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Mineral governance barometer - Southern Africa

Thu, 03/23/2017 - 03:35

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.

A practical agenda to reducing technical barriers to trade in SADC

Mon, 03/13/2017 - 19:19

Technical regulations refer to product and process specifications, whether voluntary (standards) or legally required (compulsory specifications).

This policy brief provides context for technical regulation in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. It then offers some cross-cutting solutions for developing monitoring mechanisms that can allow policymakers to identify problem areas, and some specific interventions for the Standards, Accreditation and Metrology functions that can build capacity at low cost. It provides some recommendations for a practical agenda on reducing Technical Barriers to Trade (TBTs) in the SADC – ones that can be executed with minimal cost, and that improve the institutional capacity of regional organisations to grapple with the complexity inherent to the field. Above all, these regulations will need to be carefully attuned to assure that they provide the maximum protection for the region from dangerous substandard imports, while still allowing for a dynamic, mutually beneficial trading relationship.

Technical regulation cannot create jobs, but it is a vital underpinning for the type of policies that drive regional integration and create industrial jobs. As it stands, Southern Africa’s technical regulation is developing too fast, with too few controls to ensure that it is directed towards developmental purposes. Capacity expansion that simply results in ever more standards being churned out increases complexity,
but not quality. Practical interventions that create supporting mechanisms – such as monitoring systems, or assistance for firms seeking accreditation – are essential to creating a development-focused regional technical infrastructure.

Innovative risk finance solutions – Insights for geothermal power development in Kenya and Ethiopia

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 17:44

Geothermal development is on the rise in many regions of the world. However, the high costs of field development, coupled with the high risks associated with resource exploration and drilling, still pose a significant barrier to private sector financing.

Insurance can mitigate the risks to investors and increase flows of private finance to the industry.

A project by Parhelion, a private sector insurance and risk company focused on climate finance, funded by CDKN, aimed to improve the technical capacity of Kenya’s and Ethiopia’s local insurance industries for using geothermal risk mitigation instruments.

A consultative process with relevant stakeholders in these countries yielded insights and recommendations for international, multilateral and bilateral institutions that are looking to support geothermal resource development. The analysis was enriched by E3G’s expertise in analysing climate finance flows.

The study found that international, multilateral and bilateral institutions should:

  • Support technical assistance and capacity building, which takes into account the needs of all relevant stakeholders involved within specific country and market contexts.
  • Provide targeted concessional finance by taking into account all possible risk mitigation instruments during project development, and by envisioning the leverage of private finance as early as possible.
  • Use insurance instruments to target specific, well defined risks: this can offer very high leverage ratios on the use of public funds, and crowd in private sector insurance capital.

Can the APRM be an effective tool to monitor Agenda 2063 and the SDGs?

Thu, 02/23/2017 - 18:20
Monitoring and evaluation has emerged as a central concern in development thinking. Both the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the AU’s Agenda 2063 represent responses to Africa’s developmental deficits, with much overlap between them. They will need a robust mechanism to trace the progress that is being made, and this study explores whether – rather than attempting to construct a new system – Africa’s home-grown governance evaluation system, the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), might be able to fulfil this role.
A number of factors make the APRM a natural monitoring tool for the other two initiatives. Each is substantively about governance, and deals with similar subjects. Indeed, the priorities of Agenda 2063 fed into the SDGs, and the APRM has made cooperation between itself, Agenda 2063 and the SDG initiatives a strategic priority. The three initiatives also share broad ideological outlooks, are comprehensive in the scope of their activities, are geared for the long term, envision broad-based participation and seek to engender cross-border cooperation. In broad terms, they are all committed to a democratic, participatory governance framework and developmentally oriented policies. However, there are a number of hindrances to the APRM’s fulfilling this role – at present, these arguably render it incapable of taking on the extensive and ongoing monitoring responsibilities that the other initiatives demand. The APRM has proven larger, more complex and more expensive than its founders realised. It has been slow in conducting reviews, and has not established a consistent set of indicators that would allow for measuring across countries and over time. Nevertheless, the APRM is a recognised brand and is institutionalised as part of the African Governance Architecture. To take on the monitoring of Agenda 2063 and the SDGs it would need to resolve its administrative weaknesses, secure adequate funding and conduct reviews on an ongoing basis. There is also a need to design a continental system of data gathering and analysis to enable precise measurements of progress in meeting the various developmental goals. These are significant challenges, but they describe the necessary rejuvenation of the APRM required for it to become the monitoring tool for the continent’s developmental endeavours.

