nep-afr New Economics Papers
on Africa
Issue of 2012‒03‒14
eight papers chosen by
Quentin Wodon
World Bank

  1. New Technologies in remittances sending: Opportunities for mobile remittances in Africa By Siegel, Melissa; Fransen, Sonja
  2. Report on Impact Evaluation in Sub-Saharan Africa By Vibhuti Mendiratta
  3. Do remittances alleviate poverty and income inequality in poor countries? Empirical evidence from sub-Saharan Africa By Adenutsi, Deodat E.
  4. The changing impact of macroeconomic environment on remittance inflows in sub-Saharan Africa By Adenutsi, Deodat E.; Aziakpono, Meshach J.; Ocran, Matthew K.
  5. Implementation of cross-country migration surveys in conflict-affected settings: Lessons from the IS Academy survey in Burundi and Ethiopia By Fransen, Sonja; Kuschminder, Katie; Siegel, Melissa
  6. Perceptions of (Micro)Insurance in Southern Ghana: The Role of Information and Peer Effects By Lena Giesbert; Susan Steiner
  7. Equality of Opportunity in Education in the Middle East and North Africa By Djavad Salehi-Isfahani; Nadia Belhaj Hassine
  8. Effective Development Aid : Selectivity, Proliferation and Fragmentation, and the Growth Impact of Development Assistance By Takashi Kihara

  1. By: Siegel, Melissa (UNU-MERIT/MGSoG, University of Maastricht); Fransen, Sonja (UNU-MERIT/MGSoG, University of Maastricht)
    Abstract: Mobile remittances have a high development potential as they hold the promise of providing quick, easy and cheap money transfers. In Africa mobile phone usage has increased sharply and mobile banking providers are extending their services, enabling greater opportunities for mobile remittances. The rise of mobile banking in Africa, however, differs substantially across countries, mainly due to a lack of financial infrastructure. Consequently, the opportunities that mobile banking offers for mobile remittances vary geographically. The services provided do not always meet the needs of remittance senders and the African remittances market is generally under-acknowledged as an important market by providers. Restrictive financial regulations play a key role as well. Mobile remittances have the potential to become an important and revolutionary tool for remittances sending in Africa. Effective policies should therefore address the limitations in the regulatory and financial infrastructure for mobile banking to become the foundation for mobile remittances.
    Keywords: Remittances, mobile remittances, Africa, innovation, technology, development
    JEL: F24 L63 O15 O17 O33
    Date: 2012
  2. By: Vibhuti Mendiratta (UMR DIAL- IRD)
    Abstract: (english) Impact evaluation has recently gained significant momentum with good reason, as they help to quantify the social impacts of interventions. With increased importance being attached to evaluation, one spillover effect could be capacity development in African countries with increased participation of African universities and local teams. It is in this respect that this report sheds some light on the recent trends in the impact evaluations. Collating information on evaluations from key sources, we produced a database to highlight key trends in the evolution of impact evaluations. We find a surge in the number of evaluations since 2004, 77% starting in 2004 and later. In terms of the thematic composition, 27% of the evaluations are health oriented followed by education, agriculture and microfinance as the key sectors. Another interesting trend observed is that the evaluations are largely restricted to Anglophone countries, primarily Kenya followed by Uganda. While African partners (like local NGOs, Ministries etc.) have been involved in different stages of program implementation in the country under consideration, only 11% of the studies on which we have information have an African author involved in writing the research paper. We thus conclude that we are a long way away from heavy involvement of African nationals in impact evaluations. Continued commitment from various stakeholders would be imperative for such an initiative to work and gather momentum. The database is available on African Impact Evaluation Network ( projects-dataset/). _________________________________ (français) Depuis une dizaine d’années, la réflexion sur les politiques de développement et leur efficacité a sensiblement évolué en adoptant une approche pragmatique consistant à évaluer de manière la plus rigoureuse possible l’impact de mesures et politiques de développement avant de les appliquer à d’autres contexte et de les généraliser. En rassemblant le plus grand nombre d’informations disponibles, ce rapport dresse un bilan des études d’impact (EI) menées en Afrique et s’interroge sur l’implication des chercheurs africains dans leur conception et analyse. Il apparaît que les EI se sont sensiblement développées en Afrique qu’à partir de 2004, 77% d’entre elles ayant été initiées depuis cette date prioritairement en santé, éducation, agriculture et micro-finance. Ces évaluations sont en grande partie menées dans les pays anglophones, plus particulièrement au Kenya et en Ouganda. Même si des partenaires africains ont pu participer aux études, dans seulement 11% des cas des chercheurs africains ont participé à la publication du rapport d’analyse. Nous concluons donc que les EI sont loin de constituer un levier pour la recherche en Afrique et que les différentes parties prenantes devraient prendre des mesures pour qu’une telle impulsion ait lieu. La base est disponible sur le site du réseau africain des évaluations d’impact (African Impact Evaluation Network à l’adresse suivante, on-projects-dataset/).
