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  • Author: Obert Hodzi
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: With a few exceptions, armed civil wars are no longer commonplace in Africa, but anti-government protests are. Instead of armed rebels, unarmed civilians are challenging regimes across Africa to reconsider their governance practices and deliver both political and economic change. In their responses, regimes in countries like Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Rwanda, and Burundi have favored the combat mode—responding to dissent with military and repressive means. With few options, civilian movements look to the United States for protection and support while their governments look to China for reinforcement. If the United States seeks to reassert its influence in Africa and strengthen its democratic influence, its strategy needs to go beyond counterterrorism and respond to Africa’s pressing needs while supporting the African people in their quest for democracy and human rights.
  • Topic: Security, Conflict, State Violence, Civilians
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Élie Tenenbaum, Morgan Paglia, Nathalie Ruffié
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: France is one of the few nations in the world to benefit from a permanent global military presence. With more than 10,000 military personnel from all three services, deployed across the five continents and the three main oceanic basins, it benefits from the second largest network of prepositioned forces in the world. This global military posture is structured around five “presence forces”, based in Senegal, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Djibouti and the United Arab Emirates, as well as five “sovereignty forces” in the dependent overseas territories of the Antilles, French Guyana, Southern Indian Ocean, New Caledonia and French Polynesia. Over the past twenty years, this unique force posture has been hit by a series of deep budgetary cuts, translating into staff reductions and persisting delays in equipment delivery. As a result, the current military presence is under serious strain, as some capability are now weighing on the ability of these prepositioned forces to contribute as much as they could to the five strategic functions reiterated in the 2017 Strategic Review. These considerations are all the more important given the coming demographic, climatic, economic, geopolitical, and of course military challenges that will dramatically constrain the operational environment of the French forces in the coming years.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Military Strategy, Armed Forces, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, France, Latin America, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Tilman Altenburg, Xiao Chen, Wilfried Lütkenhorst, Cornelia Staritz, Lindsay Whitfield
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: The Discussion Paper examines the opportunities that the rising industrial wages in China will bring for Africa. China has been the industrial workbench of the global economy for decades. However, its competitive advantages are waning, particularly for labour-intensive assembly activities in the clothing, shoe, electronics and toy industries. The Chinese government estimates that up to 81 million low-cost industrial jobs are at risk of relocation to other countries - unless China can keep the companies in the country through automation. Against this background, three complementary studies were carried out. The first examines where the automation technology for clothing and footwear production stands today; the second, how clothing companies in China deal with the cost pressure: to what extent they automate, relocate within China or abroad and how great is the interest in Africa as a production location. The third part is devoted to Africa’s competitiveness in clothing assemly, with empirical findings from Ethiopia and Madagascar. The Discussion Paper shows that the manufacture of clothing can already be robotized today, but that for sewing, robotization will probably remain more expensive than manual labor in the next 15-20 years. China’s companies are investing heavily in the automation of all other production processes and at the same time shifting production to neighbouring Asian countries. In Africa, only Ethiopia is currently competitive in the manufacture of clothing, and here too there are significant institutional difficulties in absorbing large amounts of direct investment.
  • Topic: Industrial Policy, Labor Issues, Foreign Direct Investment, Exports, Automation
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Germany, Ethiopia, Madagascar
  • Author: Elvis Melia
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: This study asks what impact the Fourth Industrial Revolution will have on job creation and catchup development in Sub-Saharan Africa over the coming decade. Can light manufacturing export sectors still serve African development the way they served East Asian development in the past? If factory floor automation reduces the need for low-cost labour in global value chains, can IT-enabled services exports become an alternative driver of African catch-up development? I present case study evidence from Kenya to show that online freelancing has become an interesting sector, both in terms of its growth trajectory, and in terms of worker upward mobility in the global knowledge economy. As life everywhere moves further into the digital realm, and global internet connectivity between Africa and the rest of the world grows, more and more young Africans who stream onto the labour market may find work in the world of global online freelancing. I discuss the building blocks needed to make online work a sustainable vehicle for African catch-up development in the years ahead.
