nep-afr New Economics Papers
on Africa
Issue of 2021‒03‒08
four papers chosen by
Sam Sarpong
The University of Mines and Technology

  1. Efficiency of tax revenue administration in Africa By Onesmo Kaiya Mackenzie
  2. Electricity Sector Reform Performance in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Parametric Distance Function Approach By Adwoa Asantewaa, Adwoa; Jamasb, Tooraj; Llorca, Manuel
  3. Africa's integration in the WTO multilateral trading system: Academic support and the role of WTO Chairs By Smeets, Maarten
  4. The Economics of Missionary Expansion:Evidence from Africa and Implications for Development By Remi Jedwab; Felix Meier zu Selhausen; Alexander Moradi

  1. By: Onesmo Kaiya Mackenzie (Stellenbosch University)
    Abstract: Achieving stable domestic tax revenue allows countries to finance their essential spending needs. For most countries in Africa, enhancing tax revenue is critical for sustainable development. To build up fiscal capacity, country experiences suggest the importance of tax administration reforms that aim at improving the performance of these institutions. Despite its importance, empirical literature on tax administration is limited, especially in Africa. Lack of comparable tax administrative data explains the scant literature. However, the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) has compiled a dataset for African countries which makes empirical analysis possible. The paper makes use of this administrative dataset available for 28 African countries for the 2012 - 2017 period to investigate the efficiency of tax administration in Africa. It applies Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA), Stochastic Frontier Analysis (SFA) and Tobit regression to analyse efficiency scores, rank tax administrations and explore the factors that matter. Among the findings, the paper indicates minimal variation in efficiency across the African tax administrations and significant impact of the size of the informal sector, size of non-tax revenue, employee length of service and autonomy of the tax administration.
    Keywords: Tax administration, Efficiency, Domestic revenue, Development
    JEL: D24 H20
    Date: 2021
  2. By: Adwoa Asantewaa, Adwoa; Jamasb, Tooraj; Llorca, Manuel
    Abstract: TSince the late 1980s, electricity sector reforms have transformed the structure and organisation of the sector in many countries across the world. While the outcomes of reforms in developed and some developing countries have been extensively examined, there is limited analysis on the outcomes of the reforms in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). This paper analyses the performance of electricity sector reforms in 37 SSA countries between 2000 and 2017. We use a Stochastic Frontier Analysis approach to estimate a multi-input-multi-output distance function to assess the impact of reform steps and institutional features on sector-level performance. The results indicate that reforms in SSA increased the installed generation capacity per capita and plant load factor but did not reduce technical network losses. Also, the presence of an electricity law, sector regulator, vertical unbundling, and private participation in the management of assets have a positive impact on reform performance. Perceptions of non-violent institutional features such as corruption, regulatory quality and governance effectiveness do not seem to have significant effect on reform performance, but perceptions of political stability, violence and terrorism influence reform outcomes. The effects of hydroelectric capacity on reform performance was found to be negligible while larger electricity systems were found to be more efficient reformers. We conclude that a workable reform in SSA involves vertical unbundling with an electricity law, a regulator and private ownership and management of assets where desirable. However, the positive outcomes go hand in hand with an increase of technical network losses, and hence emphasis should be placed on decoupling these losses from generation capacity and plant load factor.
    Date: 2021
  3. By: Smeets, Maarten
    Abstract: The Marrakesh Agreement establishing the WTO recognizes the need for positive efforts designed to ensure that developing countries and especially the least developed among them secure a share in the growth in international trade commensurate with the needs of their economic development.This article discusses how the WTO contributes to facilitating Africa's integration into the WTO multilateral trading system. It is argued that, while African countries are actively engaged in the work of the WTO, securing their economic and policy interests, some main challenges remain. These include the need to further diversify production, linking to the Global Value Chains and developing adequate infra-structures facilitating digital trade as a vehicle for economic growth. The WTO, in close collaboration with partner institutions, lends its support to Africa in overcoming some of these issues through various programs, all geared towards trade capacity building. It is argued that the work undertaken by WTO Chairs and academic institutions under the aegis of the WTO's Chairs Program (WCP) is of critical importance in providing the analytical underpinnings for the policy choices in support of a fuller integration in the multilateral trading system. Preparations are under way meeting all the conditions for this program to be significantly expanded and deepened in 2021 with a view of further strengthening its capacity to provide support to beneficiaries and especially LDCs, hence African countries, integrating in the multilateral trading system.
    Keywords: trade,capacity building,Africa,WTO,Global Value Chains,academic support
    JEL: F10 F13 F19 F53 F55 F63 F68
    Date: 2021
  4. By: Remi Jedwab (George Washington University, Department of Economics); Felix Meier zu Selhausen (Wageningen University); Alexander Moradi (Free University of Bolzano‐Bozen, Faculty of Economics and Management)
    Abstract: How did Christianity expand in Africa to become the continent’s dominant religion? Using annual panel census data on Christian missions from 1751 to 1932 in Ghana, and pre-1924 data on missions for 43 sub-Saharan African countries, we estimate causal effects of malaria, railroads and cash crops on mission location. We find that missions were established in healthier, more accessible, and richer places before expanding to economically less developed places. We argue that the endogeneity of missionary expansion may have been underestimated, thus questioning the link between missions and economic development for Africa. We find the endogeneity problem exacerbated when mission data is sourced from Christian missionary atlases that disproportionately report a selection of prominent missions that were also established early.
    Keywords: Economics of Religion; Religious Diffusion; Human Capital; Economic Persistence; Measurement; Historical Data; Atlases; Missions; Christianity; Africa
    JEL: O10 O40 Z12 I20 N30
    Date: 2021–02

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