nep-afr New Economics Papers
on Africa
Issue of 2013‒01‒26
fourteen papers chosen by
Quentin Wodon
World Bank

  1. Software piracy, inequality and the poor: evidence from Africa By Simplice A, Asongu
  2. Business Cycle Co-movements between South Africa and the BRIC Countries By Mustafa Yavuz Cakir and Alain Kabundi
  3. Private Chinese investment in Africa : myths and realities By Shen, Xiaofang
  4. Housing and Urbanization in Africa: unleashing a formal market process By Paul Collier; Anthony J. Venables
  5. Esclavagisme et colonisation : Quelles conséquences contemporaines en Afrique ? - Résumé critique des travaux de l'économiste Nathan Nunn By Kodila-Tedika, Oasis
  6. Explaining Africa's (dis)advantage : the curse of party monopoly By Harrison, Ann E.; Lin, Justin Yifu; Xu, L. Colin
  7. Poor Numbers: explanation of Africa's statistical tragedy By Kodila-Tedika, Oasis
  8. A Social Choice Approach to Primary Resource Management: The rubber tree Case in Africa By Moussa Diaby; Hélène Ferrer; Fabrice Valognes
  9. Poultry production and rural poverty among small-scale farmers in Mzimba District of Malawi By Assa, Maganga
  10. Government spending and economic growth: evidence from Nigeria By Aladejare, Samson Adeniyi
  11. Risk Preferences and Environmental Uncertainty: Implications for Crop Diversification Decisions in Ethiopia By Mare Sarr and Mintewab Bezabih
  12. Heights and Development in a Cash-Crop Colony: Living Standards in Ghana, 1870-1980 By Alexander Moradi, Gareth Austin and Jorg Baten
  13. Intersectoral Health Action in Tanzania – Determinants and Policy Implications By Simon, Michael; Tsegai, Daniel W.; Flessa, Steffen
  14. Challenges and opportunities of mobile phone-based data collection : evidence from South Sudan By Demombynes, Gabriel; Gubbins, Paul; Romeo, Alessandro

  1. By: Simplice A, Asongu
    Abstract: Purpose – Poverty and inequality undoubtedly remain substantial challenges to economic and human developments amid growing emphasis on IPRs (with recent advances in ICTs) and good governance. In the first empirical study on the incidence of piracy on inequality in Africa, we examine how a plethora of factors (IPRs laws, education & ICTs and government quality) are instrumental in the piracy-inequality nexus. Design/methodology/approach – Two-Stage-Least Squares estimation approaches are applied in which piracy is instrumented with IPRs regimes (treaties), education & ICTs and government quality dynamics. Findings – The main finding suggests that, software piracy is good for the poor as it has a positive income-redistributive effect; consistent with economic and cultural considerations from recent literature. ICTs & education (dissemination of knowledge) are instrumental in this positive redistributive effect, while good governance mitigates inequality beyond the piracy channel. Practical implications – As a policy implication, in the adoption IPRs, sampled countries should take account of the role less stringent IPRs regimes play on income-redistribution through software piracy. Collateral benefits include among others, the cheap dissemination of knowledge through ICTs which African countries badly need in their quest to become ‘knowledge economies’. A caveat however is that, too much piracy may decrease incentives to innovate. Hence, the need to adopt tighter IPRs regimes in tandem with increasing income-equality. Originality/value – It is the first empirical assessment of the incidence of piracy on inequality in Africa: a continent with stubbornly high poverty and inequality rates.
    Keywords: Inequality; Piracy; Intellectual property rights; Africa
    JEL: F42 O55 O34 O15 K42
    Date: 2012–09–12
  2. By: Mustafa Yavuz Cakir and Alain Kabundi
    Abstract: This paper investigates the co-movement of business cycles between South Africa and the other BRICS countries namely, Brazil, Russia, India, and China, the so-called BRICs. In particular, it the nature and key features of the co-movement of cycles of South African economy with cycles of the BRICs. It uses the dynamic factor model to a set of 307 macroeconomic series during the period 1995Q2-2009Q4. We .nd signi.cant evidence of synchronization between South Africa and the BRIC countries over the business cycle, although the magnitude of co-movement di¤ers with each country. India portrays strong ties with South Africa over time. Moreover, Brazil, China, and Russia lead South Africa in the long-run, while India is contemporaneous. Further, the .ndings imply that the .rst two factors are BRICS factors while the third one is a US factor.
