nep-afr New Economics Papers
on Africa
Issue of 2007‒06‒18
nine papers chosen by
Suzanne McCoskey
Foreign Service Institute, US Department of State

  1. Using ODA to Accumulate Foreign Reserves in Sub-Saharan Africa By Costas Lapavitsas
  2. TRENDS IN AGRICULTURAL AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT INDICATORS IN ZAMBIA. By T.S. Jayne; J. Govereh; P. Chilonda; N. Mason; A. Chapoto; H. Haantuba
  4. Why Has Unemployment Risen in the New South Africa By Abhijit Banerjee; Sebastian Galiani; Jim Levinsohn; Zoë McLaren; Ingrid Woolard
  5. The effects of technology-as-knowledge on the economic performance of developing countries: An econometric analysis using annual publications data for Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa, 1976-2004 By Amavilah, Voxi Heinrich
  6. The Migration of African Americans to the Canadian Football League during the mid-20th Century: An Escape from Discrimination? By Neil Longley; Todd Crosset; Steve Jefferson
  7. Constraints to achieving the MDGs through domestic resource mobilization By Rob Vos; Marco V Sanchez; Keiji Inoue
  8. When Knowledge Is Not Enough: HIV/AIDS Information and Risky Behavior In Botswana By Taryn Dinkelman; James Levinsohn; Rolang Majelantle
  9. "ELR-led Economic Development: A Plan for Tunisia" By Fadhel Kaboub

