nep-afr New Economics Papers
on Africa
Issue of 2016‒10‒16
seven papers chosen by
Sam Sarpong
The University of Mines and Technology

  1. Analyzing Trends in Herbicide Use in Sub-Saharan Africa By Grabowski, Philip; Jayne, Thom
  2. Can the Implementation of Social Protection Policies and Programme Reducing Households and Community Vulnerability to Poverty in Uganda? By Okello, Julius J.
  3. Non-standard forms of employment in Uganda and Ghana By Dumas, Christelle.; Houdré, Cédric.
  4. Implications of Asia’s Changing Rice Economy for the Development of Rice Value Chains in West Africa By Adjao, Ramziath T.; Staatz, John M.
  5. The Impact of Job-Specific Training on Short-Term Worker Performance: Evidence from a Field Experiment By Elizabeth Lyons
  6. Does bad company corrupts good character? A spatial econometric analysis of oil resource management in Africa By Ackah, Ishmael
  7. Sovereign Wealth Funds and Infrastructure Development in Africa By Seedwell Hove

  1. By: Grabowski, Philip; Jayne, Thom
    Abstract: Chemical weed control has been researched in Africa since the 1960s but adoption has been low or non-existent for decades. Recent evidence suggests that herbicide use in some parts of Africa is reaching significant levels and may be on the rise more generally. Little is known about which farmers are using herbicides in Africa and what factors drive their use. This study aims to document trends in herbicide use and analyze the drivers of those trends in Sub-Saharan Africa.
    Keywords: Productivity Analysis,
    Date: 2016–04
  2. By: Okello, Julius J.
    Abstract: The existence of disconnected and overlapping research findings on who are the vulnerable groups in postconflict communities of Uganda continues to mingle around the mind of scholarly researchers, policy and decision makers. Most of these groups have had specific research studies conducted and strategic policies designed to address the findings. This article tries to provide an approach to understanding of the concept of vulnerability from social protection perspective. In this regards, the paper looks at and reviews available text on who are vulnerable group in Ugandan context and then focus on more general issues of poverty and vulnerability at household and community level. It further examines the causes of household and community vulnerability to poverty and suggests what social protection interventions provided by the state and non-state actors in reducing their vulnerability to poverty can do. The vulnerable communities reviewed are those households and communities members emerging from inter-intra-conflicts in northern and eastern Uganda. The article begins with an overview of poverty trends and distribution and identifies who are the vulnerable poor in the context of Uganda. For this paper, we define or identify vulnerable households as those persons living in one roof of a home and are always susceptible to shocks and risks such as limited access to education, health facilities, shelter, safe and clean drinking waters, while the paper identifies vulnerable communities as those communities with no or existing poor social infrastructures such as medical facilities, bad roads and old building school structures.
    Keywords: poverty, vulnerability, vulnerable households and communities, Consumer/Household Economics, Food Security and Poverty, Public Economics,
    Date: 2015
  3. By: Dumas, Christelle.; Houdré, Cédric.
    Abstract: This report aims to analyse non-standard forms of employment (NSFE) in Africa. NSFEs include part-time work, fixed-term contracts of different durations, and casual work arrangements. In particular, we look at NSFE incidence by population sub-groups, and their consequences in terms of job quality, including earnings and future career prospects. We focus on two sub- Saharan African countries, Uganda and Ghana, which have experienced very different economic outcomes in recent decades.
    Keywords: precarious employment, temporary employment, informal employment, labour market, working conditions, wages, Ghana, Uganda, emploi précaire, emploi temporaire, emploi informel, marché du travail, conditions de travail, salaire, Ghana, Ouganda, empleo precario, empleo temporal, empleo informal, mercado de trabajo, condiciones de trabajo, salario, Ghana, Uganda
    Date: 2016
  4. By: Adjao, Ramziath T.; Staatz, John M.
    Abstract: Rice is at the center of food policy debates in West Africa.1 Driven by its convenience in preparation and consumption and higher consumer incomes, per capita consumption grew from just under 15 kg/year in 1970 to 40 kg/year in 2011 while population tripled during the same period.
