The EU’s Economic Partnership Agreements sideshow is coming to a close

Jaime de Melo, Julie Regolo 17 September 2014

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At the concluding days of the Doha negotiations in November 2001, WTO members signed a waiver extending the Cotonou Partnership Agreement to allow the Cotonou trade regime to be extended provided that it became WTO-compatible, that is through reciprocal Free Trade Areas.  Negotiations were to be concluded by December 2007 else the non-Least Developed Countries (non-LDCs) among the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) former colonies would no longer benefit from preferential access in the EU market beyond the preferences granted under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP).

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Topics:  Development International trade

Tags:  EU, Economic Partnership Agreements, Africa

What is driving the ‘African growth miracle’?

Margaret McMillan 30 August 2014

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Some argue that growth across Africa is fundamentally a result of rising commodity prices and that if these prices were to collapse, so too would Africa’s growth rates (Lipton 2012). Others lament the so-called de-industrialisation of Africa. They worry that without a vibrant manufacturing sector, unemployment will remain high and the economies of Africa will not catch up to the more advanced countries of the world (Rodrik 2014). Finally, some warn that youth unemployment could lead to social unrest in sub-Saharan Africa (Filmer and Fox, 2014).

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Topics:  Development

Tags:  Africa, structural transformation, Agriculture

Growth escalators and growth convergence

Ejaz Ghani 17 August 2014

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The literature on global growth convergence and divergence is vast and deep. And it is still evolving. Some have argued that global growth is actually diverging across countries. Pritchett (1977) called this “divergence, big time”, whereby the living standards of a few countries pulled away from the rest in the aftermath of the industrial revolution. Others have found evidence in favour of growth convergence.

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Topics:  Development

Tags:  growth, Africa, convergence

African growth looking forward

Marco Annunziata 16 August 2014

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Views on Africa’s growth prospects have jumped from utter pessimism to extreme enthusiasm. The latter has been centre-stage with the US–Africa Summit hosted in Washington DC from 4–6 August 2014, with the participation of top political and business leaders. My coauthors Todd Johnson and Shlomi Kramer and I have tried to take a sober assessment of Africa’s progress and prospects, looking beyond the current hype and the inevitable frustration that doing business in the region still generates (Annunziata et al. 2014).

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Topics:  Development

Tags:  development, growth, Africa, human capital, trade, innovation, infrastructure, commodity boom

Rethinking African solar power for Europe

Emanuele Massetti, Elena Ricci 23 July 2014

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The DESERTEC Foundation has suggested that up to 20% of power demand in Europe can be obtained by connecting African deserts to European cities (Figure 1). The idea is to build a large number of concentrated solar power (CSP) plants in Middle Eastern and Northern African (MENA) countries, and to transmit electricity to Europe by means of very efficient high-voltage direct-current cables.

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Topics:  Energy Environment

Tags:  Europe, Africa, climate change, Renewable energy, energy security, Middle East, deserts, solar, photovoltaic, wind, concentrated solar power

British and French educational legacies in Africa

Denis Cogneau, Alexander Moradi 17 May 2014

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Britain and France followed two very distinct approaches to education in their African colonies (Garner and Schafer 2006).

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Topics:  Development Economic history Education

Tags:  Africa, institutions, colonialism, West Africa

Newspaper readership, civic attitudes, and economic development: Evidence from the history of African media

Julia Cagé, Valeria Rueda 14 May 2014

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Poor governance due to lack of political accountability is often cited as an explanation for the low level of economic development in sub-Saharan Africa. Lack of political accountability can emerge when voters do not choose their candidates according to their expected performance. In sub-Saharan Africa, voters often use the ethnic profile of a candidate as an informational shortcut for the candidate’s political agenda (Ichino and Nathan 2013). As a consequence, politicians rely on tribal allegiances that deliver the votes of co-ethnics irrespective of performance (Casey 2013).

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Topics:  Development Economic history Institutions and economics Politics and economics

Tags:  development, democracy, Africa, religion, technology, media, voting, accountability

More to do on measuring hunger

Joachim De Weerdt, Kathleen Beegle, Jed Friedman, John Gibson 18 February 2014

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One of the first Millennium Development Goals is to reduce hunger by half between 1990 and 2015. To date, the global hunger count has fallen slightly, from 1 billion in 1990–1992 to 870 million in 2010–2012 (Food and Agriculture Organization 2013). As a proportion of the world’s population, this is just a one-third fall in the hunger rate, from 19% to 13%. In contrast, the other highly visible Millennium Development Goal – reducing extreme poverty by half – was achieved by 2010.

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Topics:  Poverty and income inequality

Tags:  development, Africa, Poverty, Millennium Development Goals, food, hunger, measurement error, surveys, Tanzania

Why don’t African firms create more jobs?

Leonardo Iacovone, Vijaya Ramachandran 07 February 2014

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There is an urgent need for job creation in Africa. Many economies on the continent suffer high rates of under-employment and/or low-productivity employment. In addition, because of demographic factors, many countries anticipate that large numbers of youth will enter the workforce in the near future. This may be beneficial to economic growth but also a potential threat to social stability.

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Topics:  Development Labour markets

Tags:  Africa, firms, jobs

The value of democracy in the world’s poorest region: Evidence from Kenya’s road building

Ameet Morjaria 05 February 2014

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An enormous literature points to a diverse set of factors behind Africa’s growth tragedy, ranging from bad policies, poor education, and poor infrastructure, to aging leaders, the historic slave trade, and political instability. Historians, political scientists, and economists have all argued that ethnic favouritism – a situation where coethnics benefit from patronage and public policy decisions – has hampered the economic performance of many African countries.

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Topics:  Development Institutions and economics Politics and economics

Tags:  democracy, Africa, autocracy, ethnic inequality, public finance

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