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  • Author: Alemayehu Geda
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper attempts to answer the following question: If the HIPC Initiative is fully successful and managed to write-off all debt that is owed by Africa, will the debt problem be over? The answer is 'no'. This pessimist answer is arrived at by examining the historical origin of African debt and the structural problems the continent is confronted with. The literature about the origins of the African debt crisis lists a number of factors as its cause. The oil price shocks of 1973-74 and 1978-79, the expansion of the Eurodollar, a rise in public expenditure by African governments following rising commodity prices in early 1970s, the recession in industrial countries and the subsequent commodity price fall, and a rise in real world interest rate are usually mentioned as major factors. Surprisingly, almost all the literature starts its analysis either in the early 1970s or, at best, after independence in 1960s. The main argument in this paper is that one has to go beyond this period not only to adequately explain the current debt crisis but also to propose its possible solution. The conclusion that emerges from such analysis is that the African debt problem is essentially a trade problem. Thus, long-run solution to debt points to the importance of addressing trade and trade related structural problems in the continent.
  • Topic: Development, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Steve Kayizzi-Mugerwa
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: After more than a decade of economic decline and civil war, Uganda was able to return to economic growth thanks to the policies pursued by Museveni's National Resistance Movement which elicited considerable donor support. They include macroeconomic reforms, public sector restructuring, privatisation and decentralization, all with emphasis on poverty reduction. The government recognises that fiscal policy is the key to success and much effort has, in the past decade, gone towards fiscal reforms and the improvement of institutional capacities. Still, in a country with limited finances and a thin tax base the competition for resources has been stiff. While the government has been able to embark on initiatives such as universal primary education, thanks to an improved revenue base and donor support, the decentralization drive is hindered by serious fiscal constraints at the local level.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Author: Clas Wihlborg
  • Publication Date: 02-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Insolvency and debt recovery procedures are as crucial to a well-performing financial sector as credit provision itself. They are even more important in Africa, where attempts are underway to create fully-fledged financial markets. For the financial system to be credible, creditors must be ensured that lenders will meet their obligations and that cases against them will be brought to closure. A good legal framework for insolvency also ensures distressed firms a form of orderly exit, thereby enabling their owners to start afresh. However, institutions of this nature take time to take effect, and need to be supported politically and by reforms in other sectors of the economy.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Steve Kayizzi-Mugerwa
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Although privatization has been a key feature of economic policy in Africa since the early 1990s its sequencing and intensity have varied from country to country, with donor leverage being an important determinant of the pace of implementation. However, although many privatization schemes were undertaken in response to donor demands for reduced government participation in business, the process soon achieved its own dynamics. The positive view of privatization suggests that it went ahead, in spite of domestic opposition, because politicians and bureaucrats perceived real benefits to themselves and their supporters. They could influence the sales to their own benefit, while, on the other hand, a more focused public sector improved service delivery.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Oliver Morrissey
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper considers how the conditionality inherent in HIPC debt relief should be constituted to promote pro-poor policies. There are two dimensions to this. First, the extent to which the policies proposed are pro-poor. Second, the potential for releasing resources for pro-poor expenditures. The paper provides an analytical framework to describe the policy environment for poverty reduction, and identifies where donor effort and influence are most likely to be effective. The paper argues that the elements of debt relief conditionality should be tailored to the features of the poverty-reduction policy environment and provides guidelines for the design of conditionality.
  • Topic: Development, International Organization
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Youssoufou Congo
  • Publication Date: 01-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This study tests the performance of microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Burkina Faso using indicators such as the sustainable interest rate and the subsidy dependence index. The results indicate that MFIs outreach performance remains very low compared with potential demand, and the factors responsible appear to be both the refusal of most MFIs to mobilize local savings and the high costs of supply of microfinancial services. The results also show that MFIs are not viable and sustainable. Their interest rates are kept low and do not allow them to cover all the costs. In addition, the results indicate that MFIs are dependent on subsidies. However, the oldest MFIs and/or institutions providing deposit services have the lowest subsidy dependence index. It is suggested that more attention should be placed on savings mobilization and ceilings on interest rates should be removed in order to allow MFIs to charge sustainable interest rates.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Ritva Reinikka, Jakob Svensson
  • Publication Date: 12-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Using panel data from an unique survey of public primary schools in Uganda we assess the degree of leakage of public funds in education. The survey data reveal that on average, during the period 1991-95, schools received only 13 percent of what the central government contributed to the schools' non-wage expenditures. The bulk of the allocated spending was either used by public officials for purposes unrelated to education or captured for private gain (leakage). Moreover we find that resource flows and leakages are endogenous to school characteristics. Rather than being passive recipients of flows from government, schools use their bargaining power vis-à-vis other parts of government to secure greater shares of funding. Resources are therefore not necessarily allocated according to the rules underlying government budget decisions, with potential equity and efficiency implications.
  • Topic: Education, Government, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa
  • Author: Finn Tarp, Tarp Jensen Henning
  • Publication Date: 12-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper makes use of a 1997 computable general equilibrium (CGE) model to analyse three potential strategies that Mozambique can pursue unilaterally with a view to initiating a sustainable development process. They include (i) an agriculture-first strategy, (ii) an agricultural-development led industrialization (ADLI) strategy, and (iii) a primary-sector export-oriented strategy. The ADLI strategy dominates the other development strategies since important synergy effects in aggregate welfare arise from including key agro-industry sectors into the agriculture-first development strategy. Moreover, the ADLI strategy can be designed so it has a relatively strong impact on the welfare of the poorest poverty-stricken households, and still maintain the politically sensitive factorial distribution of income.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Human Welfare
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Patrick Honohan, Philip R. Lane
  • Publication Date: 03-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: We analyse the prospects for greater monetary integration in Africa, in the wake of EMU. We argue that the structural characteristics of African economies are quite different to the EMU members but that much can be gained from monetary cooperation, as an external agency of restraint and in promoting stability in the financial sector. EMU has only a marginal impact on the net benefits of monetary cooperation but the euro would be a natural anchor for any African monetary unions. Indeed, the most likely route to new monetary cooperation in Africa is via a common peg to the euro.
  • Topic: Emerging Markets, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe
  • Author: Giovanni Cornia
  • Publication Date: 04-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Well before the introduction of adjustment-related Social Funds (SFs), many developing countries had developed a variety of safety nets comprising food subsidies, nutrition interventions, employment-based schemes and targeted transfers. Middle-income and a few low-income countries had also achieved extensive coverage in the field of social insurance. In countries committed to fighting poverty, these programmes absorbed considerable resources (2-5 per cent of GDP, excluding social insurance) and had a large impact on job creation, income support and nutrition: for instance, in 1983, Chile's public works programme absorbed 13 per cent of the labour force. Their ability to expand quickly depended on a permanent structure of experienced staff, good portfolios of projects, clear management rules, adequate allocation of domestic resources, supply-driven execution and, with the exception of food subsidies, fairly good targeting.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Development, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, South Asia, South America, Latin America, Central America, Caribbean, Chile