    Keywords: Agricultural and Food Policy, Food Security and Poverty, International Development, Productivity Analysis,
    Date: 2016–04
  5. By: Elizabeth Lyons
    Abstract: Remote and short-term work arrangements are increasingly common despite the limited incentives they provide for acquiring firm-specific knowledge. This paper examines the importance and cost-effectiveness of firm-specific training for remote contract workers using evidence from a field experiment conducted in an East African insurance firm that offers two-month employment contracts for its salespeople. Findings show that firm-specific training significantly increases firm revenue, but that this effect is concentrated among higher ability workers. Training has no impact on worker retention, and offering workers financial or competitive input-based incentives has no impact on these findings, or on observed worker investment in firm-specific training. These results demonstrate that high ability temporary workers may be willing to invest in firm-specific human capital without additional incentives, and that firm performance is significantly improved as a result. Implications for temporary work contracts are discussed.
    Date: 2016
  6. By: Ackah, Ishmael
    Abstract: A widely held belief before the 1990s – referred to as the oil-blessing hypothesis – was that oil discovery and production should promote economic growth and development, and lead to poverty reduction. However, the so-called ‘oil-curse’ hypothesis, postulated by Sachs and Warner in 1995, challenged this belief, thus provoking a heated debate on the theme. The oil-curse hypothesis has been traditionally tested by means of cross-sectional and panel-data models. We go beyond these traditional methods to test whether the presence of spatial effects can alter the hypothesis in oil-producing African countries. In particular, the effects on economic growth of oil production, oil resources and oil revenues along with the quality of democratic institutions, investment and openness to trade are investigated. Our findings are as follows. First, the validity of the spatial Durbin model is vindicated. Second, consistently with the oil-curse hypothesis, oil production, resources, rent and revenues have a negative and generally significant effect on economic growth. This result is robust for across the panel data, spatial durbin, and spatial autoregressive models, and for different measures of spatial proximity between countries. Third, we find that the extent to which the business environment is perceived as benign for investment has a positive and marginally effect on economic growth. Additionally, economic growth of a country is further stimulated by a spatial proximity of a neighbouring country, if the neighbouring country has created strong institutions protecting investments. Fourth, openness to international trade has a positive and marginally significant effect on economic growth. However, the significance of the parameter estimate is sensitive to the model that is being considered. Overall, the findings suggest that oil-producing African economies are cursed by oil discovery, production and revenues rather than by the spatial proximity with their neighboring countries.
    Keywords: Oil Curse, Oil Resource Governance, Africa, Spatial Analysis
    JEL: Q0 Q01 Q4 Q43 Q48
    Date: 2016–10–12
  7. By: Seedwell Hove (Quantum Global Research Lab)
    Abstract: Sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) are increasingly becoming major sources of finance in many African countries. This paper analyses the potential role that SWFs could play in financing infrastructure development in Africa. The paper documents the state of infrastructure and its financing needs in Africa, dissects the anatomy of sovereign wealth funds on the continent, and assesses the extent to which sovereign wealth funds can bridge the infrastructure financing gap. The analysis shows that Africa’s infrastructure needs new sources of finance to cover the existing financing requirements. Although African SWFs are still small compared to those in other countries of the world, they have the potential to contribute meaningfully towards financing infrastructure development and fostering economic development in Africa. Putting in place favorable conditions for business and ensuring stable political and governance conditions can also attract global sovereign wealth funds to invest their massive resources in Africa. The paper also highlights some risks and opportunities for infrastructure investments on the continent.
    Keywords: Sovereign wealth funds, Infrastructure development, asset allocation
    JEL: E69 G15

This nep-afr issue is ©2016 by Sam Sarpong. 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.