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  • Author: Stephen Klasen, David Lawson, Sudharshan Canagarajah, Mark Blackden
  • Publication Date: 04-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The study suggests that gender inequality acts as a significant constraint to growth in sub-Saharan Africa, and that removing gender-based barriers to growth will make a substantial contribution to realizing Africa's economic potential. In particular we highlight gender gaps in education, related high fertility levels, gender gaps in formal sector employment, and gender gaps in access to assets and inputs in agricultural production as particular barriers reducing the ability of women to contribute to economic growth. By identifying some of the key factors that determine the ways in which men and women contribute to, and benefit (or lose) from, growth in Africa, we argue that looking at such issues through a gender lens is an essential step in identifying how policy can be shaped in a way that is explicitly gender-inclusive and beneficial to growth and the poor. We also argue that in some dimensions and channels of the gender-growth nexus, the evidence is only suggestive and needs further detailed research and analysis. Investigations of the linkage between gender inequality and growth should therefore be a priority for development economics research in coming years.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Gender Issues
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Annelies Zoomers
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This article aims to contribute to the discussion about how to make development interventions more effective by analyzing the factors contributing to the success or failure of rural development projects. We made an aggregate level analysis of 46 projects in the field of agricultural research (AR), water management (WM), natural resource management (NRM), and integrated rural development (IRD), financed by the Netherlands' Directorate-General for International Cooperation (DGIS) and carried out between 1975-2005 in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Making a distinction between the successful projects and failures, we showed the possibilities and limitations of evaluating projects on the basis of the official criteria (relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, sustainability and impact and/or using criteria such as poverty, gender, institutional development, governance and environment). We learned that project performance very much depends on whether interventions 'keep track' with local priorities and trends. This is much more important than 'measuring output' (are results in line with the project goal?) which is wrongly presented as a priority in monitoring and evaluation practices.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia, Central America
  • Author: Ayodele Odusola
  • Publication Date: 01-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Nigeria is governed by a federal system, hence its fiscal operations also adhere to the same principle, a fact which has serious implications on how the tax system is managed. The country's tax system is lopsided, and dominated by oil revenue. It is also characterized by unnecessarily complex, distortionary and largely inequitable taxation laws that have limited application in the informal sector that dominates the economy. The primary objective of this paper is to prepare a case study on tax policy reforms in Nigeria, with the specific objectives of examining the main tax reforms in the country; highlighting tax revenue profile and composition; analysing possible distributional impacts on the poor; discussing major problems that could prevent effective tax implementation in the country; and offering suggestions for reforms.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Peter Quartey
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: The paper primarily investigates the interrelationship between financial sector development and poverty reduction in Ghana. This is done using time-series data from the World Development Indicators from 1970-2001. The main findings are, first, that even though financial sector development does not Granger-cause savings mobilization in Ghana, it induces poverty reduction; and second, that savings do Granger-cause poverty reduction in Ghana. Also, the effect of financial sector development on poverty reduction is positive but insignificant. This is due to the fact that financial intermediaries in Ghana have not adequately channelled savings to the pro-poor sectors of the economy because of government deficit financing, high default rate, lack of collateral and lack of proper business proposals. Another interesting finding is that there is a long-run co integration relationship between financial sector development and poverty reduction.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ghana
  • Author: Stephen Njuguna Karingi, Bernadette Wanjal
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In evaluating tax reform in the developing countries, one first needs to determine what is the unique role of the tax system in each particular country. One of the key reasons for undertaking tax reforms in Kenya was to ad dress issues of in equality and to create a sustainable tax system that could generate adequate revenue to finance public expenditures. In this respect, the tax modernization programme introduced in the country was to achieve a tax system that was sustainable in the face of changing conditions domestically and internationally. Policy was shifted towards greater reliance on indirect taxes as opposed to direct taxes. Consumption taxes were seen to be more favourable to investments and hence growth. Trade taxes, instead of being used for protection or revenue-maximization purposes, were viewed more as instruments to foster export-led industrialization. Trade taxes were therefore used to create a competitive exports sector rather than protect the import-competing manufacturing sector, as had been done in the past.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Author: Peter Quartey, Robert Darko Osei
