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Thrown Away Thrice: The global second-hand clothes trade expires on the beaches of Africa
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Lionel Stanbrook, World Economics, December 2019
Thousands of garment-making businesses throughout West Africa have been destroyed over the past few generations by his shabby international exploitation which was been hand in glove with the elimination of traditional garment-making businesses by aggressive European, US, and Chinese clothes manufacturing in factories located in Africa over the same period. The grim result is that Africans have fewer choices in domestically made clothes now than twenty, thirty, or even fifty years ago. Even the famous waxed cloth pagnes (kaftans or bou-bous) which seem quintessentially West African, are very largely imported from Europe (the largest production company is the Dutch VLISCO) although there remain important pockets of original African textile production, although unfortunately with products that are beyond the economic means of ordinary Africans. The shabby value chain in second-hand clothes starts in glitzy shopping malls in the most developed countries, with excessive and unnecessary purchases of clothes by consumers hungry for a new look.
Enterprise Size Classification in Africa
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Eugene Bempong Nyantakyi, World Economics, September 2020
Comparing enterprise size across countries is a key challenge in international development—SME definitions used in international development are often criticised as ineffective and a source of mistargeting of international development resources in the private sector. This study applies the International Finance Corporation definition of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME), commonly used in international development, and that proposed by Gibson and Van der Vaart (GV) (2008) to a set of enterprises in Africa to determine whether the two definitions capture similar underlying firms and enterprise attributes that practitioners would like to think of as worthy of international development support. The article finds a significant overlap: enterprises classified as SMEs simultaneously by both definitions. Indeed, 57% of firms in the sample qualify as SMEs under the two definitions. SMEs under the GV definition (but not the other) appear to face significant constraints in obtaining access to finance compared to those under the IFC definition (but not the other), and perform poorly in creating jobs relative to those under the IFC definition.
Employment, Under-employment and Unemployment in Africa
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World Economics, October 2019
Africa’s fast-growing markets should be producing far more commercial opportunities for its businesses and yielding far more jobs for its people, but they are not. If there is genuine economic growth occurring in Africa’s major cities then current data and the view from the street are not reflecting it. Jobless growth haunts the cities of Africa.
Whatever Happened to Africa’s Rapid Urbanisation?
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Dr Deborah Potts, World Economics, June 2012
It is widely believed that urbanisation is occurring faster in sub-Saharan Africa than anywhere else in the world, as migrants move from rural to urban settlements. This is a fallacy. While the populations of numerous urban areas are growing rapidly, the urbanisation levels of many countries are increasing slowly – if at all. Natural increase, rather than net in-migration, is the predominant growth factor in most urban populations. African governments, policymakers and international donors need to acknowledge fundamental changes in urbanisation trends, and respond to the irrefutable messages these impart about urban employment, incomes and economic development.
Wealth and Population Data in Africa
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Brian Sturgess, World Economics, June 2012
There are very good grounds for challenging much of the conventionally accepted UN and World Bank economic data relating to both the absolute and relative per capita income of many African countries and to their growth rates over time. A recent paper by Morton Jerven published in World Economics demonstrated the unreliability of much if not most African GDP data and a new paper published in this issue by Deborah Potts challenges the accuracy of African population estimates"
Measuring African GDP
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Joe Downie, World Economics, June 2011
There is much speculation about the growth potential of African economies. But in the light of unreliable official statistics and the highly selective information often presented by investment companies with an incentive to highlight the positive, this article aims to provide some extra analysis to add to the recent widespread comments on high growth rates within the continent. Problems are noted with official economic data and the strengths of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) measures for GDP comparisons are noted. GDP figures for Africa and five other major economic areas are analysed for the three decades to 2010 in terms of GDP growth and GDP level by decade. These figures are then viewed in per capita terms, drawing attention to significant population growth within the continent, and therefore less impressive per capita figures. A closer look at the location and distribution of economic activity within the African continent highlights the high concentration of economic activity within a small number of countries. However, it is concluded that the future prospects for African growth are still generally positive. Despite the heavy reliance on oil exports in some countries, headline GDP figures also reflect incidences of broad-based growth which looks set to continue so long as Asian demand remains high and good economic policies are pursued.

Displaying: 1-6 of 6