nep-afr New Economics Papers
on Africa
Issue of 2008‒05‒05
five papers chosen by
Suzanne McCoskey
George Washington University

  1. How Does Influence-Peddling Impact Industrial Competition? Evidence from Enterprise Surveys in Africa By Vijaya Ramachandran; Manju Kedia Shah; Gaiv Tata
  2. From Violence to Voting: War and political participation in Uganda By Christopher Blattman
  3. Reviving Economic Growth in Liberia By Steve Radelet
  4. The Pentagon and Global Development: Making Sense of the DoD’s Expanding Role By Stewart Patrick and; Kaysie Brown
  5. Putting the Power of Transparency in Context: Information’s Role in Reducing Corruption in Uganda’s Education Sector By Paul Hubbard

  1. By: Vijaya Ramachandran; Manju Kedia Shah; Gaiv Tata
    Abstract: Prior research has emphasized that the high costs and risks arising from a poor investment climate—lack of clear property rights, macro-instability, the burden of regulation and taxation, poor infrastructure, lack of finance, and lack of human capital—have impeded the development of the private sector in sub-Saharan Africa, despite adoption of structural adjustment and liberalization policies. Given the resulting wide differentials in productivity, it is not surprising that most of the African manufacturing sector has not been competitive in exports. However, trade liberalization should have had greater impact on domestic markets for manufactured goods in Africa, leading to either a rapid decline in the size of the manufacturing sector due to import competition, or to a rapid increase in productivity of surviving enterprises. In fact, neither has happened to any significant degree over the last 20 years. Based on data from enterprise surveys conducted by the Regional Program for Enterprise Development at the World Bank, this paper argues that some African manufacturing enterprises have continued to retain their market leadership in domestic markets by investing in relationships with governments, thereby maintaining high barriers to entry and a reduced degree of competition. This influence is particularly severe in some countries in Africa and is often driven by relatively few enterprises. In particular, Zambia and Kenya seem to suffer a high degree of influence-peddling, while Mali and Senegal are at the low end of the scale. Comparisons with selected countries in Asia show that lobbying in East Africa is different than in Asia—larger enterprises, and enterprises with higher market share lobby in Africa, as compared to Asia where market share is not a significant determinant of lobbying activity. The results imply that attempts to improve the productivity of the African private sector through focusing only on the removal of trade barriers, improvements in the investment climate, and private sector capacity building will at most be partially successful. In order to escape from the current low-level equilibrium trap, future reforms will need to explicitly consider political economy issues. From this perspective, the role of regional integration as a tool of competition policy will need to be given greater consideration.
    Keywords: Africa, economic reform, influence-peddling
    Date: 2007–10
  2. By: Christopher Blattman
    Abstract: What is the political legacy of violent conflict? This paper presents evidence for a link between war, violence and increased individual political participation and leadership among former combatants and victims of violence, and uses this link to understand the deeper determinants of individual political behavior. The setting is northern Uganda, where rebel recruitment methods generated quasi-experimental variation in who became a rebel conscript and who did not. Original survey data shows that the exogenous element of conscription (by abduction) leads to significantly greater political participation later in life. The principal determinant of this increased political participation, moreover, appears to be war violence experienced. Meanwhile, abduction and violence do not appear to affect multiple non-political types of community participation. I show that these patterns are not easily explained by models of participation based on simple rational preferences, social preferences, mobilization by elites, or information availability. Only ‘expressive’ theories of participation appear consistent with the patterns observed, whereby exposure to violence augments the value a person places on the act of political expression itself. The mplications for general theories of political participation are discussed.
    Keywords: violence, political participation, Uganda
    Date: 2008–01
  3. By: Steve Radelet