    Keywords: Africa, Impact evaluation
    JEL: O55 O10
    Date: 2011–11
  3. By: Adenutsi, Deodat E.
    Abstract: An attempt has been made in this paper to examine the impact of international remittances on poverty and income inequality in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). In carrying out the study, 34 SSA countries for which relevant data are available, between 1980 and 2009, were sampled for the poverty analysis whilst a sample size of 36 was used in the remittances-income inequality exploration. A set of dynamic panel-data models was estimated using system Generalized Method of Moments. It was found that remittances have significant poverty-alleviating effect, with the poorest of the poor being the least beneficiaries. Additionally, International remittances have income equalisation effects in countries with relatively narrower income gap, but with an intensifying income-inequality aggravating effects in countries with relatively wider income gap. It is, thus, concluded that although remittances have huge potentials to alleviate poverty and equilibrate incomes in SSA, these remittances have size-effects to the detriment of relatively poorer countries and countries with relatively higher income gap. Therefore, the paper recommends that, although the poverty-alleviating effects and income equalisation effects of remittances cannot be downplayed, it is imprudent for SSA policymakers to overly exclusively on remittances as a poverty-reduction strategy towards sustainable socioeconomic development of the sub-region.
    Keywords: Remittances; Poverty; Inequality; Developing Countries; system GMM; Sub-Saharan Africa
    JEL: F22 D63 O15 N37 I3 C33 F24
    Date: 2011–09–14
  4. By: Adenutsi, Deodat E.; Aziakpono, Meshach J.; Ocran, Matthew K.
    Abstract: This paper identifies the core macroeconomic factors responsible for explaining the changing levels in international remittances received by SSA countries. A set of annual panel data on 36 SSA countries, covering 1980-2009, was used in a ‘system’ Generalised Method of Moments following Blundell and Bond (1998) dynamic panel-data estimation technique. In order to provide a more detailed insight into the possible dynamics of varying impact of macroeconomic variables that explain remittances received in SSA, decade-based (1980-89, 1990-99, and 2000-09), as well as an overall study period, 1980-2009, estimations were carried out. It was found that both migrant home-country and host-country macroeconomic environment impact on remittance inflows in SSA with a varying impact overtime. In absolute terms, generally, whilst the impact of real exchange rate, migrant income, and institutional quality has been increasing on remittances overtime, the effects of family income and the rate of inflation has be decreasing overtime
    Keywords: Migrant; Remittances; Macroeconomic Policy; system Dynamic GMM Panel Estimation
    JEL: F22 C23 J3 F24
    Date: 2011–01
  5. By: Fransen, Sonja (UNU-MERIT/MGSoG, University of Maastricht); Kuschminder, Katie (UNU-MERIT/MGSoG, University of Maastricht); Siegel, Melissa (UNU-MERIT/MGSoG, University of Maastricht)
    Abstract: The past decades have seen a rise of survey research in migration studies, which is often cross-national due to the very nature of migration. Conducting cross-country surveys presents challenges for researchers in terms of survey design, implementation, and data collection. A thematic focus on migration brings additional challenges due to the complexity of migration, issues of definitions, sampling and the geographical areas of interest. This paper gives insight into the practicalities of implementing a migration household survey in a developing country, conflict-affected setting. By focusing on these settings this paper is one of the few to target survey methodology in a non-developed country context. We highlight specific areas for attention within survey implementation stages: (1) scoping, (2) survey design, (3) training, (4) pilot, and (5) data collection. We specifically use the examples of the IS Academy project in Ethiopia and Burundi, hereby highlighting the differences between the two countries. The aim of this paper is to give practical guidelines for researchers and practitioners working in the area of migration research.