Africa’s climate: helping decision-makers make sense of climate information

Thu, 02/23/2017 - 17:53
African decision-makers need reliable, accessible, and trustworthy information about the continent’s climate, and how this climate might change in future, if they are to plan appropriately to meet the region’s development challenges.
This report is designed as a guide for scientists, policy-makers, and practitioners on the continent. The research in this report, written by leading experts in their fields, presents an overview of climate trends across central, eastern, western, and southern Africa, and is distilled into a series of factsheets that are tailored for specific sub-regions and countries. Some of these capture the current state of knowledge, while others explore the ‘burning scientific questions’ that still need to be answered.

Africa's prospects for enjoying a demographic dividend

Tue, 02/21/2017 - 03:19

While fertility rates and dependency ratios in Africa remain high, they have started to decline. According to United Nations projections, they will fall further in the coming decades such that by the mid-21st century the ratio of the working-age to dependent population will be greater than in Asia, Europe, and Northern America. This projection suggests Africa has considerable potential to enjoy a demographic dividend. Whether and when it actually materialises, and also its magnitude, hinges on policies and institutions in key realms that include macroeconomic management, human capital, trade, governance, and labour and capital markets. Given strong complementarities among these areas, coordinated policies will likely be most effective in generating the momentum needed to pull Africa’s economies out of a development trap.

Conditional cash transfers in Africa: limitations and potentials

Mon, 02/20/2017 - 17:52
Conditional Cash Transfers (CCTs) are currently amongst the most popular social protection programmes for addressingpoverty, vulnerabilities, and risks of poor individuals, households and communities in developing Latin American, African, and Asian countries. However, the increasing popularity and adoption of CCTs in Africa have remained highly understudied in comparison to CCTs in Latin America where they originated in the late 1990s and early 2000s. For this reason, this policy brief discusses some of the current limitations and potentials of CCTs as social protection programmes for reducing poverty and developing the human capital of poor individuals, households, and communities in African countries.

The brief begins with an overview of CCTs in general with special reference to Africa in particular. It then examines some of the limitations and potentials of CCTs on the continent. Recommendations:
  • African countries seeking to adopt CCTs should design, implement, and adapt such programmes with due consideration to the propriety and much needed institutional training for state and non-state officials
  • provision of adequate supply-side facilities such as quality schools and healthcare centres should be a condition for implementing CCTs and no community should be excluded from participation for lack of such facilities
  • the eligibility period for participating individuals, communities and households in CCTs should reflect the amount of time needed to fulfil basic education and healthcare needs as appropriate. Universal coverage of all those in need within each community must also supersede limited coverage
  • adequate planning and institutionalisation of programmes should be done to ensure ownership and sustainability of CCT programmes, especially in countries where programmes are funded mainly by donors. But appropriate partnership agreements for overall developmental and social protection purposes should be explored as necessary

Invasive plants and food security in Africa:the potential of Earth Observation Data

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 03:50
The spread of invasive plant species has serious consequences for Africa. Toxic weeds and harmful shrubs significantly shrink rangelands and lower the productivity of major grain foods such as maize (in some instances by up to 45%). Toxic weeds suppress the growth of staple crops and take over fields that could otherwise be used for agriculture. The UN Sustainable Development Goals emphasise the need to better manage land degradation and biodiversity loss and develop strategies to combat poverty.

However, the invasion of rangelands and croplands by harmful non-native species is not specifically mentioned in the UN sustainability framework as a significant and emerging environmental issue. Equally, the AU Commission (AUC) sounds the alarm over rising food insecurity in Africa, but there are no tools or coherent strategies on how to address the challenges posed by invasive species in the context of enhancing food security. This briefing highlights the significance of earth observation (EO) data for the development of tools and strategies to curb the increasing spread of invasive species. Recommendations:
  • amendments to existing and future policy frameworks, such as the CBD and the AUC strategy, are required to emphasise the need to develop more effective and coherent protocols for the management of invasive species
  • spatial occurrence maps of invasive species should be used by decision-makers to better understand and manage their effects on cropland and rangeland productivity, and ultimately food security in Africa
  • policymakers and decision makers need sound evidence on the local uses and impacts of invasive species in order to become aware of their costs and benefits
  • international bodies that promote the use of EO for societal benefit areas (such as GEOSS and UN SPIDER) must include invasive species mapping in their outreach and training agendas. This should be facilitated by country- or region-specific case studies that help to show the potential of EO products to more effectively manage invasive species across borders

