nep-afr New Economics Papers
on Africa
Issue of 2009‒04‒25
seven papers chosen by
Quentin Wodon
World Bank

  1. Setting priorities for public spending for agricultural and rural development in Africa: By Fan, Shenggen; Mogues, Tewodaj; Benin, Sam
  2. Ruggedness: The Blessing of Bad Geography in Africa By Nathan Nunn; Diego Puga
  3. Evaluating the impact of land tenure and titling on access to credit in Uganda: By Petracco, Carly K.; Pender, John
  4. Child Migrants with and without Parents: Census-Based Estimates of Scale and Characteristics in Argentina, Chile and South Africa By Shahin Yaqub
  5. Malaria: Disease Impacts and Long-Run Income Differences By Douglas Gollin; Christian Zimmermann
  6. The Intra-household Economics of Polygyny: Fertility and Child Mortality in Rural Mali By Kazianga, Harounan; Klonner, Stefan
  7. The Determinants of Current Account Imbalances in Malawi By Kwalingana, Samson; Nkuna, Onelie

  1. By: Fan, Shenggen; Mogues, Tewodaj; Benin, Sam
    Abstract: "Agriculture and rural development must play a central role in stimulating economic growth, reducing poverty, and improving food and nutrition security in Africa. The food price crisis of 2007–08 highlighted the dramatic implications of world neglect of agricultural development over the past two decades. The current global economic recession now underscores the need for urgent attention to measures that could promote agricultural growth in Sub-Saharan Africa. Agriculture in Africa has not performed as well as expected during the past few decades. Agricultural growth rates in the region have increased modestly from about 2.4 percent a year in 1980–89 to 2.7 percent in 1990–99 and 3.3 percent a year since 2000.1 Only a handful of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa—Ethiopia, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, and The Gambia—have surpassed the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) threshold of 6 percent agricultural growth in recent years. Looking at poverty outcomes, whereas many developing regions, especially Asia and the Pacific, are on track to meet the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG 1) of halving poverty by 2015, progress in Sub-Saharan Africa has been slow. As a result, Sub-Saharan Africa is the only region of the developing world expected to have more poor people in 2015 than it did in 1990. Public spending is one of the most direct and effective instruments that governments can use to promote agricultural growth and poverty reduction, yet public agricultural spending in Africa has historically been very low compared with that in other developing regions. In recent years many Sub-Saharan African countries have pledged to increase government support to agriculture in order to achieve the goal of 6 percent annual agricultural growth, set by the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) through CAADP. As part of the Maputo Declaration of 2003, African heads of state agreed to allocate 10 percent of their national budgets to agriculture. Yet many African governments are operating in an environment of scarce public resources, and so far only a few states have met these growth and spending targets. As African governments work to increase agricultural spending and boost agricultural growth, they face a dearth of information about which types of public investments contribute the most to development goals. How should scarce resources be allocated across different sectors of the economy—such as agriculture, infrastructure, health, and education—for maximizing development outcomes? Within agriculture, how should resources be allocated among, for instance, agricultural research, extension, irrigation, and input subsidies? In some cases African countries have clear principles on how to prioritize their scarce public resources, but they often lack the information needed to operationalize these principles. Drawing mainly on case studies from Africa, but also from Asia, this brief provides insights on the contributions of different types of spending to poverty, growth, and welfare outcomes in a variety of circumstances. These circumstances include, for example, Ethiopia's relatively large share of public spending allocated to agriculture, Nigeria's rich natural resource endowments, Ghana's relatively sound governance environment, Uganda's past success in economic growth and poverty reduction, and Tanzania's rapid transition from a planned to a market-driven economy." from Author's text
    Keywords: Agricultural development, Public spending, Rural development, Priority setting,
    Date: 2009
  2. By: Nathan Nunn; Diego Puga
    Abstract: There is controversy about whether geography matters mainly because of its contemporaneous impact on economic outcomes or because of its interaction with historical events. Looking at terrain ruggedness, we are able to estimate the importance of these two channels. Because rugged terrain hinders trade and most productive activities, it has a negative direct effect on income. However, in Africa rugged terrain afforded protection to those being raided during the slave trades. Since the slave trades retarded subsequent economic development, in Africa ruggedness has also had a historical indirect positive effect on income. Studying all countries worldwide, we find that both effects are significant statistically and that for Africa the indirect positive effect dominates the direct negative effect. Looking within Africa, we also provide evidence that the indirect effect operates through the slave trades.
    JEL: N40 N50 O11 O13
    Date: 2009–04
  3. By: Petracco, Carly K.; Pender, John
