nep-afr New Economics Papers
on Africa
Issue of 2010‒08‒28
twelve papers chosen by
Quentin Wodon
World Bank

  1. Concurrent Sexual Partnerships Do Not Explain the HIV Epidemics in Africa: A Systematic Review of the Evidence By Larry Sawers; Eileen Stillwaggon
  2. Mobile Phones and Economic Development in Africa By Jenny Aker and Isaac M. Mbiti
  3. Are Borders Barriers? The Impact of International and Internal Ethnic Borders on Agricultural Markets in West Africa By Jenny C. Aker, Michael W. Klein, Stephen A. O’Connell and Muzhe Yang
  4. The 2010 World Cup High-Frequency Data Economics: Effects on International Awareness and (Self-Defeating) Tourism By Stan Du Plessis; Wolfgang Maennig
  5. Do remittances affect poverty and inequality? Evidence from Mali By Flore Gubert; Thomas Lassourd; Sandrine Mesplé-Somps
  6. Who Engages in Water Scarcity Conflicts? A Field Experiment with Irrigators in Semi-arid Africa By Els Lecoutere; Ben D’Exelle; Bjorn Van Campenhout
  7. Poverty and Inequality in Standards of Living in Malawi: Does Religious Affiliation Matter? By Mussa, Richard
  8. The Welfare Impacts of Commodity Price Fluctuations: Evidence from Rural Ethiopia By Bellemare, Marc F.; Barrett, Christopher B.; Just, David R.
  9. Evaluation of The Necessary of Agriculture Public Expenditure for Poverty Reduction and Food Security in Benin By Labintan, Adeniyi Constant
  10. Etude sur la croissance partagée au Sénégal, 2001-2005 By Sandrine Mesplé-Somps; Anne-Sophie Robilliard
  12. Quand les inégalités régulent la pression sur les ressources forestières: Une comparaison entre deux sites dans la région SAVA, Nord-Est de Madagascar By Jérôme Ballet; Mahefasoa Randrianalijaona

  1. By: Larry Sawers; Eileen Stillwaggon
    Abstract: Background-- The notion that concurrent sexual partnerships are especially common in sub-Saharan Africa and explain the region's high HIV prevalence is accepted by many as conventional wisdom. Methods-- We evaluate the quantitative and qualitative evidence offered by the principal proponents of the concurrency hypothesis and analyze the mathematical model they use to establish the plausibility of the hypothesis. Results: We find-- 1) Research seeking to establish a statistical correlation between concurrency and HIV prevalence is either flawed or finds no correlation. 2) In order to generate rapid spread of HIV, mathematical models require unrealistic assumptions about frequency of sexual contact, gender symmetry, levels of concurrency, and per-act transmission rates. 3) Quantitative evidence cited by proponents of the concurrency hypothesis is unconvincing since they ignore DHS and other data showing concurrency in Africa is low, make broad statements about non-African concurrency based on very few surveys, report data incorrectly, report data from studies that have no information about concurrency as though it supported the hypothesis, report incomparable data in ways that misrepresent the evidence, and cite unpublished or unavailable studies. 4) Qualitative evidence offered by proponents of the hypothesis is irrelevant since there is no comparison of Africa with other regions and for other reasons. Conclusions-- Promoters of the concurrency hypothesis have failed to establish that concurrency is unusually prevalent in Africa or that the kinds of concurrent partnerships found in Africa produce more rapid spread of HIV than other forms of sexual behavior. Policy makers should turn attention to drivers of African HIV epidemics that are policy-sensitive and for which there is substantial biomedical evidence.
    Date: 2010–07
  2. By: Jenny Aker and Isaac M. Mbiti
    Abstract: We examine the growth of mobile phone technology over the past decade and consider its potential impacts upon quality of life in low-income countries, with a particular focus on sub-Saharan Africa. We first provide an overview of the patterns and determinants of mobile phone coverage in sub-Saharan Africa before describing the characteristics of primary and secondary mobile phone adopters on the continent. We then discuss the channels through which mobile phone technology can impact development outcomes, both as a positive externality of the communication sector and as part of mobile phone-based development projects, and analyze existing evidence. While current research suggests that mobile phone coverage and adoption have had positive impacts on agricultural and labor market efficiency and welfare in certain countries, empirical evidence is still somewhat limited. In addition, mobile phone technology cannot serve as the “silver bullet” for development in sub-Saharan Africa. Careful impact evaluations of mobile phone development projects are required to better understand their impacts upon economic and social outcomes, and mobile phone technology must work in partnership with other public good provision and investment.
