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Accounting for nutritional changes in six success stories: a regression-decomposition approach

16 May 2017 11:16:38 GMT

Over the past two decades, many developing countries have made impressive progress in reducing undernutrition. In this paper, the authors explore potential explanations of this success by applying consistent statistical methods to multiple rounds of Demographic Health Surveys for Bangladesh, Nepal, Ethiopia, Odisha, Senegal, and Zambia.

The research finds that changes in household wealth, mother's education and access to antenatal care are the largest drivers of nutritional improvement, except for Zambia where large increases in bednet usage is the single largest factor. Other factors play a smaller role in explaining nutritional improvements with improvements in sanitation only appearing to be important in South Asia. Overall, the results point to the need for multidimensional nutritional strategies involving a broad range of nutrition-sensitive sectors.


  • asset accumulation and parental education are important predictor of nutritional improvement in most countries

  • improved sanitation is more strongly associated with height-for-age in South Asian countries

  • asset accumulation and parental education are important predictor of nutritional improvement in most countries

Equate and conflate: political commitment to hunger and undernutrition reduction in five high-burden countries

16 May 2017 04:27:25 GMT

As political commitment is an essential ingredient for elevating food and nutrition security onto policy agendas, commitment metrics have proliferated. Many conflate government commitment to fight hunger with combating undernutrition. Here the authors test the hypothesis that commitment to hunger reduction is empirically different from commitment to reducing undernutrition through expert surveys in five high-burden countries: Bangladesh, Malawi, Nepal, Tanzania, and Zambia.

Findings confirm the hypothesis. The paper concludes that sensitive commitment metrics are needed to guide government and donor policies and programmatic action. Without, historically inadequate prioritisation of non-food aspects of malnutrition may persist to imperil achieving global nutrition targets.


  • nine key components of political commitment are identified

  • political commitment to reducing (a) hunger and (b) undernutrition is measured
  • research uses expert perception surveys in Bangladesh, Malawi, Nepal, Tanzania, and Zambia

  • hunger reduction commitment differs from commitment to address undernutrition
  • commitment metrics must be sensitive to these differences to better guide policy

Stories of change in nutrition: an overview

11 May 2017 04:05:48 GMT

After a period of relative success in generating political momentum to address malnutrition, there is an increasing urgency to focus on implementation and impact on the ground. This requires better documentation of the experiences of policymakers, nutrition leaders, program managers and implementers in making decisions on what to do in real time, such as coordinating and implementing multisectoral nutrition plans in dynamic country contexts.

The goal of the Stories of Change (SoC) initiative is to foster and support such experiential learning by systematically assessing and analysing drivers of change in six high-burden contexts (Ethiopia, Zambia, Senegal, Bangladesh, Nepal and Odisha, India) that have had some success in accelerating improvements in nutrition. While recognising context-specificity, here the authors unpack the key pre-requisites (commitment, coherence, accountability, data, leadership, capacity and finance) that fuel and sustain progress.

Highlights of this research:

  • political commitment is essential, but institutional commitment needed for action
  • leadership is transformational, and pivotal in triggering and sustaining change
  • Policy coherence, accountability, data, capacity and finance are other key factors.

Mineral governance barometer - Southern Africa

23 Mar 2017 10:35:35 GMT

Southern Africa is endowed with lucrative mineral resources such as diamonds, gold, copper, coal, platinum, and uranium.  This rich endowment can be a major asset in the quest for inclusive and sustainable development, yet mining in Southern Africa has often been criticised as an enclave sector that at best contributes little to economic development and at worst does substantial social and environmental harm.  To avoid such pitfalls emerging international consensus emphasises the importance of good mineral governance. This involves the adoption and implementation of regulatory frameworks that promote deeper linkages between the mining sector and the broader economy, and that protect people and the environment from the potentially harmful consequences of mineral extraction.

This pilot study provides a barometer of mineral governance in ten Southern African countries: Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Namibia, South  Africa,  Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The barometer takes stock of mining regulations in place at the end of 2015, the extent to which they are implemented, and features of supporting institutions.  It is based on the observation that while regulations impose obligations on mining companies, in doing so they directly impose obligations on the state to monitor and enforce compliance, and they also indirectly impose obligations for citizens and civil society to hold the state and mining companies accountable.  The barometer includes indicators of mineral governance  across  four  main  issue-areas:  national  economic  and  fiscal  linkages;  community  impact; labour, and the environment, with artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) treated as a special topic.  The barometer also includes indicators of state capacity and state accountability with respect to mineral governance.

Corporate social responsibility and political settlements in the mining sector in Ghana, Zambia and Peru

17 Feb 2017 04:43:45 GMT

This paper explores and compares the political effects of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in the mining sector in Zambia, Ghana and Peru. The paper adopts a political settlements approach to answer the question: How do the CSR practices of mining companies affect local and national political settlements? After setting out the main tenets of the political settlements approach, this is articulated with literature on the politics of natural resource extraction and CSR. The paper then sets the wider context of the international drivers of increased attention to CSR in the extractive sector, before exploring the impact of the CSR practices of mining companies on the political settlement in Ghana, Peru and Zambia at the national and local levels. The final sections offer a comparative discussion of what the findingsmean for understanding CSR’s role in inclusive development and natural resource
The paper argues that recent increased CSR expenditure does not necessarily translate into development for those living near mining companies, particularly in contexts of exclusionary political settlements, of which all case studies exhibited characteristics. There are a great many institutional and contextual limitations placed on the ability of CSR to deliver development for affected communities. Across the case studies, the opportunities that CSR programmes afford tended to aimed at those with the greatest capacity to disrupt operations, rather than those with the greatest need. In concluding, I argue that, despite some obvious limitations, the political settlements approach can generate new insights through its focus on the politics of development, and, in particular, the politics of stability.

The politics of promoting social protection in Zambia

17 Feb 2017 04:29:50 GMT

The rise of the social protection agenda in Zambia over the past few years seems in some ways to fit with mainstream accounts of how welfare states are likely to emergein developing countries, particularly in terms of the links to elections and pro-poor political parties. However, here the authors demonstrate that this (still incipient) policy shift flows more directly from two alternative sources, namely shifting dynamics within Zambia’s political settlement and the promotional efforts of a transnational policy coalition.

Adopting a process tracing approach, the paper compares the progress made on social cash transfers and social health insurance in Zambia. It investigates how the interplay of domestic political economy and transnational factors shaped the commitment of government to formulate and deliver the respective policies in the context of competing demands and priorities within the wider distributional regime. Despite some progress made in both policy areas, social protection has not as yet displaced certain interests, ideas and rent-allocation practices that are more deeply embedded within Zambia’s political settlement. However, given that it would be politically dangerous to remove social cash transfers from communities that have become used to receiving them, what matters now is the way in which such transfers become integrated within Zambia’s distributional regime, including whether they simply deepen its clientelist nature or start to form the basis of a new citizenship-based social contract.

Zambia’s constitutional Groundhog Day: why national debate about constitutional reform is not going away anytime soon

13 Jan 2017 12:14:09 GMT

Since independence, Zambia has had five major constitutional amendments (an average of one every 10 years), a fact that has raised concerns about the country’s constitutional foundations. The constitution has been made a campaign issue in every presidential election since Zambia’s return to multiparty politics in the 1990s. In recent years, constitutional reform has become increasingly politicised and intransigent. The latest constitutional amendment, announced in January 2016, offered Zambians provisions that had long formed part of their aspirations and demands. Why then was the 2016 constitution recently defeated in a national referendum?

