Africa

Area code (UN M.49)
002
Date of publication
August 2012
Geographical focus

Environmental concerns must be
integrated into the development process, but African
countries still face many challenges as they work to achieve
development that is economically, socially, and
environmentally sustainable. Many countries have already
launched National Environmental Action Plans (NEAPs) and
National Conservation Strategies; however, in preparing and
implementing them, economics was used sparingly because
techniques and skills available to do so were in short
supply. This paper was written to fill this gap, to show how
environmental economics could and should be used to improve
the quality of decision making in the NEAP process. The
paper is written for the practitioner in the field who needs
to make immediate decisions and cannot wait for more data.
After presenting the theory of environmental economics, the
text goes on to show its practical application in Africa.

Date of publication
August 2012
Geographical focus

The note summarizes the findings of the
Africa Forest Strategy Paper, which responded to the
problems confronting forest resources in the Sub-Saharan
Africa (SSA), providing a comprehensive overview, and
analysis of the forest sector, and mapping a set of actions
for consideration by African countries. The diagnosis
highlights the nexus between rapid population growth,
environmental degradation, and poor agricultural
performance, which provides the basic context within which
deforestation, and forest degradation are taking place in
SSA. Fundamental challenges the region faces are the
prevention of wasteful deforestation by correcting
distortionary policies, and improving sustainable use;
resource base increases, by broadening vegetative
propagation, and tree planting; and, revival of the wood
industry to enhance competitiveness. However, these
challenges need to strike a balance between economic
development, and conservation aims, and key actions
encourage forest policy and legislative reform, strengthened
by capacity building and human resources development,
supported by local communities and the private sector
involvement, towards improving forest-related knowledge, and
technology. Areas identified for a new Bank lending strategy
include the promotion of policy reforms, support investments
in critical areas, as well as capacity building, and, an
improved donor coordination.

Date of publication
August 2012
Geographical focus

Law is society's institution which
articulates rules to govern legal and non-legal
institutions. Rules of legal institutions aim to protect the
citizen against discretionary and arbitrary power, ensure
equality with others and guarantee procedural fairness.
Impartial administration of the law through independent
accessible courts and a democratic process of law-making,
defines and enforces the limits and powers of state
institutions and sets out the scope of legitimate state
intervention in the affairs of its citizens. To the extent
that the rule of law accomplishes this, a neutral legal
order exists, capable of supporting the competitive market
economy in the following ways: a) ensuring predictability
and security of property rights and transactions; b)
limiting arbitrary and discretional rational power of the
state and its agents; c) maintaining the independence of the
judiciary and at the same time curtailing judicial activism;
and d) limiting the retroactivity of rules of law. Because
of the lack of a formalized private sector in Africa, in
many countries the State plays a major role in economic
activity; it may supercede or qualify the market. This makes
it even more important that the law should emphasize fair
and efficient administration.

Date of publication
August 2012
Geographical focus

Largely due to the potential threats to
development, and human lives of well known climate changes,
the World Bank is getting involved in a range of activities
under the subject. The note focuses on climate changes in
Africa, and, although it is argued that greenhouse gas (GHG)
emissions from development projects in Africa should be paid
minor attention, - because GHG emissions from Africa are
negligible on a global scale; industrial countries should be
the ones to bear major costs of reducing GHG emissions; and,
due to the complex, tentative nature of potential impacts
resulting from climate change - these factors do not mean
that emissions are irrelevant in the African context. It is
anticipated that changes in climate will result in adverse
socioeconomic impacts in Africa, related to factors
associated with the vulnerability of society, and the
sensitivity of the environment. There is high dependency on
bio-fuels, and agriculture and forestry, aggravated by
restricted population mobility, poor health facilities, high
population growth, and low material standards. Whereas
concerns of climate change in development projects are
prevalent, other factors need further attention: the
trans-boundary, and global effects of climate change;
cumulative effects of GHG emissions; the complexity in
assessing climate change impacts at regional levels;
international responsiveness to climate changes, due to the
challenging nature of national sector policies, and
institutional frameworks; and, the significance of climate
change impacts on the socioeconomic environment.

Date of publication
August 2012
Geographical focus

? This article outlines the role that
the World Bank will play in supporting a modified rural
development strategy for the Sub-Saharan Africa region: The
Bank will be more selective in targeting countries for
assistance in rural development programs, focusing on those
that demonstrate commitment to appropriate agricultural
policy and investment. It will expand its information,
education and communication initiatives to help governments
generate widespread commitment by their citizenry. Bank
finance will increasingly be directed towards national
sector or subsector programs. Through country assistance
strategies, the bank would ensure that national education,
health, nutrition, transport, water and economic policy
programs provide support for rural and agricultural
development. Natural resource management, forestry, and
water projects will be evaluated to identify best practice,
leading to proposals for replication. All ongoing and
proposed Bank-assisted agriculture projects will be reviewed
to identify changes that would enhance the positive impact
on using and developing African capacity. A participatory
preparation and implementation plan involving farmers will
be developed for every agriculture project supported by the
Bank. Safety nets for the rural and urban poorest would be
established. The Bank and its affiliates would more actively
support the worldwide liberalization of agricultural trade
and discourage inefficient industrial country agricultural policies.

