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  • Author: Silvia Nenci
  • Publication Date: 02-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The rise of the emerging southern economies – China, India, Brazil, and South Africa (CIBS) – as both economic and political actors, is having significant and far-reaching impact on the world economy. Notwithstanding the increasing amount of study and research, there are still important knowledge-gaps with respect to a range of likely consequences of the dynamism of the Southern Economies. One of these gaps concerns the implications for the WTO-multilateral trading system. The present paper proposes a review of the southern participation in the multilateral integration process and suggests a methodology to assess the impact of CIBS' rise on the future of the WTO system. Through the analysis of the trajectories of 'impact' of the trade channel, the paper draws some suggestive remarks.
  • Topic: International Organization, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, India, Asia, South Africa, Brazil, South America
  • Author: Kate Bird, Martin Prowse
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper uses five life histories from three locations in Zimbabwe—one peri-urban, one urban and one rural—to provide a window on current processes of impoverishment and adverse coping. Each case and location highlight key aspects of Zimbabwe's recent economic and political turmoil. Together the cases suggest that, similar to Hoddinott's work on the persistence of the 1993-94 rainfall shock in rural Zimbabwe, above and beyond increased mortality rates and morbidity levels, current adverse forms of coping are creating widespread irreversible wellbeing losses. The persistent effects of the current crisis surely adds weight to arguments that the international community should be more, rather than less, proactive in delivering aid to the Zimbabwean people, despite the politicization of aid and logistical difficulties.
  • Topic: Disaster Relief, Humanitarian Aid, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zimbabwe
  • Author: Colin Andrews, Margarita Flores
  • Publication Date: 04-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper examines the imperative for improved classification and analysis of food crises in different fragile contexts. Recognizing the persistence and protracted nature of food crises, the paper questions how prevention and response mechanisms could be improved to help decisionmakers better address the underlying causes of vulnerability and hunger. The paper draws on case study information to examine real life opportunities and constraints in applying a recently developed food security classification system, named the analytical frameworks at country level, the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC). Developed originally in Somalia, this classification framework is now being applied in a range of country contexts within and outside of Africa by national governments, UN agencies, donors and NGO organizations. The paper draws on early applications of the IPC to consider opportunities and constraints in the application of common classification systems, taking into account issues of institutional adaptation, methodologies, data and analysis.
  • Topic: Security, Agriculture, Non-Governmental Organization
  • Political Geography: Africa, Somalia
  • Author: Wim Naudé, Marianne Matthee
  • Publication Date: 08-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The success of Africa's exports, as well as its spatial development, depends on lowering transport costs. In this Policy Brief, we address a number of pertinent questions on transport costs in Africa, such as 'what are transport costs?', 'do transport costs matter for trade?', 'how important are transport costs in practice?', and 'why are Africa's transport costs so high?' We present a case study of the firm location decisions of exporters in South Africa to illustrate the significance in particular of domestic transport costs for manufactured exports. The message from this Policy Brief is that Africa's international transport costs are significantly higher than that of other regions, and its domestic transport costs could be just as significant. Moreover we show how domestic transport costs influence the location, the quantity, and the diversity of manufactured exports. Various policy options to reduce transport costs in Africa are discussed.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Matthew Smith, Alan Roe, Tony Addison
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: An effective state is able to mobilize revenue and spend it on infrastructure, services, and public goods that both enhance human capital and the well-being of communities (especially the poor), as well as stimulating investment and employment creation by the private sector. An effective state also manages public finance to ensure that macroeconomic balance is maintained—with policy neither too restrictive to discourage private investment and growth, nor too accommodative to create high inflation and crowd out private investment. Fiscal issues are therefore at the heart of the state's role in the development process and failure in this policy area—whether it is in taxation, public expenditures, or in managing the fiscal deficit and public debt—can quickly undermine growth and poverty reduction. Fiscal weakness can also be fatal to social peace when one or more ethnic, religious, or regional groups are taxed unfairly—or receives too little in the allocation of public spending.
  • Topic: Debt, Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia
  • 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
  • Author: Frikkie Booysen, Ronelle Burger, Servaas van der Berg, Michael von Maltitz
  • Publication Date: 11-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The study uses an asset index of consumer durables to track changes in household wealth in Ghana during the recent period of strong growth. Using the Ghana Living Standards Survey of 1998 that contains both wealth data and consumer durable data, the authors demonstrate that the asset index approximate marketable wealth adequately. Although asset index estimates of wealth cannot match the precision of wealth surveys, this approach can provide useful information on marketable wealth in countries where more appropriate sources are not available. The asset index analysis with the three demographic and health surveys for 1993, 1998 and 2003 suggests that the solid economic growth seen over this period has been accompanied by a strong rise in the average asset index scores.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ghana
  • Author: Cheryl R. Doss, Carmen Diana Deere
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Only recently has it been recognized that women may not share in the wealth of men, even within the same household or family. Moreover, there is growing evidence that the gender distribution of wealth matters. This paper first reviews the available evidence for developing countries on the gender asset gap and finds that it is significant. It then considers the constraints on women's asset ownership with particular attention to the role of legal marital and inheritance regimes. The paper then turns to a more detailed examination of women's land ownership in Latin America and Africa. The final section considers the impact of women's land ownership on household income and welfare.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, International Political Economy, Third World
  • Political Geography: Africa, Latin America
  • Author: Alemayehu Geda
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Since 1992 Ethiopia has been engaged in liberalizing its financial sector. The hallmark of the strategy is gradualism. The approach is not without problems especially from Bretton Woods Institutions that saw the reform as a sluggish process. This study examines this liberalization program by analyzing the performance of the sector before and after the reform. The study notes that given the nascent development of the financial sector in the country, the relatively good shape in which the existing financial institutions find themselves, and given that supervision and regulation capacity of the regulating agency is weak, the government's strategy of gradualism and its over all reform direction is encouraging. However, we argue for charting out clearly defined time frame for liberalization and exploring the possibility of engaging with foreign banks to acquire new technology that enhance the efficiency of the financial sector in general and the banking sector in particular.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, International Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia
  • Author: Esther Wiegers, John Curry, Alessandra Garbero, Shannon Stokes, John Hourihan
  • Publication Date: 10-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: HIV/AIDS has a severe impact on food security, affecting all of its dimensions: availability, stability, access, utilization. FAO recognizes that HIV/AIDS is a determining factor for, as well as a consequence of, food insecurity. Although the relationships among gender, food security and rural livelihoods have been acknowledged in the growing literature on HIV/AIDS impacts, relatively few studies provide adequate focus and empirical evidence on the gender aspects of these interrelationships among vulnerable rural households. Such gender aspects of these relationships have been explored in detail by FAO in Namibia, Uganda and Zambia This paper presents the main findings of the four baseline studies and discusses the methodologies used to identify vulnerable households and document changes in resource availability, household labour force, livelihood strategies, coping strategies and food security status. These findings offer useful insights for policy formulation purposes and for the development of mitigation strategies that respond to the food security challenges of the epidemic.
  • Topic: Development, Gender Issues
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Africa, Zambia, Namibia