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: Ghana's tax reforms constitute the major policy instrument needed to accelerate growth and poverty reduction. Over the past two decades, the government has consistently spent more revenue than it is able to generate and the gap is often financed with foreign aid which has perpetuated the country's aid dependency. Two options can be explored to reduce the gap between government revenue and expenditure; generate more revenue or reduce government expenditure. Although the latter sounds reasonable, the government needs to spend more on key sectors like education, health and infrastructure if the country is to significantly reduce poverty. The critical issue has been how to generate the needed resources domestically, using tax instruments that are least harmful to the poor. This will obviously involve reforming the tax system to ensure efficiency by widening the tax net without necessarily increasing the tax rate. This paper provides an assessment of the changing structure of the tax system in Ghana over the last two decades and suggests ways to improve tax administration in the country.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ghana
  • Author: Alemayehu Geda, Abebe Shimeles
  • Publication Date: 12-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: In 1991 the Ethiopian Revolution Democratic Front (EPRDF) toppled the old 'socialist' regime that had ruled the country for seventeen years. In contrast to the previous policy regime of hard control, EPRDF initiated a wide range of reforms that covered not only the tax system but also the exchange rate, interest rates, trade, domestic production and distribution. This pa per attempts to explore the contribution of the tax reform, the change s in its structure and institutional reform in order to understand its role in raising revenue.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia
  • Author: Robert Osei, Oliver Morrissey, Tim Lloyd
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: An important feature of aid to developing countries is that it is given to the government. As a result, aid should be expected to affect fiscal behaviour, although theory and existing evidence is ambiguous regarding the nature of these effects. This paper applies techniques developed in the 'macroeconometrics' literature to estimate the dynamic linkages between aid and fiscal aggregates. Vector autoregressive methods are applied to 34 years of annual data in Ghana to model the effect of aid on fiscal behaviour. Results suggest that aid to Ghana has been associated with reduced domestic borrowing and increased tax effort, combining to increase public spending. This constructive use of aid to maintain fiscal balance is evident since the mid-1980s, following Ghana's structural adjustment programme. The pa per provides evidence that aid has been associated with improved fiscal performance in Ghana, implying that the aid has been used sensibly (at least in fiscal terms).
  • Topic: Development, Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ghana
  • Author: Oliver Morrissey, Karuna Gomanee, Sourafel Girma
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: This paper is a contribution to the literature on aid and growth. Despite an extensive empirical literature in this area, existing studies have not addressed directly the mechanisms via which aid should affect growth. We identify investment as the most significant transmission mechanism, and also consider effects through financing imports and government consumption spending. With the use of residual generated regressors, we achieve a measure of the total effect of aid on growth, accounting for the effect via investment. Pooled panel results for a sample of 25 Sub-Saharan African countries over the period 1970 to 1997 point to a significant positive effect of foreign aid on growth, ceteris paribus. On average, each one percentage point increase in the aid/GNP ratio contributes one-quarter of one percentage point to the growth rate. Africa's poor growth record should not therefore be attributed to aid ineffectiveness.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Peter Quartey
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United Nations University
  • Abstract: There has been significant amount of aid inflow s to developing countries including Ghana, but these have been very volatile. Aid flows have been associated with low domestic resource mobilization and have reduced Ghana to a country heavily dependent on aid. The amount of official development assistance (ODA) inflow s has fallen in recent years and has become unpredictable. It is general knowledge that aid has not yielded the desired benefit. In an attempt to improve aid effectiveness donors have used tie d aid not just to promote commercial interests but also to target aid to particular projects that have direct links with poverty. However, this has not yielded the maximum benefits required. Recently, the government of Ghana and its development partners agreed on an aid package dubbed the multi-donor budgetary support (MDBS), which would ensure continuous flow of aid to finance the government's poverty related expenditures.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ghana