Climate change adaption readiness: lessons from the 2015/16 El Niño for climate readiness in Southern Africa

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 01:59
Southern Africa is experiencing its worst drought in at least 35 years. The drought is associated with an acute El Niño cycle, a periodic weather phenomenon that affects weather patterns across large regions of the globe, including Southern Africa. While the El Niño cycle is not linked directly to broader climate change processes, an assessment ofthe region’s responses to the current drought does provide insight into its capacity to respond to severe environmental stresses. Insights drawn from such an assessment allow for a deeper understanding of climate adaptation readiness in the region. This paper concludes that there is a need to expedite the development of regional and national response plans to severe environmental stresses, and in particular to strengthen capacity to effectively implement and co-ordinate appropriate actions. At the national level, response capacity in numerous Southern African states remains low. Even in South Africa, where government capacity is the highest in the region, implementation delays and co-ordination challenges have hampered effective responses to the drought. Yet despite these problems, there have also been successes in regional and national responses to droughts and longer-term climate challenges. Such programmes and innovative responses can be scaled to achieve more far-reaching impacts and thereby further develop the region’s climate adaptation readiness.

Still no alternative? Popular views of the opposition in Southern Africa’s one-party dominant regimes

Mon, 02/06/2017 - 20:39
Dominant party systems in Southern Africa differ widely in the extent and nature of this dominance, in their overall democratic quality, as well as in public attitudes toward the political opposition. But while there is widespread support for multiparty politics, opposition parties clearly face major obstacles to obtaining majority support in the near future. Five Southern African countries have democracies dominated by parties that emerged from liberation movements and have governed since independence: Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. This paper uses Afrobarometer survey data to analyse popular attitudes toward political opposition parties in these countries. Do citizens support multiparty politics? What are the trends in levels of citizen support for the political opposition? Do citizens believe that opposition parties present a viable alternative to the ruling party? Given the importance of public opinion in maintaining party dominance, findings offer important insights for scholars of democracy in Africa as well as for opposition parties in these countries. Key findings:
  • about seven in 10 citizens in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe support multiparty competition, compared to only a slim majority (56%) of Mozambicans. On average across all five countries, this support has increased from 55% in 2002/2003 to 67% in 2014/2015
  • however, only minorities endorse an opposition “watchdog” role in Parliament, ranging from 16% of Batswana to 32% of Mozambicans. Even citizens who self-identify as opposition supporters are more likely to say the opposition should collaborate with the government in order to develop the country
  • on average, trust in opposition parties increased significantly in the five countries between 2002 (16%) and 2015 (38%), although it remains well below the levels of trust in the ruling party (56% on average). Public trust in opposition parties is higher than average among citizens with post-secondary education and those living under secure material conditions (both 43%)
  • the proportion of citizens who feel “close to” an opposition party is highest in Botswana (36%), followed by South Africa (34%), Zimbabwe (28%), Namibia (24%), and Mozambique (20%). Affiliation with opposition parties is higher among urban residents, men, citizens aged under 56 years, and those with at least a secondary education
  • while levels of trust in opposition parties are similar in Southern African countries with dominant party systems and those with competitive party systems, there is a significant difference in trust in the ruling party (56% vs. 40%). And citizens of countries with competitive party systems are significantly less likely to self-identify as ruling-party supporters (16% vs. 44% in dominant party systems)
  • among citizens in the five countries with dominant party systems, Namibians are most likely to believe that the opposition presents a viable alternative vision and plan for the country (52%), followed by Mozambicans (45%), Batswana (44%), South Africans (43%), and Zimbabweans (37%). On average, this perception is higher among urban, male, younger, and better-educated citizens
  • only small minorities of Batswana, Mozambicans, Namibians, South Africans, and Zimbabweans believe that opposition parties are most able to address fighting corruption (24%), creating jobs (18%), controlling prices (16%), and improving health services (15%). And although six in 10 (60%) citizens across the five countries say their government is doing “fairly badly” or “very badly” at handling the most important problems facing their country, only 36% believe that another political party could do a better job of addressing them

