nep-afr New Economics Papers
on Africa
Issue of 2008‒06‒07
thirteen papers chosen by
Suzanne McCoskey
George Washington University

  1. Does Africa trade less than it should, and if so, why?: The role of market access and domestic factors By Bouet, Antoine; Mishra, Santosh; Roy, Devesh
  2. Costing, Comparing and Competing Developing an Approach to the Benchmarking of Labour Market Regulation By Paul Benjamin; Jan Theron
  3. Rural innovation systems and networks: Findings from a study of Ethiopian smallholders By Spielman, David J.; Davis, Kristin E.; Negash, Martha; Ayele, Gezahegn
  4. Marriage behavior response to prime-age adult mortality: Evidence from Malawi By Ueyama, Mika; Yamauchi, Futoshi
  5. Health, Human Capital, and African American Migration Before 1910 By Trevon D. Logan
  6. Economic partnership agreements between the European Union and African, Caribbean, and Pacific Countries: What is at stake for Senegal By Berisha-Krasniqi, Valdete; Bouet, Antoine; Mevel, Simon
  7. From the ground up: Impacts of a pro-poor community-driven development project in Nigeria By Nkonya, Ephraim; Phillip, Dayo; Mogues, Tewodaj; Pender, John; Yahaya, Muhammed Kuta; Adebowale, Gbenga; Arokoyo, Tunji; Kato, Edward
  8. Introducing a genetically modified banana in Uganda: Social benefits, costs, and consumer perceptions By Falck-Zepeda, José; Kilkuwe, Enoch; Wesseler, Justus
  9. Child labor and schooling responses to production and health shocks in northern Mali: By Dillon, Andrew
  10. Impacts of inventory credit, input supply shops, and fertilizer microdosing in the drylands of Niger: By Pender, John; Abdoulaye, Tahirou; Ndjeunga, Jupiter; Gerard, Bruno; Kato, Edward
  11. Plant genetic resources for agriculture, plant breeding, and biotechnology: Experiences from Cameroon, Kenya, the Philippines, and Venezuela By Falck-Zepeda, José; Zambrano, Patricia; Cohen, Joel I.; Borges, Orangel; Guimarães, Elcio P.; Hautea, Desiree; Kengue, Joseph; Songa, Josephine
  12. Towards an Employment-centred Development strategy for Poverty Reduction in The Gambia: Macroeconomic and Labour Market Aspects By James Heintz; Carlos Oya; Eduardo Zepeda
  13. The Choice of Exchange Rate Regimes in the MENA Countries: a Probit Analysis By Sfia Daly

  1. By: Bouet, Antoine; Mishra, Santosh; Roy, Devesh
    Abstract: "This paper addresses the question of whether Africa is an undertrading continent. We answer this question using a much-improved data set for obtaining predicted trade and by employing methods that correct for bias in estimates of undertrading. Our results indicate that globally Africa is an underexporter in our preferred Heckman specification. This result is robust to the addition of various controls and the application of variants of the gravity model of trade. We also looked for explanations for Africa's undertrading. We found that accounting for transport and communication infrastructure reduced the undertrading effect for Africa, and in some specifications of the gravity model, the under-trading effect vanished altogether. Results from a semiparametric model provided evidence of significant nonlinear impacts from infrastructure, and the effects for a large number of African countries was significant and compared favorably with the marginal effects of infrastructure in countries on other continents and in comparable income brackets. Using this model we also found evidence of complementarity across transport and communication infrastructure, implying that much greater impacts will be likely if the infrastructure are developed jointly rather than in isolation." from Author's Abstract
    Keywords: Gravity model, Undertrading, Trade related infrastructure, Market access,
    Date: 2008
  2. By: Paul Benjamin; Jan Theron (Cheadle, Thompson & Haysom Inc Attorneys & Professor of Law, University of Cape Town)
    Abstract: Abstract: The World Bank’s Doing Business survey seeks to measure and compare the costs to business of various types of regulation, including labour regulation. As such it is an important driver of labour market ‘reform’ globally and in South Africa. It may also be encouraging a tendency of different systems of regulation to converge. Focussing on labour regulation, the study considers the validity of endeavours to measure labour regulation, and identifies a number of methodological problems that constrain any such endeavour. It then focuses specifically on the methodology utilised in the Doing Business survey, and its results for South Africa. It presents evidence that certain scores arrived at in the case of South Africa are incorrect, materially affecting South Africa’s ranking in terms of the survey. These errors can be attributed to shortcoming in the survey’s methodology as well as the simplistic conceptions of law reflected in the surveys. This finding does not imply endeavours to measure the costs of regulation are without value. Instead the study advocates developing different indicators to measure the impact of labour regulation, and drawing on existing data and research to arrive at more objective results.