  1. By: Costas Lapavitsas (Center for Global Development (CGD))
    Keywords: Poverty, Aid, IMF
    Date: 2007–06
  2. By: T.S. Jayne; J. Govereh; P. Chilonda; N. Mason; A. Chapoto; H. Haantuba
    Abstract: Effective agricultural and food security policies in Africa need to be based on a solid empirical foundation. In Zambia, it is widely perceived that poverty rates are increasing, agricultural growth is stagnant, and real food prices are higher as food production declines. This study examines these trends and finds that all of these perceptions are wrong. Rural poverty rates have declined substantially in rural Zambia since the early 1990s, although they are still unacceptably high. Real staple food prices for consumers have declined by 20% over the past decade, thanks to major reductions in maize milling and retailing margins. And there is evidence of impressive production growth for some crops that are becoming increasingly important sources of income and food security for Zambian farmers, despite evidence of stagnant production for other key crops. This paper examines the relationship between trends in agricultural sector performance and rural poverty in Zambia, the likely factors driving these trends, and the future implications for agricultural policy and investment strategies.
    Keywords: food security, policy, development, indicators, Zambia., Africa
    JEL: Q18
    Date: 2007
  3. By: Stephen Kabwe; Cynthia Donovan; David Samazaka
    Abstract: With the risk of the drought in the agricultural production areas of Zambia, conservation farming (CF) was introduced as a set of technologies that can improve productivity while reducing plant stress due to moisture constraints. Under animal traction, CF involves using the Magoye ripper to minimize soil disturbance in land preparation and to help improve water conservation, thus enhancing farmers’ land and labor productivity. This technology has been promoted by Golden Valley Agricultural Research Trust (GART) and other stakeholders in the agricultural sector in Zambia and shows promise in on-station and on-farm trials. This research is based on actual farmer use of the ripper in Eastern and Southern Provinces in 2004/2005, a year with erratic rainfall and poor growing conditions in general. Thus, this research reflects how farmers apply the technology in combination with other cropping practices in cotton and maize production, and the outcome of its use under poor rainfall conditions, in comparison to animal traction ploughing. In this study, farmers were not directed, as in an on-farm trial, but used the rippers and other practices in their own way. The results show that the technology has benefits. When asked, the farmers identified various benefits to using the ripper. About 23% of the farmers indicated that ripped lines collected and conserved water such that crops in ripped fields were able to grow even during dry spells. The second most important benefit identified by the farmers was that the technology enables farmers to do early land preparation. Researchers use regression analysis to understand the effect of various practices and factors on yields of maize and cotton.
    Keywords: food security, Conservation Farming, Magoye Ripper, Zambia., Africa
    JEL: Q18
    Date: 2007
  4. By: Abhijit Banerjee; Sebastian Galiani; Jim Levinsohn; Zoë McLaren; Ingrid Woolard
    Abstract: We document the rise in unemployment in South Africa since the transition in 1994. We describe the likely causes of this increase and analyze whether the increase in unemployment is due to structural changes in the economy (resulting in a new equilibrium unemployment rate) or to negative shocks (that temporarily have increased unemployment). We conclude the former are more important. Our analysis includes a multinomial logit approach to understanding transitions in individual-level changes in labor market status using the first nationally representative panel in South Africa. Our analysis highlights several key constraints to addressing unemployment in South Africa.
    JEL: J18
    Date: 2007–06
  5. By: Amavilah, Voxi Heinrich
    Abstract: Extant literature indicates that technology, and by implication its underlying knowledge base, determines long-run economic performance. Absent from the literature with respect to developing countries are quantitative assessments of the nexus between technology as knowledge and economic performance. This paper imposes a simple production function on annual pooled observations on Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa over the 1976-2004 period to estimate the marginal impacts of technology as knowledge on economic performance. It finds that capital (k), openness to trade (τ), and even the share of government expenditure of GDP (G) among other factors, influence economic performance. However, the economic performance of countries like Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa depends largely on technology, technological change, and the basic knowledge that forms the foundation for both. For instance, measured as a homogenous “manna from heaven”, technology is the strongest determinant of real per capita income of the three nations. The strength of technology as a determinant of performance depends on the knowledge underpinnings of technology measured as the number of publications (Q, q). Both Q and q are strongly correlated with the countries’ performance. This suggests that the “social capability” and “technological congruence” of these countries are improving, and that developing countries like Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa gain from increased investment in knowledge-building activities including publishing. Obviously there is room for strengthening results, but this analysis has succeeded in producing a testable hypothesis.
    Keywords: knowledge; technology; economic performance
    JEL: D80 O55 C51 O41 D83 C22 O47 O33 C33 I29
    Date: 2007–06–10
  6. By: Neil Longley (Isenberg School of Management, University of Massachusetts); Todd Crosset (Isenberg School of Management, University of Massachusetts); Steve Jefferson (Isenberg School of Management, University of Massachusetts)
    Abstract: The institutional racial discrimination that existed in American professional team sports prior to World War II resulted in African American players effectively being barred from playing in the major professional leagues. Although the NFL color barrier did officially fall in 1946, to be quickly followed by the fall of the MLB color barrier one year later when Jackie Robinson made his debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers, these events were just the beginning of the struggles for African American athletes. Integration proceeded very slowly during the next two decades, and economists have shown that African Americans continued to suffer from a variety of forms of discriminatory treatment. However, it is the argument of this paper that the literature that examines discrimination during this era is incomplete, in that it ignores the experiences of a small, but relatively significant, group of African American football players who actually chose to leave their own country – and correspondingly leave the racially-charged environment of mid-20th century America – to head north to play professional football in the Canadian Football League (CFL). Beginning in 1946, a steady flow of African Americans began to migrate to the CFL which, at the time, was a legitimate competitor league to the NFL. This paper attempts to test a perception seemingly held by some that, by moving to Canada, African American football players were able to escape the racial injustices they often suffered in the US. This view appears to have its roots in the notion that Canada is a “gentler”, more tolerant society, without the divisive socio-political history that characterizes much of the race relations in the US. This paper tests these notions using a variety of empirical approaches. The results indicate that, while African Americans were better represented in the CFL relative to the NFL, African Americans still faced some level of entry discrimination in the CFL. In particular, African American players in the CFL outperformed their white counterparts on numerous performance dimensions, indicating the overall talent level in the CFL could have been further improved by employing an even greater number of African Americans. Additionally, the paper finds that those CFL teams that employed the highest percentage of African Americans were those teams that had the most on-field success. Finally, the paper analyzes prices of player trading cards from that era, and finds that cards of African Americans were undervalued, relative to white CFL players of equal talent.
    Keywords: sports
    JEL: J71 L83
    Date: 2007–06
  7. By: Rob Vos; Marco V Sanchez; Keiji Inoue
    Abstract: The present paper focuses on the role of domestic resource mobilization for financing poverty reduction strategies. Policy makers should be aware of important macroeconomic trade-offs associated with MDG strategies financed from tax increases or domestic borrowing. The trade-offs are largely intertemporal: can poor and middle-income countries absorb the initial financing costs in order to achieve expected gains in productivity and human development over time? This calls for a dynamic economy-wide framework to identify the importance of such trade-offs. The paper presents such a framework and illustrates its usefulness in applications for Costa Rica and Ecuador.
    Keywords: computable general equilibrium models; distribution; welfare and poverty; foreign aid; macroeconomic analyses of economic development.
    JEL: C68 I3 F35 O11
    Date: 2007–05
  8. By: Taryn Dinkelman (Department of Economics, University of Michigan); James Levinsohn (University of Michigan Ford School of Public Policy and NBER); Rolang Majelantle (Department of Population Studies University of Botswana)
    Abstract: The spread of the HIV/AIDS epidemic is still fueled by ignorance in many parts of the world. Filling in knowledge gaps, particularly between men and women, is considered key to preventing future infections and to reducing female vulnerabilities to the disease. However, such knowledge is arguably only a necessary condition for targeting these objectives. In this paper, we describe the extent to which HIV/AIDS knowledge is correlated with less risky sexual behavior. We ask: even when there are no substantial knowledge gaps between men and women, do we still observe sex-specific differentials in sexual behavior that would increase vulnerability to infection? We use data from two recent household surveys in Botswana to address this question. We show that even when men and women have very similar types of knowledge, they have different probabilities of reporting safe sex. Our findings are consistent with the existence of non-informational barriers to behavioral change, some of which appear to be sex-specific. The descriptive exercise in this paper suggests that it may be overly optimistic to hope for reductions in risky behavior through the channel of HIV-information provision alone.
    JEL: I18 O10
    Date: 2006–07
  9. By: Fadhel Kaboub
    Abstract: This paper establishes the financial feasibility of an employer of last resort (ELR) program in a small developing country like Tunisia, and argues that an ELR-led economic development policy is vastly superior to the traditional import substitution industrialization (ISI), export-led, and FDI-led development models, all of which Tunisia has adopted without much success in reducing unemployment. Despite outperforming its peers in terms of macroeconomic stability, Tunisia's official unemployment rate still hovers around 15 percent, with two-thirds of first-time job seekers having university degrees. The paper demonstrates that a well-targeted ELR program can be gradually introduced over a six-year period to remedy this problem by reclaiming sovereignty over the country's domestic monetary and fiscal policies under a floating exchange rate regime. The estimated ELR net wage bill would be around 2.7 percent of GDP; however, spending by ELR workers would offset program costs, and the net effect on GDP would be an increase of about 3.6 percent. The paper concludes by proposing a set of complementary policy reforms that must accompany an ELR program to ensure long-term growth sustainability along with full employment and price stability.
    Date: 2007–05

This nep-afr issue is ©2007 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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