This policy briefing demonstrates how the interests of citizens have continually been placed behind the interests of Zambia’s political elite, including in the 2016 referendum.
  • political parties should collaborate to find consensus before undertaking constitutional amendments. The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) highlights that a country’s constitution should enjoy popular legitimacy, and major amendments and revisions should not be undertaken lightly. Zambia highlights the dangers of politicising such a foundational aspect of any democracy
  • referendums should not be held concurrently with national general elections. Zambia’s 2016 referendum clearly suffered due to the broader political environment, ultimately failing to secure the minimum turnout required to legally validate the final outcome
  • sufficient time should be allocated to sensitise citizens ahead of a national referendum. Clearly, less than six months was insufficient notice for Zambians, as demonstrated by the low turnout and significant number of rejected (spoilt) ballots
  • double-barrelled referendum questions should be avoided. Keep questions simple. The 2016 Zambian referendum question fails on both counts here, and the outcomes are evident
  • the symbols used for ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ should be easy to understand. Using an eye for ‘Yes’ and an ear for ‘No’ proved contentious and confusing in the 2016 referendum

Illicit financial flows estimating trade mispricing and trade-based money laundering for five African countries

06 Jan 2017 03:05:49 GMT

Illicit financial flows (IFFs) are garnered through the proceeds of illicit trade, trade mispricing, transfer pricing and other forms of organised profit-motivated crime. This paper focuses on the commercial tax evasion component of illicit financial flows (IFFs), clarifying concepts often used interchangeably, namely transfer pricing, abusive transfer pricing, trade mispricing (or trade mis-invoicing), trade-based money laundering (TBML), tax evasion and tax avoidance. It also shows how they link to IFFs. It estimates the extent of trade mispricing by enhancing the model currently used by Global Financial Integrity, and by developing a TBML model as a means of quantifying IFFs between two developing countries. There are data challenges with this methodology, as it is an estimation of illegal or hidden activities, using the International Monetary Funds Direction of Trade methodology.

The research points to declining trade mispricing in South Africa and Zambia for the period 2013-2015, and Nigeria for the period 2013-2014. Morocco and Egypt exhibit increasing trade mispricing from 2013 to 2014. The TBML model, which addresses the criticism regarding flows between two developing countries, points to increasing financial outflows for all five countries. These flows mean less revenue is available to the fiscus to invest in socio-economic infrastructure and pro-poor growth strategies, which would benefit women and the poor. Policy recommendations address commercial tax evasion as well as proposals to remedy the data anomalies.

Climate change and rural institutions strengthening climate change adaptation in Zambia

15 Dec 2016 04:35:24 GMT

The Government of Zambia is making important progress in establishing a national framework for climate change adaptation. However, there is a need for more attention to the crucial role of district level institutions such as Local Government, local sector agencies and NGOs.

There is progress on institutionalizing Zambia’s disaster prevention and management at district and community levels. District Disaster Management Committees have been set up, and in some areas also satellite disaster management committees. There is, however, a tendency for efforts to come and go with disasters, and at community level institutional mechanisms tend to become virtually defunct between major disasters.
  • give more attention to adaptation to gradual climate change, which tends to be overshadoed by the urgency of flood- and drought responses
  • strengthen the flexibility, mandate and access to financing for district institutions in climate change adaptation
  • coordination and collaboration between NGO activities, donor-funded programmes and Local Government is important for wider impacts

Better Life Alliance in Zambia: Climate change mitigation as a co-benefit of improved landscape, agroforestry, soil, and fertilizer management

09 Dec 2016 11:04:55 GMT

Established in 2011, BLA was a 4-year project funded by the Feed the Future (FTF) initiative and implemented by Community Markets for Conservation Ltd. (COMACO) in the Luangwa valley in the Eastern Province of Zambia (Figure 1). BLA aimed to achieve poverty reduction, sustainable land management, and improved conservation by linking smallholder farmers to market incentives. This area encompasses communal lands for 63 chiefdoms that surround five national parks and protected forests. BLA focused on improvements to agricultural value chains and market links. BLA provided direct training and capacity building for small-scale farmers to adopt conservation practices. BLA also introduced natural resource management plans that targeted conservation of wildlife habitats to prevent conversion to agriculture.

Key messages:

  • analysis of agricultural activities in the Better Life Alliance (BLA) project in Zambia showed potential reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), mostly (85%) due to avoided savanna degradation and conversion. The GHG impact due to BLA’s interventions is estimated at –902,531 tCO2e/yr, equivalent to saving 2,089,550 barrels of oil
  • BLA’s business model linked prevention of degradation and conversion of shrubland to market-based incentives for agricultural crops, thereby providing farmers with economic incentives for conservation and climate change mitigation
  • BLA promoted a comprehensive approach to soil fertility management. It promoted agro-ecological approaches such as recycling farm organic resources, planting nitrogen-fixing trees, minimal tillage, and cover crops
  • BLA reduced postharvest loss (PHL) through improved product processing, storage, and packaging. Changes in PHL were estimated for groundnuts (–100%), maize (–40%), rice (–80%), and soybeans (–67%), which contributed to decreases in emission intensity (GHG emissions per unit of production) for each of these products

Zambia climate action report

06 Sep 2016 01:55:31 GMT

As a Least Developed Country, Zambia produced a National Adaptation Plan of Action (NAPA) in 2007. The NAPA documents national circumstances, vulnerabilities, and expected impacts from climate change in Zambia, as well as identifying and prioritising responsive actions. The NAPA also outlines the consultation, resources and information that were used to prioritise adaptation interventions. The primary concern for the Government of Zambia is to “protect its people, infrastructure, and other national assets against disasters a nd climatic hazards such as drought and floods”. This document provides an overview of climate change issues and adaptation strategies in Zambia.

Responding to the Safety and Security Needs of LGBTI Communities and Organisations: A situational analysis of Malawi, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe

24 Aug 2016 12:48:28 GMT

The Safety and Security Project within Hivos’s (Humanist Institute for Cooperation with Developing Countries) LGBTI Programme aims to ensure that LGBTI persons are able to live and work within safe communities without the fear of persecution, physical or property harm or intimidation, and with the full enjoyment of their human rights. Hivos has for several years been supporting the work of LGBTI organisations and more recently has responded on an ad hoc basis to security issues faced by organisations and individuals. Given the nature, extent and on-going occurrence of safety and security threats to LGBTI individuals and organisations, Hivos saw the need to review its strategy in regard to LGBTI hate crimes in the region in order to develop a more coherent and sustainable strategy.

This review sets out to assess and address the follwing issues in South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe: 

  • The extent and level of threats of homophobic violence experienced by LGBTI groups and individuals; 
  • To identify prevention, response and mitigation mechanisms employed by organisations; 
  • To identify safety and security tools and capacities in place; 
  • To look at the types and levels of support available to individuals and organisations that are targeted by homophobic violence and threats; 
  • To review safety and security programmes and strategies to prevent and respond to homophobic violence targeted at LGBTI communities; 
  • and To make recommendations to Hivos in regard to providing further support for LGBTI organisations and individuals in the region

Cost of abortions in Zambia: A comparison of safe abortion and post abortion care

15 Aug 2016 04:08:17 GMT

Unsafe abortion is a significant but preventable cause of maternal mortality. Although induced abortion has been legal in Zambia since 1972, many women still face logistical, financial, social, and legal obstacles to access safe abortion services, and undergo unsafe abortion instead.