    Keywords: South Africa: labour regulation, Doing Business Survey
    JEL: A1
    Date: 2007–11
  3. By: Spielman, David J.; Davis, Kristin E.; Negash, Martha; Ayele, Gezahegn
    Abstract: "Agriculture in Ethiopia is changing. New players, relationships, and policies are influencing how smallholders access and use information and knowledge. Although this growing complexity suggests opportunities for Ethiopian smallholders, too little is known about how these opportunities can be effectively leveraged to promote pro-poor processes of rural innovation. This paper examines Ethiopia's smallholder agricultural sector to provide qualitative insights into the interactions between smallholders and other actors in the agricultural sector and the contribution those interactions make to the smallholders' innovation processes. Case studies of smallholder innovation networks in 10 communities suggest that public sector extension and administration exert a strong influence over smallholders' access to knowledge and information relative to market or civil society actors. Given the priority the Ethiopian government has placed on improving rural welfare by increasing market access among smallholders, the findings of this study may suggest the need to further explore policies and programs that create more space for market and civil society actors to participate in smallholder innovation networks." from Author's Abstract
    Keywords: Agricultural development, Innovation, technology, Social networks, Social learning,
    Date: 2008
  4. By: Ueyama, Mika; Yamauchi, Futoshi
    Abstract: "This paper examines the effect of AIDS-related mortality of the prime-age adult population on marriage behavior among women in Malawi. A rise in prime-age adult mortality increases risks associated with the search for a marriage partner in the marriage market. A possible behavioral change in the marriage market in response to an increase in prime-age adult mortality is for marriage to occur earlier to avoid women's exposure to HIV/AIDS risks under the condition that the risks are higher during singlehood. We test this hypothesis using micro data from Malawi, where prime-age adult mortality has drastically increased. In the analysis, we estimate prime-age adult mortality that sample women have observed during the adolescent period by utilizing retrospective information on the death of their siblings. Empirical analysis shows that excess prime-age adult mortality observed in the local marriage market (district) lowers the marriage age for females and reduces their premarital sexual activities. Since a lower age for first marriage implies less schooling completed, we expect that the average schooling achievement among women would decline. This behavioral change also implies a longer reproduction period during their marriage, which may lead to a higher fertility rate. However, the second implication should be discounted if the reduction of sexual activities also applies to the married population. Lower schooling attainment among women has further implications on human capital formation in the next generation." from Author's Abstract
    Keywords: HIV/AIDS, Marriage, Sexual behavior,
    Date: 2008
  5. By: Trevon D. Logan
    Abstract: This is the first paper to document the effect of health on the migration propensities of African Americans in the American past. Using both IPUMS and the Colored Troops Sample of the Civil War Union Army Data, I estimate the effects of literacy and health on the migration propensities of African Americans from 1870 to 1910. I find that literacy and health shocks were strong predictors of migration and the stock of health was not. There were differential selection propensities based on slave status - former slaves were less likely to migrate given a specific health shock than free blacks. Counterfactuals suggest that as much as 35% of the difference in the mobility patterns of former slaves and free blacks is explained by differences in their human capital, and more than 20% of that difference is due to health alone. Overall, the selection effect of literacy on migration is reduced by one-tenth to one-third once health is controlled for. The low levels of human capital accumulation and rates of mobility for African Americans after the Civil War are partly explained by the poor health status of slaves and their immediate descendants.
