África oriental

Area code (UN M.49)
Date of publication
Diciembre 2010
Geographical focus

The African Union Commission (AUC) and African Heads of State and Government are committed to providing a conducive environment for economic growth, poverty reduction and equitable sustainable development. In this context, the quality of governance of land and natural resources is an important factor. Accordingly, better performance of land policies and institutions is required to deliver development goals. Land reforms must equitably address the needs of all land users, including smallholder farmers, the private sector, the urban poor and slum dwellers. This is especially because land is no longer readily available and there are rising pressures and tensions stemming from competition for this valuable resource.

Land policy needs to secure the rights of all land users and serve the multiple goals of equity, poverty reduction, income growth, economic efficiency and sustainable environmental management.

Given the importance of land to economic and social development and to ensuring peace and security, the majority of African governments have embarked on land policy and institutional reforms to address land issues in the context of national development. The key issues that need to be addressed in this context are: securing land rights to improve livelihoods and facilitate economic development; the centrality of urban land delivery and urban land development; natural resource access and sustaining common property resources; property rights and environmental sustainability; equitable land distribution and restoring alienated land; land and gender issues; and land and conflict.

To facilitate land policy formulation and implementation within the framework of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and in line with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the consortium of AUC, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) in collaboration with regional economic communities have initiated a process of developing a framework and guidelines for land policy in Africa. The framework and guidelines are vital tools aimed at complementary national and regional processes for land policy formulation productivity and securing livelihood. 

The framework and guidelines will be useful in supporting regional and national land policy formulation and implementation processes through affording opportunities for peer learning. The framework and guidelines will also provide guidance on benchmarks and indicators for tracking progress achieved in land reform.

The process of developing the framework and guidelines includes regional assessments and consultations. The regional assessments aim to raise land policy issues that highlight specificities in existing initiatives and lessons that will enrich the framework and guidelines. The assessments will also help to identify challenges, knowledge, institutional and resource gaps as well as ongoing initiatives. This will assist in mapping out a strategy for capacity building and lesson-sharing activities vital to the implementation of the framework in the medium to long term.

Date of publication
Junio 2012
Geographical focus

By using long-term panel data sets of rural households in the Philippines, Thailand, Bangladesh, and India and cross-sectional data sets in Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia, the roles of labor markets in long-term poverty reduction in Asia is compared with the current situation in East Africa. The study finds that the reliance on agricultural labor markets alone will not reduce poverty to a significant extent, in view of the declining share of agricultural wage income in Asia and its negligibly low level in East Africa. An increased non-farm income is a decisive factor in reducing rural poverty, as it has reduced the income gaps between the land-rich and land-poor households, between the educated and uneducated workers, and between less and more favorable agricultural areas. Labor markets are clearly segmented in accordance with the schooling levels, which critically affect occupational choice and non-farm income of rural labor force.

Date of publication
Septiembre 2014
Geographical focus

This paper investigates the reasons for
the low application of external fertilizers on farms in
Kenya and Uganda. The analysis uses a large panel of
household data with rich soil fertility data at the plot
level. The authors control for maize seed selection and
household effects by using a fixed-effects semi-parametric
endogenous switching model. The results suggest that Kenyan
maize farmers have applied inorganic fertilizer at the
optimal level, corresponding to the high nitrogen-maize
relative price, in one of the two survey years and also
responded to the price change over time. In Uganda, even the
low application of inorganic fertilizer is not profitable
because of its high relative price. The authors conclude
that policies that reduce the relative price of fertilizer
could be effective in both countries, while the efficacy of
policies based on improving farmers' knowledge about
fertilizer use will be limited as long as the relative price
of fertilizer remains high.

Date of publication
Marzo 2012
Geographical focus

Integration in the East African
Community offers significant opportunities not only to
expand trade among member states, but more importantly to
scale up regional production to take advantage of much
larger global market opportunities. Special economic zones
are a potentially valuable instrument to facilitate the
integration of regional value chains in support of this
scaling up. They also have the potential to deliver powerful
demonstration effects on the benefits of integration and to
help entrench the integration process. This paper discusses
the proposal for developing an "economic integration
zone" in the East African Community. The benefits of
such a zone could be substantial, as would be the practical
challenges to implementation -- in particular the political
economy challenges. However, a number of institutional and
commercial solutions exist to address these challenges.