This study provides the first estimates of costs of post abortion care (PAC) after an unsafe abortion and the cost of safe abortion in Zambia. In the absence of routinely collected data on abortions, the authors used multiple data sources: key informant interviews, medical records and hospital logbooks. They estimated the costs of providing safe abortion and PAC services at the University Teaching Hospital, Lusaka and then projected these costs to generate indicative cost estimates for Zambia. Due to unavailability of data on the actual number of safe abortions and PAC cases in Zambia, the authors used estimates from previous studies and from other similar countries, and checked the robustness of our estimates with sensitivity analyses.

The study found that PAC following an unsafe abortion can cost 2.5 times more than safe abortion care. The Zambian health system could save as much as US$0.4 million annually if those women currently treated for an unsafe abortion instead had a safe abortion.

Pregnancy termination trajectories in Zambia

15 Aug 2016 03:45:29 GMT

Unsafe abortion is a significant, but preventable cause of maternal mortality in Zambia. The authors compared the trajectories of women seeking safe abortion with those receiving care following unsafe abortion. They interviewed women accessing care in a large government hospital about their experiences. The study captured a third termination trajectory in which women received medical abortion outside the study hospital from qualified (legal) and unqualified providers. The advice of others, perceptions of risk, economic cost and delays in care seeking and receipt all influenced which trajectory a woman followed, as well as the complexity and timing of her trajectory.

Lessons leant from the implementation of the E-voucher pilot

08 Aug 2016 12:03:23 GMT

An e-voucher uses a mobile delivery and tracking system to distribute subsidized agricultural inputs through agro-dealers/input suppliers to targeted farmers. Each beneficiary farmer’s e-card is linked to their specific name and National Registration Card (NRC) number. On confirmation of the transaction, an e-voucher allows instant electronic payment to agro-dealers/input suppliers’ online accounts for the inputs redeemed by the farmer.

This Brief looks at the example of Zambia which is in the process of reforming the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) to implement the subsidy program through a flexible electronic voucher.

  • Electronic voucher system (E-voucher) implementation has crowded in more private sector participation in inputs distribution to rural farmers in the initial 13 pilot districts. Agro dealers are now able to stock more diverse inputs in their shops
  • dspite some notable delays in e-cards activation, most farmers reported having access to inputs of their choice on time in nearby agro-dealer shops
  • about 85% of the farming households redeemed their vouchers for fertilizer and maize seed. The remaining 15% purchased other farm inputs. This is likely to increase during second phase of pilot, hence unlocking the potential to for agricultural diversification in the country

Despite these successes, the e-voucher pilot was faced with challenges that threatened the successful implementation of the program. These included the following:

  • delayed submission of beneficiaries lists to the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) Programme Coordinating Office resulting in delayed delivery and activation of e-cards;
  • rising fertilizer prices due to the depreciation of the kwacha that nearly made the e-voucher less attractive to the traditional Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP). Government had to top-up the value of the voucher from 1,400 to 2,100 kwacha, inclusive of farmer contribution of 400 kwacha
  • there were cases in Central Province of deliberate effort by some MoA staff to derail the implementation of e-voucher pilot in support of the traditional FISP. MoA’s quick action to discipline renegade staff solved the problem
  • reported selective activation of e-cards, a problem that led to delayed access of inputs by some farmers
  • reported incidences of farmers surrendering their non-activated cards to agro-dealers to access inputs in advance. This could have led to some farmers losing out as some agrodealers might have redeemed the cards in the absence of the farmers; and
  • the charging of a redemption fee of 7 kwacha affected some farmers as they could not use the full value of the e-card
  • finally, the current e-voucher redemption system does not have the capability of identifying the type of inputs redeemed by farmers. This makes it impossible to map the demand for various inputs


“If you have only dust in your hands, then friends are far; when they are full, they come closer”: an examination of the impacts of Zambia’s Katete universal pension

21 Jul 2016 12:10:27 GMT

For the past 10 years or so, Zambia has been experimenting with a universal old age pension in the district of Katete, in the east of the country. It has provided a regular pension to 4,500 older people aged over 60 years, 63% of whom were women. The recipients of the pension belong to the Chewa tribe. In 2010, the author undertook a study of the pension and, at the time, it provided people with a regular transfer of 120,0001 Kwacha (around US$23.50) per month. The pension was funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and managed by the Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare.

The Katete pension has had a transformative impact on the lives of older people, as well as on their wider communities. It has also helped address discrepancies between the ideal and reality with regard to how older people view themselves and how they are viewed by society. It enables older people to delay the inevitable decline into dependency on others and enables them to retain their humanity – as expressed in Chewa ideals – for as long as they can. By maintaining active mutual sharing and caring relations, they keep kinship and love alive. The pension has particularly positive benefits for those that have been marginalised in old age to re-incorporate themselves within intimate communities, which offer them care, respect and support, which they, because of their possession of cash, can reciprocate.Moving towards a much simpler universal pension, as in Katete, would make a lot of sense. The vast majority of older people in Zambia live in poverty and attempting to exclude the richest appears to add little – if any – value, in particular when they cannot be accurately identified. Furthermore, it would be preferable to provide the benefit as an individual entitlement so that households with more than one older person can receive multiple benefits. If not, households may be encouraged to split while particularly vulnerable households – with more than one older person (or person with a severe disability) – could receive a higher income, which they surely need.

Group dialogue and critical reflection of HIV prevention: an evaluation of the C-Change Community Conversation Toolkit

24 Jun 2016 11:08:36 GMT

Communication for Change (C-Change) set out to develop support tools that would foster interactive communication among low-literacy adults and prompt engagement on HIV prevention issues, including encouraging individual and group-oriented problem solving. The Community Conversation Toolkit (CCT) was developed using participatory approaches with lower literacy audiences and was extensively pre-tested in southern and eastern Africa. The CCT is a social and behavior change communication (SBCC) resource that comprises a set of interactive communication components including role play cards, throw cubes, playing cards, dialogue buttons, finger puppets, and guides for facilitation and community mobilization. The CCT has been adapted for use in seven countries and is available in ten languages.

This evaluation report looked at whether this toolkit elicited changes in behaviour and practices by participants around HIV prevention, and whether the processes of reflection and problem solving led to community-level action for HIV-prevention-related change.

The evaluation study found that "participants were able to recognise their own risks and felt empowered to change their behaviour, for example, insisting on using a condom or increasing dialogue with their partners and within their families and communities. The group dialogues encouraged critical reflection about contextual risks, enabling both community members and leaders to analyse risk factors in their communities."