    Keywords: cross-country survey research, migration research, conflict-affected settings, Burundi, Ethiopia
    JEL: O15 C83
    Date: 2012
  6. By: Lena Giesbert; Susan Steiner
    Abstract: This article investigates the understandings and perceptions of (micro)insurance among low-income people in southern Ghana, using evidence from four focus group discussions. It analyzes how the focus group participants think about various types of insurance - among them a micro life insurance product - and how their negative and/or positive evaluations have come about. The evidence indicates that (micro)insurance is mostly positively perceived by the participants of the focus group discussions. However, it is also found that many people's image of insurance is based on incomplete (and sometimes erroneous) information, or even on intuition. In addition, the experiences or opinions of peers turn out to be critical in shaping an individual's perception of insurance. These two factors potentially have a contagious effect, which can lead to unreasonably positive or overly negative ideas about (micro)insurance. Such ideas, in turn, can become detrimental to the further distribution of microinsurance.
    Keywords: Microinsurance, risk management, perception, Ghana, focus groups
    JEL: G22 O16
    Date: 2012
  7. By: Djavad Salehi-Isfahani; Nadia Belhaj Hassine
    Abstract: This paper is an empirical investigation of inequality of education opportunities in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). We use student scores from tests administered by the international consortium Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) for a number of MENA countries and over time since 1999 to estimate the effect of circumstances children are born into on their academic achievement in science and mathematics. From the variation in inequality of education opportunities across countries and over time we draw lessons on the influence of different education systems or changes in policy on equality of opportunity. We ï¬nd that inequality of opportunities explains a signiï¬cant part of the inequality in educational achievements in most MENA countries, but in a few cases, notably Algeria, its role is small. Family background variables are the most important determinants of inequality in achievement, followed by community characteristics. Inequality of education opportunities are high in several MENA countries, and have either stayed the same or worsened in recent years. The results show that, despite great efforts in past decades to invest in free public education, in most MENA countries are less opportunity equal in educational achievement that European countries, and several are less equal than Latin America countries and the United States. There is plenty of room for policy to further level the playing ï¬eld in education. We discuss how our results shed light on policy choices in education that can contribute to greater equality of education and income in the region.
    Keywords: Equality of opportunity; Education; Middle East and North Africa
    Date: 2012
  8. By: Takashi Kihara (Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI))
    Abstract: This paper examines several indicators of effective development aid, focusing on the contributions of major bilateral donors. The empirical analyses of selectivity for effective aid delivery revealed that, taking a long-term and regional perspective, some major donors including Japan have been as selective in delivering their aid as some countries well-known for their selective aid delivery, such as Denmark. Japan has provided higher aid for the countries with better policy and governance, and higher grant aid for the countries with lower income, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. Indexes for donor proliferation and aid fragmentation, which measure increased transaction costs of recipient countries, were calculated using methods set out in existing studies on the topic, but over the longer term and by region. It is demonstrated that aid from some major donors in Asia, the Pacific, and Europe, including Japan, has proliferated less than the aid programs of most other countries. Official Development Assistance (ODA) provided by Japan since 1990 has been more closely correlated with the growth of GDP per capita of recipient countries than that of other donors. The growth acceleration effects of short-impact aid (SIA) such as aid for infrastructure have been stronger than those of other categories of aid such as aid for education, aid for health, or humanitarian emergency aid. While other major donors reduced the share of SIA in their total ODA in the 1990s and the early 2000s, Japan maintained its share of such aid to sustain the growth of recipient countries. The aid-growth nexus also demonstrates the larger contribution of Japan than those of other major donors to the growth of recipients. Overall, aid from some donor countries, including Japan, that ranked lower in short-term assessments has turned out to be of good quality in the longer run or from regional perspectives, a finding confirmed by recent literature on the quality of aid.
    Keywords: development aid, bilateral donors, aid fragmentation, aid-growth nexus, ODA
    JEL: F35 O10 O40 O43
    Date: 2012–01

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