nep-afr New Economics Papers
on Africa
Issue of 2015‒08‒19
seven papers chosen by
Sam Sarpong
The University of Mines and Technology

  1. Measuring Structural Economic Vulnerability in Africa By Patrick Guillaumont
  2. Gender Preferences in Africa: A Comparative Analysis of Fertility Choices By Pauline Rossi; Léa Rouanet
  3. Regional trade and volatility in staple food markets in Africa By Badiane, Ousmane; Odjo, Sunday
  4. Does malaria control impact education? Evidence from Roll Back Malaria in Africa By Maria Kuecken; Josselin Thuilliez; Marie-Anne Valfort
  5. Cotton-based development in Sub-Saharan Africa? Global commodity chains, national market structure and development outcomes in Burkina Faso, Mozambique and Tanzania By Staritz, Cornelia; Tröster, Bernhard
  6. Expropriation, compensation and transitions to new livelihoods: Evidence from an expropriation in Ethiopia By Anthony Harris
  7. Indicators of core inflation: Case of Tunisia By Ghrissi Mhamdi; Mounir Smida; Ramzi Farhani

  1. By: Patrick Guillaumont (FERDI - Fondation pour les Etudes et Recherches sur le Développement International - FERDI, CERDI - Centre d'études et de recherches sur le developpement international - CNRS - Université d'Auvergne - Clermont-Ferrand I)
    Abstract: In 2006, at a time when growth had clearly resumed in Africa, the opening speech at the first African Economic Conference organized by the African Development Bank and AERC was entitled “Economic vulnerability, still a challenge for African growth” (Guillaumont 2007, 2008). Eight years on, including a global recession, food and fuel price spikes, and recent state crises in Africa—although in many countries growth has continued—vulnerability remains an issue to be addressed. Both cross-country econometrics and case studies have documented the impact of external, climatic, and political shocks on Africa’s growth, development, and poverty reduction (Ibid.; see also the chapter by Xubei Luo in this book). Although some progress has been recorded in addressing economic vulnerability in Africa, it remains limited; moreover, the scope of vulnerability itself has been changing with the emergence of new--social and environmental—dimensions. Addressing the vulnerability of African economies requires an identification of its sources and determinants, including a conceptual clarification in view of the broadening scope. Section (2) proposes a conceptual framework where structural vulnerability is distinguished from general vulnerability, from physical vulnerability to climate change, and from state fragility as well. Section (3) analyzes the main features and evolution of structural economic vulnerability in Africa on the basis of an economic vulnerability index, highlighting not only higher structural economic vulnerability, but also a slower decline than in other developing economies. It then appears (section 4) that African economic vulnerability is reinforced by higher physical vulnerability to climate change, as shown by a specific index, and that Africa is the continent with the highest proportion of fragile states, suggesting a link between the various forms of vulnerability in Africa. Finally (section 5), measuring the structural vulnerability of African countries provides a useful tool for the international allocation of resources and not just to guide policies aimed at structural transformation and sustainable development. Adequately measured, structural vulnerability, as it is exogenous to current policy, may be a relevant criterion for the international allocation of concessional resources.
    Date: 2014–04
  2. By: Pauline Rossi (CREST - Centre de Recherche en Économie et Statistique - INSEE - École Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Administration Économique, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA) - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC), EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics); Léa Rouanet (LMI - Laboratoire de microéconomie - Centre de Recherche en Économie et STatistique (CREST), PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS - Institut national de la recherche agronomique (INRA) - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC), EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics)
    Abstract: This paper proposes a new method to infer gender preferences from birth spacing. We apply it to Africa, where the least is known about gender preferences. We show that son preference is strong and increasing in North Africa. By contrast, most Sub-Saharan African countries display a preference for variety or no preference at all. Further analysis concludes that traditional family systems predict well the nature of gender preferences, while religion does not. Last, the magnitude of preferences is stronger for wealthier and more educated women.
    Date: 2015–03
  3. By: Badiane, Ousmane; Odjo, Sunday
    Abstract: This paper deals with the role of regional trade in fostering the resilience of domestic food markets. Using country production and trade data from FAOSTAT database, a series of simple indicators are calculated that shed light on the potential for domestic markets stabilization through trade among African countries within Regional Economic Communities, including the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). A regional, economy-wide multimarket model is then used to simulate changes in current productivity levels and trade costs. The findings reveal that it is possible to significantly boost the pace of regional trade expansion and thus its contribution to creating more resilient domestic food markets through modest reduction in the overall cost of trading, a similarly modest increase in crop yields, or the removal of barriers to trans-border trade.
    Keywords: Production volatility, cross-border trade, domestic food market stabilization, regional integration, Agricultural and Food Policy, International Development, International Relations/Trade, F14, F17, Q17, Q18,
    Date: 2015–06
  4. By: Maria Kuecken (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS, EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics); Josselin Thuilliez (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS); Marie-Anne Valfort (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS)