Date of publication
August 2012
Geographical focus

Environmental degradation primarily
affects the poor, both in rural and urban areas. Reversing
the downward spiral of this degradation is essential to any
strategy for reducing poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa. This
study outlines the World Bank's strategy for improving
its assistance to SSA countries as they move toward
environmentally sustainable development (ESD). It assesses
the environmental situation and long-term trends in Africa,
draws lessons from Bank experience, and proposes new
directions. The study focuses on three questions: what are
the key environmental issues and challenges in Sub-Saharan
Africa? How has the World Bank responded to those
challenges, and what are the lessons learned? And what
should the World Bank do to help African countries make
their development sustainable?

Date of publication
August 2012
Geographical focus

Within the sub-region of West Central
Africa (Benin, Cote d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Ghana,
Niger, Nigeria, and Togo) several countries have completed
National Environmental Action Plans (NEAPs). Some are
implementing environmental support programs based on these
plans, as well as more site-specific natural resource
management, urban environmental management, and biodiversity
conservation projects. The report notes some success
stories. It concludes, however, that high population growth
and rapid urbanization, high poverty levels and the direct
dependency of most poor families on natural resources for
subsistence, low levels of environmental awareness at all
levels of society, market and policy failures, and
institutional weaknesses, all point to the need for
redoubling and redirecting environmental efforts. These
factors underlie the sub-region's priority problems as
identified in national planning exercises: (i) land
degradation; (ii) deforestation and loss of biodiversity;
(iii) water availability and quality; (iv) urban
environmental degradation; and (v) coastal resource
degradation. Without action, these problems will
increasingly constrain the options for sustainable
development. The strategy makes it clear that the next major
phase towards Environmentally Sustainable Development (ESD)
is to mainstream environmental issues into national
development planning in all sectors and at all levels of society.

Date of publication
August 2012
Geographical focus

The Sahel Operational Review (SOR) seeks
to accelerate the transfer of lessons learned in natural
resource management from ongoing Bank projects to the design
of new Bank projects. This paper is the final report of the
second phase of the SOR. It summarizes 29 SOR activities
between 1989 and July 1994, including project reviews,
seminars, workshops, conferences, and studies. This final
report is an attempt to incorporate the major lessons and
findings from these activities into one publication, as well
as to guide task managers through the various books and
papers produced by the SOR program.

Date of publication
August 2012
Geographical focus

Over the past thirty years, most of
Sub-Saharan Africa has seen rapid population growth, poor
agricultural performance, and increasing environmental
degradation. Why do these problems seem so intractable? Are
they connected? Do they reinforce each other? If so, what
are the critical links? This book tests the hypothesis that
these phenomena are strongly interrelated. The finding -
that this nexus is very much at work in Sub-Saharan Africa -
tells us that the design of development efforts must come to
reflect this reality. Key links are found in traditional
crop and livestock production methods, land tenure systems,
women's responsibilities, traditional family planning
mechanisms, and methods of forest resource utilization.
Traditional systems and practices, well suited to
people's survival needs when population densities were
low, were able to evolve in response to slow population
growth. But with the acceleration of population growth in
the 1950's, traditional ways came under increasing
strain resulting in the triad of problems addressed here.
Solutions are complex. Effective responses have not been
forthcoming from international and donor communities, except
on a very limited scale in a few places. This study assesses
succesful and failed interventions. With that base it
recommends concrete and implementable strategies to
intensify agriculture, increase demand for smaller families,
reform land tenure practices, conserve the environment, and
address the problems of women.

Date of publication
August 2012
Geographical focus

The World Bank, together with other
donors, has launched a program for promoting information
systems in Sub-Saharan Africa. Because of the importance of
geo-referenced information systems in resource
decision-making, a systematic review of the Bank portfolio
in Sub-Saharan Africa has been carried out from Fiscal Year
(FY) 1988 to FY 1993. This review assesses if the Bank
commitment to developing geo-referenced information systems
has been translated into its operation; draws and
disseminates lessons; and formulates recommendations. The
main findings are as follows: 1) the World Bank commitment
to developing geo-referenced information systems is not yet
reflected in its operations. 2) Investment in geo-referenced
information systems has been concentrated in only a few
countries and projects. 3) There are no clear trends in
investment over time; but differences appear among Country
Departments, some of them focusing more on the development
of geo-referenced information systems than others. 4) Land
titling, and more recently, environmental planning seem to
stimulate investment in geo-referenced systems. The report
ends with recommendations to promote and develop information
systems in Africa and to promote and develop information
systems within the Bank and donor agencies.

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