nep-afr New Economics Papers
on Africa
Issue of 2022‒05‒09
six papers chosen by
Sam Sarpong
Xiamen University Malaysia Campus

  1. Transforming African agricultural markets through digital innovations: What we (do not) know By Abay, Kibrom A.; Abate, Gashaw Tadesse; Chamberlin, Jordan; Kassim, Yumna; Spielman, David J.; Tabe-Ojong, Martin Paul, Jr.
  2. The impact of governance and capital flows on food and nutrition security and undernourishment: further evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa By Cassimon, Danny; Fadare, Olusegun; Mavrotas, George
  3. Who lends to Africa and how? Introducing the Africa debt database By Mihalyi, David; Trebesch, Christoph
  4. What’s the catch? Fiscal Policies for Fisheries in five African Countries By Giovanni Occhiali
  5. The social media use of African terrorist organizations: a comparative study of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Al-Shabaab and Boko Haram By János Besenyő; Gábor Sinkó
  6. Instant Loans Can Lift Subjective Well-Being: A Randomized Evaluation of Digital Credit in Nigeria By Daniel Bj\"orkegren; Joshua Blumenstock; Omowunmi Folajimi-Senjobi; Jacqueline Mauro; Suraj R. Nair

  1. By: Abay, Kibrom A.; Abate, Gashaw Tadesse; Chamberlin, Jordan; Kassim, Yumna; Spielman, David J.; Tabe-Ojong, Martin Paul, Jr.
    Abstract: This policy note synthesizes the key messages and lessons from existing evidence and trends in the development, deployment and scale up of ICT-enabled marketing tools. It is based on the recently published discussion paper titled “Digital tools and agricultural market transformation in Africa: Why are they not at scale yet, and what will it take to get there†. Key messages • Many digital innovations have been developed and deployed in recent years in Africa, many of which have only been implemented at pilot stages, with limited evidence of successful scaling. • There remains significant marketing and institutional constraints hindering the development of some of these digital innovations, which may further explain disparate progress in countries. • Differential access to digital innovations across genders and different typologies of households may trigger alternative variants of digital divide. • Although the landscape of digital innovations in Africa offers several reasons to remain optimistic, the prevailing disconnect between pilots and scale-ups merits further evaluation.
    Keywords: AFRICA, AFRICA SOUTH OF SAHARA, CENTRAL AFRICA, EAST AFRICA, NORTH AFRICA, SOUTHERN AFRICA, WEST AFRICA, digital technology, innovation, agriculture, markets, digital divide, risk, Information and Communication Technologies, policies
    Date: 2022
  2. By: Cassimon, Danny; Fadare, Olusegun; Mavrotas, George
    Abstract: The Sustainable Development Goal-2 to “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture” has received a lot of attention in recent years as part of the 2030 Agenda. At the same time, there exists a complex interaction between institutions, capital flows, and food and nutrition security. In this paper we estimate a series of dynamic panel data models to examine the impact of governance quality and capital flows (in the form of ODA, FDI, Portfolio Equity and Remittances) on food security, nutrition security and undernourishment by using panel data for 25 SSA countries over the period 1996 to 2018. One of the key contributions of the paper is the use of both aggregate and disaggregated capital flows to examine the impact on both food and nutrition security, a dimension that has been surprisingly neglected in most of the relevant literature. We combine this with the interaction of various types of capital flows with a governance quality index we constructed from various governance indicators and in order to examine also the impact of institutions on the overall nexus. We also employ a dynamic estimation methodology in the form of Difference-GMM and System-GMM estimators along with various misspecification diagnostics to deal with possible endogeneity issues. Finally, we also examine the impact not only on food and nutrition security but also on undernourishment Our findings clearly demonstrate the importance of a disaggregation approach and reflect on earlier work regarding the role of governance quality in the overall nexus between external capital flows and various measures of food and nutrition security which leads, and as expected, to an interesting variation in the results obtained, depending on the type of capital flows and the interaction with the governance indicators.
    Keywords: institutions; capital flows; food security; nutrition security; undernourishment; SSA; sub-Saharan Africa
