nep-afr New Economics Papers
on Africa
Issue of 2006‒02‒12
twelve papers chosen by
Suzanne McCoskey
Foreign Service Institute, US Department of State

  1. Economic growth in South Africa since 1994 By Stan du Plessis; Ben Smit
  2. Language and Labour in South Africa: A new approach for a new South Africa By Katy Cornwell
  3. Guidelines for Building Sustainable Market Information Systems in Africa with Strong Public-Private Partnerships By Michael T. Weber; Cynthia Donovan; John M. Staatz; Niama Nango Dembélé
  4. Sectoral Aid Priorities: Are Donors Really Doing their Best to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals? By Rainer Thiele; Peter Nunnenkamp; Axel Dreher
  5. Trends in poverty and inequality since the political transition By Servaas van der Berg; Ronelle Burger; Rulof Burger; Megan Louw; Derek Yu
  6. Poverty and Poverty Dynamics in Rural Ethiopia By Christelle Swanepoel
  7. The properties of cycles in South African financial variables and their relation to the business cycle By Willem H Boshoff
  8. Global Retail Chains and Poor Farmers: Evidence from Madagascar By Bart Minten; Lalaina Randrianarison; Johan F.M. Swinnen
  9. Who gets AIDS and how ? The determinants of HIV infection and sexual behaviors in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, and Tanzania By de Walque, Damien
  10. Composite Leading Indicators for Major OECD Non-Member Economies: Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Russian Federation, South Africa By Olivier Brunet; Ronny Nilsson
  11. Evidence of recent fertility decline in Eritrea: an analysis of trends and determinants By Gebremariam Woldemicael
  12. Teenage Childbearing and Child Health in Eritrea By Gebremariam Woldemicael

  1. By: Stan du Plessis (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University); Ben Smit (Bureau of Economic Research, Stellenbosch University)
    Abstract: South Africa's democratic transition in 1994 created expectations of a dramatic turnaround in the economic performance. Trade and financial sanctions and internal political opposition to the apartheid government had contributed to the poorest ten-year growth performance (1984 - 1993) since the Second World War and the removal of these constraints was widely expected to transform the country's economic performance. This paper measures the realised performance of the economy over this decade along a number of dimensions, including: economic growth, its constituent parts and proximate causes and economic stability.
    Keywords: economic growth, South Africa, 1994
    JEL: N10 N17 O40 O47 O49 O55
    Date: 2006
  2. By: Katy Cornwell
    Abstract: This paper considers the role of language in labour earnings in South Africa over the period 1996 to 1998. Our pooled cross-section comprises of over 160,000 working age adults, and the analysis considers the decision to participate in the labour force, employment prospects and labour earnings. Models include variables for individual mother tongue in addition to population group. After conditioning on a number of socio-economic and demographic factors, we find that having English as one's mother tongue is one of the pivotal determinants of labour earnings. These results are robust across two models of sample selection. Such findings shed light on the economic consequences of South Africa's national policy of linguistic heterogeneity.
    Keywords: Unemployment, Income, South Africa, Language Policy, Race.
    JEL: J64 J21 J23 J19 J31
    Date: 2006–02
  3. By: Michael T. Weber (Department of Agricultural Economics, Michigan State University); Cynthia Donovan; John M. Staatz; Niama Nango Dembélé
    Abstract: This paper contains policy messages for six essential factors for successful design and implementation market information systems in Africa.