  • Topic: Development, Science and Technology, Labor Issues, Internet, Exports, Manufacturing, Industry
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Author: Sabrina Disse, Christoph Sommer
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: The vast majority of enterprises worldwide can be categorized as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). They play a crucial role in providing a livelihood and income for diverse segments of the labour force, in creating new jobs, fostering valued added and economic growth. In addition, SMEs are associated with innovation, productivity enhancement as well as economic diversification and inclusiveness. However, almost half of the formal enterprises in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) are financially constrained, meaning that SMEs’ financing needs are unserved or underserved. Digitalisation is often seen as game changer that overcomes the challenges of SME finance by capitalising on the reduced transaction costs, the broader access to more and alternative data and the new customer experience shaped by convenience and simplicity. This paper aims to answer the question what the role of digital financial instruments in SME finance in Sub-Saharan Africa is. It reviews and discusses the opportunities and challenges of digital advances for SME finance in general and of three specific financing instruments, namely mobile money (including digital credits), crowdfunding (including peer-to-peer lending) and public equity. It contrasts the hype around digital finance with actual market developments and trends in Africa. Main findings indicate that even though digital advances have led to impressive growth of certain digital finance instruments, it has not triggered a remake of the financial system. Digitalisation of the financial system is less disruptive than many expected, but does gradually change the financing landscapes. Some markets have added innovative and dynamic niches shaped by digital financial services, but new digital players have in general not replaced the incumbents. Furthermore, the contributions of digital instruments to finance in general and SME finance in particular are still very limited on the African continent compared to either the portfolio of outstanding SME finance by banks or the capital raised by similar innovative instruments elsewhere in the world. Many uncertainties remain, most importantly the response of regulators and responsible authorities. They need to provide a suitable legal framework to strike a balance between the innovation and growth aspiration of the digital finance industry and the integrity and stability of markets and the financial system at large. Also regulators have to safeguard data privacy and cybersecurity and prevent illicit financial flows, bad practices around excessive data collection, intransparency and poor reporting as well as exploitation of vulnerable groups with limited financial literacy. Governments also have to address the increasing gap towards those left behind by digital finance due to issues with ownership of a digital device, mobile network coverage and the internet connection or issues of basic digital and financial literacy.
  • Topic: Development, Science and Technology, Digital Economy, Business , Economic growth, Diversification
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Frederik Stender, Axel Berger, Clara Brandi, Jakob Schwab
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: This study provides early ex-post empirical evidence on the effects of provisionally applied Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) on two-way trade flows between the European Union (EU) and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP). Employing the gravity model of trade, we do not find a general EPA effect on total exports from ACP countries to the EU nor on total exports from the EU to ACP countries. We do, however, find heterogeneous effects when focusing on specific agreements and economic sectors. While the agreement between the EU and the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM), which concluded several years ahead of the other EPAs in 2008, if anything, reduced imports from the EU overall, the provisional application of the other EPAs seems to have at least partly led to increased imports from the EU to some partner countries. More specifically, the estimation results suggest an increase in the total imports from the EU only in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) EPA partner countries. On the sectoral level, by comparison, we find increases in the EU’s agricultural exports to SADC, Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) and the Pacific. Lastly, in the area of manufactures trade, we find decreases of exports of the ESA and SADC countries to the EU, but increases in imports from the EU into SADC countries. While this early assessment of the EPA effects merits attention given the importance of monitoring future implications of these agreements, it is still too early for a final verdict on the EPAs’ effects and future research is needed to investigate the mid- and long-term consequences of these agreements.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, International Cooperation, Regional Cooperation, Treaties and Agreements, Manufacturing, Trade
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, South Africa, Caribbean, Asia-Pacific, European Union
  • Author: Tim Stoffel