    Keywords: growth, economic development, poverty, income distribution, mobile phones, technology, sub-Saharan Africa
    Date: 2010–06
  3. By: Jenny C. Aker, Michael W. Klein, Stephen A. O’Connell and Muzhe Yang
    Abstract: This paper addresses two important economic issues for Africa: the contribution of national borders and ethnicity to market segmentation and integration between and within countries. Market pair regression analysis provides evidence of higher conditional price dispersion for both a grain and a cash crop between markets separated by the Niger-Nigeria border than between two markets located in the same country. A regressiondiscontinuity analysis also confirms a significant price change at the international border. The international border effect is lower, however, if the cross-border markets share a common ethnicity. Ethnicity is also linked to higher price dispersion within Niger; we find a significant intranational border effect between markets in different ethnic regions of the country. This suggests that ethnic similarities diminishing international border effects could enhance international market integration, and ethnic differences could contribute to intranational market segmentation in sub-Saharan Africa. We provide suggestive evidence that the primary mechanism behind the internal border effect is related to the role of ethnicity in facilitating access to credit in agricultural markets. We argue that the results are not driven by differences in price volatility or observables across borders.
    Keywords: Africa, border effects, agriculture, regression discontinuity design
    JEL: O1 Q1
    Date: 2010–04
  4. By: Stan Du Plessis (Department of Economics, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of Stellenbosch); Wolfgang Maennig (Chair for Economic Policy, University of Hamburg)
    Abstract: Without a doubt, the 2010 World Cup of soccer in South Africa was a great experience for both soccer fans, who enjoyed a safe and efficiently-run tournament, and their South African hosts. The sporting and social spectacle was broadcast around the world and focused unprecedented media attention on South Africa. Despite the manifest success of the tournament, its short-term effects on international tourism, which are the nucleus of all other short-term positive effects on economic variables such as employment, income and taxes, have turned out to be of a much smaller magnitude than expected or even as reported during the tournament. This may be attributable to self-defeating prophecy effects. This study is a warning against the abuse of economic impact studies, especially those pertaining to major sporting events. It is also a call to use the “correct” arguments of measurable awareness effects and potential long-term development effects in discussing major sporting events. Methodologically, this study is innovative in its economic analysis of major sporting events because it (i) uses data from social networks and (ii) uses high-frequency daily data on tourism.
    Keywords: FIFA World Cup, Mega sporting events, Sport economics, Tourism, South Africa 2010, Self-defeating prophecies, Awareness, Google, Facebook, Social networks
    JEL: L83 R53 R58
    Date: 2010–08–15
  5. By: Flore Gubert (IRD, UMR 225 DIAL, Université Paris Dauphine,Paris School of Economics); Thomas Lassourd (DIFID); Sandrine Mesplé-Somps (IRD, UMR 225 DIAL, Université Paris Dauphine)
    Abstract: Using a 2006 household survey in Mali, we compare current poverty rates and inequality levels with counterfactual ones in the absence of migration and remittances. With proper hypotheses on migrants and a selection model, we are able to impute a counterfactual income for households currently receiving remittances. We show that remittances reduce poverty rates by 5% to 11% and the Gini coefficient by about 5%. Households in the bottom quintiles are more dependent on remittances, which are less substitutable by additional workforce.________________________________ Cet article examine l’impact distributif des transferts des migrants au Mali, à partir de l’enquête sur les niveaux de vie ELIM 2006. Nous construisons différents scénarii contrefactuels qui corrigent du biais de sélection des ménages avec migrants. Nous montrons que les transferts des migrants internationaux réduisent la pauvreté de 5 à 11% au niveau national et l’indice de Gini d’environ 5%. Les niveaux de consommation des ménages appartenant aux quintiles les plus pauvres sont plus dépendants des transferts, ménages dont les revenus de substitution aux transferts restent faibles du fait de dotations en capital physique et humain insuffisants.
    Keywords: Remittances, Migration, Poverty, Inequality, Africa, Transferts, Migration, Pauvreté, Inégalité, Afrique.
    JEL: F24 O15 O55
    Date: 2010–07
  6. By: Els Lecoutere (Ghent University); Ben D’Exelle (University of East Anglia); Bjorn Van Campenhout (University of Antwerp)
    Abstract: Does water scarcity induce conflict? And who would engage in a water scarcity conflict? In this paper we look for evidence of the relation between water scarcity and conflictive behavior. With a framed field experiment conducted with smallholder irrigators from semi-arid Tanzania that replicates appropriation from an occasionally scarce common water flow we assess what type of water users is more inclined to react in conflictive way to scarcity. On average, water scarcity induces selfish appropriation behavior in the experiment which is regarded conflictive in the Tanzanian irrigator communities where strong noncompetition norms regulate irrigation water distribution. But not all react to water scarcity in the same way. Poor, marginalized, dissocialized irrigators with low human capital and with higher stakes are most likely to react with conflictive appropriation behavior to water scarcity. Viewed a political ecology perspective we conclude that circumstances in Tanzania are conducive to resource scarcity conflicts. Water scarcity and water values are increasing. Water governance institutions entail exclusionary elements. Moreover, a higher likelihood to react in a conflictive way to water scarcity coincides with real economic and political inequalities which could form a basis for mobilization for more violent ways of competing for scarce resources.