    Keywords: food security, food policy, market information systems
    JEL: Q18
    Date: 2005
  4. By: Rainer Thiele; Peter Nunnenkamp; Axel Dreher
    Abstract: We analyze the aid portfolio of various bilateral and multilateral donors, testing whether they have prioritised aid in line with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In doing so, we combine sectorally disaggregated aid data with indicators reflecting the situation of recipient countries regarding the MDGs. Our results show that donors differ not only in terms of their overall generosity and the general poverty orientation of aid, but also in the extent to which their sectoral aid allocation is conducive to achieving more specific MDGs such as all children completing a full course of primary schooling, reducing child and maternal mortality as well as reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS. Overall, while some MDGs, e.g., the fight against HIV/AIDS, have shaped the allocation of aid, the sector-specific results reveal that with respect to other MDGs, most notably primary education, there is a considerable gap between donor rhetoric and actual aid allocation. These results invite the conclusion that the current focus on substantially increasing aid in order to turn the tide in trying to achieve the MDGs misses one important point: Unless the targeting of aid is improved, higher aid will not have the desired effects. Our results suggest that at least part of the blame for missing the MDGs falls on insufficient targeting of aid.
    Keywords: Aid Allocation, MDGs, Development Aid
    JEL: F35 O11 O19
    Date: 2006–01
  5. By: Servaas van der Berg (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University); Ronelle Burger (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University); Rulof Burger (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University); Megan Louw (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University); Derek Yu (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)
    Abstract: Using a constructed data series and another data series based on AMPS (the All Media and Products Survey), this paper explores trends in poverty and income distribution over the post-transition period. To steer clear of an unduly optimistic conclusion, assumptions are chosen that would tend to show the least decline in poverty. Whilst there were no strong trends in poverty for the period 1995 to 2000, both data series show a considerable decline in poverty after 2000, particularly in the period 2002-2004. Poverty dominance testing shows that this decline is independent of the poverty line chosen or whether the poverty headcount, the poverty ratio or the poverty severity ratio are used as measure. We find likely explanations for this strong and robust decline in poverty in the massive expansion of the social grant system as well as possibly in improved job creation in recent years. Whilst the collective income of the poor (using our definition of poverty) was only R27 billion in 2000, the grants (in constant 2000 Rand values) have expanded by R22 billion since. Even if the grants were not well targeted at the poor (and in the past they have been), a large proportion of this spending must have reached the poor, thus leaving little doubt that poverty must have declined substantially. However, there are limits to the expansion of the grant system as a means of poverty alleviation, pointing to the importance of economic growth with job creation for sustaining the decline in poverty.
    Keywords: poverty, inequality, South Africa, employment
    JEL: D31 D33 D63 E25 C81 J3 O1
    Date: 2005
  6. By: Christelle Swanepoel (Bureau of Economics Research, Stellenbosch University)
    Abstract: Poverty in rural Ethiopia is vast by any standard. Using the Ethiopian Rural Household Survey (ERHS), which is a panel data set consisting of four rounds between 1994 and 1997, this analysis aims to examine the broad trends in poverty by calculating and decomposing poverty measures of the Foster-Greer-Thorbecke class, as well as to analyse the correlates of poverty by means of regression trees. Furthermore, in an attempt to determine how and why some households experience changes in their poverty status over time, the poverty dynamics of households is studied according to both the spells and the components approaches. Here the distinction is made between transient and chronic poor, and regression analysis is employed to determine whether the endowments and characteristics of these groups differ.
    Keywords: poverty, poverty dynamics, Ethiopia
    JEL: I32 C2
    Date: 2005
  7. By: Willem H Boshoff (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)
    Abstract: Linkages between the financial and real sectors of the economy have been studied extensively over the past twenty years to enhance business cycle forecasting on the one hand and improve portfolio allocation on the other. The broad aim of the paper is to investigate the relationship between cycles in the real economy and cycles in several financial variables from the South African money, bond and stock markets for the period from 1986 onwards. The paper will aim to describe the properties of cycles in such financial variables, where cycles were derived using a dating algorithm similar to that used to determine business cycle turning points. This method is consistent with the Burns and Mitchell tradition of business cycle analysis, but in contrast with the dominant approach in academic research, i.e. deviation cycles relying on time-series detrending. Consequently, the paper will attempt to relate phases in the cycles of financial variables with business cycle phases to establish which variables satisfy preliminary requirements for leading indicators of the business cycle. The paper will consider both classical cycles as well as cycles in the growth rate of the different variables and include international variables, due to the potential importance of international developments for financial markets in an open economy.
