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.

Women in Mining: An Assessment of Workplace Relations Struggles

In 1994, the newly elected democratic government of South Africa adopted a number of strategies to open up the mining sector to historically disadvantaged South Africans which include women, as part of its economic empowerment policy. Although well intended, the integration of women into the traditionally male- dominated workforce created many challenges. The main objective of the study on which this paper was based was to critically analyse workplace relations struggles, accompanying the deployment of women in the core business of the mining sector. Quantitative and qualitative research paradigms were used. The research revealed numerous workplace relations challenges including, among others, acceptance by male co-workers, inequality issues, discrimination and sexual harassment. The paper concludes by making recommendations that can be implemented and used by employers, employee relations practitioners and labour experts to create a work environment free from conflict and conducive to constructive and harmonious workplace relations.

Association of Socioeconomic Status Change Between Infancy and Adolescence, and Blood Pressure, in South African Young Adults: Birth to Twenty Cohort

Social epidemiology models suggest that socioeconomic status (SES) mobility across the life course affects blood pressure. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between SES change between infancy and adolescence, and blood pressure, in young adults, and the impact of early growth on this relationship.

School Choice and Inequalities In Post-Apartheid South Africa

This paper examines the consequences of the new policies of school choice in post-apartheid South Africa and the reasons they have largely failed to achieve greater educational equality – their stated purpose. I argue that the dominant reason for this lies in the continuing inadequate resources of many poor schools and the failure to address them. It draws on the perspectives of parents whose children attend schools in poor neighborhoods, known as the townships. I argue that the resource situation in these schools directly contributes to poverty in their children’s lives; further, the issue of resources is inextricably connected to the larger neoliberal agenda of privatization and markets that has influenced social policy in post- apartheid South Africa. Neoliberalism in education has encouraged school choice as a way to desegregate schools and reform education. I conclude that instead it has continued the marginalization of Black children in township schools, and adversely affects their future by limiting their educational opportunities and their right to quality education.

A Place-Based Approach to Spatial Transformation: A Case Study of Transit Oriented Development (TOD), Johannesburg

The Transit Oriented Development (TOD) model is increasingly gaining momentum and becoming widely adopted by many cities in addressing a wide range of spatial development challenges within their communities. Development of this nature advocates for a return to a city form that is compact, higher in density, and supported by strategic nodes that promote public transit ridership and nonmotorized
transport options over auto use. These elements fundamentally constitute the building blocks of TOD. In the wake of this increasing global awareness for TOD, this paper presents empirical findings of TOD perceptions in three nodal areas located along the Louis Botha development corridor in City of Johannesburg (COJ).
Premised on a mixed methods approach, the paper provides an insight into current development typologies in the said corridor while equally interrogating the perceptions of residents toward TOD planning and implementation thereof. The paper also deliberates on the nexus between TOD and place making, out of which a mutually inclusive relationship is established. While the findings of this study reflect a rather poor public awareness of TOD and place making, several other points have been identified. Continued revitalisation programs and design improvements are required. Also, issues of parking planning and management will ultimately require a renewed focus in light of the anticipated Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) service along Louis Botha corridor. The paper culminates in the formulation of a set of TOD key determinants derived from the data analysis exercise. Though not necessarily intended to be standard reference points, the paper emphasizes the importance of these determinants in corridor oriented development.

Thematic Area(s):

From Work with Men and Boys to Changes of Social Norms and Reduction of Inequities in Gender Relations: A Conceptual Shift in Prevention of Violence against Women and Girls

Violence perpetrated by and against men and boys is a major public health problem. Although individual men’s use of violence differs, engagement of all men and boys in action to prevent violence against women and girls is essential. This article  discusses why this engagement approach is theoretically important and how prevention interventions have developed from treating men simply as perpetrators of violence against women and girls or as allies of women in its prevention, to approaches that seek to transform the relations, social norms, and systems that sustain gender inequality and violence. The article reviews evidence of intervention effectiveness in the reduction of violence or its risk factors, features commonly seen in more effective interventions, and how strong evidence-based interventions can be developed with more robust use of theory. Future interventions should emphasise work with both men and boys and women and girls to change social norms on gender relations, and need to appropriately accommodate the differences between men and women in the design of programmes.

Socio-Economic Inequality in South Africa According to Different Disparity Indices

The purpose of the paper is to identify areas in South Africa where social-economic disparity exists using 2011 census data. Different indices are used to measure spatial disparity with the aim of finding the most appropriate approach for measuring disparities under different circumstances. The following measures were used in the study: the multidimensional composite index of deprivation; range ratio; relative mean deviation; standard deviation of logarithms; Gini coefficient; Kuznets ratio; Theil inequality index, mean logarithmic deviation, and the Atkinson index. In the study settlements are either regarded as individual settlements or contiguous settlements as delimited at the main place level in the census. Due to the fragmenting impact of apartheid on the South African society, different measures tend to be the most appropriate in different parts of the country. This implies that different policy interventions are needed to address area-specific challenges.

Thematic Area(s): ,

Psychiatric stigma and discrimination in South Africa: perspectives from key stakeholders

Stigma and discrimination against people with mental illness remain barriers to help seeking and full recovery for people in need of mental health services. Yet there is scarce research investigating the experiences of psychiatric stigma on mental health service users in low- and
middle-income countries (LMICs). The aim of this study was therefore to explore the experiences of psychiatric stigma by service users in order to inform interventions to reduce such stigma and discrimination in one LMIC, namely South Africa.

Psychiatric stigma was found to be perpetuated by family members, friends, employers, community members and health care providers. Causes of psychiatric stigma identified included misconceptions about mental illness often leading to delays in help-seeking.

Experiencing psychiatric stigma was reported to worsen the health of service users and impede their capacity to lead and recover a normal life.

Media campaigns and interventions to reduce stigma should be designed to address specific stigmatizing behaviours among specific segments of the population. Counselling of families, caregivers and service users should include how to deal with experienced and internalized stigma.

Identifying the Policy Actions to Move Forward the Global, Africa Equitable Development Agenda

In many African countries, the ladder of opportunity has become much harder to climb. Large disparities in access to health and education services, land and other productive assets between the richest and the poorest households persist. Wealth inequalities are transmitted across generations and are present across locations, trapping large pockets of society in poverty and exclusion. Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland count among the continent’s top ten most unequal countries. Slow progress in addressing poverty and inequality and the very nature of economic growth on the continent have created a vicious circle whereby inequality and slowdown in economic growth are mutually reinforcing.

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