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  • Author: Mikkel Funder, Holle Wlokas, Karen Holm Olsen
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Renewable energy is key to combatting climate change, but it is critical to ensure a just energy transition that benefits all. Denmark’s development cooperation supports the growth of large-scale renewable energy schemes in several countries, but what is good for recipient governments and Danish exports is not automatically good for the poor. In recent years large-scale wind- and solar schemes in developing countries have increasingly met with local resistance from communities who do not feel they benefit from such projects. How can Denmark help ensure that renewable energy projects contribute to community development in the areas where projects are situated? This policy brief provides lessons learnt and associated recommendations from one particular attempt to address this issue, namely South Africa’s efforts to incorporate community development as a criteria in the auction schemes through which renewable energy is procured. This policy is implemented through the nationwide REIPPP programme, which is among the few of its kind globally. While South Africa’s REIPPPP is not perfect and still developing, the programme does exemplify the basic principle that governments can build requirements for privately owned wind- and solar projects into procurement schemes. Requirements to finance community development, support Community Trusts, and allocate shares to communities are thus examples of approaches that could be developed and adapted elsewhere. In addition, the South African programme includes scoring and - performance criteria in the tendering and monitoring process that align with South Africa’s Black Economic Empowerment policy. The South African experience also, however, illustrates how public, private and community interests may differ in terms of what community development is and how it should be supported. This highlights the importance of developing democratic and inclusive structures for debating and decision-making on the use and allocation of benefits from large-scale renewable energy projects. Drawing on the lessons from South Africa and other similar schemes, the policy brief recommends that Danish development cooperation should: Support the incorporation of community benefits in regulatory frameworks for public procurement of private renewable energy generation Support development of practice frameworks for community engagement in the renewable energy sector Support community co-ownership of renewable energy generation and democratic governance of benefit sharing arrangements The policy brief is the result of collaborative research between DIIS, Stellenbosch University and the UNEP DTU Partnership. It forms part of the wider TENTRANS project, funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark and administered by Danida Fellowship Centre.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Environment, Poverty, Natural Resources, Inequality, Emerging States
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa
  • Author: Matthias Krönke
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Afrobarometer
  • Abstract: According to UNESCO (2020), approximately 1.2 billion students and youth worldwide are affected by school and university closures because of the COVID-19 pandemic. To adjust to these new circumstances, governments must develop innovative solutions to ensure inclusive learning opportunities during this period of unprecedented educational disruption. This is especially true in African countries, where despite recent progress traditional education has faced infrastructural challenges and struggled to develop the human resources necessary to address students’ educational needs (Krönke & Olan’g, 2020; United Nations, 2019; UNESCO Institute of Statistics, 2016. This policy paper uses Afrobarometer survey data to look at digital infrastructure, the availability of digital devices at the household level, and digital literacy among African adults. While rates of digital literacy among children are likely to differ, it is important to understand these dynamics among adults for at least two reasons. First, adults are likely to shape children’s access to and experience with technology. Second, understanding current levels of access to devices and levels of digital literacy among adults provides a baseline against which future assessments can measure progress over time. Survey findings from Afrobarometer Round 7 (2016/2018) show a substantial digital divide both across and within countries, reflected in uneven access to resources such as electricity and unequal access to and use of smartphones and computers. The results suggest that government efforts to redress widespread inequalities need to be increased drastically to avoid the widening of an education gap among their citizens. The paper also discusses the potential benefits of providing smartphones and computers to those who currently do not have access to such devices.
