nep-afr New Economics Papers
on Africa
Issue of 2023‒09‒04
five papers chosen by
Sam Sarpong, Xiamen University Malaysia Campus

  1. ECOWAS, once an assertive power in West Africa, reduced to a paper tiger? By Kohnert, Dirk
  2. Conflicts in the framing of conflicts: The case of community investment in a mining company in the Democratic Republic of the Congo By Josep F Mària; Jennifer Goodman
  3. A QGIS pugin for GIS-based multicriteria decision analysis: An application of developing alternative future land-use scenarios in Ghana By Chen, Changjie; Guo, Ziyi; Judge, Jasmeet
  4. Effects of the dynamic of regional integration on West Africa's trade By Palakiyèm Kpemoua
  5. Stopping Firestone and starting a citizen ‘revolution from below’: reflections on the enduring exploitation of Liberian land and labour By Pailey, Robtel Neajai

  1. By: Kohnert, Dirk
    Abstract: Economic integration among West African member states was the original mandate of ECOWAS. Threats to development, peace and security led the community to expand its mandate to include conflict management. ECOWAS has established a commendable record in peacekeeping. Its intervention in Liberia ended the conflict. In Sierra Leone, it provided the necessary support to the legitimate government, but in Guinea Bissau, it failed to stop the violence. In 2004, ECOMOG was replaced by the ECOWAS Standby Force (ESF), made up of military, police and civilian personnel. As part of its missions, ECOWAS has implemented conflict prevention and resolution mechanisms outlined in its Conflict Prevention Framework (ECPF). However, the organisation relies on its member states to achieve its objectives. Unfortunately, the latter is mostly characterised by a lack of political and financial commitment. In recent years, ECOWAS has focused on counter-terrorism strategies. However, these too have been hampered by capacity constraints, the persistence of a socioeconomic environment increasingly conducive to religious fundamentalism and extremism, and varying levels of political will and commitment. The ECOWAS institution's conflict prevention tools are currently stronger than its conflict management tools. At present, the ESF lacks the logistical and financial capacity for military deployment. Nigeria, the main troop and financial contributor, was supposed to provide more than half of the pledged ESF troops. But it has internal security challenges of its own. It is therefore doubtful that it could spare its pledged troops for an ESF mission. All this suggests that ECOWAS, once a force to be reckoned with in West Africa, has been reduced to a paper tiger. It's warning to intervene, by military force if necessary, in the current conflict in Niger, where a coup has overthrown the legitimate government, was reckoned as an empty threat. Especially since the coup leaders in Mali, Niger and Guinea have been backed by Russia.
    Keywords: ECOWAS; ECOWAS Standby Force; coup d'état; governance; sustainable development; post-colonialism; informal sector; ODA; Sub-Saharan Africa; West Africa; Mali; Niger; Guinea; Nigeria; France; African Union; EU; African Studies;
    JEL: F15 F35 F51 F52 F54 H12 H56 K42 N47 Z13
    Date: 2023–08–04
  2. By: Josep F Mària (ESADE - École supérieure d'administration et de direction d'entreprises = Escola Superior d'Administració i Direcció d'Empreses [Ramon Llull University]); Jennifer Goodman (Audencia Business School)
    Abstract: Conflict in firm–community relations is widespread and persistent. Diverse cultures and mindsets, particularly among extractives companies and local communities, pose a particularly challenging environment. Previous research offers insights into how to categorise and resolve conflicts. However, this paper addresses conflicts where the actors involved disagree on the frame of the conflict, thereby rendering the associated solutions inappropriate for one or both of the parties involved. We use examples from the Social Community Fund of a mining firm in the DRC to nuance previous work on conflict frames and develop a revised model that has implications for theory and practice.
    Keywords: Community Investment; Conflict; Firm-community relations; Mining
    Date: 2023–07
  3. By: Chen, Changjie; Guo, Ziyi; Judge, Jasmeet