    JEL: I1 I2 J1 J2 N3
    Date: 2008–05
  6. By: Berisha-Krasniqi, Valdete; Bouet, Antoine; Mevel, Simon
    Abstract: "In recent years the European Union has sought to transform its trading regime with the ACP countries by advocating reciprocal free trade agreements with them through Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs). As a result, the EPA talks were launched in 2002 and were expected be completed by the end of 2007. Nevertheless, many African countries, including Senegal did not reach agreements with the European Union in 2007 amid rising concerns that such agreements do not represent the interests of developing countries. This policy shift from preferential trade to free trade would imply drastic changes for Senegal's economy, which currently enjoys relatively good access to European market (but also to the U.S. through the African Growth Opportunity Act) while applying a high domestic protection on all sources of imports. As a result, this type of reform would result in improved access to foreign markets only for the EU. Furthermore, the EPA implies a loss of tariff revenues from liberalization, which has been a key concern for ACP countries from the beginning of talks because they constitute a high level of public receipts there. Finally this kind of reform could lead to trade diversion in Senegal while creating not enough trade. Using the MIRAGE computable general equilibrium model the study examines the potential impact of Economic Partnership Agreements on ACP countries with a special focus on Senegal." from Author's Abstract
    Keywords: Economic partnership agreements, European Union, economic growth, Computable general equilibrium (CGE) modeling, trade, Markets, Globalization,
    Date: 2008
  7. By: Nkonya, Ephraim; Phillip, Dayo; Mogues, Tewodaj; Pender, John; Yahaya, Muhammed Kuta; Adebowale, Gbenga; Arokoyo, Tunji; Kato, Edward
    Abstract: "The community-driven development (CDD) approach has become increasingly popular because of its potential to develop projects that are sustainable, are responsive to local priorities, empower local communities, and more effectively target poor and vulnerable groups. The purpose of this study is to assess the impacts of Fadama II, which is a CDD project and the largest agricultural project in Nigeria. This study used propensity score matching (PSM) to select 1728 comparable project beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries. The study also used double difference methods to compare the impact indicators. Our results show that Fadama II project succeeded in targeting the poor and women farmers in its productive asset acquisition component. Participation in the project also increased the income of beneficiaries by about 60 percent, which is well above the targeted increase of only 20 percent in the six year period of the project. Regarding rural infrastructure investments, we found that the Fadama II project had positive near-term impacts on beneficiaries' access to markets and transportation costs, although the study revealed surprising effects on beneficiaries' commercial behavior and statistically insignificant impacts on nonfarm activities. We also observed that Fadama II increased the demand for postharvest handling technologies but did not have a significant impact on the demand for financial management and market information. Fadama II reduced the demand for soil fertility management technologies. The decline likely reflects the project's focus on providing postproduction advisory services and suggests the need for the project to increase its support for soil fertility management and thus limit the potential for land degradation resulting from increased agricultural productivity. Overall, the Fadama II project has achieved its goal of increasing the incomes of the beneficiaries in the first year of its operation. The project has also succeeded in targeting the poor and vulnerable in its productive-asset component, even though that did not appear to increase significantly short-term household incomes among the poorest asset tercile. The unique feature that could have contributed to the significant impact of the project in a short time is its broad-based approach, which addresses the major constraints limiting the success of CDD projects that address only one or two constraints. This has implications on planning poverty reduction efforts in low-income countries. Given that the poor face numerous constraints, a CDD project that simultaneously addresses many constraints will likely build synergies that will lead to larger impacts than will a project that addresses only one or two constraints. This suggests the need for the government and donors to pool resources and initiate multipronged CDD projects rather than many isolated projects." from Author's Abstract
    Keywords: Community driven development, Poverty reduction, Propensity score matching, Difference-in-difference, Fadama,
    Date: 2008
  8. By: Falck-Zepeda, José; Kilkuwe, Enoch; Wesseler, Justus