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: Public Procurement is a highly regulated process ruled by a complex legal framework. It comprises not only national but also, increasingly, sub- and supranational regulations, giving rise to a multi-level regulatory governance of public procurement. The integration of sustainability aspects into public procurement, as called for in goal 12.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the Agenda 2030, needs to take this multi-level character into account. This reports focuses on social considerations, which are a central part of sustainable procurement – whether with a domestic focus or along international value chains. Social considerations have been somewhat neglected in Europe, whereas they feature prominently in procurement regulations in many countries of the Global South, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The advanced process of regional integration in the European Union (EU) and the progress made towards integration in some regional economic communities in Sub-Saharan Africa call for deeper analyses of the influence of the higher levels of the regulatory framework on the lower levels. The question is whether public entities, from the national down to the local level, are required or at least have the option to integrate socially responsible public procurement (SRPP) into their procurement processes and tenders, or at least have the option to do so. This report is conducted as part of the project “Municipalities Promoting and Shaping Sustainable Value Creation (MUPASS) - Public Procurement for Fair and Sustainable Production”, implemented by DIE in cooperation with Service Agency Municipalities in One World (SKEW) with funds from the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and compares public procurement in Germany and Kenya. In both countries, the multi-level regulatory frameworks allow for SRPP regulations and practices ar the national and sub-national levels of government. There is, however, an implementation gap for SRPP in Germany and Kenya that appears to be independent from the specifics of the respective regulatory framework. To tackle this, supportive measures, such as capacity building, are key. Furthermore, Regional economic communities, such as the EU and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), can play a role in promoting SRPP, even without introducing mandatory provisions. At the other end of the multi-level regulatory spectrum, municipalities in the EU had and have an important role in SRPP implementation, that might be replicable by sub-national public entities in Kenya and other contexts.
  • Topic: Development, Governance, Regulation, Sustainable Development Goals
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, Europe, Germany
  • Author: Jacqueline M. Klopp, Abdullahi Boru Halakhe
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Carbon politics is playing out in oil-producing African countries with lethal consequences. Countries like Nigeria, Angola, Sudan, and South Sudan are conflict-ridden and economically unequal, and, as climate change concerns clash with new fossil fuel-driven development efforts, carbon politics is taking on ever-greater significance. While the scramble for fossil fuels could increase authoritarianism as it spreads in East Africa, an ecologically-driven imperative to address climate change could reinforce stronger democratic institutions.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Oil, Natural Resources, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan, Nigeria, Angola, East Africa, South Sudan
  • Author: Deborah P. Amory
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The struggle for LGBTIQ rights in Kenya provides a unique and fascinating case study of the powerful social change taking place right now. On May 24, 2019, the High Court of Kenya will rule on whether to decriminalize same-sex relationships, which are currently punishable by up to fourteen years in prison. The court was originally scheduled to decide this case in February but delayed the ruling, citing mounds of documents that had still not been read. Activists pointed out that judges had already had several years to read the documents, and some worried that the delay was a sign of government interference with the judicial process.
  • Topic: Social Movement, Political Activism, Courts, LGBT+
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Author: Elvis Melia
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: In the past two decades, Africa has experienced a wave of mobile telephony and the early stages of internet connectivity. This paper summarises recent empirical research findings on the impact that information and communication technologies (ICTs) have had on jobs in Africa, be it in creating new jobs, destroying old jobs, or changing the quality of existing jobs in levels of productivity, incomes, or working conditions. The paper discusses various channels in which ICTs can impact jobs: In theory, they have the potential to allow for text-based services platforms that can help farmers and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) become more productive or receive better access to market information; mobile money has the potential to allow the most vulnerable workers more independence and security; and the internet could allow women, in particular, to increase their incomes and independence. This literature review examines what rigorous empirical evidence actually exists to corroborate these claims. Most of the studies reviewed do indeed find positive effects of ICTs on jobs (or related variables) in Africa. On the basis of these findings, the paper reviews policy options for those interested in job creation in Sub-Saharan Africa. The paper concludes by highlighting that these positive findings may exist in parallel with negative structural dynamics that are more difficult to measure. Also, the review’s findings - while positive across the board - should be seen as distinct for ICTs in the period of the 2000s and 2010s, and cannot easily be transferred to expect similarly positive effects of the much newer, Fourth Industrial Revolution Technologies (such as machine learning, blockchain technologies, big data analytics, platform economies), which may produce entirely different dynamics.
  • Topic: Development, Science and Technology, Labor Issues, Women, Internet, Economic growth, Political Science, Literature Review
  • Political Geography: Africa