nep-afr New Economics Papers
on Africa
Issue of 2021‒01‒04
seven papers chosen by
Sam Sarpong
The University of Mines and Technology

  1. Household resource flows and food poverty during South Africa’s lockdown: Short-term policy implications for three channels of social protection By Gabrielle Wills; Servaas van der Berg; Leila Patel; Bokang Mpeta
  2. Uganda's nascent oil sector: Revenue generation, investor-stakeholder alignment, and public policy By Steve Kayizzi-Mugerwa
  3. Trade Responses to the COVID-19 Crisis in Africa By Paul Brenton; Vicky Chemutai
  4. The Effectiveness of Poverty Alleviation Policy: Why is the Quality of Institutions the Bane in Nigeria? By Fisayo Fagbemi; Babafemi Oladejo; Opeoluwa A. Adeosun
  5. Farm Mechanization and Potential role of Robotics in Malawi By Kumwenda, Ian; Nyekanyeka, Aubrey; Gausi, Uriah; Phiri, Benson; Kamwendo, Phinehas; Msokera, Tiyamike; Kadazi, Florence
  6. Promoting participation in value chains for pulses in Malawi: Who and where to target By Benson, Todd
  7. Saving Africa's tropical forests through energy transition: A randomized controlled trial in Tanzania By Alem, Yonas; Ruhinduka, Remidius D.

