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  • Author: Luc Soete, Alexis Habiyaremye
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Before the current global recession, many resource-rich African countries were recording unprecedented levels of growth due to a raw material price boom. However, the collapse in raw material prices and the ensuing severe economic difficulties have again exposed the vulnerability of these countries' natural resource export-focussed economic structures. In this research brief, we describe how Africa's abundance of natural resources attracted disruptive and predatory foreign forces that have hindered innovation-based growth and economic diversification by delaying the accumulation of sufficient stocks of human capital. We suggest that for their long-term prosperity, resource-rich African countries shift their strategic emphasis from natural to human resources and technological capabilities needed to transform those natural resources into valuable goods and services to compete in the global market.
  • Topic: Economics, Emerging Markets, Industrial Policy, Global Recession, Natural Resources, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, India
  • Author: Wim Naudé, Augustin Kwasi Fosu
  • Publication Date: 08-2009
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: THE GLOBAL ECONOMIC CRISIS OF 2008 HAS INDUCED two negative external shocks in African countries. The first is a financial shock with the availability of credit declining and the cost of international credit increasing (a financial crisis); and the second is a shock relating to the demand for and price of exports, as most of Africa's important markets went into recession and commodity prices tumbled (an economic crisis).
  • Topic: Globalization, Poverty, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: A. J. E. Charman
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper considers the impact of livelihoods oriented agricultural service provision for smallholder farmers on gender relationships and food security. The paper contents that the democratization and liberalization of agricultural services towards participatory, bottom-up approaches, from the early 1990s has brought favourable gender gains to women. The paper examines the background to this shift in agricultural service provision. The resulting gender gains, we argue, should be seen in terms of Sen's notion of entitlements. We examine evidence of these gains from developments and cases in Malawi and Zambia and draw supporting evidence from Zimbabwe and South Africa.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Gender Issues
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa, Zimbabwe
  • Author: Amelia U. Santos-Paulino
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper analyses the patterns of export productivity and trade specialization profiles in the China, Brazil, India and South Africa, and in other regional groupings. In doing so, the investigation calculates a time varying export productivity measure using highly disaggregated product categories. The findings indicate that export productivity is mainly determined by real income and human capital endowments. Importantly, the study reveals significant differences in the export productivity and specialization patterns of countries with comparable per capita income levels. For instance, China's export productivity and implied export sophistication is in line with that of countries with higher per capita incomes, including some OECD industrial economies.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, India, Asia, South Africa, Brazil, South America
  • Author: John Henley, Stefan Kratzsch, Tamer Tandogan, Mithat Külür
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The burgeoning literature on outward foreign direct investment from emerging markets has largely focused on analysing the motives of investors as reported by parent companies. This paper, instead, focuses on firm-level investments originating from China, India or South Africa in fifteen host countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The analysis is based on a sub-set of firms drawn from the overall sample of 1,216 foreign-owned firms participating in the UNIDO Africa Foreign Investor Survey, carried out in 2005. The sample of investments originating from China, India and South Africa is analysed in terms of firm characteristics, past and forecast performance in SSA over three years and management's perception of ongoing business conditions. Comparisons are made with foreign investors from the North. The paper concludes that while investors in SSA from the three countries are primarily using their investment to target specific markets, they are largely operating in different sub-sectors. While there appear to be specific features that firms from a given country of origin share, there are no obvious operating-level features they all share apart from market seeking.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, India, Asia, South 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: Marie-Claude Martin
  • Publication Date: 03-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The interaction between available individual and collective resources in the determination of health is largely ignored in the literature on the relationship between poverty and health in developing countries. We analyse the role public resources play in the perception that rural women in Morocco have of their health. These resources are taken to contribute directly and indirectly to the improvement of individual health by, on the one hand, providing a health-promoting environment and, on the other, improving the individual's ability to produce health. The empirical results of multilevel models confirm the expected associations between socioeconomic status, individual vulnerability factors and health. Furthermore, the random part of the model suggests that variation in state of health is also associated with the presence of collective resources. However, the higher the level of women's individual wealth, the less the characteristics of the community in which they live seem to be associated with their health, and the less the potential vulnerability factors seem to constrain their ability to maintain or improve health. Our results suggest that collective investments derived from various areas of activity will be more favourable to improving health, insofar as they are adapted to the initial capacity of women to benefit from them.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Health, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Morocco
  • 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: Thomas Gries, Wim Naudé, Marianne Matthee
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Success in international trade depends, amongst other things, on distance from markets. Most new economic geography models focus on the distance between countries. In contrast much less theorizing and empirical analysis have focused on how distances within a country—for instance due to the location behaviour of exporting firms—matter to international trade. In this paper we contribute to the literature on the latter by offering a theoretical model to explain the optimal distance that an export-oriented firm would locate from a port. We present empirical evidence from South Africa in support of the model.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa
  • Author: Ghassan Dibeh
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper studies state failure and governance in two conflict-states in the Middle East: Iraq and Somalia. Iraq is currently undergoing a social experiment under which a new form of government is being constructed after the passage of autocratic rule. The government envisaged is a consociational democratic state designed a priori as a political mechanism for the redistribution of resources, mainly oil. Somalia represents a stateless society or anarchy. The paper argues that in resource-rich countries such as Iraq, the consociational project leads to an Olson-type rent-seeking confessional behaviour that hampers economic growth and development. The rent-seeking behaviour in Iraq is fuelling the insurgency that perceives the consociational system as a grabbing attempt of the country's resources by other ethnic groups. However, state construction is possible since there is a positive economic effect of combining government and resources. In Somalia, on the other hand, the developments and the evolution of anarchy since state collapse in 1991 exemplify the result of prolonged conflict in a resource-poor state. The lack of resources, direct access of producers to resources and low productivity and weak redistributional potential of combining resources and government offer no material incentives to the various groups for resurrecting central authority.
  • Topic: Oil, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Iraq, Middle East, Somalia