Date of publication
Marzo 2012
Geographical focus

Sound infrastructure is critical for
growth in East Africa. During 1995-2005, improvements in
infrastructure boosted growth by one percentage point per
year, due largely to wider access to information and
communication technologies (ICTs). Although power
infrastructure sapped growth in other regions of Africa, it
contributed 0.2 percentage points per year growth in East
Africa. If East Africa's infrastructure could be
improved to the level of the strongest performing country in
Africa (Mauritius), regional growth performance would be
boosted by some six percentage points, with power making the
strongest contribution. East Africa's infrastructure
ranks behind that of southern and western Africa across a
range of indicators, though in terms of access to improved
sources of water and sanitation and Internet density, it is
comparable with or superior to the subcontinent s leader,
southern Africa. By contrast, density of fixed-line
telephones, power generation capacity, and access to
electricity remain extremely low, though utility performance
is improving through regional power trades. The road network
is relatively good, although with some lengths of
poor-quality or unpaved roads. Surface transport is
challenged by border crossings, port delays, slow travel,
limited railways, and trade logistics, but the region has a
relatively mature and competitive trucking industry. Air
transport benefits from a strong hub-and-spoke structure but
has made little progress toward market liberalization. Of
the seven countries in the region, four are landlocked, two
have populations of fewer than 10 million people, and two
have an annual gross domestic product of less than $10
billion. The difficult economic geography of East Africa
makes a regional approach to infrastructure development
necessary to achieve further improvement.

Date of publication
Septiembre 2014
Geographical focus

The East African Community has long
recognized that regional economic integration can yield
significant welfare gains to its member states. To that
end, the community has been making steady progress towards
the removal of tariffs and quantitative restrictions to
trade. Moreover, in recent years, there has been an
increasing recognition that: (a) even greater welfare gains
could be realized through deeper forms of regional
integration which entail harmonization of legal, regulatory
and institutional frameworks; and (b) reforms that reduce
cross-border transaction costs and improve the performance
of "backbone" infrastructure services are arguably
even more important for the creation of an open, unified
regional economic space than trade policy reforms narrowly
defined. Disparities of regulatory treatment across borders
can introduce distortions that hinder both cross-border
trade and the aggregate flows of investment on a regional
basis. Regulatory harmonization and infrastructure
regionalization could make a significant contribution to the
region's economic development by promoting a more
efficient utilization of its human and physical resources,
enhancing connectivity, reducing the costs of trade, and
facilitating the integration of the continent with the
global economy.

Date of publication
Enero 2014
Geographical focus

Climate-induced livelihood transitions
in the agricultural systems of Africa are increasingly
likely. A recent study by Jones and Thornton (2009) points
to the possibility of such climate-induced livelihood
transitions in the mixed crop-livestock rainfed
arid-semiarid systems of Africa. These mixed systems cover
over one million square kilometers of farmland in West
Africa, Eastern Africa, and Southeastern Africa. Their
characteristically scant rainfall usually causes crop
failure in one out of every six growing seasons and is thus
already marginal for crop production. Under many projected
climate futures, these systems will become drier and even
more marginal for crop production. This will greatly
increase the risk of cropping and among the several possible
coping and adaptation mechanisms, (e.g. totally abandoning
farming, diversification of income-generating activities
such as migration and off-farm employment, etc.)
agro-pastoralists may alter the relative emphasis that they
currently place on the crop and livestock components of the
farming system in favor of livestock. There has been only
limited analysis on what such climate induced transitions
might look like, but it is clear that the implications could
be profound in relation to social, environmental, economic
and political effects at local and national levels. This
study sought to identify areas in the mixed crop-livestock
systems in arid and semi-arid Africa where climate change
could compel currently sedentary farmers to abandon cropping
and to turn to nomadic pastoralism as a livelihood strategy,
using East Africa as a case study. While the current study
found no direct evidence for the hypothesized
extensification across semiarid areas in East Africa, it is
clear that systems are in transition with associated changes
not necessarily climate driven but linked to broader
socio-economic trends. Not surprisingly, many of the
households in the piloted sites face a wide array of
problems including poverty, food insecurity and inadequate
diets which will be aggravated by the looming risks posed by
climate change.

