“Events since the election have only reinforced that pessimism. We have heard lots of rhetoric on democracy, national reconciliation, and economic reform. We can point to a few token gestures of change. But below the surface, very little, if any, meaningful structural change has occurred.”
The Dilemma of the African Development Bank: Does Governance Matter for the Long-Run Financing of the MDBs? - Working Paper 498
Does governance matter for the long-run financing and effectiveness the multilateral development banks? Does their system of weighted voting matter for their long-run access to financing and their effectiveness as development institutions? Does the voting structure involve some tradeoff between the confidence of creditor countries in the different MDBs, and the sense of ownership, legitimacy, and trust of borrowers?
The Medium-Run and Scale-Up Effects of Performance-Based Financing: An Extension of Rwanda’s 2006 Trial Using Secondary Data - Working Paper 497
Rwanda’s performance-based incentives were effective for some indicators, but unconditional financing also induced improvements. The incentive effects persisted in the mediumrun and as the program was scaled-up.
Let’s Be Real: The Informal Sector and the Gig Economy are the Future, and the Present, of Work in Africa
It’s time we recognized the truth about the future of work in Africa: it isn’t in the growth of full-time formal sector jobs. The future of work will be people working multiple gigs with “somewhat formal” entities. This is already true, and it will be for the foreseeable future. When we consider the future of work in Africa the question shouldn’t be whether jobs will be formal or informal, but how digital platforms and new technologies might make this type of work more productive and of a better quality for workers themselves.
The Impact of Civil Conflict on Child Malnutrition and Mortality, Nigeria, 2002-2013 - Working Paper 494
In this paper, we show a strong association between living close to a conflict zone and acute malnutrition in Nigerian children in 2013. This is related to the severity of the conflict, measured both in terms of the number of conflict deaths and the length of time the child was exposed to conflict.
Like a number of other countries, even in 2017, Malawi lacked a functioning national registry or identification system. This essay describes how a comprehensive multipurpose national ID system was implemented in 180 days, with the assistance of UNDP and other development partners.
How Do African Firms Respond to Unreliable Power? Exploring Firm Heterogeneity Using K-Means Clustering - Working Paper 493
While previous studies have found a positive relationship between the reliability of power and firm growth, we find that such a clear relationship seems not to prevail. In other words, some firms are able to cope with an unreliable supply of power while many others do not.
If You Build It, Will They Consume? Key Challenges for Universal, Reliable, and Low-Cost Electricity Delivery in Kenya - Working Paper 491
Kenya’s rapid electrification in the past decade has improved the lives of millions, but significant challenges remain. This paper provides analysis that shows electrification can be improved by considering cheaper options that still meet the needs of low consumers and that low consumption is a first-order problem for the sustainability of utilities.
As an African woman leader who grew up on African soil, Joyce Banda has seen firsthand how young rural girls face obstacles that shape the rest of their lives. From Day One makes the case of how, if African girls are to realize their potential and become the leaders that their continent so badly needs, gender interventions should and can start from day one.
Three Decades of Poverty Mobility in Nigeria: The Trapped, the Freed, and the Never Trapped - Working Paper 485
Individuals do escape poverty during periods of overall rise in the poverty rate; they also transit into poverty during periods of overall decline in the poverty rate. In this paper, I explore six sweeps of household surveys of Nigeria (1980–2010) in an attempt to address these concerns. In addition, I test whether different processes are at work in determining chronic and transient poverty.
Drawing on six sweeps of household surveys of Nigeria that together span 1980–2010 with a pooled sample size of about 97,000 households and data on Nigeria’s age-gender-specific life expectancy from the World Health Organization, this paper shows that about 72 percent to 91 percent of Nigeria’s poor are at risk of spending their entire life below the poverty line.
Tackling the Realities of Protracted Displacement: Case Studies on What’s Working and Where We Can Do Better
The international community has come together in new ways to address forced displacement—one of the biggest challenges of the early twenty-first century.
This paper explores the feasibility of commercial nuclear power in sub-Saharan Africa, especially in light of advanced nuclear technologies and their potential to overcome some of the challenges to deployment.
Using Supervised Learning to Select Audit Targets in Performance-Based Financing in Health: An Example from Zambia - Working Paper 481
We examine alternative strategies for targeted sampling of health clinics for independent verification. Our results indicate that machine learning methods, particularly Random Forest, outperform other approaches and can increase the cost-effectiveness of verification activities.
On March 24, 2018, Antoinette Sayeh gave the afternoon keynote speech at Harvard University’s 9th Annual African Development Conference. She highlighted four immediate economic challenges facing sub-Saharan Africa, what they mean for the long-term, and the need for action to address them.
Does Deforestation Increase Malaria Prevalence? Evidence from Satellite Data and Health Surveys - Working Paper 480
In this paper we combine fourteen years of high-resolution satellite data on forest loss with individual-level survey data on malaria in more than 60,000 rural children in 17 countries in Africa, and fever in more than 470,000 rural children in 41 countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. We did not find that deforestation increases malaria prevalence nor that intermediate levels of forest cover have higher malaria prevalence.
Mobile savings hold great promise, because they can considerably reduce transaction costs that can be unduly heavy for women. Two questions guide us: how can we encourage more women microentrepreneurs to access formal savings accounts, and is mobile saving a particularly fitting solution? This series uses empirical evidence to address these issues.
Mobile savings hold great promise for empowering women entrepreneurs. Women are often disproportionately burdened by high transaction costs to access savings accounts.