Despite improvements in censuses and household surveys, the building blocks of national statistical systems in sub-Saharan Africa remain weak. Measurement of fundamentals such as births and deaths, growth and poverty, taxes and trade, land and the environment, and sickness, schooling, and safety is shaky at best. The Data for African Development Working Group’s recommendations for reaping the benefits of a data revolution in Africa fall into three categories: (1) fund more and fund differently, (2) build institutions that can produce accurate, unbiased data, and (3) prioritize the core attributes of data building blocks.
Getting Serious about Underperformance of the African Growth and Opportunity Act: Policy Options for Supporting Trade Potential in Africa
With the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) scheduled to expire in September 2015, the US Congress and Obama Administration will need to consider its status this year.
Africa’s industrial progress has been disappointing. Part of the reason is that labor costs are higher than one might expect, given GDP per capita. Alan Gelb, Christian Meyer, and Vijaya Ramachandran distill the policy lessons.
China's Development Finance to Africa: A Media-Based Approach to Data Collection - Working Paper 323
China’s presence in Africa is, beyond dispute, large in both trade and what can be called official finance to Africa. But how large, exactly? A new database from the College of William and Mary brings additional resources to help answer the question. This paper describes the new database, its key findings, and its possible applications and limitations of the data, which is being made publicly available for the first time.
Regional trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership could leave some poor countries behind. Here are three policy changes to help Congress and President Obama avoid doing so.
Cash or Coupons? Testing the Impacts of Cash versus Vouchers in the Democratic Republic of Congo - Working Paper 320
Despite the increased use of conditional and unconditional cash-transfer programs worldwide, a majority of social protection programs in both developed and developing countries use in-kind transfers and vouchers. This paper reports the results of a randomized evaluation of an unconditional cash transfer and voucher program in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country that has been plagued by intense civil war for much of the past two decades.
Hoping to Win, Expected to Lose: Theory and Lessons on Microenterprise Development - Working Paper 312
How do entrepreneurs learn whether they have what it takes to manage larger businesses? It's likely through experimentation. In this paper, Dean Karlan, Ryan Knight, and Christopher Udry develop a model to help understand the impediments to experimentation and the benefits to giving it a try.
This paper details that results of an experiment in northern Ghana in which small-scale farmers were randomly given different kinds of potentially risk-reducing assistance.
No Longer Poor: Ghana’s New Income Status and Implications of Graduation from IDA - Working Paper 300
Ghana’s rapid economic growth and the recent GDP rebasing exercise put Ghana suddenly above the income limit for IDA eligibility. This paper considers the implications of the country’s new middle-income status.
Supporting Private Business Growth in African Fragile States: A Guiding Framework for the World Bank Group in South Sudan and Other Nations
In this report, Benjamin Leo, Vijaya Ramachandran, and Ross Thuotte assess the bank’s private-sector interventions in African fragile states. They summarize and analyze project-level data from IDA, IFC, and MIGA, and introduce a new framework to assist in the design and implementation of projects in fragile states.
The authors assess the World Bank’s private sector interventions in African fragile states. They summarize and analyze project-level data from IDA, IFC, and MIGA, and introduce a new framework which may assist in the design and implementation of projects in fragile states.
Jacob Hughes, Amanda Glassman, and Walter Gwenigale discuss the design, opportunities, and limitations of the of Liberia Health Sector Pool Fund.
With the Doha Round dead if not buried, the United States has no excuse for not acting on its rhetoric and providing improved market access for all of the world’s least developed countries.
What’s Wrong with Dodd-Frank 1502? Conflict Minerals, Civilian Livelihoods, and the Unintended Consequences of Western Advocacy - Working Paper 284
In this working paper, Laura E. Seay traces the development of section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, examines the effects of the legislation, and recommends new courses of action to move forward.
This set includes data and Stata files to replicate the results in CGD Working Paper 279, “The High Return to Private Schooling in a Low-Income Country”
Using data from Kenya—a poor country with weak public institutions—the authors find a large effect of private schooling on test scores, equivalent to one full standard deviation.
This paper reports on the first randomized evaluation of a cash transfer program delivered via mobile phone. The trial households in targeted villages monthly cash transfers and finds that the mobile phone–based program saves costs and has greater benefits for recipients.
Africa remains extremely difficult for entrepreneurs. Donors are increasingly targeting assistance to address the investment-climate constraints that hinder private-sector growth. This report lays out the case for promoting investment climate reforms more strategically, various options for implementing a system to do so, and possible institutional homes for the proposed facility.