nep-afr New Economics Papers
on Africa
Issue of 2019‒09‒02
seven papers chosen by
Sam Sarpong
The University of Mines and Technology

  1. African development and the marginalisation of domestic capitalists By Pritish Behuria
  2. The ethics of African regional and continental integration By Kohnert, Dirk
  3. Firm Performance Under Infrastructure Constraints: Evodence from Sub-sahara African Firms By Abdisa, Lamessa T.
  4. The politics of state capacity and development in Africa - Reframing and researching ‘pockets of effectiveness’ By Sam Hickey
  5. Financial Bubbles : New Evidence from South Africa’s Stock Market By Bago, Jean-Louis; Souratié, Wamadini M.; Ouédraogo, Moussa; Ouédraogo, Ernest; Dembélé, Alou
  6. A Survey on the Washington Consensus and the Beijing Model: Reconciling Development Perspectives By Simplice A. Asongu; Paul N. Acha-Anyi
  7. Does bank-based financial development spur economic growth? Empirical evidence from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) By Odhiambo, Nicholas M; Nyasha, Sheilla

  1. By: Pritish Behuria
    Abstract: The revival of industrial policy discussions has operated in parallel to reports of increasing domestic wealth accumulation across Africa. Regional and continent-wide industrialisation has begun to be rhetorically linked to discussions of regional common markets and through the African Continental Free Trade Area. Yet, there is barely any mention of integrating African capital into the African industrial policy agenda. Instead, the re-imagination of industrial policy relies on foreign investors, particularly the relocation of Chinese industry to various parts of the continent. This paper has two core objectives. Firstly, to explain why the study of African capitalists – popular in the 1980s and 1990s – has remained relatively dormant since then. Dominant narratives – through neopatrimonalism and dependency-inspired arguments – have been pessimistic about the potential of African capitalists to deliver structural transformation. Gradually, these narratives, alongside intellectual trends within mainstream social science and African studies, have discouraged the study of politics of state–business relations in Africa. Yet African capitalists have become increasingly prominent in popular culture. Many of the wealthiest and most prominent capitalists have emerged through owning diversified business groups across the continent. Secondly, this paper argues that more attention should be dedicated to the study of the politics of the emergence and sustenance of African diversified business groups (DBGs). To achieve this goal, a fluid categorisation of DBGs is introduced, building on Ben Ross Schneider’s previous work. Through three country case studies – Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania – this paper highlights how a range of DBGs are emerging across three different political contexts.
    Date: 2019
  2. By: Kohnert, Dirk
    Abstract: The decision of African leaders on the creation of an African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in 2018 was not merely a political decision with economic implications. It has significant and complex ethical dimensions too. This, not only concerning a possible trade-off between economic growth and well-being, employment, remittances, corruption, the depletion of natural resources and related ecological and gender problems. AfCFTA will also impact harmfully on growing xenophobia, nationalism and populism, the likely outcome of growing capital and labour mobility.
    Keywords: AfCFTA, regional integration, ethics, Sub-Saharan Africa, international trade, development aid, post-colonialism, SADC, ECOWAS, CEMAC, CMA, ZLECA
    JEL: F13 F15 F22 F35 F52 F54 N17 N37 N97 O2 O55 Z1
    Date: 2019–08–14
  3. By: Abdisa, Lamessa T.
    Abstract: The poor business environment mainly poor infrastructure is found to has paramount importance in explaining Africa's disadvantage relative to other similar countries. To cope with this poor supply of electricity, firms adopt different mechanisms to reduce the resulting effects. The commonly adopted coping strategy is an investment in self-generation of electricity. This study examined the role of investing in self-generation in mitigating the outage loss and evaluated the outage loss differential between �firms that invested in self-generation and those that did not, using World Bank Enterprise Survey data collected from �firms operating in 13 Sub-Saharan African countries. The result obtained shows that, though self-generation has reduced the amount of outage loss for fi�rms that invested in self-generation, these firms continue to face higher unmitigated outage loss compared to firms without such investment. In spite of this, �firms that invested in self-generation would have incurred 36%-99% more than the current amount of outage loss if they do not engaged in self-generation. Similarly, �firms that did not invest in self-generation would have reduced their outage loss by 2% - 24% if they had engaged in self-generation. The study thus, recommended a di�fferential supply interruption to be followed by public authorities based on �firms' degree of vulnerability to power interruptions.
    Keywords: Self-generation, Outages, Sub-Sahara Africa, Firm
    JEL: L60 L81 N77 Q41
    Date: 2019–05–20
  4. By: Sam Hickey
