nep-afr New Economics Papers
on Africa
Issue of 2017‒03‒19
five papers chosen by
Sam Sarpong
The University of Mines and Technology

  1. Towards the integration of markets: Competition in road transportation of perishable goods between Malawi, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe By Thando Vilakazi; Anthea Paelo
  2. Political Connections and Tariff Evasion: Evidence from Tunisia By Bob Rijkers; Leila Baghdadi; Gael Raballand
  3. Determinants of Emigration: Evidence from Egypt By Anda David; Joachim Jarreau
  4. Potential biofuel feedstocks and production in Zambia By Paul C. Samboko; Mitelo Subakanya; Cliff Dlamini
  5. Underage Brides and Grooms' Education By Dessy, Sylvain; Pongou, Roland; Diarra, Setou

  1. By: Thando Vilakazi; Anthea Paelo
    Abstract: Rapid urbanization and rising income levels in Southern Africa have increased the consumption of perishable and processed food products. This paper relies primarily on firm-level interview data to assess competition and bottlenecks in transporting time-sensitive perishable products across borders between Harare, Johannesburg, Lilongwe, and Lusaka. High transport prices in 2015—almost double the benchmark rates applied and rates for transportation of commodities—are partly explained by concentration in Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, and lack of return loads to Johannesburg. Rates could be significantly reduced through a platform for co-ordinating access to return loads, reducing delays at borders, and effectively implementing pre-clearance procedures.
    Date: 2017
  2. By: Bob Rijkers (The World Bank); Leila Baghdadi; Gael Raballand
    Abstract: Are politically connected firms more likely to evade taxes? This paper presents evidence suggesting firms owned by President Ben Ali and his family were more prone to evading import tariffs. During Ben Ali’s reign, evasion gaps, defined as the difference between the value of exports to Tunisia reported by partner countries and the value of imports reported at Tunisian customs, were correlated with the import share of connected firms. This association was especially strong for goods subject to high tariffs, and driven by underreporting of unit prices, which diminished after the revolution. Consistent with these product-level patterns, unit prices reported by connected firms were lower than those reported by other firms, and declined faster with tariffs than those of other firms. Moreover, privatization to the Ben Ali family was associated with a reduction in reported unit prices, whereas privatization per se was not.
    Date: 2015–10
  3. By: Anda David (PSL Université Paris Dauphine); Joachim Jarreau
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the determinants of emigration at the individual and household level, using three waves of the Egyptian labor market panel survey (ELMPS) covering the 1998-2012 period. Exploiting the panel structure of the data allows us to reduce the risk of reverse causality, and to estimate the effect of migrant networks more accurately than in existing studies based on cross-sectional data. We confirm, in the Egyptian context, that migrants abroad are positively selected on the wealth of the origin household, due to migration costs; and that the growth of a network of past emigrants from the same community mitigates this positive selection, increasing the propensity to migrate among poorer households. We also offer a novel insight on the linkages between emigration decision and home country’s labor market conditions. We show that unemployment and informal employment appear as the main incentives to emigrate. This suggests that the scarcity of “quality jobs”, in particular on the skilled labor market, is one important factor driving emigration flows in Egypt.
    Date: 2016–04
  4. By: Paul C. Samboko; Mitelo Subakanya; Cliff Dlamini
    Abstract: The need for energy security and climate change mitigation have increased blending mandates worldwide; in Southern Africa, demand for biofuels could increase following South Africa’s planned blending mandates. However, land constraints limit local industry expansion, with demand likely to be met in land-abundant countries. This paper reviews the status of the biofuels industry in Zambia, as a land-abundant country, for the local and wider Southern African market. It identifies potential biofuel feedstocks as crucial elements for establishing a viable industry. Identified potential bioethanol feedstocks include sugarcane, cassava, sweet sorghum, and maize; for biodiesel, soya beans, sunflower, and groundnuts are the likely feedstocks of choice. However, current production levels are inadequate to meet growing regional biofuels demand, but there is scope for expansion if productivity and production can be increased. Presently, there is no commercial biofuel production, but a fairly adequate policy, regulatory, legal, and institutional framework exists.
    Date: 2017
  5. By: Dessy, Sylvain; Pongou, Roland; Diarra, Setou
    Abstract: Public intervention addressing the issue of underage marriage emphasizes policies such as girls' education and enforcement of age-of-consent laws as promising avenues for ending this harmful practice. It has been argued, however, that such policies will work better in societies where they are supported by men. Yet, there is no study analyzing the role of males' characteristics in relation to early marriage. This paper examines the causal effect of a male's education on the likelihood that he marries an underage girl. Using micro-level data from Nigeria in combination with plausible instrumental variables that address potential endogeneity issues, we find that having more years of schooling significantly reduces the probability of marrying an underage girl. Importantly, we show that this negative relationship is not a mere mechanical effect reflecting the endogeneity between schooling and marriage-timing decisions. Moreover, we find that this relationship is weaker in communities where norms that cast women in submissive roles are stronger. We develop a model that explains this causal effect as resulting from the complementarity between father's and mother's education in the production of child quality.
    Keywords: Underage Marriage; Male Education; Nigeria; Patriarchal Norms.
    JEL: J12 J13 O12
    Date: 2017

This nep-afr issue is ©2017 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.