  • the CCT is a well developed SBCC resource that fosters dialogue and critical reflection processes that contribute to the empowerment of HIV-vulnerable participants. As such, the CCT is suitable for replication in its current format
  • the CCT is a versatile resource that can be utilized with literate adults as well as adults with lower literacy skills. Potential use with youth audiences should be explored, noting that the content of the present toolkit would need to take into account age-appropriateness in relation to content regarding sexuality
  • the CCT complements existing HIV prevention activities and bolsters such activities by serving as a catalyst for spurring problem solving and action at individual, relationship, family, and community levels. It should thus be considered as a complementary resource to the work of organizations in facilitated or spontaneous situations
  • the CCT is available in a range of languages and includes context-relevant adaptations in the form of localized proverbs and questions. These are suitable for reproduction for use in a wide range of communities in the countries for which they were developed. Demand for such upscaling has already been voiced in study countries
  • the durability of the CCT was not assessed as part of this evaluation, and CCT components were only used four to five times by the dialogue groups. Reproducing the CCT would require additional research to determine durablity for more intensive use
  • while the broad curriculum and facilitation style attached to the CCT dialogues is appropriate and leads to action outcomes, it is unclear whether there is an optimal number of ‘sessions’ or how participants could continue independently using the toolkits. Four sessions appear to be a suitable minimum. Strategies for expanding use within communities, and determining optimal intensity of use and ‘saturation’ per community, would need to be considered


Audience reception and evaluation study for Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR ) Communication Program in Malawi, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe

24 Jun 2016 10:39:49 GMT

Soul City is coordinating the implementation of a program on sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) among youths and key populations in Southern Africa. The component focusing on key populations namely female sex workers, truck drivers, and communities in border areas began in 2012.
This study is based on 20 in-depth interviews (IDIs) among truck drivers and Wellness Centre/clinic managers, and 12 focus group discussions (FGDs) among female sex workers and members of the general public in the border areas. Each country produced a report, and the four reports were meta-analysed to produce this consolidated report. The study was carried out between May and July 2014 and focused on obtaining audience responses to a few key programme interventions: audio and video materials; sex worker pamphlets; and posters. The report notes that while the study focused on assessing reception of the material created during this campaign, many respondents mentioned other materials produced by partner organisations during earlier interventions.
The report outlines a few suggestions for improving future materials. For example, truck drivers suggested that the content should be more neutral and not depict them as being promiscuous. It was also suggested that the materials be distributed with more frequency and in a way that more drivers are able to receive the materials. Other suggestions include engaging peer educators to help explain content, designing some messages for sex workers' clients and young people, and using appropriate languages (for example, truck drivers at the border in Namibia received materials in Oshiwambo, Silozi and Khoe-khoegowab but would have preferred English or Afrikaans).

Zambia's Multiple Category Targeting Grant: 24-month impact report

09 Jun 2016 11:48:12 GMT

This report provides the 24-month follow-up results for the Multiple Category Targeting Grant (MCTG) impact evaluation. In 2011, the government of the Republic of Zambia—through the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health (MCDMCH)—began implementing the MCTG in two districts: Luwingu and Serenje. American Institutes for Research (AIR) was contracted by UNICEF Zambia to design and implement a randomized controlled trial (RCT) for a three-year impact evaluation of the program, and to conduct the necessary data collection, analysis, and reporting. This report presents findings from the 24-month follow-up study, including impacts on expenditures, poverty, food security, resilience, children, adolescents, and women’s empowerment.

Overall, the MCTG has had an impact across an impressive range of indicators covering consumption and food security as well as livelihoods and schooling. In other words, the MCTG has achieved the twin objectives of mitigating food insecurity and consumption deficits in the present, and laying the base for breaking the inter-generational transmission of poverty by strengthening livelihoods and increasing human capital investment.

Zambia's Multiple Category Grant: 36-month impact report

09 Jun 2016 11:35:17 GMT

In 2011, the government of the Republic of Zambia—through the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health (MCDMCH)—began implementing the MCTG in two districts: Luwingu and Serenje. American Institutes for Research (AIR) was contracted by UNICEF Zambia to design and implement a randomised controlled trial (RCT) for a three-year impact evaluation of the program, and to conduct the necessary data collection, analysis, and reporting.

This report presents findings from the 36-month follow-up study, including impacts on expenditures, poverty, food security, resilience, children, adolescents, and women’s empowerment.

The overall impacts at 36 months are similar in pattern and magnitude to those found in earlier rounds. Moreover, the overall impacts of the program sum to a value that is greater than the transfer size. The program was originally designed with the transfer size equal to roughly one additional meal a day for the average family for 1 month. However, this report finds that in addition to eating more meals and being more food secure, families are also improving their housing conditions, buying more livestock, buying necessities for children, reducing their debt, and investing in productive activities. Monetizing and aggregating these consumption and nonconsumption spending impacts of the MCTG gives an estimated multiplier of 1.68. In other words, each Kwacha transferred is now providing an additional 0.68, or almost 70 percent more, in terms of net benefit to the household. These multiplier effects are derived in part through increased productive activity, including diversification of income sources into off-farm wage labour, investment in livestock, and nonfarm enterprise, with the latter being managed primarily by women. The 1.68 multiplier estimate is based on program impacts and accounts for changes in the control group, thus can be entirely attributed to the MCTG.

The results from the collection of evaluation reports over the 3-year period of 2011–2014 demonstrate unequivocally that common perceptions about cash transfers—that they are a hand-out and cause dependency, or lead to alcohol and tobacco consumption,—are not true in Zambia.

Zambia's Child Grant Program: 48-month impact report

09 Jun 2016 11:15:27 GMT

In 2010, the government of the Republic of Zambia, through the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health (MCD MCH), began implementing the Child Grant cash transfer program (CGP) in three districts: Kaputa, Kalabo, and Shangombo. The American Institutes for Research (AIR) was contracted by UNICEF Zambia in 2010 to design and implement a randomized controlled trial (RCT) for a 4-year impact evaluation of the program and to conduct the necessary data collection, analysis, and reporting.

This report presents findings from the 48-month follow-up study, updating results from the 24-month and 36-month impact reports, including impacts on expenditures, poverty, food security, living conditions, children, women, and productivity.

The overall results from the collection of evaluation reports over the 4-year period of 2010–2014 demonstrate unequivocally that common perceptions a bout cash transfers—that they are a hand-out and cause dependency, or lead to alcohol and tobacco consumption, or induce fertility—are not true in Zambia. The 1.49 multiplier effect, which is driven by productive activity, speaks directly to the response by poor, rural households in Zambia to use and manage the cash productively to improve their overall standard of living. Labour supply to off-farm work has
increased among CGP households, as has work in family enterprise. At no point during the 4-year evaluation have there been any positive impact s on alcohol and tobacco consumption, nor has there been any impact on fertility during the lengthy evaluation period. In short, this unconditional cash transfer has proven to be an effective approach to alleviating extreme poverty and empowering households to improve their standard
of living in a way that is most appropriate for them, based on their own choices. 

Cash for women's empowerment? A mixed-methods evaluation of the Government of Zambia' s Child Grant Programme

09 Jun 2016 02:35:21 GMT

The empowerment of women, broadly defined, is an often-cited objective and benefit of social cash transfer programmes in developing countries. Despite the promise and potential of cash transfers to empower women, the evidence supporting this outcome is mixed. In addition, there is little evidence from programmes that have gone to scale in sub-Saharan Africa.

