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  • Author: Augustin K. Fosu
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: What can the less well-off developing countries learn from the “successes” of other developing countries? This Policy Brief highlights successful development strategies and lessons from in-depth case studies of select countries from the developing world. The coverage includes East Asia and the Pacific, the emerging Asian giants, sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East and North Africa, along with respective regional syntheses. Although countries' experiences are not necessarily replicable, the recurrent themes across countries and regions provide the appropriate connectedness for a comprehensive global perspective on development strategies and lessons.
  • Topic: Development, Emerging Markets, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, Israel, Latin America
  • Author: Kei Otsuki, Weena Gera, David Mungai
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Since the 2000s, African cities have witnessed a series of interventions to improve water and sanitation. This policy brief outlines key lessons learned from the intervention experience, drawing on the UNU research project Multi-level Urban Governance for Total Sanitation (2011-2013) under the Education for Sustainable Development in Africa (ESDA) Project. It highlights the importance of multi-actor approaches for promoting: (1) an institutional framework to coordinate civil society organizations, community-based organizations, and the state agencies across levels; (2) policy recognition of water and sanitation as socially embedded infrastructure with gendered dimensions; and (3) the relevance of scientific research and university education to ongoing policy interventions.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Development, Health, Infrastructure
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Danielle Resnick
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: When, why and how has foreign aid facilitated, or hindered, democracy in recipient countries? Focusing on sub-Saharan Africa, this policy brief examines the impact of foreign aid on supporting transitions from one-party to multi-party regimes, preventing democratic breakdown and the erosion of civil liberties, enhancing vertical and horizontal accountability, and enabling competitive political party systems. Particular attention is given to the trade-offs and complementarities between different types of foreign aid, namely democracy assistance and economic development aid. Select policy recommendations are offered to improve aid effectiveness at bolstering democratic trajectories within the region.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Development, Economics, Human Rights, Political Economy, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Samuel Kobina Annim
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper examines the combined effect of interest rates and poverty levels of microfinance clients on loan size. Cross section data on 2,691 clients and non-clients households from Ghana is used to test the hypothesis of loan price inelasticity. Quantile regression and variants of least squares methods that explore endogeneity are employed. We find the expected inverse relationship only for the 20th to 40th quantile range. The semi-elasticity of loan amount responsiveness to a unit change in interest rate is more than proportionate and significant for the poorest group only. Market segmentation based on poverty level is suggested in targeting and sustaining microfinance clients.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Markets, Poverty, Foreign Aid
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Danielle Resnick
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Electoral coalitions are becoming increasingly popular among opposition parties in Africa because they offer many advantages with respect to reducing party fragmentation and increasing incumbent turnovers. At the same time, however, they are often comprised of parties that are defined predominantly by their leaders' personalities and exhibit little differentiation in terms of their policy orientation. Based on a dataset spanning all opposition coalitions since 2000 in Africa's electoral democracies, this paper demonstrates not only that coalitions rarely defeat incumbents but also that they are only competitive when major opposition parties are involved. More significantly, the paper highlights that in many countries, a sizeable share of total electoral volatility is due to fluctuations in voting for opposition parties that have belonged to coalitions. The paper argues that such volatility reflects the inability of coalition members to build loyal constituency bases over time, which is critical for party development and broader consolidation.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Abdelrasaq Na-Allah
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Recent developments in policy initiatives as well as some current practical events have combined to put the spotlight on the issue of industrial embeddedness in sub-Saharan Africa. Though extant research documents some stylized facts, as determinants of its manifestations, their relevance to realities in the sub-continent, have until now been overlooked. Yet, it is difficult to ignore the fact that its constituent economies possess some peculiar attributes with potentially significant implications for embeddedness behaviour. Using data for the country of Lesotho, a probit model is estimated to ascertain the veracity of some of the widely acclaimed explanatory factors. We find, as we argue, that among all, the issue of supply potentials appears the most important.
  • Topic: Development, Industrial Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Steve Onyeiwu
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper reviews the innovative capabilities and absorptive capacities of African countries, and investigates whether they have played significant roles in the region's slow and episodic economic growth. Results from cross-country regressions covering 31 Sub-Saharan African countries suggest that growth in Africa is not simply a question of capital accumulation, fertility rates, aid dependency, and stable macroeconomic environment. It is also about strengthening the capacity of African countries to assimilate and effectively use knowledge and technology. Contrary to the views held by many analysts, the growth of African economies does not depend so much on their ability to innovate, but rather on their capacity to absorb and effectively use new technologies. Beyond technological issues, the paper confirms the stylized facts that the size of the government and political stability are important for the growth performance of African countries.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Dominique van der Mensbrugghe, Maurizio Bussolo, Rafael E. De Hoyos, Denis Medvedev
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Over the past 20 years, aggregate measures of global inequality have changed little even if significant structural changes have been observed. High growth rates of China and India lifted millions out of poverty, while the stagnation in many African countries caused them to fall behind. Using the World Bank's LINKAGE global general equilibrium model and the newly developed Global Income Distribution Dynamics (GIDD) tool, this paper assesses the distribution and poverty effects of a scenario where these trends continue in the future. Even by anticipating a deceleration, growth in China and India is a key force behind the expected convergence of per capita incomes at the global level. Millions of Chinese and Indian consumers will enter into a rapidly emerging global middle class—a group of people who can afford, and demand access to, the standards of living previously reserved mainly for the residents of developed countries. Notwithstanding these positive developments, fast growth is often characterized by high urbanization and growing demand for skills, both of which result in a widening of income distribution within countries. These opposing distributional effects highlight the importance of analysing global disparities by taking into account—as the GIDD does—income dynamics between and within countries.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, India, Asia
  • Author: Mark McGillivray, Wim Naudé, Stephanié Rossouw
  • Publication Date: 05-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: A small but growing literature has been concerned about the economic (and environmental) vulnerability on the level of countries. Less attention is paid to the economic vulnerability of different regions within countries. By focusing on the vulnerability of subnational regions, our paper contributes to the small literature on the 'vulnerability of place'. We see the vulnerability of place as being due to vulnerability in various domains, such as economic vulnerability, vulnerability of environment, and governance, demographic and health fragilities. We use a subnational dataset on 354 magisterial districts from South Africa, recognize the potential relevance of measuring vulnerability on a subnational level, and construct a local vulnerability index (LVI) for the various districts. We condition this index on district per capita income and term this a vulnerability intervention index (VII) interpreting this as an indicator of where higher income per capita, often seen in the literature as a measure of resilience, will in itself be unlikely to reduce vulnerability.
  • Topic: Security, Demographics, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa
  • Author: Christian Rogg
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper considers asset holdings in rural Ethiopia. It shows that households own mostly non-financial assets and that the composition of asset portfolios varies significantly with the household's overall wealth and its exposure to uncertainty. As regards the distribution of assets, inequality is lowest for land holdings and much higher for all other assets. More generally, asset inequality is higher than consumption inequality but, somewhat surprisingly, lower than income inequality. Less surprising is the finding that asset holdings are positively correlated with income and consumption. An analysis of how asset holdings vary with key demographic variables shows that assets increase with the size of the household and the education of the household head. Finally, the paper concludes by exploring the role that assets play in marriage markets in rural Ethiopia.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia