nep-afr New Economics Papers
on Africa
Issue of 2009‒07‒11
eighteen papers chosen by
Quentin Wodon
World Bank

  1. Ethnicity and Party Systems in Francophone Sub-Saharan Africa By Matthias Basedau; Alexander Stroh
  2. The health impact of extreme weather events in Sub-Saharan Africa By Wang, Limin; Kanji, Shireen; Bandyopadhyay, Sushenjit
  3. Rebuilding after emergency: Revamping agricultural research in Sierra Leone after civil war By Asenso-Okyere, Kwadwo; Workneh, Sindu; Rhodes, Edward; Sutherland, John
  4. Inflation dynamics and food prices in an agricultural economy : the case of Ethiopia By Loening, Josef L.; Durevall, Dick; Birru, Yohannes A.
  5. The political economy of relief aid allocation: evidence from Madagascar By Nathalie Francken; Bart Minten; Johan F.M. Swinnen
  6. How Does HIV/AIDS Affect Fertility? -Evidence from Malawi By Durevall, Dick; Lindskog, Annika
  7. Farmers' health status, agricultural efficiency, and poverty in rural Ethiopia: A stochastic production frontier approach By Ulimwengu, John M.
  8. Reducing Corruption in Public Education Programs in Africa:Instruments and Capture in Madagascar By Nathalie Francken
  9. Impact of Informal Re-exports between Benin and Nigeria: A CGE analysis By Mathieu Paquet; Luc Savard
  10. Rural-urban differences in parental spending on children's primary education in Malawi By Mussa, Richard
  11. Nudging Farmers to Use Fertilizer: Theory and Experimental Evidence from Kenya By Esther Duflo; Michael Kremer; Jonathan Robinson
  12. Intra]couple Bargaining and School Enrollment in Developing Countries: An Empirical Analysis of Microdata in Rural Kenya By Kazuya Wada
  13. Household economic status, schooling costs, and schooling bias against non-biological children in Malawi By Mussa, Richard
  14. Efficacité et productivité des banques de la zone UEMOA dans un contexte de réformes financières. Une application de la méthode DEA (Banks efficiency and productivity in the WAEMU in a context of financial reforms : an application of the DEA method) By Hodonou DANNON
  15. Educational and health impacts of two school feeding schemes : evidence from a randomized trial in rural Burkina Faso By Kazianga, Harounan; de Walque, Damien; Alderman, Harold
  16. Identifying spatial efficiency-equity tradeoffs in territorial development policies : evidence from Uganda By Lall, Somik V.; Schroeder, Elizabeth; Schmidt, Emily
  17. Impact of fertility on objective and subjective poverty in Malawi By Mussa, Richard
  18. Remote sensing of bush encroachment on commercial cattle farms in semi-arid rangelands in Namibia By Matthias Schröter; Oliver Jakoby; Roland Olbrich; Marcus Eichhorn; Stefan Baumgärtner

  1. By: Matthias Basedau (GIGA Institute of African Affairs); Alexander Stroh (GIGA Institute of African Affairs)
    Abstract: Despite earlier assumptions that ethnicity is a central feature of African party systems, there is little substantial evidence for this claim. The few studies with an empirical foundation rarely rely on individual data and are biased in favor of Anglophone Africa. This paper looks at four Francophone countries, drawing on four representative survey polls in Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger. Multivariate regression models and bivariate control tools reveal that ethnicity matters as a determinant of party preference, but that its impact is generally rather weak and differs with regard to party systems and individual parties. “Ethnic parties” in the strict sense are almost completely absent, and only the Beninese party system is substantially “ethnicized.” In particular, regional ties between voters and leaders—rather than ethnic affiliation alone—deserve attention in the future study of voting behavior in Africa.
    Keywords: political parties, ethnic groups, voting intentions, multivariate logistic regression
    Date: 2009–05
  2. By: Wang, Limin; Kanji, Shireen; Bandyopadhyay, Sushenjit
    Abstract: Extreme weather events are known to have serious consequences for human health and are predicted to increase in frequency as a result of climate change. Africa is one of the regions that risks being most seriously affected. This paper quantifies the impact of extreme rainfall and temperature events on the incidence of diarrhea, malnutrition and mortality in young children in Sub-Saharan Africa. The panel data set is constructed from Demographic and Health Surveys for 108 regions from 19 Sub-Saharan African countries between 1992 and 2001 and climate data from the Africa Rainfall and Temperature Evaluation System from 1980 to 2001. The results show that both excess rainfall and extreme temperatures significantly raise the incidence of diarrhea and weight-for-height malnutrition among children under the age of three, but have little impact on the long-term health indicators, including height-for-age malnutrition and the under-five mortality rate. The authors use the results to simulate the additional health cost as a proportion of gross domestic product caused by increased climate variability. The projected health cost of increased diarrhea attributable to climate change in 2020 is in the range of 0.2 to 0.5 percent of gross domestic product in Africa.