    Abstract: The role of bureaucratic ‘pockets of effectiveness’ (PoEs) in driving development is generating renewed interest within development studies and, to an extent, development policy. Existing research on PoEs emphasises that politics plays a leading role in shaping the emergence and sustainability of high-performing public sector organisations. However, the field as yet lacks a clear sense of the conditions under which this happens. This paper sets out the conceptual and methodological underpinnings of a new project that seeks to address this problem within the context of sub-Saharan Africa. Drawing on an alignment of political settlements analysis with critical theories of state power and African politics, the paper argues that PoEs are both shaped by, and help to reproduce, particular forms of politics and institutions in sub-Saharan Africa. This means that PoEs can reveal a good deal about how the competing logics of regime survival, state-building and democratisation are playing out in Africa, and the implications for development. The paper proposes a methodological approach for identifying and exploring PoEs and summarises the results of expert surveys undertaken in Ghana, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia. These surveys resulted in our project focusing mainly on the economic technocracy as the key domain within which PoEs have flourished, particularly in terms of ministries of finance, central banks and revenue authorities, along with some other interesting outliers and underlying processes of state-building. Further papers from this project will include in-depth case studies of these specific PoEs and processes in each country, synthesised country analyses and comparative overviews.
    Date: 2019
  5. By: Bago, Jean-Louis; Souratié, Wamadini M.; Ouédraogo, Moussa; Ouédraogo, Ernest; Dembélé, Alou
    Abstract: We provide new empirical evidence of bubbles timing in the stock market of South Africa. We apply the generalized sup ADF (GSADF) unit root test of Phillips et al. (2015) to monthly share prices from January 1960 to July 2019, to detect explosive behaviors. Results indicate that, overall, South Africa’s stock market has been exuberant during the period 1960-2019. We find strong evidence of three bubble episodes during the periods of April 1968 to July 1969, December 1979 to November 1980 and April 2006 to May 2008 in the stock market of South Africa. The last two bubbles correspond to the 1979 international oil crisis and the 2008 financial crisis suggesting that the south african stock market is still vulnerable to exogenous shocks.
    Keywords: Bubble, Stock market, GSADF test, South Africa
    JEL: G12
    Date: 2019–08
  6. By: Simplice A. Asongu (Yaoundé/Cameroon); Paul N. Acha-Anyi (Walter Sisulu University, South Africa)
    Abstract: Reconciling the two dominant development models of the Washington Consensus (WC) and Beijing Model (BM) remains a critical challenge in the literature. The challenge is even more demanding when emerging development paradigms like the Liberal Institutional Pluralism (LIP) and New Structural Economics (NSE) schools have to be integrated. While the latter has recognized both State and market failures but failed to provide a unified theory, the former has left the challenging concern of how institutional diversity matter in the development process. We synthesize perspectives from recently published papers on development and Sino-African relations in order to present the relevance of both the WC and BM in the long-term and short-run respectively. While the paper postulates for a unified theory by reconciling the WC and the BM to complement the NSE, it at the same time presents a case for economic rights and political rights as short-run and long-run development priorities respectively. By attempting to reconcile the WC with the BM, the study contributes at the same to macroeconomic NSE literature of unifying a development theory and to the LIP literature on institutional preferences with stages of development. Hence, the proposed reconciliation takes into account the structural and institutional realities of nations at different stages of the process of development.
    Keywords: Economic thought; Development; Beijing model; Washington Consensus; Africa
    JEL: B10 O11 O19 O55
    Date: 2019–01
  7. By: Odhiambo, Nicholas M; Nyasha, Sheilla
    Abstract: In this study, we examined the dynamic causality between financial development and economicgrowth in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), using time-series data from 1965 to2015. Unlike some previous studies, the current study used three proxies to examine thislinkage. These are liquid liabilities as a percentage of GDP (FD1), deposit money bank assetsas a percentage of GDP (FD2), and bank deposits as a percentage of GDP (FD3). In addition,the study used savings and inflation as intermittent variables, thereby creating a multivariateGranger-causality model, and limiting the omission-of-variable bias, which has been found insome previous studies. Using the ARDL bounds testing approach, the study found that there isa short-run causal relationship between financial development and economic growth in theDRC, but the direction of causality is dependent on the proxy used to measure the level offinancial development. When financial development was proxied by liquid liabilities as apercentage of GDP, unidirectional Granger-causality was found to prevail in the short run,running from economic growth to financial development. However, when deposit money bankassets as a percentage of GDP and bank deposits as a percentage of GDP were used as proxies,causality between financial development and economic growth was found to be bidirectional,but only in the short run. The study recommends that policy efforts in the DRC should bedirected at developing both the financial sector and the real sector in the short run as bothsectors have been found to be mutually beneficial to each other in the main, in this study.
    Keywords: Financial Development; Economic Growth; Granger-Causality Test; Democratic Republic of Congo; DRC
    Date: 2019–08

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