  • Topic: Education, Infrastructure, Inequality, Digital Economy, Digitalization
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Matthias Krönke
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Afrobarometer
  • Abstract: Education is a powerful tool to fight poverty, enable upward socioeconomic mobility, and empower people to live healthier lives. But while the global adult literacy rate continues to increase, from 81% in 2000 to 86% in 2018 (World Bank, 2019), the challenge of access to quality education remains particularly severe in Africa. Even before the COVID-19 crisis, globally one out of five children aged 6-17 years were not in school; more than half of these children live in sub-Saharan Africa. Additionally, many African pupils attend schools that are inadequately equipped, creating a difficult learning environment. For example, more than half of the schools in sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to basic drinking water, handwashing facilities, the Internet, or computers (United Nations, 2019). COVID-19 may exacerbate these challenges as pupils lose school time, unequal access to online learning heightens inequalities, and health care and social-safety costs and economic losses put pressure on limited resources. Africans are aware of education challenges. Across 34 African countries surveyed by Afrobarometer between late 2016 and late 2018, one in five respondents (21%) cited education as one of the most important problems their governments should address, placing it among citizens’ top five priorities (Coulibaly, Silwé, & Logan, 2018). Not surprisingly, younger people placed substantially greater emphasis on education than their elders. At a global level, the United Nations (UN) has highlighted the importance of quality education by including it in its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDG 4 calls for governments to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” To this end, the UN outlines specific targets to be achieved by 2030, including ensuring that “all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy.” An important step toward this goal is that by 2030, all girls and boys should be able to “complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education” (United Nations, 2019). Many African governments have made important commitments to universal education. Of the 34 countries surveyed by Afrobarometer in 2016/2018, 33 have made school attendance compulsory (for periods ranging from five to 11 years), and 33 provide free primary education. (See Appendix Table A.2 for details.) Many governments also commit substantial portions of their yearly budgets to improving education. For example, in Côte d’Ivoire, eSwatini, Ghana, Malawi, Senegal, Tunisia, and Zimbabwe, more than 25% of total government expenditures go to education (World Bank, 2020). Afrobarometer surveys point to slow but steady progress as fewer Africans go without formal education and more attend school beyond the primary grades. But in some countries, two-thirds of adults still have no formal schooling, and significant gender gaps continue to disadvantage girls and women. Overall, just a slim majority of Africans think their government is doing a good job on meeting educational needs. Factors that contribute to these evaluations include whether citizens find it easy to obtain school services and whether they think schools are transparent about their budgets and responsive to reports of teacher misconduct. More fundamentally, our analysis finds that more democratic countries are seen as better able to provide public education. Citizens are more likely to be satisfied with government performance on education if immediate avenues of transparency and accountability at the school level are embedded in a broader political system that encourages these qualities.
  • Topic: Education, Poverty, Democracy, Inequality
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Robert Mattes
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Afrobarometer
  • Abstract: Economic destitution – whether measured as the frequency with which people go without basic necessities or as the proportion of people who live on less than $1.90 a day – declined steadily in Africa between 2005 and 2015. However, the findings of Afrobarometer Round 7 surveys, conducted in 34 African countries between late 2016 and late 2018, demonstrate that improvements in living standards have come to a halt and “lived poverty” is once again on the rise. To prevent squandering hard-won gains in Africans’ living standards, the data point to the necessity of a renewed commitment by citizens, governments, and international donors to defending democracy and expanding service-delivery infrastructure. Key findings Between 2005 and 2015, Afrobarometer surveys tracked a steady improvement in the living conditions of the average African. Measured as the frequency with which people go without a basket of basic necessities (food, clean water, health care, heating fuel, and cash income), “lived poverty” dropped in a sustained fashion over this period – a trend matched by consumption-based estimates of poverty by the World Bank. The most recent Afrobarometer surveys, however, suggest that Africa is in danger of squandering these gains in living standards. While the citizens of most African countries are still doing better than they were in 2005/2006, deprivation of basic necessities – captured by our Lived Poverty Index – has increased in about half of surveyed countries since 2015. The trend is similar for “severe lived poverty,” the extent to which people experience frequent shortages of basic necessities. Lived poverty varies widely across the continent. At one extreme, people rarely experience deprivation in Mauritius. At the other, the average person went without several basic necessities several times in the preceding year in Guinea and Gabon. In general, lived poverty is highest in Central and West Africa, and lowest in North Africa. Lived poverty also varies widely within societies. Reflecting the legacies of the “urban bias” of successive post-independence governments, rural residents continue to endure lived poverty far more frequently than those who live in suburbs and cities. A multilevel, multivariate regression analysis of more than 40,000 respondents across Africa reveals that people who live in urban areas, those who have higher levels of education, and those who have a job (especially in a middle-class occupation) are less likely to live in poverty, as are younger people and men. But besides personal characteristics, we locate even more important factors at the level of government and the state. First, Africans who live in countries with longer experiences of democratic government are less likely to live in poverty. Second, people who live in communities where the state has installed key development infrastructure such as paved roads, electricity grids, and piped-water systems are less likely to go without basic necessities. Indeed, the combined efforts of African governments and international donors in building development infrastructure, especially in rural areas, appears to have played a major role in bringing down levels of poverty – at least until recently.