    Keywords: Health Monitoring&Evaluation,Population Policies,Climate Change,Disease Control&Prevention,Global Environment Facility
    Date: 2009–06–01
  3. By: Asenso-Okyere, Kwadwo; Workneh, Sindu; Rhodes, Edward; Sutherland, John
    Abstract: "The civil war in Sierra Leone, caused by a mix of political, social, and economic factors, had a huge impact on the overall economy in general and on the performance of the agricultural sector in particular. The agricultural research system of Sierra Leone was severely affected by the civil war. Research infrastructure was destroyed, laboratories were damaged and abandoned, and well-trained researchers and scientists fled from the country. With the cessation of hostilities in 2002, the government of Sierra Leone concentrated its efforts on the resettlement of displaced persons and on social and economic reconstruction. The efforts of the government include the rehabilitation and reorganization of the former National Agricultural Research Coordinating Council (NARCC), which was coordinating agricultural research in Sierra Leone. The Sierra Leone Agricultural Research Institute (SLARI) Act was passed by the parliament of Sierra Leone in 2007 to replace NARCC. As a new organization, SLARI needed to make strategic decisions to guide its operations in order to make it effective in responding to the demands of stakeholders within the food and agriculture system. To provide a focus for SLARI and link its agenda to national development priorities, a strategic plan and operational plan were developed. The methodology used to design the SLARI strategic plan applied an organizational innovation model through which the plan was nested within the strategic plan of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and Conseil Ouest et Center Africain pour la Recherche et le Développement Agricoles (CORAF) / West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (WECARD), and the operational plan was hinged on Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Program (CAADP) and Framework for African Agricultural Productivity (FAAP) principles. This would ensure synergy with regional and subregional strategies. The strategic plan would promote increased coordination, interaction, interlinkages, partnerships, and networks among the various agents associated with agricultural research for development systems in Sierra Leone. It would also help achieve SLARI's vision of increasing food security and wealth among Sierra Leone's rural population. For SLARI to make a meaningful contribution to agricultural development in Sierra Leone, the operational plan must be implemented in such a way that the results envisaged in the strategic plan can be achieved. This requires funds and commitment from all stakeholders, especially the government of Sierra Leone." from authors' abstract
    Keywords: war, Agriculture, Development, Research, Strategic plan, Operational plan, Science and technology, Agricultural research,
    Date: 2009
  4. By: Loening, Josef L.; Durevall, Dick; Birru, Yohannes A.
    Abstract: Ethiopia has experienced a historically unprecedented increase in inflation, mainly driven by cereal price inflation, which is among the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa. Using monthly data from the past decade, the authors estimate error correction models to identify the relative importance of several factors contributing to overall inflation and its three major components, cereal prices, food prices, and non-food prices. The main finding is that, in a longer perspective, over three to four years, the main factors that determine domestic food and non-food prices are the exchange rate and international food and goods prices. In the short run, agricultural supply shocks and inflation inertia strongly affect domestic inflation, causing large deviations from long-run price trends. Money supply growth does affect food price inflation in the short run, although the money stock itself does not seem to drive inflation. The results suggest the need for a multi-pronged approach to fight inflation. Forecast scenarios suggest monetary and exchange rate policies need to take into account cereal production, which is among the key determinants of inflation, assuming a decline in global commodity prices. Implementation of successful policies will be contingent on the availability of foreign exchange and the performance of agriculture.
