nep-afr New Economics Papers
on Africa
Issue of 2022‒05‒23
six papers chosen by
Sam Sarpong
Xiamen University Malaysia Campus

  1. Corporate Finance, Industrial Performance and Environment in Africa: Lessons for Policy By Ekundayo P. Mesagan; Titilope C. Adewuyi; Olugbenga Olaoye
  2. Infrastructure and the politics of African state agency: shaping the Belt and Road Initiative in East Africa By Chiyemura, Frangton; Gambino, Elisa; Zajontz, Tim
  3. The State of Digital Financial Services in Francophone West Africa By Jenny Aker; David Carroll
  4. Tax Aversion and the Social Contract in Africa By James A. Robinson
  5. An assessment of Sudan’s wheat value chains: Exploring key bottlenecks and challenges By Abdelaziz, Fatma; William, Amy; Abay, Kibrom A.; Siddig, Khalid
  6. How Africa Borrows From China: And Why Mombasa Port is Not Collateral for Kenya's Standard Gauge Railway By Brautigam, Deborah; Bhalaki, Vijay; Deron, Laure; Wang, Yinxuan

  1. By: Ekundayo P. Mesagan (Pan Atlantic University, Lagos, Nigeria.); Titilope C. Adewuyi (University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria.); Olugbenga Olaoye (Bells University of Technology, Nigeria)
    Abstract: This study employs the Pool Mean Group framework to investigate the impact of corporate finance and industrial performance on pollution in Africa between 1990 and 2020. The study, which focuses on 36 African nations, found that corporate financing insignificantly enhances environmental quality in the short run, while it significantly worsens the environment in the long run. Also, the result shows that industrial performance exerts a negative but insignificant impact on pollution in both the short- and long-run periods. Lastly, the interaction term between corporate finance and industrial performance has a negative and significant impact on pollution in both periods. With this striking result, the study recommends that efforts should be made to promote the growth of environmentally sound production plants in the continent through the removal of credit facilitation bottlenecks.
    Keywords: Corporate Finance, Industrial Performance, Pollution, Africa
    JEL: G3 L25 O14 Q53
    Date: 2022–01
  2. By: Chiyemura, Frangton; Gambino, Elisa; Zajontz, Tim
    Abstract: Infrastructure development has experienced a political renaissance in Africa and is again at the centre of national, regional, and continental development agendas. At the same time, China has been identified by African policy-makers as a particularly suitable strategic partner. As infrastructure has become a main pillar of Sino-African cooperation, there has been growing analytical interest on the role of African actors in shaping the terms and conditions and, by extension, the implementation of infrastructure projects with Chinese participation. This follows a more general African “agency turn” in China-Africa studies, which has shifted the research focus on the myriad ways in which African state and non-state actors shape the continent’s engagements with China. This article is situated within this growing body of literature and explores different forms of African state agency in the context of Tanzania’s planned Bagamoyo port, Ethiopia’s Adama wind farms, and Kenya’s Lamu port. We posit a non-reductionist and social-relational ontology of the (African) state which sees the state as a multifaceted and multi-scalar institutional ensemble. We show that the extent and forms of state agencies exerted are inherently interrelated with and, thus, highly contingent upon concrete institutional, economic, political, and bureaucratic contexts in which African state actors are firmly embedded. In doing so, we make the case for a context-sensitive analysis of various spheres of state agency in particular conjunctures of Sino-African engagement.
    Keywords: African agency; BRI; Ethiopia; Kenya; Tanzania; infrastructure; state; Tim Zajontz’s field research was conducted with the help of PhD scholarships from the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).; Springer deal
    JEL: R14 J01
    Date: 2022–04–01
  3. By: Jenny Aker (Tufts University [Medford]); David Carroll (Tufts University [Medford])
    Abstract: The introduction of digital financial services (DFS) offers new opportunities to reduce the transaction costs associated with money transfers. Over the past decade, the number of DFS deployments has increased substantially, with over 300 deployments worldwide as of 2020. While there is substantial potential for such services to address the constraints to financial inclusion, especially in West Africa, widespread adoption and usage of these services remains relatively concentrated in particular markets. Economic research shows promise in terms of DFS increasing access to money transfers, smoothing consumption and reducing poverty in the long-term, but few studies have more sustained impacts. This can, in part, be explained by the agent network in several countries and the regulatory framework. We conclude by providing recommendations for the further growth of mobile money in West Africa.