This paper reports findings from a mixed-methods evaluation of the Government of Zambia’s Child Grant Programme, a poverty-targeted, unconditional transfer given to mothers or primary caregivers of young children aged 0 to 5. The quantitative component was a four-year longitudinal clustered randomized control trial in three rural districts, and the qualitative component was a one-time data collection involving in-depth interviews with women and their partners, stratified on marital status and programme participation.

The study found that women in beneficiary households were making more sole and joint decisions (across five domains); however, impacts translated into relatively modest increases of an additional 0.34
of a decision made across nine domains on average. Qualitatively, it was found that changes in intrahousehold relationships were limited by entrenched gender norms, which indicate men as heads of household
and primary decision-makers. However, women’s narratives showed the transfer did increase overall household well-being because they felt increased financial empowerment and were able to retain control over transfers for household investment and savings for emergencies.

The paper highlights methodological challenges in using intrahousehold decision-making as the primaryindicator to measure empowerment. Despite this, the results show potential for national, poverty-targeted, unconditional, government-run programmes in Africa, to improve the well-being of female beneficiaries.

Angolan refugees in Zambia: reflecting on local integration as a sustainable solution

12 May 2016 12:38:03 GMT

Local integration continues to be an important option in the basket of comprehensive strategies to achieve long-term solutions to refugee crises, particularly those caused by protracted conflicts. While many refugees may voluntarily repatriate to their countries of origin, with some benefiting from resettlement in third countries, local integration presents a durable solution that is often not considered or applied. Zambia, with a high number of refugees living within its border, has long chosen to facilitate voluntary repatriation for emigrants; notwithstanding that not all refugees benefit from this solution. Realising this, the southern African nation of Zambia launched the Strategic Framework for the Local Integration of Former Angolan Refugees in Zambia to benefit those former refugees who chose not to return to their country of origin. This framework is a blueprint to support the local integration of 10,000 eligible former Angolan refugees who have been living in Zambia for over four decades, among them second and third generation refugees born in the country.
In the same vein, Zambia also committed to integrate 4000 former Rwandese refugees as the next step. With particular emphasis on Angolan refugees in Zambia, this Policy & Practice Brief (PPB) analyses the implementation of the strategic framework, highlighting the socio-economic situation of former Angolan refugees that make this a viable approach for Zambia. The brief concludes by advancing recommendations that the Zambian government can adopt to effectively address weaknesses in the overall local integration process.

Communicating research to policymakers: researchers' experiences

05 May 2016 01:56:22 GMT

Policymakers and advocates agree that using evidence to inform decisions is essential for good policymaking and program design, given that limited resources require decisionmakers to allocate budgets effectively. Recognizing these issues, funders have invested resources in communicating research findings to inform and empower decisionmakers. But despite these investments, many researchers continue to encounter challenges in sharing their research findings with policymakers.

This brief highlights the experiences of four research teams who communicated findings from studies supported under the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation's Population and Poverty Research Initiative (PopPov). Each research endeavor was unique in its strategic approach, subject matter, policy environment, and outcome. In addition, different PopPov partners funded the grants for each research study. The United Kingdom's Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded a study of emergency obstetric care in Burkina Faso; and a study of unintended fertility in Karonga, Malawi. The Population Reference Bureau (PRB) awarded research grants for a study of teenage pregnancy and education outcomes in Cape Town, South Africa; and a study of household family planning decisionmaking in Lusaka, Zambia. ESRC required that research teams develop and implement a communication plan, and report on its results, while PRB made no specific research dissemination requirement.

Cash for women's empowerment? A mixed-methods evaluation of the government of Zambia's Child Grant Programme

18 Mar 2016 10:08:46 GMT

Social cash transfer programmes in developing countries are often claimed to benefit the empowerment of women, despite a lack of clear evidence supporting this outcome. This report seeks to examine the validity of the claim through a mixed-methods evaluation of the Government of Zambia’s Child Grant Programme; a poverty-targeted, unconditional transfer given to mothers or primary caregivers of young children aged 0 to 5. 

The quantitative component found some improvements for instance in the increase of women’s decision-making power within the household. However, the qualitative component also found that such changes were limited by traditional gender norms. 

The results of the study are discussed and the paper argues that there is potential for national, poverty-targeted, unconditional, government-run programmes in Africa, to improve the well-being of female beneficiaries. Finally, the paper highlights methodological challenges in using intra-household decision-making as the primary indicator to measure empowerment. 

Adapted from authors’ summary.

Is green economy achievable through championing green growth? A local government experience from Zambia

11 Mar 2016 07:29:37 GMT

The need to enhance environmental sustainability, sustainable development and growth that takes into account the well-being of the people and nature because of the increased production and consumption of goods and services is the major driver to the introduction of green economy in Zambia and countries in southern Africa.

This article examines the extent to which local government in Zambia has embraced green growth and green economy and critically analyses the concept of green economy and green growth. This study is based on a review of planning and policy documents, a household questionnaire survey and interviews with various institutions, planners and rural development organisations. A number of policies implemented at the local government level were analysed and reflected upon irrespective of whether they contain the components of green growth and green economy and the extent to which they contribute to attaining green economy. The article argues that the need for economic diversification is important as far as green economy is concerned.

The article recommends the need to invest in research and development in order to find more carbon-free economic activities. The conclusion is that local government is key to achieving green growth and green economy, because it is involved at all levels, from policy formulation to implementation.

Economic profiling of the creative industries: a desk review

11 Feb 2016 02:59:06 GMT

The UN’s Creative Economy Report 2010 notes the increasing acceptance of the role of the creative economy as a leading sector in generating economic growth, employment and trade, and that creative industries are among the most dynamic sectors of the world economy–offering new, high growth opportunities for developing countries. Yet we hardly hear discussions of art, culture and creativity in terms of economic development in Zambia.

Presently, there is a dearth of information in relation to the contribution creative industries are actually making to our economy overall. This is partly because the creative sector is largely informal, often dynamic and fluid in nature and there is very little statistical information available.

Using exploratory data mining techniques, this study is an attempt to glean data from official data sources to examine the economic importance of the creative industries in Zambia. This is in order to help both policymakers and industry professionals to communicate key concepts, share reliable data and make the case for greater investment in the sector.

Mining tax in Zambia

11 Feb 2016 02:46:56 GMT

With some of the worst poverty statistics in Africa, Zambia appears to have  little to show for a century of mining.  But  given good policies, the country’s considerable mineral wealth clearly represents a real opportunity  to  grow  the  economy  and  tackle  poverty.  Following  the  recovery  of  the  mining  industry since  privatisation, and with booming world  copper prices, there  has been considerable public debate over how to ensure  that  an  appropriate share of mineral resource revenues accrues to the government.  

Debate is healthy and should lead to better policy, but only if it is well  informed.   While technical terms such as “windfall tax” are frequently used  by participants in the debate, there is no common understanding of the term. 

The birth death and survival of exports in Zambia 1999-2011

11 Feb 2016 02:31:00 GMT

This paper deals with the dynamics of Zambia’s export performance, analyzing the birth, death and persistence of exporting in various products and destinations. The authors use a framework that has recently proliferated in international trade to decompose the growth of Zambia’s exports into an “intensive” and “extensive” margin. Results show that the extensive margin is the dominant driver of export growth in Zambia. The paper attributes the poor performance of the intensive margin to the low survival among exporters that hardly lasts for more than a year.  

