nep-afr New Economics Papers
on Africa
Issue of 2019‒03‒04
six papers chosen by
Sam Sarpong
The University of Mines and Technology

  1. Sex and the Mission: The Conflicting Effects of Early Christian Investments on the HIV Epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa By Julia Cage; Valeria Rueda
  2. What can we learn on Chinese aid allocation motivations from new available data? A sectorial analysis of Chinese aid to African countries By Marlène Guillon; Jacky Mathonnat
  3. The impact of Brexit on Francophone Africa By Kohnert, Dirk
  4. Does the exogeneity of oil prices matter in the oil price-macro-economy relationship for Ghana? By Zankawah, Mutawakil M.; Stewart, Chris
  5. Size, Efficiency, Market Power, and Economies of Scale in the African Banking Sector By Asongu, Simplice; Odhiambo, Nicholas
  6. Recovering bioenergy in Sub-Saharan Africa: gender dimensions, lessons and challenges By Njenga, M.; Mendum, R.

  1. By: Julia Cage (Département d'économie); Valeria Rueda (Département d'économie)
    Abstract: This article investigates the long-term historical impact of missionary activity on the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. On the one hand, missionaries were among the first to invest in modern medicine in a number of countries. On the other hand, Christianity influenced sexual beliefs and behaviors. We build a new geocoded dataset locating Protestant and Catholic missions in the early 20th century, as well as their health investments. Using a number of different empirical strategies to address selection in missionary locations and into health investments, we show that missionary presence has conflicting effects on HIV today. Regions close to historical mission stations exhibit higher HIV prevalence. This negative impact is robust to multiple specifications accounting for urbanization, and we provide evidence that it is specific to STDs. Less knowledge about condom use is a likely channel. On the contrary, among regions historically close to missionary settlements, proximity to a mission with a health investment is associated with lower HIV prevalence nowadays. Safer sexual behaviors around these missions are a possible explanatory channel.
    Keywords: Historical persistence; Missions; Health investments; HIV/AIDS; Sexual behavior
    JEL: D72 N37 N77 O33 Z12 Z13
    Date: 2017–07
  2. By: Marlène Guillon (CERDI - Centre d'Études et de Recherches sur le Développement International - Clermont Auvergne - UCA - Université Clermont Auvergne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique); Jacky Mathonnat (CERDI - Centre d'Études et de Recherches sur le Développement International - UdA - Université d'Auvergne - Clermont-Ferrand I - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, FERDI - Fondation pour les Etudes et Recherches sur le Développement International)
    Keywords: Official development assistance,sectorial analysis,Africa,China
    Date: 2018–04–24
  3. By: Kohnert, Dirk
    Abstract: Whereas the impact of Brexit on Anglophone Africa was a major issue in the controversial British discussions on the pros and cons of Brexit, possible repercussions on French-speaking Africa have been rarely mentioned up to now. If at all, mostly indirect general effects were declared, both concerning the former British Empire in Africa and a fortifori for the former French colonies as well. Yet, the range of possible Brexit effect is impressive. It spreads from direct influence on farm-gate cocoa-prices in the CFA-currency regions and subsequent percussions on the state budget of these countries, over more indirect effects, e.g. on the cooperation between CEMAC, WAEMU and the EU concerning EDF-programs of which Great Britain has been a major contributor so far, as well as enforced re-negotiation of controversial EPAs, to the revival of progressive social networks in Francophone Africa. The latter are already demanding more political and economic sovereignty, for example with respect to the increasingly anachronistic F CFA currency. Yet, in view of the lack of countervailing power of Britain within the EU in the case of Brexit, the murky network of Françafrique could be re-vitalized and consolidated as well. Besides, there could develop also direct effects of the Brexit. For example, on coca-farmers in Francophone West Africa, because their product is traditionally traded in Pound Sterling. Thus, any fall in the value of the Pound Sterling against the Euro once Britain leaves the EU would have damaging consequences, not only for the producers but also for public finances, because cocoa is priced in Sterling and the CFA franc is linked to the Euro. This impacts also on the revival of the long-standing controversy on the ill-adapted and increasingly anachronistic F CFA. African activists already demand a genuine African debate and a referendum on these issues similar to the Brexit vote.
    Keywords: Brexit, UK, EU, Françafrique, post-colonialism, development, international trade, ODA, WAEMU, CEMAC, Sub-Saharan Africa
    JEL: F13 F2 F35 F54 G15 H26 N17 N47 N77 O17 P16 Z13
    Date: 2019–02–18
  4. By: Zankawah, Mutawakil M. (Kingston University London); Stewart, Chris (Kingston University London)
    Abstract: Using annual data from 1971 to 2014 we consider whether the relationship between crude oil prices and the macro-economy in the relatively small economy of Ghana is affected by the treatment of crude oil prices as exogenous or endogenous. We use vector autoregressions, vector error-correction models, scenario-based dynamic forecasting, and autoregressive distributive lag specifications. There is little evidence that international crude oil prices have a significant negative effect on Ghana’s output in either the short-run and long-run, regardless of whether crude oil prices are treated as exogenous or endogenous. This implies that increases in crude oil prices do not put a binding constraint on the monetary authorities to loosen monetary policy to offset its adverse effect on output. If inflation is a priority, policy makers could focus on inflation stabilization by tightening monetary policy when oil prices rise.
    Keywords: Ghana; oil prices; exogeneity; macro-economy
    JEL: C32 F31 F41
    Date: 2019–02–25
  5. By: Asongu, Simplice; Odhiambo, Nicholas
    Abstract: There is a growing body of evidence that interest rate spreads in Africa are higher for big banks compared to small banks. One concern is that big banks might be using their market power to charge higher lending rates as they become larger, more efficient, and unchallenged. In contrast, several studies found that when bank size increases beyond certain thresholds, diseconomies of scale are introduced that lead to inefficiency. In that case, we also would expect to see widened interest margins. This study examines the connection between bank size and efficiency to understand whether that relationship is influenced by exploitation of market power or economies of scale. Using a panel of 162 African banks for 2001–2011, we analyzed the empirical data using instrumental variables and fixed effects regressions, with overlapping and non-overlapping thresholds for bank size. We found two key results. First, bank size increases bank interest rate margins with an inverted U-shaped nexus. Second, market power and economies of scale do not increase or decrease the interest rate margins significantly. The main policy implication is that interest rate margins cannot be elucidated by either market power or economies of scale. Other implications are discussed.
    Keywords: Sub-Saharan Africa; banks; lending rates; efficiency; Quiet Life Hypothesis; competition
    JEL: E42 E52 E58 G21 G28
    Date: 2018–01
  6. By: Njenga, M.; Mendum, R.
    Abstract: There is a strong link between gender and energy in view of food preparation and the acquisition of fuel, especially in rural areas. This is demonstrated in a range of case studies from East and West Africa, where biochar, human waste and other waste resources have been used to produce briquettes or biogas as additional high-quality fuel sources. The synthesis of the cases concludes that resource recovery and reuse for energy offers an alternative to conventional centralized grid projects which, while attractive to investors and large-scale enterprises, do not necessarily provide job opportunities for marginalized communities. Reusing locally available waste materials for energy production and as soil ameliorant (in the case of biochar) in small enterprises allows women and youth who lack business capital to begin modest, locally viable businesses. The case studies offer concrete examples of small-scale solutions to energy poverty that can make a significant difference to the lives of women and their communities.
    Keywords: Community/Rural/Urban Development, Consumer/Household Economics, Farm Management, Financial Economics, Industrial Organization, Labor and Human Capital, Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies, Resource /Energy Economics and Policy
    Date: 2018–02–26

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