    Keywords: Dynamic Factor Model, International Business Cycles, Co-movement, BRICS
    JEL: C3 E32
    Date: 2013
  3. By: Shen, Xiaofang
    Abstract: Private Chinese outbound investment, not as well-known as government-led investment, offers special opportunities and challenges for Africa today. The significance of Chinese private-sector investment is already visible in the burgeoning manufacturing sector in some parts of Africa, and the trend will continue to grow in the near future. The underlying force behind this trend is the increased pressure of industrial restructuring in coastal China, a force that drives some labor-intensive firms to relocate to other parts of the developing world, including Africa. African host country governments can respond to this phenomenon with proactive development policies and strategies to maximize private Chinese investment for the benefit of their own economies.
    Keywords: Debt Markets,Investment and Investment Climate,Emerging Markets,ICT Policy and Strategies,Labor Policies
    Date: 2013–01–01
  4. By: Paul Collier; Anthony J. Venables
    Abstract: In many African countries a market for private provision of formal sector mass housing is largely absent. This is not inevitable, but is the consequence of policy failure surrounding five key issues. The affordability of housing, with costs often inflated by inappropriate building regulations and inefficient construction sectors; lack of clarity in land titling and legal enforcement; lack of innovation in supply of housing finance; failure to supply supporting infrastructure and to capture development gains to finance this; and failure to plan cities in a manner conducive to employment creation. Since responsibility for these policies is divided between different parts of government, a coordinated push is needed to secure reform and activate this market.
    Date: 2013
  5. By: Kodila-Tedika, Oasis
    Abstract: This article aims to highlight the first work of economist Nathan Nunn on slavery and colonization. Indeed, for the latter, these two historical facts, quantifiable consequences, have defined the path of economic development of African countries. Secondly, this paper discusses the findings of Nunn with the prism of literature ad hoc and do not miss to criticize. Cet article a pour objectif de mettre en évidence en premier lieu les travaux de l’économiste Nathan Nunn sur l’esclavagisme et la colonisation. En effet, pour celui-ci, ces deux faits historiques, aux conséquences quantifiables, ont défini la trajectoire du développement économique des pays africains. En second lieu, cet article discute les conclusions de Nunn avec le prisme de la littérature ad hoc et ne manque pas de les critiquer.
    Keywords: institutions; esclavagisme; colonisation; Afrique; Nathan Nunn
    JEL: O11 O55 O43 P51 P14 N17
    Date: 2013–01–12
  6. By: Harrison, Ann E.; Lin, Justin Yifu; Xu, L. Colin
    Abstract: Africa's economic performance has been widely viewed with pessimism. This paper uses firm-level data for 89 countries to examine formal firm performance. Without controls, manufacturing African firms do not perform much worse than firms in other regions. But they do have structural problems, exhibiting much lower export intensity and investment rates. Once the analysis controls for geography and the political and business environment, formal African firms robustly lead in sales growth, total factor productivity levels and productivity growth. Africa's conditional advantage is higher in low-tech than in high-tech manufacturing, and exists in manufacturing but not in services. While geography, infrastructure, and access to finance play an important role in explaining Africa's disadvantage in firm performance, the key factor is party monopoly. The longer a single political party remains in power, the lower are firm productivity levels, growth rates, and sales growth for manufacturing. In contrast, the business environment and firm characteristics (except for foreign investment) do not matter as much. The paper also finds evidence that the effects of the political and business environment are heterogeneous across sectors and firms of various levels of technology.