Date of publication
Julio 2015
Geographical focus

Firms normally keep certain inventories,
including raw materials, work-in-progress, and finished
goods, to operate seamlessly and not to miss possible
business opportunities. But inventory is costly, and the
optimal firm inventory differs depending on various economic
conditions, including trade and transport costs. The paper
examines firm inventory behavior in East Africa, in which
transport connectivity, especially to the ports, is
considered as one of the major business constraints. Using
firm-level data from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and
Uganda, it is shown that transport connectivity
significantly affects firm inventory behavior. In
particular, road density and transport costs to the port are
important to determine the optimal inventory level. With
more roads in a city and/or cheaper access to the port,
firms would hold smaller inventories.

Date of publication
Julio 2015
Geographical focus

Africa is estimated to have great
potential for agricultural production, but there are a
number of constraints inhibiting the development of that
potential. Spatial data are increasingly important in the
realization of potential as well as the associated
constraints. With crop production data generated at 5-minute
spatial resolution, the paper applies the spatial tobit
regression model to estimate the possible impacts of
improvements in transport accessibility in East Africa. It
is found that rural accessibility and access to markets are
important to increase agricultural production. In particular
for export crops, such as coffee, tea, tobacco, and cotton,
access to ports is crucial. The elasticities are estimated
at 0.3–4.6. In addition, the estimation results show that
spatial autocorrelation matters to the estimation results.
While a random shock in a particular locality would likely
affect its neighboring places, the spatial autoregressive
term can be positive or negative, depending on how
fragmented the current production areas are.

Date of publication
Marzo 2016
Geographical focus

On September 15, 2015, the World Bank announced US$600 million of financing for a new initiative in Ethiopia, Enhancing Shared Prosperity through Equitable Services (ESPES). Its purported aim, like its predecessor, the Promoting Basic Services (PBS) program, is expanding access to basic services such as water, education, and healthcare.

The PBS has been associated with human rights abuses and the forced relocation of indigenous communities while paving the way for land grabs. Yet, rather than addressing the concerns raised about the program, the Bank has just launched an almost identical initiative under a new name.

Reports by The Oakland Institute and human rights organizations have demonstrated widespread human rights abuses associated with the PBS program. In 2012, the Anuak people of Gambella, Ethiopia filed a complaint with the World Bank’s Inspection Panel stating that the PBS program was linked with the Ethiopian Government’s villagization program, which was forcibly evicting indigenous communities to make their land available to foreign investors.

In early 2015, the Inspection Panel released a scathing report after examining these allegations. The report concluded that indeed, an “operational interface” between the villagization program (known as the “Commune Development Program” or CDP) and PBS had formed in regions like Gambella where the two programs were concurrently rolled out.

A close examination of the ESPES program, in light of the Inspection Panel findings, raises major concerns.

First, ESPES uses the same block grant system as the PBS program to transfer funds from the Government of Ethiopia (the recipient of World Bank funding) to the woredas, where basic services are provided. The Inspection Panel confirmed several serious issues with this system, including the potential for World Bank funds to be diverted away from the PBS program and used to roll out the villagization program.

The proposed mechanisms to resolve these financial issues in the ESPES are insufficient.

Second, so-called “improved” systems for assessing and mitigating social risks associated with ESPES rely heavily on community engagement and self-reporting by severely marginalized communities. This ignores the fact that the rampant misuse of the country’s laws, such as the 2009 Anti-Terrorism Proclamation, has created a culture of fear and intimidation in Ethiopia,6 rendering these mechanisms

Third, the agencies tasked with monitoring and evaluating the ESPES program are government agencies, which lack independence, and are thus incapable of providing protection to vulnerable peoples from social harm.

Finally, the above concerns, combined with further findings from the Inspection Panel, fail to address the renewed possibility for World Bank projects to have “operational interfaces” with problematic programs of the Ethiopian Government in the future.

The vote of the US Treasury in favor of the ESPES program also raises serious concerns. In accordance with several pieces of legislation, from the US Appropriations Bills of 2012 through 2016, the US Treasury should not have voted in favor of this program, both on account of forced evictions and inadequate safeguards for indigenous groups.

The new World Bank financing for Ethiopia through ESPES is nothing more than a renaming of PBS, which continues to ignore the grave concerns associated with the program and human rights abuses in the country. In addition, by voting in favor of this program, the US Treasury is in violation of the requirements set out by the US Congress. Despite solid evidence of forced displacements and widespread human
rights abuses, the US Treasury and the World Bank have chosen a business-as-usual approach in Ethiopia, while once again failing truly vulnerable communities in the country.


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