    Keywords: Markets and Market Access,Currencies and Exchange Rates,Economic Theory&Research,Food&Beverage Industry,Emerging Markets
    Date: 2009–06–01
  5. By: Nathalie Francken; Bart Minten; Johan F.M. Swinnen
    Abstract: This paper studies the political economy of relief aid allocation using empirical evidence from relief programs after a major cyclone (Gafilo) hit Madagascar in March 2004. Relief was provided by the Government of Madagascar as well as local and international aid agencies. Aid allocation was generally more likely in areas with a higher need for aid, but there were substantial differences between aid allocation by the government and by international aid agencies. The likelihood of receiving aid from the government was higher in cyclone-affected communes with higher radio coverage and with stronger political support for the government. Relief from aid agencies was not affected by media or political factors but was more likely to go to poorer and easier accessible communes, whether or not they were affected by the cyclone.
    Keywords: political economy, natural disasters, aid, Madagascar, Africa
    Date: 2009
  6. By: Durevall, Dick (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University); Lindskog, Annika (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)
    Abstract: The paper analyses how communal HIV/AIDS in rural Malawi impacts on fertility. Ordered probit models are estimated using individual data on actual fertility and the ideal number of children from the 2004 Malawi Demographic and Health Survey. The survey includes tests of HIV status, making it possible to distinguish between behavioural and physiological effects. The main indicator of communal HIV/AIDS is district prime-age mortality rates, obtained from the 1998 Population Census. The paper first address the question of the overall behavioural fertility response due to the epidemic, and then tests for differences in responses due to genderspecific district mortality and HIV rates, knowledge about mother-to-child HIV transmission, and age. The main findings are: HIV/AIDS has a negative but small impact on fertility; responses differ depending on genderspecific district mortality and HIV rates, actual fertility and women’s ideal number of children are more negatively affected by HIV/AIDS among women than among men; and a woman’s knowledge about mother-tochild transmission of HIV and age are important determinants of her fertility response to the disease.<p>
    Keywords: fertility; gender; HIV prevalence; mortality; prime-age adult mortality
    JEL: I10 J13 O12
    Date: 2009–06–25
  7. By: Ulimwengu, John M.
    Abstract: "The A stochastic frontier production function is used to estimate agricultural efficiency index. Then, controlling for household characteristics and other exogenous variables, the efficiency index is regressed on the probability of being sick. Estimation is performed using the treatment effect model where the probability of being sidelined by sickness is modeled as a probit. This framework allows policy simulations that underscore the impact of farmers' health status on both agricultural efficiency and poverty reduction. Overall, regression results confirm the negative impact of health impediment on farmers' agricultural efficiency. Simulation results show that improving farmers' agricultural efficiency by investing in farmers' health may not necessarily lead to poverty reduction. Additional policy instruments may be needed to achieve simultaneous increase in agricultural productivity and reduction in poverty rate." from authors' abstract
    Keywords: health, Agriculture, productivity, Poverty, Farmers, Efficiency, Stochastic, Production, Science and technology, Institutional change, Innovation,
    Date: 2009
  8. By: Nathalie Francken
    Abstract: This paper investigates how the choice of public expenditure instrument is affecting capture in the public education sector. We analyze data on two public funding schemes in Madagascar. We find that there is much more capture of in-kind transfers than of cash transfers. Capture of both instruments declines with better local access to media information and with higher local literacy rates. However, capture of cash grants falls rapidly with a raise in the level of education of the intended beneficiaries, while this effect is significantly weaker for capture of in-kind funds. Our findings suggest that intensive monitoring and increased public access to information should be combined with the right instrument for public funding implementation in order to eradicate capture and corruption.
    Keywords: Public Expenditures; Transparency; Media
    JEL: H52 I22
    Date: 2009
  9. By: Mathieu Paquet (GREDI, Faculte d'administration, Université de Sherbrooke); Luc Savard (GREDI, Faculte d'administration, Université de Sherbrooke)
    Abstract: Ever since the end of the Biafra war, re-exportation has become an important economic activity for Benin’s economy. One of the reasons for the existence of this type of commerce resides in the disparity in economic policies between Benin and Nigeria. We model this sector and its interrelations with the remainder of the economy as well as on public finances. A CGE model was developed with data from Benin’s social accounting matrix for 1999. In the model, we distinguished between formal and informal households (households that work in the informal sector) and a distinction was incorporated into the model in regards of the re-exportation industry by dividing the latter into its 8 most important re-export sectors. We simulated a 10% depreciation of the CFA F and a 20% decrease in import tariffs. Our findings demonstrate a great sensitivity of government’s revenues to the activity of this informal sector. For one simulation, public savings dropped by almost 25%, but in both cases, the government’s income was strongly affected.
