%). Of the $26.5 billion annualized project funding, rural and agricultural financing accounts for $6.5 billion (24.6%) while climate projects receive $1.97 billion (7.4%). The World Bank funds approximately half of all agriculture projects in the dataset, with the AfDB funding just under 30% and IFAD just over 20%.

Annual average borrowing amounts from multilaterals for climate-related rural/agricultural economies projects varies widely across sub-Saharan Africa. The major borrowers include Ethiopia ($150 million), Nigeria ($105 million), and Kenya ($102 million). The proportion of multilateral borrowing for climate-related projects among all rural agricultural borrowing also varies substantially across sub-Saharan Africa; the Seychelles and Eswatini devote the largest proportions of rural agricultural borrowing toward climate work (100% and 69.8%, respectively). Fourteen SSA countries devote between 15% and 30% of rural agricultural borrowing to climate-related projects and fifteen have not received any multilateral financing for climate-related rural/agricultural economies projects.

We do not find a statistically significant relationship between a country’s Climate Risk Index and the proportion of annual rural/agricultural economies borrowing focused on climate.


Suggested Citation:

Financing for Climate Change in Africa: A View of Sovereign Borrowing in Agriculture from Multilateral Funding Institutions . EPAR Technical Report #411 (2022). Evans School of Public Policy & Governance, University of Washington. Retrieved <Day Month Year> from

Publication Date: 09/01/2022
Type: Research Brief

Key Takeaways

  • A survey of poverty indicators surfaced 139 candidates, of which 36 were ultimately selected for inclusion in the study based on indicator construction, use, and timeliness.

  • The selected 36 poverty indicators relied primarily on 26 data sources, mainly household surveys and administrative government data.

  • Most indicators relied on household survey data and used multidimensional indices to comprehensively measure poverty, aside from poverty line and poverty gap measures which relied exclusively on income and consumption.

  • Indicators or indicator components were typically based on quantitative estimates of income or consumption, although an increasing number of measurements are instead classifying households according to deprivation of assets, food, or access to services and basic infrastructure.

  • Overall, critics find that an emphasis on poverty line measurements has led to an incomplete understanding of poverty’s prevalence and trends over the last several decades (UN Special Rapporteur, 2020).

  • No single indicator dominates on considerations of reliability, dimensions, depth or intensity, comparability, etc., but rather each measure involves tradeoffs.

  • If the goal is to increase the utility of commonly used indicators, including those considering multiple dimensions of poverty, then investments focused on expanding the coverage, frequency, or scope of nationally representative household surveys is a necessary first step.

  • Making cross-country comparisons using any poverty indicator runs the risk of using a common metric based on different data sources and collected in different years that may not fully reflect a household’s welfare. Indices which include multiple subcomponents may be more holistic, but even less reliable as the number of components requiring data increases.


Suggested citation:

Landscape Review of Poverty Measures. EPAR Technical Report #424 (2022). Evans School of Public Policy & Governance, University of Washington. Retrieved <Day Month Year> from

Publication Date: 11/22/2019
Type: Research Brief

While literature on achieving Inclusive Agricultural Transformation (IAT) through input market policies is relatively robust, literature on the effect of output market policies on IAT is rarer. We conduct a selective literature review of output market policies in low- and middle-income countries to assess their influence on IAT and find that outcomes are mixed across all policy areas. We also review indicators used to measure successful IAT,  typologies of market institutions involved in IAT, and agricultural policies and maize yield trends in East Africa. This report details our findings on these connected, yet somewhat disparate elements of IAT to shed more light on a topic that has not been the primary focus of the literature thus far.