    Keywords: West Africa,Digital Financial Services (DFS),Mobile money,Financial inclusion,Agents,Interoperability
    Date: 2022–04–07
  4. By: James A. Robinson
    Abstract: Despite the low levels of taxation and public good provision in Africa, I provide evidence that a large proportion of Africans prefer lower taxation and fewer public goods. This cannot be explained by standard arguments about problems of accountability, governance or state capacity. Instead I argue that it reflects deeply seated ideas about the nature of the state and its potential threats to the autonomy of society. I show the historic social contracts in Africa rarely featured taxation and kept the state to limited jurisdictions. These social contracts have in many ways reproduced themselves and influence the way Africa is governed today.
    JEL: H11 O1 O11
    Date: 2022–04
  5. By: Abdelaziz, Fatma; William, Amy; Abay, Kibrom A.; Siddig, Khalid
    Abstract: Wheat is a strategic and political good in Sudan and has played a central role in the country’s economy during successive regimes. Disruptions in Sudan’s wheat value chain usually leads to shortages of wheat bread, price spikes, and political unrest. With the objective of ensuring sufficient grain supplies for domestic consumption, Sudan’s domestic and imported wheat sectors have been subject to several government interventions over the last decades. Most interventions have focused on and aimed to (i) stimulate domestic production, (ii) ensure a reliable flow of wheat imports to compensate for low domestic wheat production, and (iii) monitor wheat flour and bread distribution processes to limit leakage and wastage. Sudan has two distinct wheat value chains: one for imported wheat and one for domestic wheat. The imported wheat value chain involves three major actors: milling companies, wheat flour agents, and bakeries. The domestic (locally produced) wheat value chain involves four main actors: wheat producers, wheat grain wholesalers, wheat grain retailers, and consumers. To understand the landscape of the wheat sector in Sudan, this report relies on rapid assessment surveys of the main wheat value chain actors. The aim is to closely identify different value chain actors’ distinct roles of the and to explore their linkages. The report evaluates and identifies key bottlenecks that likely cause wheat and bread supply disruptions while also shedding light on untapped opportunities and possible policy options to improve the functioning of Sudan’s wheat sector. We document wheat value chain actors’ policy preferences, which vary depending on whether actors are engaged in the domestic or the imported value chain. The report highlights the differential impact of COVID-19 and related mobility restrictions on wheat value chain members. For example, while wheat production remains mostly unaffected by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the marketing, trade, and distribution of wheat and wheat flour has been adversely affected by it.
    Keywords: REPUBLIC OF THE SUDAN, EAST AFRICA, AFRICA SOUTH OF SAHARA, AFRICA, assessment, wheat, value chains, domestic production, international trade, governance, prices, farmers, wholesale markets, retail marketing, policies, Coronavirus, coronavirus disease, Coronavirinae, COVID-19
    Date: 2022
  6. By: Brautigam, Deborah; Bhalaki, Vijay; Deron, Laure; Wang, Yinxuan
    Abstract: In December 2018, rumors began circulating that Kenya had staked its valuable Mombasa Port as collateral for US$ 3.6 billion in Chinese loans for the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR). New research from CARI shows why the collateral rumor is wrong. A CARI team of scholars and practitioners of international commercial law, auditing, and project finance spent nearly two years collecting and investigating all available SGR contracts and documentation.1 Solving the mystery of the collateral rumor through reconstructing the contractual arrangements also allowed the team to diagram for the first time how China Eximbank and its borrowers structure financing relationships and payment flows in a large Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) project (Figure 1), blending project finance into sovereign loans. The collateral rumor originated in a critical mistake by Kenya's Auditor General (AG). In a routine audit, the AG wrongly labeled Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), owner of Mombasa Port, as a "borrower" responsible for repaying the China Eximbank SGR loans. The AG-and many others-also misunderstood the "waiver of sovereign immunity" clause signed by Kenya's National Treasury, KPA, and Kenya Railway Corporation (KRC). Instead of a deliberate debt trap, we find that the railway project was carefully and creatively designed to reduce the risks of a sovereign default and enhance the bankability of a project with high costs but significant long-term benefits for Kenya and the region.
    Date: 2022

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