Employment programs, particularly labor-intensive public works (LIPW), have a long history in Sub-Saharan Africa, dating back to the 1960s. The programs expanded rapidly in the 1980s and early 1990s, especially in countries that experienced sharp declines in employment and real wages. Labor-intensive public works have the potential to serve as both short-term sources of employment and long-term generators of growth and productivity increases. They can be designed cost-effectively to alleviate poverty and improve food security. This function can be further strengthened if they are combined with other food-security-enhancing policies and projects. Policymakers, donors, and researchers need to pay close attention to improving the design of public works and to searching for the right portfolio of intervention instruments.
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)