    Keywords: Environmental Economics&Policies,Economic Theory&Research,Labor Policies,E-Business,Emerging Markets
    Date: 2013–01–01
  7. By: Kodila-Tedika, Oasis
    Abstract: Why does sub-Saharan Africa have statistics of low quality? We try to provide an answer by empirically testing a plethora of hypotheses. Results show that with the exception of English, French and Portuguese colonies, other colonies have a weak statistical capacity. Ethnic fragmentation, openness and revolutions lead to the same conclusion. Government effectiveness positively associated statistical capacity. The level of development has a nonlinear relationship with statistical capacity, while the effect of human capital remains complex. Pourquoi l’Afrique sub-saharienne a des statistiques de faible qualité ? Nous testons à partir d’un échantillon africain plusieurs hypothèses explicatives, de manière empirique. Les résultats suggèrent que les colonies autres qu’anglaises, portugaises et françaises ont des faibles capacités statistiques. La fragmentation ethnique, l’ouverture et les révolutions conduisent aussi à la même conclusion. L’efficacité du gouvernement explique positivement la capacité statistique. Le niveau de développement est associé de manière non linéaire à la capacité statistique. L’effet du capital humain reste complexe.
    Keywords: Afrique sub-saharienne; capacité statistique; qualité des données
    JEL: E01 N17
    Date: 2013–01–12
  8. By: Moussa Diaby (University of Caen Basse-Normandie - CREM UMR CNRS 6211, France); Hélène Ferrer (University of Caen Basse-Normandie - CREM UMR CNRS 6211, France); Fabrice Valognes (University of Caen Basse-Normandie - CREM UMR CNRS 6211, France)
    Abstract: We consider in the present paper an original approach to a decision making problem related to the management of a primary resource, namely the rubber tree. By using the social choice theory through the approval voting, we show that it is possible to improve the return of the crop. Hence, by selecting the best varieties to be plant with respect to some environmental constraints, we demonstrate that approval voting can be easily used (opposed to classical operation research methods) by the african rubber tree planters in order to get a plantation at peak performance.
    Keywords: Natural Resource Management, Rubber Tree, Social Choice, Group Decision Making
    Date: 2013–01
  9. By: Assa, Maganga
    Abstract: This paper evaluates the role of participating in poultry production on household income and rural poverty in Mzimba district, Malawi. The study utilizes cross-sectional farm level household data collected in 2011. The paper computes income-based poverty measures and investigates their sensitivity to the use of different poverty lines. Robust poverty comparisons across the poultry and non-poultry farmers reveal that poverty is in fact higher for the non-poultry compared to the poultry farmers. Thus, participating in poultry production has a significant positive impact on household income and poverty reduction.
    Keywords: FGT; Poverty; Small-scale poultry production; stochastic dominance
    JEL: I32
    Date: 2012–08
  10. By: Aladejare, Samson Adeniyi
    Abstract: This study examines the relationships and dynamic interactions between government capital and recurrent expenditures and economic growth in Nigeria over the period 1961 to 2010. Real Gross Domestic Product (RGDP) was used as a proxy for economic growth in the study.The analytical technique of Vector Error Correction Model and Granger Causality were exploited. Based on the result findings, it is evident that the Wagnerian and Rostow-Musgrave hypothesis were applicable to the relationship between the fiscal variables used in this study in Nigeria. The study therefore recommended among others that: there should be effective channeling of public funds to productive activities, which will have a significant impact on economic growth; there should be joint partnership between the government and the private sector in providing essential infrastructural services that will promote economic growth and development, etc.
    Keywords: Economic growth; Capital expenditure; Recurrent expenditure; Vector Error Correction; Causality
    JEL: E62
    Date: 2013–01–18
  11. By: Mare Sarr and Mintewab Bezabih
    Abstract: To the extent that diversifying income portfolio is used as a strategy for shielding against production risk, both individual risk preferences and weather uncertainty could affect crop diversification decisions. This paper is concerned with empirically assessing the effects of risk preferences and rainfall variability on farm level diversity. Unique panel data from Ethiopia consisting of experimentally generated risk preference measures combined with rainfall data are employed in the analysis. The major contribution of this study is its explicit treatment of individual risk preferences in the decision to diversify, simultaneously controlling for environmental risk in the form of rainfall variability. Covariate shocks from rainfall variability are found to positively contribute to an increased level of diversity with individual risk aversion having a positive but less significant role. We find that rainfall variability in spring has a greater effect than rainfall variability summer—the major rainy season. This finding is in line with similar agronomic-meteorological studies. These results imply that in situ biodiversity conservation could be effective in areas with high rainfall variability. However, reduction in risk aversion, which is associated with poverty reduction, is likely to reduce in situ conservation.