    Date: 2010
  7. By: Mussa, Richard
    Abstract: This paper looks at whether or not there are differences in consumption, health, and education poverty and inequality among Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, and followers of indigenous religions in Malawi. Poverty dominance tests show that Catholics have the lowest levels of consumption and education poverty. Inequality dominance tests indicate that Muslims are more equal in terms of consumption than Catholics, however, Catholics are more health equal than Protestants. Protestants are found to be the largest contributors to national poverty and inequality in the three dimensions of well being. Within religious grouping inequalities (vertical inequalities) are the major driver of national consumption and health inequality. In contrast, most of the national education inequality is due to between religious grouping inequalities (horizontal inequalities).
    Keywords: Stochastic dominance; vertical and horizontal inequalities; Malawi
    JEL: D30
    Date: 2010–08–15
  8. By: Bellemare, Marc F.; Barrett, Christopher B.; Just, David R.
    Abstract: Many governments try to stabilize commodity prices based on the widespread belief that households value price stability and that the poor especially benefit from food price stabilization. We derive an exact measure of multivariate price risk aversion and of associated household willingness to pay for price stabilization across multiple commodities. Using data from a panel of Ethiopian households, we estimate that the average household would be willing to pay 6-32 percent of its income to eliminate fluctuations in the prices of the seven primary food commodities. But not everyone benefits from price stabilization. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the welfare gains from eliminating price fluctuations would be concentrated in the upper 40 percent of the income distribution, making food price stabilization a distributionally regressive policy in this context.
    Keywords: Price Fluctuations; Price Stabilization; Price Risk; Risk and Uncertainty
    JEL: D13 E64 D80 Q12 O12
    Date: 2010–08–16
  9. By: Labintan, Adeniyi Constant
    Abstract: Benin is predominantly an agricultural country which accounted for 39% of GDP with 70% economically active population in the agricultural sector, that year. Small, independent farmers produce 90% of agricultural output, but only about 17% of the total area is cultivated, much of it in the form of collective farms since 1975. Benin with subtropical climate have enough water resources and land facilities to growth and be one power agriculture country but the sector is plagued may many problem such as lack of infrastructure, poor utilization of rural credit, and inefficient and insufficient use of fertilizer, insecticides, and seeds. Those problems have a big effect on agriculture income and rural household income and the high poverty rate.This is contract between resources potentiality and poor living condition. However the manly source of those problems maybe the lack on public expenditure in this sector. The purpose of this research is to evaluate how the low public expenditure has impact on the agriculture growth and poverty rate. To evaluate that, we first made a theory approach of the impact of agriculture growth and poverty reduction by presentation the model of model elaborate by KAWALI and son in 2006 to evaluate the contribution of public expenditure to achieve MDG b agriculture grows. The application of this model on Benin agriculture show Benin need the annual Agriculture expenditure required for 2004-2015 is 356 Million USD( 8,1% agriculture growth per year) with the conservative scenario beside 301 Million USD (7,1% agriculture growth per year) with optimistic scenario. However the analysis of agriculture public expenditure in Benin is very low( lower than 10% of the GDP) and the public expenditure general is lower than 25% of GDP (lower than 25% that is recommend by best practice) and the high rate is in military not in growthing sector. This lack of sufficient public agriculture expenditure is felt at upriver and backing of the agriculture sector. This is justifying by the agriculture production surplus management problem in this year. This is du to inability of crops stocking, crops conservation system lack and crops distribution system lack due to (infrastructure lack) and insufficient investment lack. The importance of public expenditure is become more and more a crucial problem and news policies should be elaborated and focus in major parties of public expenditure in economic growth sector that is agriculture in Benin because with climate change negative effect the situation will be more degradation and rural poor population will be increase faster.