Emerging trends in Africa’s electoral processes

Thu, 01/19/2017 - 19:02
The quest for competitive elections in Africa, with the modest gains made since the 1990s towards deepeningdemocratisation, continues to underpin the continent’s efforts to create stable and growing democracies. Since the post-Cold War transition from single-party to multiparty systems, most African countries have embraced elections as their preferred option for power transfer. Drawing especially on AU election observation mission reports, this policy briefing examines trends emerging from elections held in 2015 and 2016, and calls for extensive structural, legal and policy reforms. It argues that adherence to and implementation of the AU treaty and non-treaty standards for democratic elections are key to further strengthening electoral processes in Africa. Recommendations:
  • the AU in collaboration with RECs should develop guidelines for constitutional revisions to give effect to Article 10 of the ACDEG
  • electoral calendars must be respected and changes must be mutually agreed by all stakeholders to protect the sanctity of electoral processes
  • inter- and intra-political party dialogues remain key in safeguarding electoral democracy and deepening political pluralism in AU member states
  • governments should develop and adopt social media codes of conduct for elections to protect the fundamental rights to access to information and expression
  • political parties should undertake reforms to address structural exclusion and guarantee equal participation of young people, women and other marginalised groups in political and electoral processes

Are Africans willing to pay higher taxes or user fees for better health care?

Mon, 01/16/2017 - 17:09
In many parts of Africa, access to and quality of medical services remain poor. While economic growth in recent decades has fostered improved health care on the continent, weak funding, brain drain of trained professionals, and ongoing battles with diseases such as TB, HIV, diarrheal diseases, and malaria as well as recurring epidemics such as Ebola continue to put immense pressure on medical systems in many countries. Struggling medical systems confront governments and citizens with difficult choices: Needed investment in the medical sector must compete with other priorities, and increasing health spending by cutting other programs may not be a popular or even feasible solution. One alternative may be to raise taxes or user fees in order to increase available funding. In its Round 6 surveys, Afrobarometer asked citizens in 36 African countries whether they would support or oppose paying higher taxes or user fees in order to increase government spending on public health care. This paper describes citizens’ responses and analyzes whether they are correlated with demographic factors, access to health services, and perceptions of health care, government performance, and official corruption. Key findings:
  • on average across 36 surveyed countries, half (49%) of Africans went without medical care at least once in the year preceding the survey. Countries vary widely on this indicator, ranging from 3% in Mauritius to 78% in Liberia and 77% in Togo
  • among Africans who obtained medical care, four in 10 (42%) found it “difficult” or “very difficult” to do so
  • Africans are almost evenly divided on the question of whether to pay higher taxes or user fees in exchange for increased government spending on health care, with 42% in favour and 45% opposed. Only eight of 36 surveyed countries register majority support for such a policy (Madagascar, Mozambique, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Mali, Namibia, and Gabon).
  • support for higher taxes/fees in exchange for increased health-care funding is correlated with public trust in the tax department and the president, positive performance evaluations for the president and members of Parliament, and the perception that leaders want to serve the people rather than themselves.
  • perceptions of official corruption and difficulties experienced in obtaining health care, on the other hand, tend to reduce support for higher taxes

Africa and external actors

Fri, 01/13/2017 - 04:51
The Cape Town seminar in August 2016 brought together about 30 key scholars, policymakers, and civil society activists to assess bilateral and multilateral relations between Africa’s traditional and non-traditional actors in the post–Cold War era.