    Keywords: business cycles, South Africa, financial variables, real economy
    JEL: E30 E32 E37 E44 E47
    Date: 2005
  8. By: Bart Minten; Lalaina Randrianarison; Johan F.M. Swinnen
    Abstract: Global retail companies (“supermarkets”) have an increasing influence on developing countries, through foreign investments and/or through the imposition of their private standards. The impact on developing countries and poverty is often assessed as negative. In this paper we show the opposite, based on an analysis of primary data collected to measure the impact of supermarkets on small contract farmers in Madagascar, one of the poorest countries in the world. Almost 10,000 farmers in the Highlands of Madagascar produce vegetables for supermarkets in Europe. In this global supply chain, small farmers’ micro-contracts are combined with extensive farm assistance and supervision programs to fulfill complex quality requirements and phyto-sanitary standards of supermarkets. Small farmers that participate in these contracts have higher welfare, more income stability and shorter lean periods. We also find significant effects on improved technology adoption, better resource management and spillovers on the productivity of the staple crop rice. The small but emerging modern retail sector in Madagascar does not (yet) deliver these benefits as they do not (yet) request the same high standards for their supplies.
    Date: 2006
  9. By: de Walque, Damien
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the determinants of HIV infection and associated sexual behaviors using data from the first five Demographic and Health Surveys to include HIV testing for a representative sample of the adult population. Emerging from a wealth of country relevant results, four important findings can be generalized. First, married women who engage in extra-marital sex are less likely to use condoms than single women when doing so. Second, having been in successive marriages is a significant risk-factor, as evidenced by the results on HIV infection and on sexual behaviors. Contrary to prima facie evidence, education is not associated positively with HIV status. But schooling is one of the most consistent predictors of behavior and knowledge: education predicts protective behaviors like condom use, use of counseling and testing, discussion amo ng spouses and knowledge, but it also predicts a higher level of infidelity and a lower level of abstinence. Finally, male circumcision and female genital mutilation are often associated with sexual behaviors, practices, and knowledge related to AIDS. This might explain why in the analysis in the five countries there is no significant negative association between male circumcision and HIV status, despite recent evidence from a randomized control trial that male circumcision has a protective effect.
    Keywords: AIDS HIV,Adolescent Health,Population & Development,Anthropology,Gender and Development
    Date: 2006–02–01
  10. By: Olivier Brunet; Ronny Nilsson
    Abstract: The OECD developed a System of Composite Leading indicators for its Member countries in the early 1980's based on the 'growth cycle' approach. Today the OECD compiles composite leading indicators (CLIs) for 23 of its 30 Member countries and it is envisaged to expand country coverage to include all Member countries and the major six OECD non-member economies (NMEs) monitored by the organization in the OECD System of Composite Leading Indicators. The importance of the six major NMEs was considered the first priority and a workshop with participants from the six major NMEs was held at the OECD in Paris in April 2005 to discuss an initial OECD selection of potential leading indicators for the six major NMEs and national suggestions for alternative and/or additional potential leading indicators for calculation of country specific composite leading indicators. The outcomes of this meeting and followup activities undertaken by the OECD in co-operation with the participating national agencies are reflected in the results presented in this final version of the document. The OECD indicator system uses univariate analysis to estimate trend and cycles individually for each component series and then a composite indicator is obtained by aggregation of the resulting de-trended components. Today, statistical techniques based on alternative univariate methods and multivariate analysis are increasingly used in cyclical analysis and some of these techniques are used in this study to supplement the current OECD approach in the selection of leading components and the construction of composite indicators. L’OCDE a développé un système d’indicateurs composites avancés