nep-afr New Economics Papers
on Africa
Issue of 2006‒10‒07
five papers chosen by
Suzanne McCoskey
Foreign Service Institute, US Department of State

  1. The role of agriculture in poverty reduction an empirical perspective By Christiaensen, Luc; Demery, Lionel; Kuhl, Jesper
  2. Commerce international et développement : règles et enjeux pour l'Afrique By Nicolas Ponty
  3. Distributional Effects of WTO Agricultural Reforms in Rich and Poor Countries By Hertel, Thomas; Keeney, Roman; Ivanic, Maros; Winters, Alan
  4. Successful Transition towards a Virtuous Cycle of Human Development and Economic Growth: Country Studies By Gustav Ranis; Frances Stewart
  5. The Scorecard on Development: 25 Years of Diminished Progress By Mark Weisbrot; Dean Baker; David Rosnick

  1. By: Christiaensen, Luc; Demery, Lionel; Kuhl, Jesper
    Abstract: The relative contribution of a sector to poverty reduction is shown to depend on its direct and indirect growth effects as well as its participation effect. The paper assesses how these effects compare between agriculture and non-agriculture by reviewing the literature and by analyzing cross-country national accounts and poverty data from household surveys. Special attention is given to Sub-Saharan Africa. While the direct growth effect of agriculture on poverty reduction is likely to be smaller than that of non-agriculture (though not because of inherently inferior productivity growth), the indirect growth effect of agriculture (through its linkages with nonagriculture) appears substantial and at least as large as the reverse feedback effect. The poor participate much more in growth in the agricultural sector, especially in low-income countries, resulting in much larger poverty reduction impact. Together, these findings support the overall premise that enhancing agricultural productivity is the critical entry-point in designing effective poverty reduction strategies, including in Sub-Saharan Africa. Yet, to maximize the poverty reducing effects, the right agricultural technology and investments must be pursued, underscoring the need for much more country specific analysis of the structure and institutional organization of the rural economy in designing poverty reduction strategies.
    Keywords: Rural Poverty Reduction,Pro-Poor Growth and Inequality,Economic Theory & Research,Rural Development Knowledge & Information Systems
    Date: 2006–09–01
  2. By: Nicolas Ponty (Administrateur de l'INSEE / Economiste principal au PNUD)
    Abstract: Les pays africains sont aujourd'hui engagés dans différentes négociations commerciales. Au niveau multilatéral, un cycle de négociations pour le commerce et le développement a été ouvert en 2001 à Doha. Parallèlement, les pays Afrique-Caraïbe-Pacifique (ACP) négocient avec l'Union européenne les Accords de Partenariat Économique (APE). Cette étude analyse les enjeux de ces négociations commerciales multilatérales et régionales pour les pays africains ainsi que leur cohérence. Les pays africains, déjà engagés dans des négociations multilatérales où ils peinent déjà à faire valoir leurs intérêts, ont a priori peu d'intérêt à négocier les APE car la grande majorité d'entre eux bénéficient déjà d'un accès préférentiel aux marchés européens en tant que PMA. La seule incitation pour les pays africains à s'engager véritablement dans les négociations des APE proviendrait d'une aide pour le commerce additionnelle. Les pays ACP et l'Union européenne pourraient également proposer une révision de l'article XXIV du GATT sur les accords commerciaux préférentiels, comme les y invite d'ailleurs la déclaration de Doha en son paragraphe 29, afin d'y intégrer la dimension traitement spécial et différencié. Enfin, la rationalisation du « bol de spaghetti » que constituent les différentes Communautés économiques régionales (CER) africaines constitue le troisième élément clé pour la réussite des négociations des APE. African countries are today committed in différent trade negotiations. A multilateral Round for trade and development has been launched in 2001 at Doha. Simultaneously, African, Carribean and Pacifie (ACP) countries negotiate with the European Union Économie Partnership Agreements (EPA). This study is about first the issues at stake in these multilateral and regional trade negotiations and secondly their mutual consistency. African countries, which struggle at the multilateral level to hold successfully their positions, have indeed few interests to achieve EPA negotiations because most of them benefit still from free access on European markets. Only an additional aid for trade would lead African countries to commit themselves strongly in EPAs. ACP countries and the European Union should also propose jointly a revision of the GATT XXIV Article about regional trade agreements, pursuant to the Doha ministerial declaration which has agreed in paragraph 29 to clarify provisions for regional trade agreements and take into account special and differential treatment. Finally, the third pillar for a successful negotiation of EPAs will rely on a rationalization of the African regional economic communities "spaghetti bocal". (Full text in french)
    JEL: F02 F13 F15
    Date: 2006–10
  3. By: Hertel, Thomas; Keeney, Roman; Ivanic, Maros; Winters, Alan
    Abstract: Rich countries’ agricultural trade policies are the battleground on which the future of the WTO’s troubled Doha Round will be determined. Subject to widespread criticism, they nonetheless appear to be almost immune to serious reform, and one of their most common defenses is that they protect poor farmers. Our findings reject this claim. The analysis conducted here uses detailed data on farm incomes to show that major commodity programs are highly regressive in the USA, and that the only serious losses under trade reform are among large, wealthy, farmers in a few heavily protected subsectors. In contrast, analysis using household data from fifteen developing countries indicates that reforming rich countries’ agricultural trade policies would lift large numbers of developing country farm households out of poverty. In the majority of cases these gains are not outweighed by the poverty-increasing effects of higher food prices among other households. Agricultural reforms that appear feasible, even under an ambitious Doha Round, achieve only a fraction of the benefits for developing countries that full liberalization promises, but protects US large farms from most of the rigors of adjustment. Finally, the analysis conducted here indicates that maximal trade-led poverty reductions occur when developing countries participate more fully in agricultural trade liberalization.
    Date: 2006
  4. By: Gustav Ranis (Economic Growth Center, Yale University); Frances Stewart (Oxford University)
    Abstract: This paper explores the two-way links between Economic Growth and Human Development by examining the performance of some countries which have been successful in both dimensions and a few which have not. The specific aim is to examine the historical experience of six countries in order to determine how a system can move to a situation in which improvements in Human Development accompany and support higher rates of growth which, in turn, contribute to further improvements in Human Development as the basic societal objective.
    Keywords: Economic Growth, Human Development, Comparative Country Studies
    JEL: O11 O15 O57
    Date: 2006–09
  5. By: Mark Weisbrot; Dean Baker; David Rosnick
    Abstract: This paper examines data on economic growth and various social indicators and compares the past 25 years (1980-2005) with the prior two decades (1960-1980). The paper finds that the past 25 years in low- and middle-income countries have seen a sharp slowdown in the rate of economic growth, as well as a decline in the rate of progress on major social indicators including life expectancy and infant and child mortality. The authors conclude that economists and policy-makers should devote more effort to determining the causes of the economic and development failure of the last quarter-century.
    Keywords: economic development, growth, social indicators, growth failure, developing countries, education, health
    JEL: O10 O40 O11
    Date: 2006–09

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