    Abstract: "Banana is a staple crop consumed by Ugandan households. The Uganda National Agricultural Research Organization has implemented conventional and biotechnology programs that seek improving bananas and address the crop's most important pest and disease problems. A major thrust is the development of genetically modified (GM) bananas. The purpose of this paper is to examine potential social welfare impacts of adopting a GM banana in Uganda. The study has three objectives. First, suggest and apply an approach to calculate reversible and irreversible benefits and costs of introducing a GM banana. The study applies a real option approach to estimate, ex ante, the maximum incremental social tolerable irreversible costs (MISTICs) that would justify immediate introduction of the technology. Second, suggest an approach for assessing producer/consumer preferences and willingness to pay (WTP) for introducing a GM banana. Finally, the paper discusses main implications for biosafety decision making for GM crops in Uganda. Results of MISTICs estimation for different scenarios indicate that in delaying the approval of a GM banana, Uganda foregoes potential annual benefits ranging approximately from US$179 million to US$365 million. Average annual MISTICs per household vary between US$34 and US$ 69. Results indicate that only if the average household is willing to give up at least US$38 per year to avoid introduction of a GM banana, should postponing an immediate release be considered. Results imply that although GM bananas promise vast benefits, realization of those benefits depends on consumers' perceptions and attitudes and the willingness to pay for the GM technology." from Author's Abstract
    Keywords: GM banana, Real option, Choice experiment, Biosafety, MISTICs,
    Date: 2008
  9. By: Dillon, Andrew
    Abstract: "This paper investigates children's time allocation to schooling, home production, and market production using a unique data set collected from northern Mali. Production shocks from harvest period pest infestations induce households to withdraw children from school and increase the probability that they are selected into farm work. Health shocks to women increases the probability that a child participates in the family business and childcare activities. These results are robust to varying assumptions about the structure of unobserved heterogeneity at the household and village levels. Different measures of household assets are also constructed to test whether assets serve as a buffer against increased child labor in response to shocks. Assets such as livestock have mixed effects on child labor and schooling, depending on the shock and asset type. However, household durables are substitutes for increased child labor when households face health shocks." from Author's Abstract
    Keywords: Child labor, Production shocks, Health shocks, Labor substitution effects, Schooling, Education, Gender, Women,
    Date: 2008
  10. By: Pender, John; Abdoulaye, Tahirou; Ndjeunga, Jupiter; Gerard, Bruno; Kato, Edward
    Abstract: "This study investigated the impacts of access to inventory credit, input supply shops, fertilizer microdosing demonstrations, and other factors on farmers' use of inorganic fertilizer and other inputs in Niger and on crop yields. We found that access to inventory credit and input supply shops has increased the use of inorganic fertilizer and seeds and that microdosing demonstrations have increased the use of inorganic fertilizer. Ownership of traction animals and access to off-farm employment have also contributed to the use of inorganic fertilizer, while larger farms use less fertilizer and labor per hectare. The impacts of these interventions and technologies depend on the crop mix. Inorganic fertilizer has a positive impact on millet and millet–cowpea yields when applied using microdosing, with an estimated marginal value-cost ratio greater than 3 for those crops indicating significant profitability. By contrast, microdosing has a negative impact on yields of the millet–sorghum–cowpea intercrop, suggesting that microdosing should not be promoted when sorghum is part of the crop mix. However, better access to input supply shops has contributed to higher yields of the millet–sorghum–cowpea intercrop. The predicted effect of inventory credit on farmers' income as a result of increased inorganic fertilizer use is an increase of 5,000 to 10,000 FCFA per hectare (about US$10 to US$20 per hectare in 2005) in millet or millet–cowpea production. Similarly, being 10 km closer to an input supply shop is predicted to increase farmers' income by 3,200 to 4,500 FCFA per hectare. These benefits do not take into account the impacts of the interventions on seeds or other inputs, which are also generally positive. The positive impacts are linked to the use of fertilizer microdosing, which has increased the productivity of fertilizer use in millet and millet–cowpea production, indicating synergies among the various interventions. They are also linked to these specific crops, because we found less favorable impacts of these interventions for the millet–sorghum–cowpea intercrop and for peanuts. Other interventions that could help to boost the use of inputs and productivity include promotion of improved access to farm equipment and traction animals and promotion of higher-value crops such as hibiscus. Further research on these topics appears warranted. Research on the implications of interventions on land degradation would also be useful." from Author's Abstract
    Keywords: Fertilizer microdosing, Inventory credit, Warrantage, Input supply shops, Drylands, Land management,
    Date: 2008
  11. By: Falck-Zepeda, José; Zambrano, Patricia; Cohen, Joel I.; Borges, Orangel; Guimarães, Elcio P.; Hautea, Desiree; Kengue, Joseph; Songa, Josephine
