This paper discusses key findings of the Third Annual Progress Report (APR) on the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) for Guinea. The PRS implemented by the government since 2002 has the overall objective of reducing poverty significantly and sustainably, by increasing incomes and improving the well-being of the population, and particularly of its poorest segments. The APR reveals that in social sectors, and particularly in health, village hydraulics, and education, indicators have improved despite financial constraints. The gross enrollment rate rose from 77 percent to 79 percent at the national level.
Economic activity is risky. Returns across economic sectors can be highly variable, potentially causing costly adjustments to consumption. However, when returns are imperfectly correlated across sectors and insurance is unavailable, diversification can reduce the economic impact of shocks. Therefore, despite the well-known efficiency benefits from specialization, the risks of too little diversification have long been acknowledged. But how big are the benefits of diversification? This paper exploits the exogeneity and randomness of earthquakes to address this question. There is robust evidence that more specialized economies experience larger declines in consumption when earthquakes occur, and consistent with the insurance channel, the cost of specialization is smaller in more financially developed economies.