The least Developed Countries Report 2014

At present, there are 48 countries designated by the United Nations as “least developed countries” (LDCs). These are: Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, the Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Vanuatu, Yemen and Zambia.


Spotlight on Southern Africa Private Equity

Between 2007 – 14, there were 341 reported PE deals in Southern Africa totaling US$6.7bn. South Africa has the most mature and sophisticated market for PE in the region (and on the continent), accounting for 76% of the deal volume and 92% of the deal value in Southern Africa from 2007 – 2014. Annual deal volumes in the region have been trending downwards slightly since 2012, in part due to slower growth in South Africa and lower prices for commodities affecting the region. Overall, Southern Africa’s share of deal activity in Africa declined from 37% in 2007 – 2010 to 31% in 2011 – 2014. There were 127 PE exits in Southern Africa from 2007 – 2014. Sales to trade buyers – many to South African companies looking to expand their footprint within South Africa and across the region – accounted for a large proportion of exits


The nexus of structural transformation, employment and education: Evidence from Mozambique and Tanzania

Structural changes contribute to economic development by enhancing productivity and creating more and better jobs, which is demonstrated by a wide and growing body of literature. Structural changes into higher value added sectors and upgrading of technologies in existing sectors by applying more complex production technologies, increase demand for higher levels of education and skills. Education and skills are intrinsically linked to these processes and constitute a major driver of economic transformation. An adequately educated labour force is essential for a strong economic growth. It is also valued for its role in helping people to become more productive, create capacity to innovate and adopt new technologies. Education and skills training themselves, however, do not create (decent) jobs, and an increase in education attainment levels may also result in unemployment, over-qualification and the underutilization of skills (Sparreboom and Abdullaev, 2013).


Government Impartiality and Sustained Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa

Many studies suggest that one of the main reasons for Africa’s dismal growth performance over most of the 20th century is its degree of ethnic fragmentation. Yet, there is still insufficient knowledge about whether ethnic diversity necessarily entails large economic costs, or whether the implications of diversity depend, inter alia, on the government’s approach toward the ethnic question. We note that economic growth tends to increase average incomes, but it also affects the income distribution. Then, if growth is accompanied by growing economic inequality, the perception of the impartiality of the government toward different ethnic groups is likely to be important for whether growth can be sustained, or whether sparks of growth will evaporate because of rising political divisions and internal conflicts. In this paper, we study whether the degree of ethnic impartiality in the government’s policies is related to the emergence of sustained growth in sub-Saharan Africa, irrespective of the actual content of the policies. We measure perceptions about the impartiality of the government with survey data from the Afrobarometer covering 20 countries starting in the late 1990 s. Our main definition of sustained growth is when there is a GDP per capita growth rate of at least 2% for at least five consecutive years. Our empirical results suggest that countries whose governments are perceived as impartial are more likely to experience sustained growth. We conclude that in order to ensure economic development, it is not only important to choose the ‘‘right” policies, but also to implement these policies in a fair manner.


Land Grab in Africa: A Review of Emerging Issues and Implications for Policy Options

Over the past decade, large-scale land acquisition in Africa has become quite intense, especially in DRC, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mozambique, Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia. While African countries are motivated by the need to transform the agricultural sector and diversify their economies, the urge to meet the needs of future food and biofuel security, among others,underpins foreign interest. This divergence of interest makes the realisation of the prospective benefits elusive in Africa. Maximsing the benefits of large-scale land acquisition requires bold actions against the following structural impediments: (i) weak land governance and a failure to recognise, protect and properly compensate local communities’ land rights; (ii) lack of country capacity to process and manage large-scale investments; (iii) foreign investors’ proposals that are inconsistent with local and national visions; (iv) resource conflict with negative distributional and gender effects; and (vii) inadequate capacity to assess the social, economic and environmental impact of the project on local communities. This paper suggests a 10-point agenda for maximising the benefits of the land grab in Africa.


Measuring Total Health Inequality: Adding Individual Variation to Group-Level Differences

Studies have revealed large variations in average health status across social, economic, and other groups. No study exists on the distribution of the risk of ill-health across individuals, either within groups or across all people in a society, and as such a crucial piece of total health inequality has been overlooked. Some of the reason for this neglect has been that the risk of death, which forms the basis for most measures, is impossible to observe directly and difficult to estimate.

The study develops a measure of total health inequality – encompassing all inequalities among people in a society, including variation between and within groups – by adapting a beta-binomial regression model. The model is applied to children under age two in 50 low- and middle-income countries. The method has been adopted by the World Health Organization and is being implemented in surveys around the world; preliminary estimates have appeared in the World Health Report.

Results: Countries with similar average child mortality differ considerably in total health inequality. Liberia and Mozambique have the largest inequalities in child survival, while Colombia, the Philippines and Kazakhstan have the lowest levels among the countries measured.


Determinants of Social Inequalities in Child Mortality in Mozambique: What Do We Know? What Could Be Done?

Health inequalities are no longer an issue only for developed countries. In recent years there is agreement that all countries present health inequalities regardless of their level of wealth. In low-income countries and especially in sub-Saharan Africa where the majority of the poor people live as well as their children, research on child health inequalities is still scarce. This review of evidence suggests that if Mozambique is to achieve the millennium development goals (MDGs) by 2015 further research on important determinants of disparities in child mortality is urgently needed

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Asset Inequality and Agricultural Growth: How are patterns of asset inequality established and reproduced?

This study explores the relationship between distributions of asset inequality, how these distributions are created and maintained, and agricultural growth. The study investigates what policies and institutions tend to promote equally shared growth. The paper also  uses Ethiopian agriculture as a case study to highlight the persistent nature of inequality as causally related to historical choices and path dependency. Rather than unidirectional causalities, what is observed is a complex system whereby inequality affects growth which in turn reinforces processes that exacerbate and reproduce inequalities.


Working paper. Inclusive Growth: An Application of the Social Opportunity Function to Selected African Countries

This paper applies the concept of social opportunity function to ascertain the inclusiveness of growth episodes in selected African countries. Premised on the concept of social welfare function, inclusive growth is associated with increased average opportunities available to the population and improvement in their distribution. The paper establishes that the high growth episodes in the last decade in the selected countries came with increased average opportunities in education and health; but distribution of such opportunities varied across countries, depending on the country-specific  policies underpinning the growth episodes


Are Neighbors Equal? Estimating Local Inequality in Three Developing Countries

This paper takes three developing countries, Ecuador, Madagascar, and Mozambique and implements in each a recently developed methodology to produce disaggregated estimates of inequality. The countries are very unlike each others with different geographies, stages of development, quality and types of data, and so on. The methodology works well in all three settings and produces valuable information about the spatial distribution of poverty and inequality within those countries information that was previously not available.


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