pour ses pays membres au début des années 80 basé sur les "cycles de croissance". Aujourd’hui, l’OCDE calcule les indicateurs composites avancés pour 23 des 30 pays membres et envisage d’étendre la couverture du système des indicateurs composites avancés à tous les pays membres ainsi qu’aux six principales économies non membres suivies par l’Organisation. L’importance des six principales économies non membres est considérée comme prioritaire et un séminaire regroupant ces six principales économies non membres fut organisé au siège de l’OCDE à Paris en avril 2005 afin de discuter d’une première sélection par l’OCDE d’indicateurs avancés potentiels pour les six principales économies non membres et discuter des suggestions des pays pour des indicateurs avancés potentiels alternatifs et/ou supplémentaires pour le calcul des indicateurs composites avancés spécifiques aux pays. Les résultats de cette réunion et les futures activités entreprises par l’OCDE en collaboration avec les agences nationales participantes sont décrits dans la version finale de ce document. Le système des indicateurs composites avancés de l’OCDE utilise une analyse univariée afin d’estimer la tendance et les cycles individuellement pour chaque série composante et ensuite un indicateur composite est obtenu par aggrégation des composantes sans tendance. Aujourd’hui, les techniques statistiques basées sur d’autres méthodes d’analyse univariée ainsi que multivariée sont de plus en plus utilisées en analyse cyclique et certaines de ces techniques sont utilisées dans l’étude afin de compléter l’approche courante de l’OCDE dans la sélection des composantes avancées et dans la construction des indicateurs composites.
    Date: 2006–01–25
  11. By: Gebremariam Woldemicael
    Abstract: This paper contributes to an improved understanding of the recent fertility decline in Eritrea and the possible factors underlying it. Based on data from the 2002 Eritrea Demographic and Health Survey (EDHS), it offers increased clarity as to whether the recent decline indicates the onset of a long-term fertility transition or if it is merely a short-term response to the border conflict with Ethiopia (mid-1998-2000). Various methods, including period trend analyses by age and parity, cohort fertility analysis, and multivariate statistical methods, are used to assess the extent of the decline and to identify major contributors to it. The evidence from this study indicates that fertility decline has started in Eritrea and that it has occurred in urban and rural areas, and in every region of the country. The decline is evident across all reproductive ages and birth orders, but is stronger among older mothers and for higher-order births. A prolonged spacing of births, cessation of further childbearing, and delayed age at marriage are the main contributors to the overall fertility decline. The study also reveals that the fertility decline started in the mid-1990s, well before the conflict, but it was faster during the peak years of the border conflict (1999-2000). This suggests that the reduction in fertility is not primarily an outcome of the border conflict (nor a temporary phenomenon), but that it might be the beginning of a long-term fertility transition, which was then accelerated by the border war and the associated social and economic crisis.
    Keywords: Eritrea, fertility
    JEL: J1 Z0
    Date: 2005–08
  12. By: Gebremariam Woldemicael
    Abstract: Data from the 2002 Eritrea Demographic and Health Survey (EDHS) are used to examine teenage childbearing and its health consequences. Bivariate analysis is used to calculate trends and differentials in teenage childbearing. Logistic and Cox hazard models are employed to examine the health impact of teenage childbearing on mothers and their children. Teenage childbearing is high in Eritrea, where around half of all women aged 19 have already been pregnant with their first child. Nearly all first births among teenagers occur within marriage. A decline in teenage childbearing is evident over the period 1995-2002. If the mother is a teenager when she gives birth, particularly if she is under 18, she can expect worse prenatal medical care, an increased risk of low birth weight and higher child mortality compared to an older mother. The effect of age of mothers is significant even when controlling for sociodemographic factors. Strategies designed to reduce the health effecs of teenage childbearing should address both maternal age and behavioral factors.
    JEL: J1 Z0
    Date: 2005–09

This nep-afr issue is ©2006 by Suzanne McCoskey. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
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