    Keywords: CGE model, informal trade, Benin, Nigeria, public finance
    JEL: F10 H61 C68
    Date: 2009–07–01
  10. By: Mussa, Richard
    Abstract: The paper investigates two issues regarding household expenditure on primary education of own children using the Second Malawi Integrated Household Survey(IHS2) data. Firstly, we look at factors which infuence a household's decision to spend or not (the participation decision), and by how much (the expenditure decision). This is done for urban and rural households. We …find that there are differences in the factors which influence both decision levels for the two groups of households. Secondly, to get a deeper understanding of these rural-urban spending differences, the study develops the Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition technique for the independent Double Hurdle model. The proposed decomposition is done at the aggregate and disaggregated levels. The aggregated decomposition allows us to isolate the expenditure differences into a part attributable to differences in characteristics and a part which is due to differences in coefficients. The detailed (disaggregated) decomposition enables us to pinpoint the major factors behind the spending gap. At the aggregate decomposition level, our results show that at least 66% of the expenditure differential is explained by differences in characteristics between rural and urban households, implying that an equalization of household characteristics would lead to about 66% of the spending gap disappearing. At the disaggregated decomposition level, the rural-urban difference in household income is found to be the largest contributor to the spending gap, followed by quality of access of primary schools. Besides, rural-urban di¤erences in mothers education and employment are found to contribute more to the spending differential relative to the same for fathers.
    Keywords: Education expenditure; double hurdle; Blinder-Oaxaca decomposition; Malawi tion
    JEL: D13
    Date: 2009–01–27
  11. By: Esther Duflo; Michael Kremer; Jonathan Robinson
    Abstract: While many developing-country policymakers see heavy fertilizer subsidies as critical to raising agricultural productivity, most economists see them as distortionary, regressive, environmentally unsound, and argue that they result in politicized, inefficient distribution of fertilizer supply. We model farmers as facing small fixed costs of purchasing fertilizer, and assume some are stochastically present-biased and not fully sophisticated about this bias. Even when relatively patient, such farmers may procrastinate, postponing fertilizer purchases until later periods, when they may be too impatient to purchase fertilizer. Consistent with the model, many farmers in Western Kenya fail to take advantage of apparently profitable fertilizer investments, but they do invest in response to small, time-limited discounts on the cost of acquiring fertilizer (free delivery) just after harvest. Later discounts have a smaller impact, and when given a choice of price schedules, many farmers choose schedules that induce advance purchase. Calibration suggests such small, time-limited discounts yield higher welfare than either laissez faire or heavy subsidies by helping present-biased farmers commit to fertilizer use without inducing those with standard preferences to substantially overuse fertilizer.
    JEL: O12 O33
    Date: 2009–07
  12. By: Kazuya Wada
    Date: 2009–05
  13. By: Mussa, Richard
    Abstract: The paper examines the relationship between household income and schooling costs in the presence of ntrahousehold schooling bias against non-biological children. To this end, we construct a two-period model of intrahousehold schooling bias. The model predicts that there is an symmetry in the impact of changes in costs and income on schooling in the sense that the impact is larger for the non-biological child. It predicts that the asymmetry increases as the relationship distance between the non biological child and the parents gets wider. It also shows that an increase in cost of schooling leads to a bigger reduction in schooling for poor households, and that the di¤erence in the impact of cost changes between the biological and the non-biological child declines as household income increases i.e.there is convergence. And the convergence is faster the more distantly related to the parents the non-biological child is. An empirical nvestigation of these predictions using the Second Malawi Integrated Household Survey (IHS2) data, shows that when current enrolment and grade attainment are used to measure schooling, the price and income elasticities of schooling are larger for non-biological children. The results also indicate that households in the lowest income quintile (the poorest)have the largest price elasticities, and households in the highest income quintile (the wealthiest) have the smallest price elasticities. We also …nd that the price elasticities for biological and non-biological children converge as we move from the lowest income quintile to the highest income quintile, and that the convergence is faster for non-biological children who are non-relatives.
