nep-afr New Economics Papers
on Africa
Issue of 2012‒11‒17
eleven papers chosen by
Quentin Wodon
World Bank

  1. The Role of the South African Government in Developing the Biotechnology Industry – from Biotechnology Regional Innovation Centres to the Technology Innovation Agency By Ramazan Uctu; Hassan Essop
  2. Vertical and Horizontal Decentralization and Ethnic Diversity in Sub-Saharan Africa By Ranis, Gustav
  3. Harmonizing IPRs on Software Piracy: Empirics of Trajectories in Africa By Simplice A, Asongu
  4. The Sources of Macroeconomic Fluctuations in Subsaharan African Economies: An application to Côte d'Ivoire By Jidoud, Ahmat
  5. “Rubber will not keep in this country”: Failed Development in Benin, 1897-1921 By James Fenske
  6. An Inquiry into the Use of Illegal Electoral Practices and Effects of Political Violence By Roxana Gutiérrez-Romero
  7. Using Collective Adaptive Networks to Solve Education Problems in Poor Countries By Lynn Ilon; Jorn Altmann
  8. Market Access and Child Labour: Survey Evidence from Rural Uganda By Tony Muhumuza
  9. Empowering Women Through Education: Evidence from Sierra Leone By Colin Cannonier; Naci Mocan
  10. Productivité du Capital Humain dans les Pays de l’UEMOA et de la CEMAC : Une Analyse Comparative By Élisé Wendlassida Miningou
  11. Structural Vulnerability and Excessive Public Indebtedness in CFA Franc Zone Countries By Sèna Kimm GNANGNON

  1. By: Ramazan Uctu (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch); Hassan Essop (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)
    Abstract: Biotechnology has been identified as one of the key sectors for future economic growth in many countries, with South Africa being no exception. Consequently, the South African government introduced the National Biotechnology Strategy (NBS) in 2001 whilst trying to modernize the government’s biotech institutions and methods to develop the biotechnology industry given a changing political and technical environment. An important product of the NBS was the establishment of Biotechnology Regional Innovation Centres (BRICs) in 2002, which aimed to develop and commercialise the biotechnology industry. This was followed by the establishment of the Technology Innovation Agency (the TIA) in 2008. The latter institute’s aims are to develop South Africa’s ability in transferring a larger percentage of local research and development (R&D) into commercial products and services. This paper will explore and highlight recent changes in the role of the South African government in its attempts to support and develop the biotechnology industry firstly via BRICs and thereafter the TIA.
    Keywords: Biotechnology, Biotechnology Regional Innovation Centres (BRICs), TIA, South Africa
    JEL: L6 L65
    Date: 2012
  2. By: Ranis, Gustav (Yale University)
    Abstract: Vertical decentralization, either at the deconcentration, delegation or, more rarely, the devolution level, has been instituted in most countries of Sub-Saharan Africa. It usually has the effect of increasing the quantity as well as the quality, in terms of health and education, of public goods. More neglected in the literature is the issue of horizontal decentralization, shifting the decision-making power from the central ministry of finance to the ministries of education and health, as well as strengthening the legislative and judicial branches of government. We examine the relationship between horizontal decentralization with its important ethnic dimension and vertical decentralization. Local governments are accountable to the center under vertical and to democratic forces and civil society under horizontal decentralization. Smaller local units are more likely to be more homogeneous ethnically, leading to a larger quantity and higher quality of public goods.
    JEL: O11 O17 O18 O55
    Date: 2012–08
  3. By: Simplice A, Asongu
    Abstract: In the current efforts of harmonizing the standards and enforcement of IPRs protection worldwide, this paper explores software piracy trajectories and dynamics in Africa. Using a battery of estimation techniques that ignore as well as integrate short-run disturbances in time-dynamic fashion, we answer the big questions policy makers are most likely to ask before harmonizing IPRs regimes in the battle against software piracy. Three main findings are established. (1) African countries with low software piracy rates are catching-up their counterparts with higher rates; implying despite existing divergent IPRs systems, convergence in piracy rate could be a genuine standard-setting platform. (2) Legal origins do not play a very significant role in the convergence process. (3) A genuine timeframe for standardizing IPRs laws in the fight against piracy is most likely between a horizon of 4 to 8 years. In other words, full (100%) convergence within the specified horizon will mean the enforcements of IPRs regimes without distinction of nationality and locality.