    Abstract: Relying on microeconomic data, we examine the impact of the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) control campaigns on the educational attainment of primary school children in 14 Sub-Saharan African countries. Combining a difference-in-differences approach with an IV analysis, we exploit exogenous variation in pre-campaign malaria prevalence and exogenous variation in exposure to the timing and disbursements of the RBM campaign. In all 14 countries, the RBM campaign reveals itself as a particularly cost-effective strategy to improve primary school children’s educational attainment.
    Date: 2015–01–04
  5. By: Staritz, Cornelia; Tröster, Bernhard
    Abstract: Cotton is one of the most important cash crops in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and has had an important role in job creation, poverty reduction and foreign exchange generation. SSA cotton exporters face particularly three interconnected challenges - how to increase yields and quality in the context of small holder farming; how to deal with volatile international prices; how to increase value addition through local processing. This paper analyses the cotton sectors in Burkina Faso, Mozambique and Tanzania along these challenges focusing on dynamics in global cotton commodity chains, different national market structures and related development outcomes. The aim of the paper is not to identify the best cotton sector organisation model but to point out issues that are important for positive development outcomes. The analysis shows that the more regulated systems in Burkina Faso and Mozambique generally outperform the liberalized system in Tanzania in terms of production levels, yields, input provision, and price stability. But there are also major differences among the more regulated systems with Burkina Faso faring substantially better in yields and farmers' price share. The state, however, also bears a greater risk in Burkina Faso through its involvement in the largest cotton company and the stabilisation fund. The system in Tanzania provides similar farmers' price shares as in Burkina Faso albeit with higher price instability and inequality. Tanzania has been further most successful in value addition which, however, cannot be attributed to the cotton sector market structure but primarily to a stronger manufacturing tradition. The institutional context in the cotton sector, particularly strong and independent farmers' associations, have a crucial role in all models to ensure that farmers' interests are respected.
    Keywords: commodity-based development,cotton,price instability,value addition,Burkina Faso,Mozambique,Tanzania
    Date: 2015
  6. By: Anthony Harris
    Abstract: Government intervention in land transactions is common in developing countries, especially where land markets function poorly.  This is the case in Ethiopia, where expropriation of farmland from small-scale farmers has been used by all levels of government as a tool for providing new land for industrial investors, commercial agriculture and expanding cities.  This paper evaluates the impact of such a policy on a group of small-scale farmers whose land has been taken to make room for a large factory.  Baseline data was collected in the year before expropriation and a follow up survey was conducted 8 months after households lost their land and received payment.  On average, households lose 70% of their land and receive compensation payments that are about 5 times the value of annual consumption expenditure.  I find that households in the treatment group increase their consumption, start more businesses and participate more in non-farm activities than households that do not lose farmland.These households also reallocate their livestock portfolios away from oxen and towards small ruminants and cattle, reflecting a shift away from growing crops.  However, all of these changes are relatively minor compared to the increase in savings: with the exception of a few households, most of the compensation payment is left in the bank.
    Keywords: Land expropriation, Ethiopia, agricultural investment
    Date: 2015–01–31
  7. By: Ghrissi Mhamdi (Université de Sousse); Mounir Smida (Université de Sousse); Ramzi Farhani (Université de Sousse)
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to provide a credible measure of inflation. This credibility is of great importance for successful inflation targeting regime. This paper proposes a technique to solve a conceptual disparity between inflation phenomenon and its measurement. For this, we proposed an alternative measure called core inflation, defined as the inflation component that has no real impact on long-term production. Evaluation of core inflation was obtained using a VAR system under the assumption that variations in the extent of inflation are affected by two types of shock. The first type has no impact on real output in the long term, while the second can have this effect. This approach is a reconstruction of the approach of Quah and Vahey (1995) in the case of the Tunisian economy. The study concluded that the administered prices constitute a major obstacle to measure, interpret and forecast inflation. Central Bank of Tunisia has no control over a third of the CPI basket. This feature of the Tunisian economy is simply a sign of weakness of the economic system and the need for monetary authorities to continue its efforts to liberalize prices. Introduction The concept of core inflation has played an important role in the decisions of responsible monetary policy in recent years. However, despite the centrality of this concept, there is still no consensus on the best measure of core inflation. The most widely adopted approach is the exclusion of certain categories of price inflation rate as a whole. It reflects the origin of the concept of core inflation during the turbulent 1970s. However, more recently, many economists are trying to set a robust measure of core inflation. Core inflation has become in recent years the most important subject of study for central banks of various countries. In fact, many of them are given as central or even ultimate objective of reducing inflation and achieving price stability. However, government policies other than monetary policy can play an important role in maintaining this goal. But the central bank sees its role as crucial when it admits that inflation can persist for a long time if it is tolerated by the monetary policy. It is important, then, that it should follow closely the evolution of the inflation rate.
    Date: 2014–04–18

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