Publication Date: 05/08/2019
Type: Research Brief

In many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia smallholder farmers are among the most vulnerable to climatic changes, and the observed shocks and stresses associated with these changes impact agricultural systems in many ways. This research brief offers findings on observed or measured changes in precipitation, temperature or both, on five biophysical pathways and systems including variable or changing growing seasons, extreme events, biotic stressors, plant species density, richness and range, impacts to streamflow, and impacts on crop yield. These findings are the result of a review of relevant documents cited in Kilroy (2015), references included in the IPCC draft Special Report on Food Security, and targeted searches from 2015 - present for South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Publication Date: 03/17/2019
Type: Research Brief

Much literature discusses the importance of investing in human capital—or “the sum of a population’s health, skills, knowledge, experience, and habits” (World Bank, 2018, p. 42)—to a country’s economic growth. For example, the World Bank reports a “chronic underinvestment” in health and education in Nigeria, noting that investing in human capital has the potential to significantly contribute to economic growth, poverty reduction, and societal well-being (World Bank, 2018). This research brief reports on the evidence linking investment in human capital—specifically, health and education—with changes in economic growth. It reviews the literature for five topic areas: Education, Infectious Diseases, Nutrition, Primary Health Care, and Child and Maternal Health. This review gives priority focus to the countries of Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Tanzania. For each topic area, we report the evidence in support of a pathway from investing in human capital to economic growth.

Publication Date: 02/28/2019
Type: Research Brief

This document is an initial scoping of the theory and evidence linking digital services to women’s rural-to-urban migration. The document contains (1) a survey of the literature on digital financial services to discern how often this body of literature considers gender-disaggregated impacts on migration, (2) a detailed review of 13 hypotheses regarding the effects of digital services on women’s migration to cities, and (3) an illustrative overview of rural-urban migration patterns and digital technology usage in two East African countries (Ethiopia and Tanzania).

EPAR Technical Report #354
Publication Date: 11/29/2018
Type: Research Brief

Precise agricultural statistics are necessary to track productivity and design sound agricultural policies. Yet, in settings where intercropping is prevalent, even crop yield can be challenging to measure. In a systematic survey of the literature on crop yield in low-income settings, we find that scholars specify how they estimate the yield denominator in under 10% of cases. Using household survey data from Tanzania, we consider four alternative methods of allocating land area on plots that contain multiple crops, and explore the implications of this measurement decision for analyses of maize and rice yield. We find that 64% of cultivated plots contain more than one crop, and average yield estimates vary with different methods of calculating area planted. This pattern is more pronounced for maize, which is more likely than rice to share a plot with other crops. The choice among area methods influences which of these two staple crops is found to be more calorie-productive per ha, as well as the extent to which fertilizer is expected to be profitable for maize production. Given that construction decisions can influence the results of analysis, we conclude that the literature would benefit from greater clarity regarding how yield is measured across studies.

EPAR Research Brief #360
Publication Date: 02/05/2018
Type: Research Brief

In this brief, we report on measures of economic growth, poverty and agricultural activity in Ethiopia. For each category of measure, we first describe different measurement approaches and present available time series data on selected indicators. We then use data from the sources listed below to discuss associations within and between these categories between 1994 and 2017. 

EPAR Research Brief #344
Publication Date: 08/10/2016
Type: Research Brief

This brief presents an overview of EPAR’s previous research related to gender. We first present our key takeaways related to labor and time use, technology adoption, agricultural production, control over income and assets, health and nutrition, and data collection. We then provide a brief overview of each previous research project related to gender along with gender-related findings, starting with the most recent project. Many of the gender-related findings draw from other sources; please see the full documents for references. Reports available on EPAR’s website are hyperlinked in the full brief. 

EPAR Research Brief #342
Publication Date: 07/28/2016
Type: Research Brief

This brief presents an overview of EPAR’s previous research on nutrition and food security and outlines summaries and key findings from 15 technical reports and research briefs. Key findings are drawn from our own original analyses as well as from other sources, which are cited in the individual reports. We also include appendices briefly summarizing EPAR’s research on health and climate change, topics somewhat related to nutrition and food security, and EPAR’s confidential work on nutrition and food security.