    JEL: F30 I10 O10
    Date: 2022–05
  3. By: Mihalyi, David; Trebesch, Christoph
    Abstract: Africa's sovereign debt markets are not well understood, partly due to a lack of data. This paper introduces the Africa Debt Database (ADD), the most granular and comprehensive dataset on external borrowing by African governments thus far. Our project moves beyond existing aggregate datasets and instead releases information on individual loans and bonds, in particular on the financial terms of each instrument. Taken together, we cover nearly 7000 loans and bonds between 2000 and 2020, with a total volume of 644 billion USD. Using this data, we study Africa's record lending boom of the 2010s in detail. The debt boom was mainly driven by large sovereign bond issuances in London and New York, as well as growing lending by Chinese state-owned banks. The micro data also reveal a large variation in lending terms across countries, time, and creditors. Sovereign external bonds have interest rates of 6 percent, on average, Chinese banks charge 2-4 percent, and multilateral organizations just 1 percent. Strikingly, many governments in Africa simultaneously borrow large amounts from both private and official creditors, at vastly different rates. The large differences in debt servicing costs are indicative of a cross-creditor subsidy, as cheap concessional loans can be used to pay the high interest to private or Chinese creditors.
    Keywords: debt sustainability,debt composition,bond issuances
    JEL: E62 F34 H63
    Date: 2022
  4. By: Giovanni Occhiali (ICTD - International Centre for Tax and Development, IDS - Institute of Development Studies [Brighton] - University of Sussex)
    Abstract: The taxation of fisheries: rationale and overarching debates Many low-income countries (LICs) have long struggled to increase their domestic revenue mobilisation, which is often seen as a necessary step to achieve a more sustained economic development. A wider fiscal space can lead to more funds being available for social spending and infrastructure investment, both of which are required to improve livelihood opportunities for their citizens. A decreased dependence on external aid to finance domestic policies, coupled with more frequent bargaining about revenue extraction between the government and the population, could also lead to better governance outcome.
    Date: 2022–02–08
  5. By: János Besenyő (Óbuda University [Budapest]); Gábor Sinkó (Óbuda University [Budapest])
    Abstract: The objective of this qualitative study is to raise awareness of the online presence of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), al-Shabaab and Boko Haram by analyzing and comparing their social media activities. The decision that the above-mentioned terrorist organizations shall be selected for inclusion was based on the fact that (I.) they are active in Africa, (II.) they are currently or affiliated with three of the deadliest international terrorist groups in the continent and (III.) they use social media in order to achieve their goals. I conclude that social media is used by all three of the studied terrorist organizations with special attention devoted to mainstream social media platforms, namely Twitter, YouTube and-to a lesser extent-Facebook. Additionally, AQIM, al-Shabaab and Boko Haram seem to have primarily used social media for propaganda purposes, although it was also utilized as a recruitment tool, albeit to varying degrees. Finally, I believe social media can also be used for coordination and funding by the studied terrorist groups; although the small amount of publicly accessible evidence entails qualitative problems, indicating the fact there is room for further research.
    Date: 2021–09–30
  6. By: Daniel Bj\"orkegren; Joshua Blumenstock; Omowunmi Folajimi-Senjobi; Jacqueline Mauro; Suraj R. Nair
    Abstract: Digital loans have exploded in popularity across low and middle income countries, providing short term, high interest credit via mobile phones. This paper reports the results of a randomized evaluation of a digital loan product in Nigeria. Being randomly approved for digital credit (irrespective of credit score) substantially increases subjective well-being after an average of three months. For those who are approved, being randomly offered larger loans has an insignificant effect. Neither treatment significantly impacts other measures of welfare. We rule out large short-term impacts either positive or negative: on income and expenditures, resilience, and women's economic empowerment.
    Date: 2022–02

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