Key issues pertaining to Africa’s relations with global actors were discussed under the following three broad themes: bilateral relations with traditional powers: the United States (US), Russia, China, France, and Britain; bilateral relations with  non-traditional powers: India; Japan; the Nordics; and Europe and the Arab world; and multilateral relations: the United Nations (UN), the BRICS bloc (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), the European Union (EU), the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Trade Organisation (WTO). This meeting examined Africa’s relations with eight key bilateral actors or blocs and six major multilateral actors, assessing progress made in the continent’s efforts to increase its leverage in global politics through engagement with external actors. Policy recommendations:
  • pro-Africa lobbyists in the US need to collaborate closely with legislators in the US Congress as well as Washington-based interest groups as they did during South Africa's anti-apartheid struggles in the 1980s. The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) should also be mobilised to support these battles
  • the tens of thousands of highly-educated Africans in America should further help to build a viable constituency for Africa
  • people-to-people relations are important in Africa’s relations with Russia. Russian cultural centres could therefore contribute to building Russo-African cultural relations to improve language barriers and to strengthen business partnerships with a view to changing stereotypes on both sides
  • African countries should seize the potential opportunities presented by a weakened, less confident, and less cohesive post-“Brexit” Europe to redefine their relations with the European Union. This includes Africa calling for a moratorium on the economic partnership agreements while the EU completes its “divorce settlement” with Britain, and formulating substantive policy responses to issues such as Brexit
  • African countries should leverage China’s and India’s interest in the continent to reduce their dependence on traditional Western powers such as the US, Britain, and France, while Beijing and New Delhi should assist Africa in broadening its export base through technology transfer and knowledge-sharing. Francophone countries on the continent should reduce their political, economic, and cultural dependence on France. Furthermore, Africa must explore how it can borrow from India’s attitude towards aid and development, which is to accept aid as and when needed, and in specific ways to further its own socio-economic development based on a clear definition of its specific interests
  • African governments should develop clear, coordinated positions on their goals and the strategies for achieving them in fora such as the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation; the Tokyo International Conference on African Development; and in respect of other rapidly emerging economies in the “global South” such as Brazil and India
  • Africa remains a supplier of primary products to external actors, and should change its trade structures so that technical capacity transfer and capacity-building become more of a focus for partnerships with external actors, with local procurement and beneficiation given more prominence. Furthermore, African countries should claim their own individual and collective agency, and strengthen efforts to add value to their primary commodities; diversify their economies; and increase the competitiveness of the export of manufactured products
  • building on the experiences of the Economic Community of West African States Ceasefire Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) in Liberia and Sierra Leone, and the African Union missions in Burundi, Darfur, and Somalia, Africa needs to create an effective peacekeeping force; it must fund its own institutions to a greater extent in order to prevent external actors such as France and the US intervening in Africa in pursuit of their own parochial interests
  • African countries need to regain their influence in the UN General Assembly and Secretariat, and find a unifying issue such as UN Security Council reform, that is of benefit to the entire continent and its Southern allies
  • besides providing the capital to carry out infrastructure projects in Africa, the BRICS New Development Bank should be used as a knowledge development bank to help to differentiate sources of capital and to create more opportunities for investment, trade, and development
  • African countries and their Southern allies must continue to push for genuine transformation of the World Bank and IMF to make decision-making more equitable; African governments at the World Trade Organisation should also continue to work together and develop strategies to achieve trade deals, as well as to build coalitions and develop regional consensus on important issues such as climate change and de-industrialisation

South Africa's trade and investment relationship with the United States post-AGOA

Thu, 01/05/2017 - 20:12

The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has been recognised as the  cornerstone of America’s engagement with Sub-Saharan Africa for the past 14 years. It is therefore central to an  understanding of the South Africa-US trade relationship. The recent extension of AGOA by  a further 10 years presents many  opportunities for improving that trade relationship and expanding economic ties. There are, however, areas for  caution, as was seen in the debates around the extension of AGOA and the terms of the inclusion of South Africa as a beneficiary of AGOA.

This policy brief considers the three main options available to South Africa in a post-AGOA trade and investment relationship with the United States: to stay in AGOA, negotiate a Free Trade Agreement, or fall back on Most Favoured Nation terms and the Generalized System of Preferences.  

India-Africa seed sector collaboration: emerging prospects and challenges

Thu, 01/05/2017 - 19:36
India-Africa seed sector has promises for improving trade with various African nations. This discussion paper analyses the external orientation of the Indian seed industry, institutional architecture for enabling trade of vegetable crop seeds, explores the African seed sector for its dynamics and identifies challenges in the seed sector collaboration between the regions. It also brings forth a set of prescriptive recommendations and forward looking plans to strengthen the India-Africa seed sector collaboration.

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

Thu, 01/05/2017 - 19:05

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.

Improving infrastructure finance for Low-Income Countries: recommendations for the ADF

Thu, 01/05/2017 - 18:48

Low-income countries (LICs) in sub-Saharan Africa face a substantial infrastructure-financing gap. multi-lateral development banks (MLDBs) have traditionally played an important role in mobilising finance for infrastructure in LIcs, but their funding alone cannot match demand. the african development Bank’s (AfDB) concessional window, the african development fund (ADF), is a key infrastructure financier for african LICs, and comprises 37 regional member countries (RMCs), including emerging markets and fragile states. however, in recent years the ADF has faced funding and technical constraints.

This policy brief, based on a discussion paper, outlines the ADF’s role in providing infrastructure financing to LIcs and the challenges that countries face in accessing these funds. It also examines the changing context confronting LIcs as they weigh their infrastructure demands against the requirement to maintain sustainable debt levels. Lastly, the brief explores the challenges and opportunities of mobilising additional finance for LICs.

