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10. The Politics of Policy for Poverty Reduction: Comparing Malaysia with Kenya

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Chapter Summary

A comparative review of trends in the economic growth data for Malaysia and Kenya since the early 1960s shows the former country to have performed much better than the latter in acquiring sustained economic growth that has enabled (economic) development. This chapter evaluates the role played by the politics of policy-making in these relative country outcomes. While strategies for economic growth and development are well known, politics plays a critical role in determining which priorities enter policy documents and, importantly, which policies are actually implemented, because often, "policy is as policy does". Development is often assumed to be about reducing poverty by increasing opportunities that elevate the quality of life of a country's people. The two countries' experiences suggest that poverty reduction is not necessarily altruistic, but rather a matter of whether it is an imperative for the survival of the political class.

Keywords: economic growth data; Kenya; Malaysia; policy-making; poverty reduction



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