Findings imply that interventions to support new-exporting should be encouraged. But it also raises key questions on the sustainability of export growth in the long-run. Therefore, the authors propose that interventions should target improving the duration of survival among exporters and deepen their intensity of exporting once they are able to survive longer. In conclusion, there is urgent need to carefully understand the factors that are responsible for the high mortality among exporters within the first year of birth.

RHCS country case study: Zambia

08 Feb 2016 04:47:24 GMT

Zambia reproductive health commodity security (RHCS) is evidently poor with a series of problems in ensuring safe supply from forecasting, procurement, financing distribution and the capacity of health professionals to administer drugs or deliver appropriate services. 

This report aims to provide evidence for specific proposals for action at country and/or international level, and for dialogue with bilateral and multilateral donors on the resolution of reproductive health commodity supply crises in Zambia, within the reproductive health supplies coalition.

Constraints on the demand for youth labour in Zambia

05 Feb 2016 10:50:53 GMT

Zambia is one of many developing countries struggling to create adequate employment opportunities for its people, especially in the formal economy. Unemployment is highest among youths (15–24 years old) and particularly affects those without skills. Unless the challenge of youth unemployment is met, Zambia could face rising poverty levels in the future. Based on a survey of firms in the mining and quarrying, manufacturing, and construction industries, this study analyses constraints on the demand for youth labour and identifies five broad policy areas in which the government could help make it easier for firms to absorb more young people.

What do regional trade reforms mean for Zambia?

05 Feb 2016 03:50:51 GMT

Zambia is participating actively in regional integration programmes, but little is know about the impacts of tariff reforms associated with such initiatives. This paper assesses the potential effects for Zambia of the trade reforms implied in both the COMESA Customs Union and the Tripartite Free Trade Area, specifically by comparing data for 2010 with
simulations reflecting what would have happened if Zambia had implemented the required reforms in that year.

The results show small increases in imports and decreases in trade tax
revenues, with the largest changes being associated with the Tripartite FTA because of the underlying importance of South Africa as Zambia’s main trade partner. The total revenue losses would actually be less than
the revenue lost from duty exemptions in 2010. Tariff reforms ultimately have limited impact, however: the overall expansion of trade associated with regional integration programmes will be small unless non-trade barriers are removed.


  • Zambia should continue on its path of tariff reform and regional integration
  • policymakers must define a country policy position and a set of strategies to be negotiated as part of regional trade policy

  • policy­‐makers should engage the COMESA Secretariat with a view to establishing if Zambia can benefit  from partial or full revenue loss compensation to mitigate any adverse effects of reform

  • further work should be undertaken to quantify the costs of  non‐trade barriers (NTBs) for Zambia


Water supply and demand scenarios for the Zambezi river basin

27 Jan 2016 04:45:12 GMT

The dramatic potential impacts of climate change on hydropower potential in the Zambezi River Basin point to the need to explicitly consider climate change in both project planning and overall system expansion planning.

This is even truer for future plants, where financial viability and loan repayments will depend on the stability of generation and sales revenue. A key next step in this analysis should be to look at not just how climate and development affect individual plants, but how they affect entire national and regional energy systems.

This analysis should also use the most recent climate scenario data available, as this field is evolving rapidly. Although there is increasing cooperation in the basin, major decisions on investment and operation are not necessarily coordinated as effectively as possible, and this will be more complex with four or five major new plant in the basin in the coming 10-15 years.

Linking the water modelling to an energy system model for the region would allow for more explicit modelling of the energy, water and economic trade-offs, and a deeper understanding of the real costs of a changing climate.

{Author summary]

Hydropower in the Zambezi River basin at risk due to changing climate and increased irrigation

27 Jan 2016 02:53:22 GMT

This policy brief is among the output from a research initiative designed to address the major uncertainties facing hydropower development in the Zambezi region, and to deepen understanding among stakeholders of the risks to hydropower from changes in climate and increased upstream water demand.

For 18 months, researchers developed and applied a water supply and demand modelling tool for the Zambezi River Basin.

The model was applied to two future climate scenarios, reflecting possible “wetting” or “drying” climates, and two scenarios for irrigation expansion in the region.

The results of the analysis according to the researchers, point to dramatic potential negative impacts on major existing and planned hydropower investments.

This policy brief is suipplemented by the full research report, also available to access here on Eldis.

The impact of an unconditional cash transfer on food security and nutrition: the Zambia child grant programme

07 Jan 2016 11:57:28 GMT

The Child Grant Programme is one of the Government of Zambia’s largest social protection programmes. The programme provides a monthly cash payment of 60 kwacha (US$12) to very poor households with children under five years old.

A randomised controlled trial of 2,515 households was implemented to investigate the impact of the programme. The researchers found that cash transfers improve household consumption, food consumption, diet diversity and food security. These outcomes lie along the causal pathway linking the cash transfer to children’s nutrition. For children under five, there were positive but not statistically significant impacts of the programme on weight. There were also strong and significant heterogeneous impacts on reducing stunting among children who have access to clean water or more educated mothers. The results demonstrate that nutrition can be improved through an integrated and holistic strategy instead of only pursuing targeted programmes in one sector such as health or agriculture.

Sexual and reproductive health and rights: Zambia country fact sheet

16 Dec 2015 11:56:53 GMT

Zambia faces severe sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and HIV-related health challenges with variable access to healthcare. 

The Zambia country factsheet provides a summarised overview on the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) challenges within the country. The overview includes country context; health statistics; challenges in SRHR, with specific focus on young people, abortion, and gender-based violence; and instruments of response. 


Final report: scoping study for a non-renewable resources, climate change and environmental programme in Southern Africa

11 Dec 2015 11:51:26 GMT

DFID commissioned a scoping study to assess the Extractive Industry (EI) sector’s environmental and climate change impacts, status and prospects of GHG emissions, and how both impacts and GHG emissions could be mitigated in the sector. The analysis included a review of national and global policy, legal and institutional landscape that could inform a voluntary compliance mechanism that the EI sector could adopt. The study was conducted in Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.

The effects of climate change have become significant challenges to sustainable development in developing countries. In Southern Africa where this study focused, the impacts are likely to be substantial due to the reliance on climate-sensitive resources such as rain-fed agriculture for economic growth, trade and food security. East and Southern Africa are expected to experience compounded effects of climate change because of their high poverty levels, weak infrastructure, poor management of natural resources and dependence on agriculture.

Emerging pillars for a DFID climate change and environmental Programme in Southern Africa:

  • support to development planning, policy and compliance frameworks
  • awareness, sensitization and communication
  • capacity building and institutional strengthening of systems, infrastructure and human resources
  • information development and management
  • facilitating the creation of a compliance mechanism

HIV-related discrimination among grade six Students in nine Southern African countries

16 Oct 2015 03:17:00 GMT

HIV-related stigmatisation and discrimination by young children towards their peers have important consequences at the individual level and for our response to the epidemic, yet research on this area is limited.

This study examines stigma and discrimination of HIV-positive children by grade six students (n = 39,664) across nine countries in Southern Africa: Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Stigma, as reported here, can result in: bullying, victimisation, and poorer mental health outcomes among HIV-affected and infected children; disclosure-of-status decisions and school attendance; and possible delays in treatment and care for children living with HIV due to caregivers' hesitation to disclose a child's status. Intervention designs that reduce stigma at an early age, minimise negative impacts on child health, and reduce discrimination that distances and excludes children may, as researchers indicate, improve health outcomes for children living with HIV.