    Keywords: Human capital; schooling bias; household economic status; Malawi
    JEL: D13
    Date: 2009–01–27
  14. By: Hodonou DANNON (labrii, ULCO)
    Abstract: L’objectif de cette étude est d’une part de mesurer les effets des réformes financières sur l’efficacité et la productivité des banques de la zone UEMOA sur la période de 1996 à 2006 et, d’autre part, de faire ressortir les principaux déterminants managériaux de l’efficacité de ces banques. L’estimation des scores de productivité et d’efficacité est effectuée au moyen de l’analyse de l’enveloppement des données (DEA). Les résultats montrent premièrement que les inefficiences techniques pures dominent les inefficiences d’échelle au niveau de tous les pays la zone excepté le Sénégal. Ainsi, l’inefficience relève plus d’une sous-utilisation des inputs que de rendements d’échelle inappropriés. Deuxièmement, la productivité globale des facteurs a connu une amélioration due essentiellement à la variation positive des progrès technologiques au détriment de l’efficacité technique sur toute la période de l’étude. Ceci laisse penser que les réformes financières n’ont pas permis aux banques de la zone d’améliorer leur efficacité technique. L’évolution de leur productivité est avant tout expliquée par les progrès technologiques existants dans le secteur bancaire de l’espace UEMOA. Troisièmement, les banques de petite taille de la zone UEMOA font plus d’efforts pour réduire la consommation des inputs que celles de grande taille. Par ailleurs, l’efficience d’échelle augmente pour ensuite descendre plus bas qu’à son niveau initial. Cette observation révèle l’existence d’une taille optimale au-delà de laquelle les banques subiraient des déséconomies d’échelle. Quatrièmement, les banques domestiques privées ont un léger avantage en termes d’efficience technique globale et d’efficacité d’échelle sur les banques étrangères tandis que les banques d’Etat ont enregistré les plus faibles scores en termes d’efficacité et de productivité. L’analyse des déterminants des scores d’efficacité montre que l’origine de la propriété, la taille des banques et l’étendue du réseau bancaire ne constituent guère des facteurs déterminants de l’efficacité des banques, du moins pour ce qui concerne les pays de l’UEMOA. En revanche, l’efficacité est influencée par le ratio de capitalisation des banques de l’Union. Enfin, la structure du portefeuille d’actifs des banques et la part des dépôts dans le total bilan sont des variables qui se sont avérées déterminantes aussi bien de l’efficacité technique globale que de l’efficacité technique pure. The purpose of this study is firstly to measure the effects of financial reforms in banks productivity and efficiency in the WAEMU area during the 1996-2006 period, and secondly, to draw the mains managerial determinants of banks efficiency. The productivity and efficiency scores are estimated through the Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA). Our empirical results show firstly that pure technical inefficiencies are higher than scale inefficiencies in all the countries of the area except for Senegal. Thus, the inefficiency stems rather from an under-use of inputs than from an inappropriate return to scale. Secondly, we notice a growth of the global productivity factors which is essentially due to the positive variation of technological progress. Consequently, financial reforms did not permit to banks to increase their technical efficiency. Thirdly, small banks make more efforts to reduce their inputs consumption than great banks. One the other hand, scale efficiency at first increases to decrease then below its initial level. This observation means that there is an optimal size beyond which banks would undergo diseconomies of scale. Fourthly, private domestic-owned banks have a slight advantage on foreign banks in terms of global technical efficiency and scale efficiency while State-owned banks recorded the weakest efficiency and productivity scores. We furthermore conclude that the ownership’s origin, the size of banks and the breadth of the financial network are not much determinant factors of banks efficiency, at least in the WAEMU countries. However, the efficiency is influenced by the capitalization’s ratio of the banks of the Union. Finally, the structure of the banks' portfolio of assets and the proportion of their deposits in the total balance are revealed to be determinants of global as well as pure technical efficiency.
    Keywords: banks, efficiency, productivity, data envelopment analysis, financial reforms
    JEL: G21 O23 O43 O00
    Date: 2009–05
  15. By: Kazianga, Harounan; de Walque, Damien; Alderman, Harold
    Abstract: This paper uses a prospective randomized trial to assess the impact of two school feeding schemes on health and education outcomes for children from low-income households in northern rural Burkina Faso. The two school feeding programs under consideration are, on the one hand, school meals where students are provided with lunch each school day, and, on the other hand, take-home rations that provide girls with 10 kg of cereal flour each month, conditional on 90 percent attendance rate. After running for one academic year, both programs increased girls’ enrollment by 5 to 6 percentage points. While there was no observable significant impact on raw scores in mathematics, the time-adjusted scores in mathematics improved slightly for girls. The interventions caused absenteeism to increase in households that were low in child labor supply while absenteeism decreased for households that had a relatively large child labor supply, consistent with the labor constraints. Finally, for younger siblings of beneficiaries, aged between 12 and 60 months, take-home rations have increased weight-for-age by .38 standard deviations and weight-for-height by .33 standard deviations. In contrast, school meals did not have any significant impact on the nutrition of younger children.
