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Christine Pu

Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is home to 16% of the global population, yet it accounts for more than half of those living in extreme poverty. SSA’s persistent poverty is often attributed to its lack of access to road and irrigation infrastructure. However, the benefits of these infrastructure are not always evenly distributed, and those living in extreme poverty are often left behind. My research combines theory and methods from environmental engineering, sociology, and development economics to elucidate the causal relationships that link extreme poverty, engineered infrastructure, and climate change in SSA. I explore how road and irrigation infrastructure help households escape poverty and build resilience against increasing temperature and precipitation variability. Using case studies and secondary datasets, I combine nuanced insights about the poverty experience with regional-scale modeling to produce compelling evidence for decision-makers. My research will inform public policies to ensure that infrastructure projects alleviate inequity instead of exacerbating it.