The levels and determinants of discrimination varied significantly between the nine countries. While one in ten students in Botswana, Malawi, South Africa and Swaziland would “avoid or shun” an HIV positive friend, the proportions in Lesotho, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe were twice as high (approximately 20%). A large proportion of students believed that HIV positive children should not be allowed to continue to attend school, particularly in Zambia (33%), Lesotho (37%) and Zimbabwe (42%). The corresponding figures for Malawi and Swaziland were significantly lower at 13% and 12% respectively. Small differences were found by gender. Children from rural areas and poorer schools were much more likely to discriminate than those from urban areas and wealthier schools. Importantly, we identified factors consistently associated with discrimination across the region: students with greater exposure to HIV information, better general HIV knowledge and fewer misconceptions about transmission of HIV via casual contact were less likely to report discrimination.

The study points toward the need for early interventions (grade six or before) to reduce stigma and discrimination among children, especially in schools situated in rural areas and poorer communities. In particular, interventions should focus on correcting misconceptions that HIV can be transmitted via casual contact.

SADC investment perspectives in a changing international investment landscape

14 Oct 2015 06:32:06 GMT

The global arena for foreign direct investment (FDI) has become much more fluid and complex in the five years from 2010 to 2015. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) as a region has shown exceptional growth but relatively lacklustre FDI inflows.

Although the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts sustained high short-term growth in all of sub-Saharan Africa, the dependence of SADC countries on resource-orientated exports has exposed them to the biggest slump in commodity prices in the period from 2010 to 2015. Furthermore, the decline in resource prices is estimated to be a long-term structural shift.

Therefore, SADC policymakers should to take a new look at current investment policies and attitudes. In particular, a clear policy shift will be needed to diversify investment portfolios and grow domestic markets.

Recommendations include:

  • governments in SADC should strive towards clear and transparent policies on the protection of investors’ capital and subsequent returns on investment
  • investment in renewable resources and value-added service investments and exports should be encouraged
  • SADC member states should adopt policies based on proven developmental strategies that focus on enabling and growing capital rather than dated ideological policies
  • investment should be made in a skilled labour force and in hard infrastructure that connects SADC markets


Energetic dialogues in South Africa: the Inga example

09 Oct 2015 09:44:11 GMT

Studies of major hydropower projects such as that at the Grand Inga Dam in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) stress generation capacity and call for regional integration. Concentrating on the Inga site’s existing and future dams, this paper identifies several challenges to an emerging energy dialogue between Inga’s regional stakeholders.

The paper points that the infrastructure for energy generation, transmission and distribution in DRC is in poor condition. In this respect, the existing dams and power stations of the Inga scheme (Inga 1 and 2) taken with the envisaged Inga 3 would reach a combined output of only about 10 000MWe.

Nevertheless, the the Inga project could be of significant regional benefit. Indeed, Grand Inga could serve as a hinge for all African power pools, and regional market mechanisms provide a growing market for Inga’s production beyond the DRC’s borders.

Yet, Inga 3 completion would require a level of investment beyond the structural capacity of South Africa and the DRC, to include continental and international investors. Consequently, there is an immediate need to address the financial, technical and political issues that stand in the way of further progress on the project.

In particular, the project has to be balanced against investments in other infrastructure projects across the continent. Furthermore, hydropower infrastructure packages should be more comprehensive and include network extensions and grid connections.

Aligning Africa’s maritime ambitions with broader Indian Ocean regionalism

02 Oct 2015 10:07:05 GMT

As Blue Economy initiatives increase there is a risk that efforts will be duplicated and inefficiencies will creep into co-operation efforts. This paper argues that the AU’s “2050 Africa’s Integrated Maritime Strategy” and the Indian Ocean Rim Association’s (IORA) Blue Economy initiative could support each other and strengthen both environmental governance and the growth of maritime industries.

The paper clarifies that IORA has a number of African members, but also includes members as distant as Australia and Indonesia. On the other hand, it indicates that South Africa has received funding from the IORA Special Fund to co-ordinate the development of the IORA Blue Economy Core Group; a framework for academic co-operation and research exchanges in the areas of blue growth.

However, the document underlines that steps should be taken to facilitate more exchanges between the 2050 AIM Strategy Task Force and IORA. In addition, institutional capacity should be bolstered.  

Consequently, the author concludes that:

  • more emphasis must be placed on communication platforms that extend beyond the forums and expert working groups that have been created
  • such initiatives can play an important role in elevating ocean governance on global and regional policy agendas, thereby supporting financing of more effective ocean governance

China–Africa co-operation: capacity building and social responsibility of investments

02 Oct 2015 09:07:06 GMT

Over the past decade, African economies have enjoyed a sustained period of growth, and this has made the continent an attractive destination for international investors. This paper reviews the contours of Chinese investment and aid programmes on the African continent, focusing on the issues of capacity building and social responsibility of investments.

The paper clarifies that the Chinese have made foreign direct investments in Africa-based industries from oil and mining to shoe manufacturing and food processing. Furthermore, Chinese firms have made major investments in African infrastructure, targeting key sectors such as telecommunications, transport, construction, power plants, waste disposal and port equipment.

The document notices that China’s need for natural resources and agricultural products complements Africa’s needs in the areas of infrastructure and human development. However, it is important for African countries to establish a regulatory framework that allows for the responsible utilisation of the continent’s resources.

Equally important, the author recommends that:

  • a concerted effort should be made to train semi-skilled, skilled and managerial African personnel in areas where there is active Chinese economic investment and a lack of African expertise
  • China–Africa co-operation should be reinforced in teaching, research and management to support human resource needs in Africa as local economies develop
  • special attention must be paid to environmental impact issues as industries are established, to ensure an appropriate quality of life



Food security in a climate perspective: what role could the private sector play regarding investment in smallholder agriculture in Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia

10 Sep 2015 04:01:26 GMT

The purpose of this study is to discuss different ways of implementing the "Food Security in a Climate  Perspective  strategy 2013-15" in  relation  to  support  to  private  sector  development and  public-private  partnership  (PPP)  as  regards  agriculture,  climate  change  and  food security in Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia. We assess eleven different cases  of  private  sector  development  and  their relevance  to smallholder  investments  in agriculture.  An  important basis for this  study  is  the  voluntary Principles  for  Responsible Agricultural Investments (RAI) developed by the Committee on World Food  Security (CFS). These  guidelines  define  both  business  enterprises  and  smallholders  as possible private sector actors, and thereby included  in private  sector  development.  The  implications  of the CFS-RAI guidelines is  that  investment  in,  by  and  with  smallholders,  and  support  to  such investments,  are  seen as private  sector  development.  We assess three  different  approaches to supporting private sector developments: i) promote an enabling environment for private sector  development;  ii)  provision  of  public  goods  and  services;  and  iii)  direct  investment support. In all three approaches, the interests and needs of both business enterprises, such as  companies, and  smallholders  should  be recognized.  The  enabling  environment  should balance  the  needs  and  demands  of  both  smallholders  and  business  enterprises; the  public goods   and   services should address factors affecting   both   smallholders   and   business enterprises, and direct support could be provided to both   business enterprises and smallholders.