    Abstract: "Local farming communities throughout the world face binding productivity constraints, diverse nutritional needs, environmental concerns, and significant economic and financial pressures. Developing countries address these challenges in different ways, including public and private sector investments in plant breeding and other modern tools for genetic crop improvement. In order to measure the impact of any technology and prioritize investments, we must assess the relevant resources, human capacity, clusters, networks and linkages, as well as the institutions performing technological research and development, and the rate of farmer adoption. However, such measures have not been recently assessed, in part due to the lack of complete standardized information on public plant breeding and biotechnology research in developing countries. To tackle this void, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in consultation with the International Food Policy Institute (IFPRI) and other organizations, designed a plant breeding and biotechnology capacity survey for implementation by FAO consultants in 100 developing countries. IFPRI, in collaboration with FAO and national experts contracted by FAO to complete in-country surveys, identified and analyzed plant breeding and biotechnology programs in four developing countries: Cameroon, Kenya, the Philippines, and Venezuela. Here, we use an innovation systems framework to examine the investments in human and financial resources and the distribution of resources among the different programs, as well as the capacity and policy development for agricultural research in the four selected countries. Based on our findings, we present recommendations to help sustain and increase the efficiency of publicly- and privately-funded plant breeding programs, while maximizing the use of genetic resources and developing opportunities for GM crop production. Policy makers, private sector breeders, and other stakeholders can use this information to prioritize investments, consider product advancement, and assess the relative magnitude of the potential risks and benefits of their investments." from Author's Abstract
    Keywords: plant breeding, biotechnology, public research, Funding, Innovation systems, Capacity building, Biosafety,
    Date: 2008
  12. By: James Heintz (Univ. of Massachusetts); Carlos Oya (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London); Eduardo Zepeda (International Poverty Centre)
    Abstract: This paper reviews the growth, employment, and poverty record of The Gambia focusing on the macroeconomic environment and the structure and functioning of labour markets. Its aim is to identify areas where current policies can be improved or where more knowledge needs to be generated to better inform inclusive development strategies. The growth pattern of The Gambia does not appear to be pro-poor, as improvements in the rate of growth appear to have at best halted the spread of poverty. Weak productivity performance and the low quality of employment help explain the poverty record. On the macroeconomic side, an excessive emphasis on inflation reduction and reliance on rudimentary monetary policy instruments have helped sustain a high-interest rate environment, which discourages investment and employment creation. As part of an alternative policy package, The Gambia could reformulate macroeconomic policies to target growth instead of inflation, select a more effective mix of policy instruments, and pursue financial reforms to increase the supply of credit to the economy and particularly to employment-intensive activities. In addition, targeted public investments are essential for sustaining more rapid growth and improvements in employment opportunities. A review of the available evidence suggests that labour markets in The Gambia do not function in a way conducive to poverty reduction. The employment situation conforms to the typical configuration, whereby traditional activities and informality dominate rural and urban areas. The Gambia also faces high open unemployment rates in cities, particularly among the youth. Measures to increase the labour mobility of the poor are urgently needed. The Gambia has benefited from a rapid increase in literacy and basic education, although more progress is needed to improve the quality of education and, particularly, to provide comprehensive training that adequately meets the demand for skilled labour. Finally, there is an urgent need to overhaul labour institutions with the aim of improving labour conditions, reducing labour segmentation and improving knowledge systems.
    Keywords: Towards an Employment-centred Development strategy for Poverty Reduction in The Gambia: Macroeconomic and Labour Market Aspects
    Date: 2008–05
  13. By: Sfia Daly
    Abstract: This paper analysis the choice of exchange regimes of 17 economies in the MENA region for the period 1990-2000. For this purpose we use both de jure and de facto regime classifications and estimate a series of binomial and multinomial probit models. Regressions results highlight the important influence of economic development and international reserve levels on exchange regime selection.
    Keywords: Exchange regime choice, MENA countries, probit model
    JEL: C25 F33
    Date: 2007–11–01

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