    Abstract: Liberia was decimated by 25 years of gross economic mismanagement and 14 years of brutal civil war. GDP fell by over 90% in less than two decades, one of the largest economic collapses in the world since World War II. This paper explores the challenges in reinvigorating rapid, inclusive, and sustained economic growth in the post-war environment. It stresses the importance of not just re-igniting growth, but rebuilding the economy in a way that avoids the substantial income concentration of the past and creates significant economic opportunities to groups that were marginalized and excluded in the past. It examines the new government’s progress so far, including the major steps it has taken in its first 18 months and the unique way that it has organized government-donor relations. The paper traces the extent of Liberia’s collapse compared to other African countries, and examines the patterns of post-conflict recovery in several other African cases as a basis for examining the potential for renewed growth in Liberia. It suggests that Liberia’s recovery is likely to proceed in three phases (i) an immediate phase driven by donor flows and a rebound in urban services, (ii) the renewal of traditional natural resource-based activities, and (iii) medium-term development of downstream processed products, other manufactures, and services that can compete on global markets. The paper argues that the single highest priority for the economy is rebuilding infrastructure, and especially roads, which are crucial to nearly every aspect of Liberia’s recovery: maintaining security, connecting farmers to markets, creating jobs, opening concession areas, reducing costs for manufacturing, and effectively delivering basic health and education services. Financing road construction is a major challenge, however, since most donors provide relatively little financing for roads compared to other activities. Other key issues are effectively managing natural resource production in order to gain the key benefits and avoid some problems that other countries have faced, improve the business climate, and invest in education and training programs to improve the skills of Liberian workers over time.
    Keywords: Liberia, post-conflict development
    Date: 2007–11
  4. By: Stewart Patrick and; Kaysie Brown
    Abstract: One of the most striking trends in U.S. foreign aid policy is the surging role of the Department of Defense (DoD). The Pentagon now accounts for over 20 percent of U.S. official development assistance (ODA). DoD has also expanded its provision of non-ODA assistance, including training and equipping of foreign military forces in fragile states. These trends raise concerns that U.S. foreign and development policies may become subordinated to a narrow, short-term security agenda at the expense of broader, longer-term diplomatic goals and institution-building efforts in the developing world. We find that the overwhelming bulk of ODA provided directly by DoD goes to Iraq and Afghanistan, which are violent environments that require the military to take a lead role through instruments like Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) and the use of Commanders’ Emergency Response Program (CERP) funds. This funding surge is in principle temporary and likely to disappear when the U.S. involvement in both wars ends. But beyond these two conflicts, DoD has expanded (or proposes to expand) its operations in the developing world to include a number of activities that might be more appropriately undertaken by the State Department, USAID and other civilian actors. These initiatives include: the use of “Section 1206” authorities to train and equip foreign security forces; the establishment of the new Combatant Command for Africa (AFRICOM); and the administration’s proposed Building Global Partnerships (BGP) Act, which would expand DoD’s assistance authorities. We attribute the Pentagon’s growing aid role to three factors: the Bush administration’s strategic focus on the “global war on terror”; the vacuum left by civilian agencies, which struggle to deploy adequate numbers of personnel and to deliver assistance in insecure environments; and chronic under-investment by the United States in non-military instruments of state-building. We believe that DoD’s growing aid role beyond our two theaters of war carries potentially significant risks, by threatening to displace or overshadow broader U.S. foreign policy and development objectives in target countries and exacerbating the longstanding imbalance between the military and civilian components of the U.S. approach to state-building.
    Keywords: Department of Defense, development, foriegn aid
    Date: 2007–11
  5. By: Paul Hubbard
    Abstract: One of the popular stories told (and taught) in development circles is how corruption was slashed in Uganda simply by publishing the amount of monthly grants to schools. This paper takes a deeper look at the facts behind the Uganda story and finds that while information did indeed play a critical role, the story is much more complicated than we have been led to believe. A dramatic drop did occur in the percentage of funds being diverted from Uganda’s capitation grant. But to attribute this leakage solely to the monthly release of grant data by the government risks ignoring the major funding in which this transparency campaign was imbedded.
    Keywords: education, Uganda, corruption, transparency
    Date: 2007–12

This nep-afr issue is ©2008 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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