    Keywords: Software piracy; Intellectual property rights; Panel data; Convergence
    JEL: F42 O38 O34 O57 K42
    Date: 2012–07–27
  4. By: Jidoud, Ahmat
    Abstract: This paper quantifies the empirical importance of various types of relevant shocks in explaining macroeconomic uctuations in a typical Sub{saharan African economy (C^ote d'Ivoire) in the context of a Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium (DSGE) model and Bayesian techniques. Our analysis first documents that transitory but persistent productivity shocks are the dominant sources of macroeconomic volatility as they explain more than half of aggregate uctuations. Second, world interest rate shocks are found to be non{negligible especially in driving uctuations in consumption growth. Third, while fiscal policy is found to be procyclical, fiscal shocks play a minor role in this economy. In addition, negative productivity shocks coupled with positive world interest rate shocks are at the origins of the poor macroeconomic performances of the economy in the 80s. These findings are in line with the business cycle literature on African economies and also robust to various perturbations of the benchmark set-up.
    Keywords: Aggregate fluctuations,Subsaharan economies, DSGE model, Bayesian method, transitory and permanent shocks.
    JEL: C11 C51 E32
    Date: 2012–10
  5. By: James Fenske (St.Anthony’s College, University of Oxford)
    Abstract: Although Nigeria's Benin region was a major rubber producer in 1960, the industry faltered before 1921. I use labour scarcity and state capacity to explain why rubber did not take hold in this period. The government was unable to protect Benin's rubber forests from over-exploitation. Plantations found it difficult to recruit workers, and the government was unwilling to allow expatriates to acquire land. Colonial officials promoted the development of “communal” plantations, but these suffered due to labour scarcity and a state that was short on staff and equipment, and dependent on local chiefs.
    Date: 2012–10–30
  6. By: Roxana Gutiérrez-Romero
    Abstract: This article investigates whether vote-buying and the instigation of violence in the disputed 2007 Kenyan elections were strategically motivated, and whether those affected by electoral violence changed their views towards ethno-politics and the use of violence. To answer these questions, a panel survey conducted before and after the elections is combined with external indicators of electoral violence. We find that political parties targeted vote-buying towards specific groups to weaken the support of their political rivals and to mobilize their own supporters. Furthermore, parties instigated violence strategically in areas where they were less likely to win. Although the victims of violence would prefer that parties are no longer allowed to organize in ethnic or religious lines, they are more likely to identify in ethnic terms, support the use of violence and avoid relying on the police to resolve disputes. The overall findings suggest an increased risk of electoral-violence reoccurring.
    Keywords: Political competition; electoral violence; vote-buying; election fraud; ethnic identity; Kenya
    Date: 2012
  7. By: Lynn Ilon (College of Education, Seoul National University); Jorn Altmann (Technology Management, Economics, and Management Program, Industrial Engineering, College of Engineering, Seoul National University)
    Abstract: Can education problems in poor countries be successfully addressed using knowledge economics? The old development model posits that poor countries must follow the route of richer countries, progressing up a scale of development. But an emerging theory of development and collective adaptive applications applied to new learning theory suggests new possibilities. This paper outlines a pilot project underway in Zambia. The idea is based on a global network, which supports collective adaptive knowledge construction and local learning, representing a substantial deviation from standard foreign aid. Using the small pilot school in Zambia local knowledge is gathered and combined with global knowledge, to generate content that has, heretofore, been unavailable on the Web. This approach is fundamentally different from e-learning, which delivered lectures from afar. It builds a knowledge base that is relevant to poor countries, enabling them to advance their local economy.