    Keywords: Keys words: Agriculture- Public Expenditure-Poverty Reduction-Benin
    JEL: E62 C33 C60 Q10
    Date: 2010–08–16
  10. By: Sandrine Mesplé-Somps (IRD, UMR 225 DIAL, Université Paris Dauphine); Anne-Sophie Robilliard (IRD, UMR 225 DIAL, Université Paris Dauphine)
    Abstract: (english) The objective of this study is to take stock of the economic and social achievements of Senegal during the first part of president Wade’s term of office (2001 to 2006). More specifically, we examine the efficiency of the “Accelerated Growth Strategy” (Stratégie de Croissance Accélérée in French or SCA) in the fight against poverty. We start by an analysis of the macroeconomic foundations of growth in Senegal and then examine the evolution of labor market and social indicators over the period under study. We show that growth achievements did not meet the targets set by the SCA. Despite the willingness of the government to promote private investment, the structural change of the macroeconomic foundations of growth was not achieved and growth appears to be still highly dependent on public investment, and, as a result, of foreign aid. We also show that the sectors targeted by the SCA only contributed marginally to the growth of employment. On the other hand, in terms of social development (measured by water access, rural electrification and schooling) progress appears to be significant at the national level and should be attributed to the sustained efforts in social development as promoted by the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP). The progress made, however, was not sufficient to significantly reduce the rural/urban gap. _________________________________ (français) L’objet de cette étude est de dresser un bilan des performances économiques et sociales du Sénégal durant la première période de la présidence Wade (2001 à 2006). Plus particulièrement, on s’interroge sur l’efficacité de la stratégie de croissance accélérée (SCA) - fortement défendue par les autorités sénégalaises- à lutter contre la pauvreté. Après un diagnostic sur les fondements de la croissance macro-économique au Sénégal, cette étude examine les évolutions de l’emploi et de plusieurs indicateurs sociaux de développement. Nous montrons tout d’abord que les performances de croissance ont été bien en deçà des objectifs fixés par la SCA. Malgré la volonté des autorités à promouvoir l’investissement privé, les changements structurels des fondements de la croissance macroéconomique souhaités ne sont pas observés et la croissance reste fortement tributaire des fonds publics et, partant, de l’aide internationale, comme durant la période post-dévaluation (1994-2001). Ensuite, l’étude montre que les secteurs cibles de la SCA ne participent qu’assez marginalement à la création d’emplois de ces dernières années. Par contre, en matière de développement social (mesuré par les raccordements à l’eau, l’électricité et la scolarisation des enfants), on note des augmentations assez importantes des niveaux moyens à l’échelle nationale. Ces progrès sont à mettre au compte des politiques de développement social soutenues par le document stratégique de lutte contre la pauvreté (DSRP). Cependant, les améliorations des indicateurs sociaux des ménages pauvres comme des classes moyennes, notamment en milieu rural, bien que réelles ne permettent pas une réduction significative du dualisme ville/campagne.
    Keywords: Senegal, growth, poverty, inequality, Sénégal, croissance, pauvreté, inégalité.
    JEL: O4 O55 D31
    Date: 2010–07
  11. By: BIKAI, Landry
    Abstract: CEMAC countries, with an aim of coordinating their budget policies, established within their union some rules of economic policy which seem to be restrictive for an effective budget policy and thus sustainable in the long run. Indeed, in the economic theory, several arguments were advanced to justify the effectiveness of budget policy with a view to stabilization. For some, expansionist budget policies can have favorable effects on the economic activity, while for others, this kind of policy does not have any effect and can even be harmful for the activity; it would be then in this case more adapted to follow a contractionnist policy. Nevertheless, these two effects can coexist on the activity, thus putting forward the nonlinear character of budget policy on the activity. The objective of this study is thus to appreciate the nature of the relation between budget policy and the activity in CEMAC by taking of account the existence of possible nonlinear effects of the budget policy.For that, we initially test the stationnarity of the debt on GDP ratio of the countries in the zone over the period 1970-2006 and thus conclude that, budget policies of the countries in CEMAC zone were not sustainable and thus ineffective. In the second time, the methodology of endogenous thresholds of Hansen (1996, 1999) made it possible to determine a rate of debt of 79% of the GDP, below which the expansionist policies have favorable effects on the activity, and with the top of which contractionnists policies become effective.
    Keywords: Deficit; debt; budget policy; economic growth; threshold effects; panel data
    JEL: H62 E62 H63
    Date: 2010–08–19
  12. By: Jérôme Ballet; Mahefasoa Randrianalijaona (Fonds pour la Recherche en Ethique Economique)
    Abstract: This paper examines the role of economic inequalities in natural resources management. It is based on a comparative study between two forest community-based management contracts in the North-east of Madagascar. The study underlines: firstly, that economic inequalities play a role via rules of control set up in the community-based management contract; secondly, that economic inequalities play a role through access to land. In particular, the most unequal site, where access to land is restricted through inheritance, is also the more sustainable one.
    Keywords: Community-based management, inequalities, forest, Madagascar
    JEL: Q23 Q28
    Date: 2010

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