Policy recommendations:

  • in order to target growing international concerns around debt sustainability, the ADF should increase its efforts to work with countries in understanding and managing their debt levels
  • the ADF should continue to streamline its approval and implementation processes, targeting national capacity bottlenecks as early as possible and ensuring the continuity of AfDB officials from the appraisal to monitoring stages
  • the ADF should direct efforts towards increasing LIC awareness and understanding of its private finance mobilisation tools through greater promotion and dissemination of information, and should increase technical support and training for PPPs. It should place greater focus on measuring the developmental impacts of projects, especially where the private sector is involved
  • project preparation requires more ADF funding, and the ADF’s PPF should explore cost recovery mechanisms to ensure sustainability. LIC governments should create better co-ordination and unified support around proposed projects to decrease risks
  • LICs should be assisted in accessing the non-concessional ADB funds available to them

Climate models: what they show us and how they can be used in planning

Thu, 01/05/2017 - 04:07
The climate conditions that we experience are the result of complex interactions between processes occurring in the atmosphere and in the oceans. These processes operate at global and local scales and are influenced by other factors, including the land surface, polar ice sheets and the sun. This is why different parts of the world experience different climates. Global Climate Models (GCMs) are computer models that attempt to capture and simulate all these processes, based on our current knowledge. Global Climate Models are run on supercomputers at a number of centres around the world, including the Max Planck Institute in Germany, the UK Met Office Hadley Centre, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the USA. The models use physical laws and mathematical equations that reflect our understanding of atmospheric and oceanic processes. The nature of planning decisions that are made over the medium term is different from those that are made in the short term. So what is required from climate projections is different from what is needed from shorter-term weather predictions. The resolution provided by GCMs is useful to inform medium- to long-term planning decisions. The poor availability of historical weather observations in some parts of Africa for example limits understanding of how reliable these models are.         

Interactive radio’s promising role in climate information services: Farm Radio International concept paper

Mon, 01/02/2017 - 20:35
Farmers require relevant, timely and continuous information and advice regarding historic climate variability, probabilistic seasonal forecasts, and monitoring and short-lead information about growing season weather. Climate services are most useful when built upon dialogue between climate scientists, local expert forecasters, intermediaries, and users such as farmers, pastoralists, project and programme staff, government planners, businesses and others who benefit from climate information (Ambani & Percy 2014). However the cost and limited reach of face-to-face interactions presents challenges to scaling up climate services for smallholder farmers.  
Radio broadcasts, on the other hand, have tremendous reach and coverage, and are very efficient. However, radio broadcasts are conventionally one-way methods of disseminating data that do not provide the exchange, discussion and explanation that helps with decision- making. Further, radio broadcasts are fleeting; one either hears them when they are broadcast, or they are missed. If the weather forecasts are broadcast at a time that farmers cannot listen, they are not helpful.  
Recent developments in interactive radio, which combines radio with widespread and growing mobile phone access, offer the exciting prospect of combining the benefits of participatory interaction with the immense reach of radio and mobile phones. Interactive radio integrates accurate and interpretive radio broadcasts with “on demand” access to interactive voice response (IVR) systems, SMS services, and unique uses of missed call voting to provide users with personalized feedback and allow for two-way communication and learning.  
Interactive radio combines some of the benefits of face-to-face interaction (between farmers and climate experts) found in workshops with the reach of mass media to provide equitable access to female and male rural farmers. This paper proposes a framework and strategy for developing interactive radio programing to extend the reach and benefits of weather and seasonal climate information and related advisory services for smallholder farmers. It offers a promising complement to face-to-face interaction and other methods of delivering climate information to farmers.

Climate-smart livestock interventions in West Africa: a review

Fri, 12/16/2016 - 04:26

The livestock sector is one of the major contributors in agriculture, by some estimates contributing up to 18% of the global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Of this, about one third is reported to be due to land use change associated with livestock production, another one third is nitrous oxide from manure and slurry management, and roughly 25% is attributed to methane emissions from ruminant digestion.  Recent analysis suggests that developing world regions contribute about two thirds of the global emissions from ruminants, with sub-Saharan Africa a global hotspot for emissions intensities, largely due to low animal productivity, poor animal health and low quality feeds. These numbers suggest, therefore, that there are opportunities for easy gains to be made in terms of mitigation in the livestock sector, as improving feed resource use efficiencies would improve livestock productivity as well as reduce emissions per unit of product. In this context, climate-smart agricultural practices are necessary in the West Africa region and in sub-Saharan Africa in general. Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) is an approach that provides a conceptual basis for assessing the effectiveness of agricultural practice change to support food security under climate change.

This review focuses on livestock-related CSA options in West Africa looking at herd management, feed, grazing management, animal breeding strategies, manure management, and policy options.