    Keywords: Knowledge Economics, Development Aid, Learning Concept, African Pilot Project, Locally Relevant Education, Community Knowledge.
    JEL: A31 C80 D02 D83 I21 I23 Q01 R58
    Date: 2012–06
  8. By: Tony Muhumuza
    Abstract: The study analyses the relationship between access to rural product markets and the extent and nature of child labour. It is built on the view that if physical markets can shape rural development through, for instance, influencing prices, household production decisions and employment, the associated activity growth could increase child labour. Using household survey data from Uganda, I find that children increase time in domestic work when local product markets are distant, while their time in economic activity declines. A similar pattern is observed for the incidence of child labour. The likelihood of child labour in domestic activity increases for each extra hour of travel to the market, while child labour in economic activity declines. This could reflect the possibility that households may switch child work from market-oriented activities to domestic work when they are remotely located from markets. Results confirm findings from earlier cross-country studies that access to product markets may be detrimental to children. Second, they demonstrate that the effect of the markets varies, depending on the age of children, as well as the nature of the work they engage in.
    Keywords: Child labour, market access, Uganda
    JEL: J22 J82 O12
    Date: 2012
  9. By: Colin Cannonier (Belmont University); Naci Mocan (Louisiana State University, NBER and IZA)
    Abstract: We use data from Sierra Leone where a substantial education program provided increased access to education for primary-school age children but did not benefit children who were older. We exploit the variation in access to the program generated by date of birth and the variation in resources between various districts of the country. We find that the program has increased educational attainment and that an increase in education has changed women’s preferences. An increase in schooling, triggered by the program, had an impact on women’s attitudes towards matters that impact women’s health and on attitudes regarding violence against women. An increase in education has also reduced the number of desired children by women and increased their propensity to use modern contraception and to be tested for AIDS. While education makes women more intolerant of practices that conflict with their well-being, increased education has no impact on men’s attitudes towards women’s well-being.
    Keywords: Health, education, empowerment, violence against women
    Date: 2012–11
  10. By: Élisé Wendlassida Miningou (Département d'économique, Université de Sherbrooke)
    Abstract: La présente étude pose le problème de la productivité du capital humain dans les pays de l’UEMOA et de la CEMAC. Dans ce papier, nous mesurons l’efficience avec laquelle le capital humain est mis à contribution dans la production. Pour ce faire, nous appliquons la méthode du Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) pour mesurer et comparer la productivité du capital humain entre ces deux ensembles de pays. Nos résultats montrent que le capital humain dans la zone UEMOA a été moins productif que dans la zone CEMAC durant la période étudiée. En outre, il semble ne pas avoir eu une évolution positive dans la productivité durant cette période. Les résultats montrent également que dans l’ensemble, les rendements d’échelle du capital humain sont décroissants dans la quasi-totalité de ces pays.
    Keywords: DEA, Efficience, Développement humain, Afrique
    JEL: O15 O55
    Date: 2012–11
  11. By: Sèna Kimm GNANGNON
    Abstract: This paper relies on the ‘institutional debt rule' implemented in Franc Zone countries to assess whether the structural vulnerability of these countries matter for their probability to enter into excessive indebtedness. This structural vulnerability is measured by retrospective ‘Economic Vulnerability Index' (EVI) recently computed jointly by the United Nations and Guillaumont et al., (2011). We observe evidence that the impact of ‘EVI' is non-linear with respect to the probability of these countries to engage into excessive indebtedness and that, this effect appears to be the same for the two monetary areas belonging to the CFA Franc Zone countries: a rise of EVI induces a higher probability of excessive debt and for higher EVI, this probability declines. Consequently, international development institutions such as the Bretton Woods should take into account such vulnerability in their assessment of the adequate development policies and recommendations to these countries.
    Keywords: Structural Vulnerability; Public debt; unconditional logit model; linear probability model
    JEL: C35 C33 O10 H63 E60
    Date: 2012

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