Climate finance and water security: Zambia case study

24 Aug 2015 01:40:40 GMT

This Zambia case study has been developed for the project ‘Research on climate finance and water security’.

The project aims to identify the type and scale of national and sub-national programmes and projects that have been funded by climate finance and how they relate to local water security.

The case study report reviews the evidence base on water security and climate change for Zambia, and explores the nexus between the two thematic areas; reviews the policy and institutional frameworks for climate finance in Zambia, and sets out an analysis of the reported climate finance funds flowing from international donors. It then goes on to set out an analysis of the identified climate finance flows categorised in terms of their relevance to a hierarchy of water security issues and presents the study’s conclusions and recommendations.

[Adapted from source]

Annotated bibliography on developmental states, political settlements and citizenship formation: towards increased state capacity and legitimacy?

22 Aug 2015 12:35:55 GMT

Policymakers and academics agree that an effective state is the foundation for inclusive development, whilst also recognising the critical role of non-state actors in the delivery of goods and services to poor people. This compilation demonstrates that recent research has offered important insights into the role of state-society relations and bargaining amongst elites in shaping development, and of the progressive role that informal forms of politics can sometimes play.

However, the author points that most governance research has tended to focus on either elitist or popular forms of politics (rarely both), to ignore the importance of global influences, and to deal with one-off case-studies. Yet, the paper underlines that full understanding the political process of globalisation and the retrenchment of the welfare state cannot be achieved without examining how these policies are experienced differentially on the ground.

The document argues that existing donor programmes fail to recognise the full potential of citizen engagement, resulting in lack of understanding of the complex relationship between citizens and the state that shapes governance outcomes. On the other hand, the inability of post-colonial states to move away from the colonial legacy and “depoliticise” cultural difference hinders processes of nation-building and gives rise to political and ethnic violence, particularly in Africa.

China and India, “rising powers” and African development : challenges and opportunities

20 Aug 2015 11:15:05 GMT

In this report, the challenges and opportunities arising from the growing ties between two key “Rising Powers,” China and India, and Africa are more fully explored. This trend has given rise to speculative, exaggerated and ideological responses and a mixture of anxiety and hope. What is needed is an interdisciplinary political economy study to investigate the ways in which global, regional and national linkages in the relationship impact on the prospects of sustainable development in Africa. The necessity for this is underscored by the growing influence of the BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) in reshaping the world.

In this frame, the focus is on the nature of the shift in China’s and India’s strategic vision of Africa in terms of politics, ideology and economic development. This shift impinges on trade and investment and, in turn, the scope for inducing structural economic change in the context of colonial and postcolonial tensions. Comparative observation of countries in Eastern and Southern Africa, particularly Ethiopia in the former, illustrates their capacity to cope with the new powers. This is a critical aspect of the continent’s complex interplay with states and institutions within and beyond its borders. Ultimately, African nations have to individually and collectively confront the challenges and opportunities stemming from their evolving relationships with these Rising Powers.

The politics of what works for the poor in public expenditure and taxation: a review

14 Aug 2015 10:15:31 GMT

This paper examines the questions of which fiscal (public expenditure and taxation) options work in terms of poverty reduction, and how they can be made implementable in practice. The point of departure of the analysis is that although the poor are politically weak, there are ways in which they can make themselves essential to the elite, and this in combination with relevant policies and institutions has enabled poverty in some countries to fall dramatically.  

The document identifies three major territories needing to be researched: effective targeting of public expenditure, the creation of coalitions which include the poor, and ways of exiting from the “low-tax, weak-state” trap. Subsequently, within these territories, the author identifies several pieces of work needing to be explored:

  • the impact of expenditure and tax mixes, both through economic impacts and through political and institutional signals on state capacity represents an unexplored territory for development research
  • there is a need for targeted research to explain the ways in which pro-poor coalitions form is needed as a precondition for good policy design
  • the role of institutional changes, sequencing of tax and expenditure reforms, equity-based reforms and innovative new tax bases in escaping from the tax trap needs to be examined


Methods in governance research: a review of research approaches

09 Aug 2015 10:24:08 GMT

The literature relating to the relationship between governance and inclusive growth does not appear to have reached convergence towards a preferred methodological approach. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different social science research method approaches in the analysis of governance in developing countries.

The paper provides an overview of the strengths and weaknesses of four types of interpretative research method approaches: econometric and statistical methods, qualitative case-studies, historical institutionalism and randomised controlled trials. Consequently, the document argues that a more sophisticated use of governance as a tool of analysis in development economics will enhance the depth and explanatory power of economic models of development, particularly as it relates to what is understood as inclusive growth.

In this respect, the author suggests that political economy approaches that analyse the effectiveness of good governance in fostering inclusive growth could benefit from adopting a range of methodological approaches. Furthermore, he suggests that one of the approaches that appear to offer the most optimal ‘bridging’ link between variable-based and qualitative approaches are randomised controlled trials (RCTs).

All things considered, the paper concludes that funding on research on good governance and inclusive growth should explicitly encourage the usage of RCTs to derive more substantive and robust insights.


Building state capacity for inclusive development: the politics of public sector reform

02 Aug 2015 10:02:29 GMT

A capable state is essential for inclusive development, and developing countries are seeking to build it through a multifaceted agenda of public sector reform (PSR). This paper provides an analytically-driven review of PSR as a policy agenda.

The paper firstly sets a conceptual framework that directly links some of the most frequently invoked challenges to state-building with the chief aims and guiding assumptions of different areas of PSR. In addition, the document emphasises that the required agenda will have to be intensely comparative, both across and within countries.

Furthermore, the author highlights the following points:

  • research in the role of elites should explicitly be linked to differences in relation to country-specific political settlements
  • legislative oversight should be separated conceptually from law-making and constituency service
  • research needs to investigate the role of political commitment and external support by donors that lead to the emergence of “islands of excellence”
  • the disconnections between design and enforcement should not be overlooked in the study of PSR

However, the paper argues that the success or failure of PSR does not depend merely on technical know-how or resource availability: the strengthening and reform of the state is a fundamentally political task shaped by the dynamics of national settlement.


Rethinking spatial inequalities in development: the primacy of politics and power relations

29 Jul 2015 09:33:00 GMT

This paper offers a political explanation to the problem of spatial inequality in developing countries, paying particular attention to the implications of patronage politics and inter-elite power relations for the spatial distribution of public goods.

The paper states that given the problem of resource scarcity in developing societies, various ethno-regional groups seek access to influential positions in government as means of presenting group interests in the decision-making process. Thus, developing countries are typically under the control of a coalition of competing elite factions.

Subsequently, the document suggests that comprehensive policies that skew benefits towards the poorest are more likely to be implemented on a sustained basis when elites who represent the interest of those segments have substantial influence over resource allocation decisions.

Consequently, the author concludes that:

  • spatial patterns of resource allocation would be driven more by the differential bargaining powers of regional elites rather than any abstract ethical principle like equity
  • whereas the political inclusion of lagging regions matters for their socio-economic development prospects, it is the terms and conditions of their inclusion that are especially critical in shaping their access to vital state resources
  • strategies that aim to bridge interregional development gaps should also consider ways to shift inter-regional power relations in favour of poorer regions