  1. By: Gabrielle Wills (Research on Socio-Economic Policy, Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University); Servaas van der Berg (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University); Leila Patel (DST/NRF Research Chair in Welfare and Social Development, Centre for Social Development in Africa (CSDA), University of Johannesburg); Bokang Mpeta (Funda Wande and RESEP, Stellenbosch University)
    Abstract: In response to the COVID-19 crisis, and the anticipated socio-economic impacts of a hard lockdown, the South African government has leveraged three channels of social protection to protect livelihoods: social insurance, a social assistance programme of grants and localised social relief efforts. Using a mixed methods approach, this policy paper highlights that while the response from government and the social sector has been commendable, large groups of households are experiencing tremendous hardship as a direct consequence of the lockdown. New evidence from a telephonic survey suggests that 2 of every 5 adults reported that their household lost its main source of income since lockdown started in South Africa on the 27th of March 2020. This has had devastating consequences for food insecurity and household hunger. Of interviewed adults, 47% reported that their household ran out of money to buy food in April. Between May and June 2020, 21% reported that someone in the household went hungry in the last 7 days and 15% reported that a child went hungry in the last 7 days. To stave off mass, chronic hunger we simply cannot let up on the support being provided to households through all three channels of social protection. Failure to do so could deepen an emerging humanitarian crisis, hamper economic recovery, and threaten socio-political stability.
    Keywords: poverty, transfers, welfare policy, social protection, COVID-19
    JEL: I32 I38
    Date: 2020
  2. By: Steve Kayizzi-Mugerwa
    Abstract: This paper discusses the political economy of oil in Uganda since the announcement of its discovery in 2006. It focuses on the dynamics of oil revenue generation (pre-commercial production) and expenditure, investor-stakeholder contestation (i.e. between bureaucrats, investors/oil companies, and domestic stakeholders), and the role of public policy.
    Keywords: Environment, livelihoods, Oil, Resource revenues, Public policy, environmental degradation, Petroleum revenues
    Date: 2020
  3. By: Paul Brenton; Vicky Chemutai
    Keywords: Health, Nutrition and Population - Disease Control & Prevention Health, Nutrition and Population - Public Health Promotion International Economics and Trade - Trade Facilitation International Economics and Trade - Trade Policy
    Date: 2020–04
  4. By: Fisayo Fagbemi (Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile–Ife, Nigeria); Babafemi Oladejo (Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile–Ife, Nigeria); Opeoluwa A. Adeosun (Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile–Ife, Nigeria)
    Abstract: The article examines the nexus between the quality of institutions and the poverty in Nigeria over the period 1984–2017, using Dynamic Ordinary Least Squares, Canonical Cointegrating Regression and Vector Error Correction Mechanism. The analysis based on three institutional measures (bureaucratic quality, democratic accountability and rule of law) reveals how poverty rate could be escalated by entrenched poor governance. The evidence shows that democratic accountability and rule of law are significant for poverty reduction. This reinforces the assertion that accountability and transparency coupled with strict adherence to rule of law in the public sector are the principal components of poverty alleviation. Also, findings reveal that poverty and weak institutions are interconnected and mutually reinforcing in the country. Overall, the findings posit that poverty is widespread in Nigeria due to capacity constraints of public institutions or underlying governance practices. By implication, the article suggests that policymakers should focus on measures that have the greatest leverage for enhancing effective governance oriented towards poverty reduction and development. In addition, tackling socio-economic inequalities, curbing political unrest and building strong institutions are central to ensuring a socially sustainable basis for holistic welfare improvements.
    Keywords: Governance, public institutions, poverty alleviation, cointegration analysis, Nigeria
    Date: 2020–01
  5. By: Kumwenda, Ian; Nyekanyeka, Aubrey; Gausi, Uriah; Phiri, Benson; Kamwendo, Phinehas; Msokera, Tiyamike; Kadazi, Florence
    Abstract: Malawi’s agricultural economy comprises of the smallholder subsector on communal land, and the leasehold and freehold estate subsectors. Large farms and estates use modern inputs more frequently, than the smallholder farmers. Jayne (2016) reported the ratio of cultivated land area to total land holding size declines as farm size increases. This paper highlights farm mechanization and the potential for role of robots in Malawi. We provide a global overview of the situation in Africa and in Malawi. We also highlight the potential role of robotics. Farm mechanization often follows various stages, starting from the use of mechanical power for power-intensive operations that require little control to increased use of mechanically powered technologies, and finally to automation of production. Past state-led mechanization in Africa often failed due to insufficient understanding of the nature of demand for mechanization technologies among farmers and insufficient knowledge of private-sector functions. There are dedicated mechanization committees and departments as well as a decentralized approach to mechanization and a clear commitment to mechanization along the value chain in Malawi. While the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development (MoAIWD) is responsible for maintaining Government-owned facilities with tractor and draught animals for hire, the private sector is expected to lead this intervention area. Malawi is not on track for meeting the Malabo Commitment area number 3.1. This relates to access to agriculture inputs and technologies. However, according to the selection methodology the country is part of a cluster of countries indicating rapid mechanization rates. Malawi has had an average annual machinery growth rate of 2.7% and a high agricultural output growth of over 6%. Malawi has made strides to introduce automated farming such as use of central pivot system of irrigation. However, information on how this is performing is rather limited.
    Keywords: Crop Production/Industries, Farm Management, Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies
    Date: 2020–09–25
  6. By: Benson, Todd
    Abstract: In this Policy Note, we examine both household and spatial factors that may drive participation by smallholder farming households in commercial value chains for pulses, legume crops that are primarily harvested for their dry seed. Here the focus is on value chains for common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris), cowpea (Vigna unguiculata), and pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan). Bean and pigeonpea are particularly important secondary crops within many smallholder farming systems in Malawi, while cowpea is less common. All are commonly grown as intercrops in smallholder farming systems, primarily with maize.
    Keywords: MALAWI; SOUTHERN AFRICA; AFRICA SOUTH OF SAHARA; AFRICA; value chains; grain legumes; households; beans; pigeon peas; cowpeas
    Date: 2020
  7. By: Alem, Yonas; Ruhinduka, Remidius D.
    Abstract: The production of charcoal to meet cooking needs of urban households is one of the main causes of deforestation and degradation of Africa's tropical forests, which offer significant carbon sequestration capacity to the global economy. In collaboration with a reputable local microfinance institution, we designed a randomised controlled trial in urban Tanzania and offered LPG stoves through subsidy and on credit to measure their impact on charcoal consumption and the corresponding reduction in deforestation. We also investigate the impact of the stoves on cooking time of women, who are the default cooks of the household. We find that, relative to households in the control group, adoption of LPG stoves reduced charcoal consumption by about 30% in the treatment group 15 months after the intervention. This corresponds to an average reduction in deforestation of 0.04 ha/household/year. However, providing subsidies for stove purchases resulted in a larger reduction in charcoal use (38%) than did providing access on credit (27%) with the corresponding likely reduction in deforestation by 0.05 and 0.03 ha/household/year respectively. A social cost-benefit analysis suggests that the cost of both programs is far below the benefits of the averted carbon dioxide CO2 due to possible reduction in deforestation. A carefully conducted controlled cooking test shows that cooking with LP gas is 50% cheaper than cooking with charcoal and it reduces cooking time by about 44% - welfare effects clearly indicating that LPG is cost-effective to the household as well. We highlight the importance of relaxing households' financial constraints and improving access to credit to encourage urban households to switch to cleaner energy sources and save the remaining forest resources of Africa.
    Keywords: charcoal,deforestation,carbon dioxide,LPG stoves,liquidity constraint,credit
    JEL: G21 H31 O10 O13 Q23 Q51
    Date: 2020

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