    Abstract: "The theorized impact of land tenure and titling on access to credit has produced mixed results in the empirical literature. Land tenure and titling is hypothesized to increase access to credit because of the enhanced land security provided and the newfound ability to use land as collateral. Using land as collateral and obtaining access to credit are paramount concerns in Uganda and in all of Africa, as greater emphasis is placed on the need to modernize the agricultural system. This paper uses a new approach in evaluating whether land tenure and titling have an impact on access to credit for rural households in Uganda. The new approach includes comparisons across four categories: (1) households who have customary land with versus without a customary certificate, (2) households who have freehold land with versus without a title, (3) households with a title or certificate having freehold versus customary tenure, and (4) households without a title or certificate having freehold versus customary tenure. Each comparison is then evaluated for the impact on access to any form of credit, formal credit, and informal credit. This analysis allows for an in-depth look into which element, tenure or title, is impacting access to credit and to which type of credit, formal or informal. To conduct this analysis, matching techniques are used, including propensity score matching and the Abadie and Imbens matching method. These two methods contain both strengths and weaknesses that allow the results to support to one another. The only significant finding of the matching was a positive impact on access to credit of freehold without title over customary without certificate. Results imply that tenure, not title, impacts credit access for rural households in Uganda." from authors' abstract
    Keywords: Land tenure, Land titling, Rural credit, Land management,
    Date: 2009
  4. By: Shahin Yaqub
    Abstract: This paper studies child migration in Argentina, Chile and South Africa. It defines child migrants as under 18 year olds whose usual residence was in a different country or province five years prior to census. The paper estimates the scale of child migration; compares relative magnitudes of internal and international migration; and considers sensitivity to alternative definitions of migration. Second, it examines family structures within which migrant children live at destinations, defining children who are co-resident with adult parents and siblings as dependent, and those outside of these close family members, as independent. Third, the internal/international and in/dependent distinctions are analysed jointly to describe some social-economic characteristics of the four sub-groups of migrant children.
    Keywords: migrant children; migrant families; migration; unaccompanied children;
    JEL: F22
    Date: 2009
  5. By: Douglas Gollin (Williams College); Christian Zimmermann (University of Connecticut)
    Abstract: The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that malaria, a parasitic disease transmitted by mosquitoes, causes over 300 million episodes of “acute illness” and more than one million deaths annually. Most of the deaths occur in poor countries of the tropics, and especially sub-Saharan Africa. Most of the countries with high rates of malaria prevalence are also poor, and some researchers have suggested a direct link from malaria to poverty. This paper explores the potential impact of malaria on national income levels, using a dynamic general equilibrium framework with epidemiological features. We find that if there is no feasible prevention or control, malaria can have a significant impact on income levels. However, if people have any effective way of avoiding infection, the disease impacts on income levels are likely to be small. This is true even where preventive measures are costly.
    Date: 2008–10
  6. By: Kazianga, Harounan; Klonner, Stefan
    Abstract: Building on anthropological evidence, we develop a model of intra-household decision making on fertility and child survival within the framework of the collective household model. We carry out a test of the implications of this framework with data from Demographic and Health Surveys in rural Mali, where polygyny rates among married women are close to 50 per cent. The econometric tests reject the implications of efficient intra-household allocations for junior wives in bigynous households and fail to reject for senior wives in bigynous households as well as for wives in monogamous households. These findings are consistent with existing narrative evidence according to which co-wife rivalry is responsible for resource-consuming struggle and junior wives are the adults with the weakest bargaining position in the household.
    Keywords: intrahousehold models; polygyny; child mortality; fertility; Mali
    JEL: J13 D13 I12 O15
    Date: 2009–04–21
  7. By: Kwalingana, Samson; Nkuna, Onelie
    Abstract: Persistent current account imbalances in many least developed and emerging countries have excited considerable interest among researchers and policy makers to have a clear understanding of the dynamics of the current account and its role in macroeconomic outcomes. Based on the saving-investment theory, this paper uses cointegration analysis to identify the long run and short-run determinants of Malawi’s current account deficit using annual data from 1980 to 2006. Results suggest that openness, terms of trade, external debt accumulation, and current account liberalization fundamentally determined the current account deficit in Malawi. Furthermore, results reveal that these deficits have been, to a large extent, persistent.
    Keywords: Current Account Balance; Saving-Investment Balances;Cointegration
    JEL: F0
    Date: 2009–04

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