    Keywords: Youth and Governance,Primary Education,Education For All,Street Children,Adolescent Health
    Date: 2009–06–01
  16. By: Lall, Somik V.; Schroeder, Elizabeth; Schmidt, Emily
    Abstract: In many countries, place specific investments in infrastructure are viewed as integral components of territorial development policies. But are these policies fighting market forces of concentration? Or are they adding net value to the national economy by tapping underexploited resources? This paper contributes to the debate on the spatial allocation of infrastructure investments by examining where these investments will generate the highest economic returns"spatial efficiency", and identifying whether there re tradeoffs when infrastructure coverage is made more equitable across regions"spatial equity". The empirical analysis focuses on Uganda and is based on estimating models of firm location choice, drawing on insights from the new economic geography literature. The main findings show that establishments in the manufacturing industry gain from being in areas that offer a diverse mix of economic activities. In addition, availability of power supply, transport links connecting districts to markets, and the supply of skilled workers attract manufacturing activities. Combining all these factors gives a distinct advantage to existing agglomerations along leading areas around Kampala and Jinja. Infrastructure investments in these areas are likely to produce the highest returns compared with investments elsewhere. Public infrastructure investments in other locations are likely to attract fewer private investors, and will pose a spatial efficiencyequity tradeoff. To better integrate lagging regions with the national economy, lessons from the WDR2009"Reshaping Economic Geography"calling for investments in health and education in lagging areas are likely to be more beneficial.
    Keywords: Transport Economics Policy&Planning,E-Business,Banks&Banking Reform,Non Bank Financial Institutions,Economic Theory&Research
    Date: 2009–06–01
  17. By: Mussa, Richard
    Abstract: The paper uses data from the Second Malawi Integrated Household Survey (IHS2) to investigate the impact of fertility on poverty in rural Malawi. We use two measures of poverty; the objective and the subjective. After accounting for endogeneity of fertility by using son preference as an instrumental variable, we …nd that fertility increases the probability of being objectively poor. This e¤ect is robust for all poverty lines used.It is also robust to accounting for economies of scale and household composition as well as assuming that poverty is continuous. We also …nd that when fertility is treated as an exogenous variable its impact is underestimated. When poverty is measured subjectively, the results are opposite to those of objective poverty. We …nd that fertility lowers the likelihood of feeling poor, and that fertility is exogenous with respect to subjective poverty.
    Keywords: Objective poverty; subjective poverty; fertility; Malawi
    JEL: D10
    Date: 2009–01–27
  18. By: Matthias Schröter (Sustainability Economics Group, Department of Sustainability Sciences, Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Germany); Oliver Jakoby (Department of Ecological Modelling, UFZ – Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research, Leipzig, Germany); Roland Olbrich (Sustainability Economics Group, Department of Sustainability Sciences, Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Germany); Marcus Eichhorn (Department of Ecological Modelling, UFZ – Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research, Leipzig, Germany); Stefan Baumgärtner (Sustainability Economics Group, Department of Sustainability Sciences, Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Germany)
    Abstract: Bush encroachment is one of the most extensive changes in land cover in Namibia and an urgent problem for cattle farming, rapidly reducing the productivity of the rangeland. Despite the severity of these consequences, a complete and accurate assessment of bush encroached areas is still missing at large. This study aims at assessing bush encroachment on commercial cattle farms in central Namibia by employing remote sensing methods to distinguish between areas covered by bush and open rangeland. Herein we use different classification techniques and vegetation indices to characterize the nature of vegetation cover. Our analysis shows that results are sensitive to specific classifications of indices. As an accuracy assessment could not be run on these results we could not analyze which classification approximates real bush encroachment best. Hence, this study highlights the need for further analysis. Ground truth data, in the form of field mappings, high resolution aerial photographs or local expert knowledge are needed to gain further insights and produce reliable results.
    Keywords: remote sensing, semi-arid rangelands, cattle farming, bush encroachment
    JEL: Q57 Q15 Q24
    Date: 2009–06

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