    Abstract: In many West African countries, ongoing rapid urbanization urges reliable and proactive land use plans for sustainability purposes, which hinges on a complete assessment of land suitability. GIS-based multicriteria decision analysis (GIS-MCDA) is one of the most widely applied techniques in land use suitability analysis. It is pivotal that planners and analysts in the developing world have adequate support in conducting such analysis. To lower the financial and technological barriers, a new free and open-source software (FOSS) for GIS-MCDA is developed, called PyLUSATQ. It is designed as a QGIS plugin following a tight-coupling integration strategy, where analytic tools for GIS-based suitability analysis and MCDA are interconnected and seamlessly integrated into QGIS’s processing framework. With this implementation, users can create customized models with the PyLUSATQ tools using QGIS’s Graphical Modeler to automate the workflow for suitability analysis. PyLUSATQ is the first of its kind amongst all plugins published on the QGIS Python Plugin Repository, offering a range of tools for GIS-MCDA within the context of land use planning. To demonstrate its practical application, we created two 2050 future land-use scenarios in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. The first scenario depicts a "business-as-usual" model, whereas the second shows an "alternative" scenario if a higher development density was adopted. Comparisons of such scenarios provide evidential support for making informed decisions on land use policies. Additionally, the methodology introduced here is easily replicable for developing new QGIS plugins based on third-party Python libraries.
    Date: 2023–08–11
  4. By: Palakiyèm Kpemoua (Université de Lomé [Togo])
    Abstract: The main purpose of this paper is to examine the effects of the dynamic of regional integration and WTO membership on aggregate bilateral trade of West African countries. Empirical analyses were performed using an augmented structural gravity model on bilateral trade covering the period 1970-2019 and using the PPML estimator with its variants obtained from high-dimensional fixed effects (PPMLHDFE) suggested by Larch et al. (2018). The results show that the dynamic of regional integration in WAEMU significantly increase intra- and extra-bloc trade, whereas in the case of ECOWAS, they imply export trade deversion effects unfavourable to non-member countries. On the other hand, WTO membership diverts intra-bloc trade away from West African countries
    Abstract: L'objectif de cet article est d'examiner les effets de la dynamique de l'intégration régionale et de l'adhésion à l'OMC sur le commerce bilatéral agrégé des pays de l'Afrique de l'Ouest. Les analyses empiriques ont été effectuées à partir d'un modèle de gravité structurelle augmentée sur le commerce bilatéral couvrant la période 1970-2019 et à l'aide de l'estimateur PPML avec ses variantes obtenues à partir des effets fixes de grande dimension (PPMLHDFE) suggérées par Larch et al. (2018). Les résultats obtenus montrent que la dynamique de l'intégration régionale dans l'UEMOA augmente de manière significative le commerce intra-bloc et extrabloc alors que dans le cas de la CEDEAO, ils impliquent des effets de détournement de commerce d'exportation préjudiciables aux pays non membre. Par ailleurs, l'appartenance à l'OMC détourne le commerce intra-bloc des pays de l'Afrique de l'Ouest.
    Keywords: regional integration, intra-regional trade, panel data gravity model, ECOWAS., modèle de gravité en panel, CEDEAO, Intégration régionale, commerce intra-régional
    Date: 2023–08
  5. By: Pailey, Robtel Neajai
    Abstract: Attempting to reduce America’s dependence on foreign-sourced rubber, Firestone established in 1926 the world’s largest industrial plantation in Liberia under a controversial 99-year-lease agreement. Nearly a century later, backlash against the exploitative nature of corporate hegemony and economic globalisation crystallised in a transnational campaign, Stop Firestone, and class action suit to hold the multinational accountable. I argue in this article that Liberia’s unequal incorporation into global capitalism has configured and reconfigured the set of relations between government and citizens through parallel, albeit interrelated, processes—the globalisation of capital (via trade and investments) and the globalisation of rights (via universalised notions of citizenship as a human right). While the pursuit of foreign direct investment (FDI) in particular placed the interests of investors like Firestone ‘above’ the state thus undermining government–citizen relations, it simultaneously created a politicised workforce and network of Liberian activists thus strengthening citizen–citizen relations. Based on careful review of concession agreements and court proceedings as well as interviews conducted with government officials, activists and legal advocates based in Liberia and the United States, this article is the first to meld historical and contemporary developments, underscoring the twenty-first century implications of Firestone’s enduring exploitation of Liberian land and labour.
    Keywords: capitalism; citizenship; Firestone; globalisation; labour rights; Liberia; T&F deal
    JEL: R14 J01
    Date: 2023–08–04

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