    Keywords: Crop diversity, Experimental risk preferences, Rainfall, Uncertainty
    JEL: Q57 Q56 C33 C35
    Date: 2013
  12. By: Alexander Moradi, Gareth Austin and Jorg Baten
    Abstract: While Ghana is a classic case of economic growth in an agriculturalâ€export colony, scholars have queried whether it was sustained, and how far its benefits were widely distributed, socially and regionally. Using height as a measure of human wellâ€being we explore the evolution of living standards and regional inequality in Ghana from 1870 to 1980. Our findings suggest that, overall, living standards improved during colonial times and that a trend reversal occurred during the economic crisis in the 1973â€83. In a regression analysis we test several covariates reflecting the major economic and social changes that took place in early twentiethâ€century Ghana including railway construction, cocoa production, missionary activities, and urbanization. We find significant height gains in cocoa producing areas, whereas heights decreased with urbanization.
    Keywords: Nutrition, health, anthropometrics, colonial, living standards
    JEL: I30 I32 N37 O10
    Date: 2013
  13. By: Simon, Michael; Tsegai, Daniel W.; Flessa, Steffen
    Abstract: The tremendous human resource and economic burden of HIV/AIDS, malaria and diarrhoeal diseases is well acknowledged in many developing countries. Most of these diseases have multifaceted causes such as malnutrition, the consumption of contaminated water or poor education. Thus, cross-sectoral action is needed to lower the burden of disease in the long run. However, little has been done to investigate the causal relationship between investments in ‘health related’ sectors and the reduction of disease prevalence. This paper aims at analysing the marginal health returns to cross-sectoral government spending for the case of Tanzania. For this, the normative assumption is to maximise the amount of Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) averted per dollar invested. A Simultaneous Equation Model (SEM) is developed to estimate the required elasticities. The results of the quantitative analysis show that the highest returns on DALYs are obtained by improved nutrition and access to safe water sources, followed by sanitation. Looking at the impact of indirect factors, the health effect of investments in mother education exceeds the effect of additional short- and long-term public spending on water.
    Keywords: Health Promotion, Public Health Policy, Intersectoral Health Action, Disability Adjusted Life Years, Health Determinants, Cost-effectiveness, Tanzania, Community/Rural/Urban Development, Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety, Health Economics and Policy,
    Date: 2012–12
  14. By: Demombynes, Gabriel; Gubbins, Paul; Romeo, Alessandro
    Abstract: The proliferation of mobile phones in developing countries has generated a wave of interest in collecting high-frequency socioeconomic surveys using this technology. This paper considers lessons from one such survey effort in a difficult environment -- the South Sudan Experimental Phone Survey, which gathered data on living conditions, access to services, and citizen attitudes via monthly interviews by phones provided to respondents. Non-response, particularly in later rounds of the survey, was a substantial problem, largely due to erratic functioning of the mobile network. However, selection due to non-response does not appear to have markedly affected survey results. Response rates were much higher for respondents who owned their own phones. Both compensation provided to respondents in the form of airtime and the type of phone (solar-charged or traditional) were varied experimentally. The type of phone was uncorrelated with response rates and, contrary to expectation, attrition was slightly higher for those receiving the higher level of compensation. The South Sudan Experimental Phone Survey experience suggests that mobile phones can be a viable means of data collection for some purposes, that calling people on their own phones is preferred to handing out phones, and that careful attention should be given to the potential for selective non-response.
    Keywords: E-Business,ICT Policy and Strategies,Social Analysis,Housing&Human Habitats,Social Accountability
    Date: 2013–01–01

This nep-afr issue is ©2013 by Quentin Wodon. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.