  • Topic: Poverty, Infrastructure, Inequality, Local
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Lillian Mookodi
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis
  • Abstract: For over three decades, Botswana has achieved a fast growing economy, with an annual growth in real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) averaging 10.9 percent in the period 1981- 90, faster even than the East Asian Tigers or China (Good and Hughes, 2002). Between 2000 and 2001 financial year, Botswana’s economy recorded higher growth rates of 9.1 percent, an increase from 8.1 percent recorded between 1999 and 2000, which was mainly attributed to the growth in the mining sector (BIDPA Briefing, 2002). To emphasise on the desire to continue growing, Botswana has adopted Vision 2036, and other development strategies and policies to improve the implementation of interventions tackling unsatisfactory social indicators. Botswana has also subscribed to both continental and international frameworks, such as the Africa Agenda 2063 and United Nations (UN) Millennium Declaration and its Eight Millennium Development Goals, and further signed up for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of 2030. Regardless of the afore-mentioned positive growth, and immense efforts, the country has not achieved the desirable results it sought with regard to some of the social indicators, such as employment, unemployment, inequality and poverty.
  • Topic: Economics, International Political Economy, Poverty, Labor Issues, Inequality, Demand, Unemployment, Consumerism
  • Political Geography: Africa, Botswana
  • Author: Gilfred Asiamah, Awal Swallah, Kojo Asante, Samuel Baaye
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Ghana Center for Democratic Development
  • Abstract: The Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) with funding support from the Department for International Development (DFID) under its Strengthening Action Against Corruption (STAAC) program has initiated a project to track the implementation of the government's flagship Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Program (IPEP).
  • Topic: Government, Poverty, Inequality, State Actors, Economic Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ghana
  • Author: Hans Lucht, Luca Raineri
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Though the four-by-fours with migrants still leave regularly for Libya, there’s little doubt that EU driven anti-migration efforts in the Agadez region of Niger has been a blow to the local cross-border economy. POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS ■ EU interventions in Niger have had an unintended negative effect on the safety of migrants. It’s therefore important to maintain focus on rescue missions in the desert. ■ Europe must ensure that conflict and context sensitivity remain paramount as well as promoting alternative development opportunities and good governance. ■ National, local and traditional authorities should continue to avoid conflicts linked to natural resources, including gold, uranium, pasturelands and water, by promoting transparency and participatory decision-making.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Migration, Poverty, Border Control, European Union, Inequality, Fragile States, Global Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Libya, North Africa, Niger
  • Author: Carmen Alpin Lardies, Dominique Dryding, Carolyn Logan
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Afrobarometer
  • Abstract: Key findings Africans share at least some of the SDG ambitions to create more equal societies. Across 34 countries, substantial majorities support women’s right to run for political office (71%) and to own and inherit land (72%). They are less committed, however, to full economic equality: A much slimmer majority (53%) favour equal access to paying jobs for women, compared to 42% who believe men should have preference. And even a woman’s fundamental right to physical safety has less-than-universal support: More than one in four Africans (28%) – including 24% of women – still see wife-beating as justifiable. In Gabon and Liberia, seven in 10 citizens share this view. While most Africans say girls and boys now have equal access to education, significant gender gaps in educational achievement remain. Even among the youngest cohort, more women than men have no formal education, and more men than women have post-primary schooling. Large majorities also say that women have achieved equal access to jobs. But women are less likely to participate in the labour market (55% vs. 67% of men), and among those who do, women are more likely to be unemployed (52% vs. 39%). About one in eight women (12%) say they experienced discrimination based on their gender during the past year. One in three (32%) Liberian women report this experience. Women lag behind men in ownership of assets and are substantially less likely to have decision-making power over household resources. Women also trail men on indicators of digital access and connection. And the gap may be widening: Although women’s Internet use has doubled over the past five years, the gender gap in regular Internet use has increased. Africans are divided on the question of whether women are making progress; 49% say equal opportunities and treatment for women are better than a few years ago, but almost as many say they are the same (31%) or worse (19%). Nonetheless, almost two-thirds (64%) give their governments positive marks on promoting equal rights. There is, in short, some disconnect between popular satisfaction with equality performance and significant – and sometimes growing – gaps in actual achievement.
  • Topic: Education, Gender Issues, Poverty, Inequality, Sustainable Development Goals, Feminism
  • Political Geography: Africa