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Volumes & issues
Volume 46, Issue 2, 2016
Beyond the fetishism of gross domestic product
(Mis)governance and the challenges of poverty reduction in NigeriaSource: Africa Insight 46, pp 1 –27 (2016)More Less
Over the last 10 years, Nigeria experienced an average of seven per cent per annum rate of economic growth measured in terms of gross domestic product (GDP). The country has been identified as one of the fastest growing countries in the world by various international development agencies. The recent rebasing of the economy actually turned Nigeria into the largest economy in Africa with a GDP of over US$500 billion. Despite this comparatively high rate of growth, poverty and inequality remain very high, as the growth has not translated into job creation. While the national rate of unemployment is about 27.4 per cent, youth unemployment is well over 60 per cent. At the root of this disconnect between growth and development are governance challenges in the form of corruption, state capture by corrupt elites and misdirected policies. This article examines the link between governance and the failure of economic growth to translate into inclusive development in Nigeria. It argues that the structure of governance hinders the translation of economic growth to achieving tangible results for poverty reduction in the country. The structure of governance can be broadly defined as over-centralisation of authority under a supposedly federal arrangement; prebendalism, centred on a petro-dollar economy; and patrimonialism, as evidenced by the politics of sharing national resources among the ruling elites and their cronies.
Source: Africa Insight 46, pp 28 –43 (2016)More Less
This paper examines South Africa's migration policy framework development and the initiatives undertaken on the basis of the commitments to the Abuja Treaty and successive African Union (AU) frameworks regarding the free movement of people in the region. As such the paper outlines South Africa's compliance and contentions with the notion of free movement of people and how it tries to balance the dual roles of meeting the needs of its previously disadvantaged population at the same time as complying with principles of regional integration, which are important to its foreign policy. As will be shown in the paper, among other things, the country has been faced with implementation challenges in the enforcement of its migration policies to such an extent that non-state actors, such as communities, have resorted to violence against migrants due to perceptions that there has been an uncontrolled 'influx' of migrants resulting from lax law enforcement.
Informal home-based entrepreneurs in South Africa
'How non-South Africans outcompete South Africans'Author John NtemaSource: Africa Insight 46, pp 44 –59 (2016)More Less
The influx of immigrant entrepreneurs, particularly those involved in various informal economic activities, is a global phenomenon. As in other developing countries, the South African informal business landscape in general has, and to a large degree, been infiltrated by informal immigrant entrepreneurs. Yet, despite the hostile reception of these non-South African entrepreneurs, both by their South African counterparts and the general population particularly in former black township areas the literature and empirical research indicates that non-South Africans move onto alternative and more lucrative businesses much quicker than their local counterparts. To a large extent, the informal home-based township trade is no exception in this respect, with non-South Africans (Bangladeshi and Pakistani in particular), outperforming their South African counterparts. It is, therefore, argued that the immigrant entrepreneurs are more competitive and thus more successful than their local counterparts, and that their success could largely be attributed to their unique and sound business skills and personal characteristics. The paper used the views of adult customers, and current and former informal home-based entrepreneurs, to demonstrate the extent to which non-South Africans trading as informal home-based entrepreneurs in Mangaung Township (Bloemfontein) have outperformed their South African counterparts.
A critical examination of socioeconomic and demographic factors as determinants of e-government adoption among residents in Zimbabwe's two local authoritiesSource: Africa Insight 46, pp 60 –75 (2016)More Less
Zimbabwe has a long history with e-government. The Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) traces back the first introduction of an electronic system in the Zimbabwean government to 1972 with the introduction of the Central Computing Services (CCS), which fell under the Ministry of Finance, whose main function was to provide information and communication technology (ICT) services to the public service. In spite of this relatively long history, e-government in Zimbabwe has not developed at a consistent pace and, as will be revealed in the paper, the country is ranked low on the United Nations (UN) Electronic Government Development Index (EGDI). There have been few e-government studies in Zimbabwe and most of these have focused on the national picture. As a result, there is a dearth of scholarly work on e-government as it is unfolding at the local sphere of government. The aim of this paper is to provide a critical examination of socioeconomic and demographic factors as determinants of e-government adoption among residents in selected local authorities in the country. This study, therefore, makes a contribution on how these identified factors impact on e-government adoption. A major finding in the study is that most of the socioeconomic and demographic factors, with the exception of gender, determine e-government adoption in the two local authorities. Consequently, the paper recommends that local authorities in Zimbabwe, and indeed elsewhere, need to have an understanding of the relevant socioeconomic and demographic characteristics before they come up with an e-government strategy. This would enable them to craft e-government strategies that would suit their localities.
Author Tola OdubajoSource: Africa Insight 46, pp 76 –92 (2016)More Less
The distinctions between the rights and privileges of various categories of resident individuals arising from the opposing views of the conceptualisation of 'indigeneship', continue to stimulate intellectual discourses. For Nigeria, where a constant quest for accommodation and sense of belonging are critical to unity and stability, identity politics continues to engender divisions. The various cases of settler/indigene conflicts are indicative of the artificiality and fragility of Nigeria's famed aesthetic unity. The paper focuses on prescribing solutions to the incessant identity-based conflicts prompted by the settler/indigene divisions and religious differences in Plateau State, Nigeria. Jos, the capital of Plateau State, was the centre of attraction for locals and foreigners alike, as a consequence of its moderate weather, cosmopolitan outlook and tendency for accommodating diversity. For over a decade, however, Jos and various parts of rural Plateau State became theatres of war. The incessant violent conflicts were instigated by crisscrossing distinctions over rights and privileges between the indigenous peoples and the settlers. With the aid of a qualitative method, a content analysis of data gathered from secondary sources was undertaken. In the final analysis, a three-pronged source of conflict can be identified in Plateau State: the individual, group and social system levels of interaction. In making recommendations for enduring peace, we would apply three of Johan Galtung's theories on peace: 'The Intra-personal Model', 'The Inter-personal Model' and 'The Intra-social Model'; to provide the platform for devising peaceful coexistence, stimulated through social harmony, on Nigeria's plateau.
Boko Haram group in Nigeria
Religious intolerance and proliferation of small arms and light weapons in perspectiveAuthor Oluwaseun BamideleSource: Africa Insight 46, pp 93 –105 (2016)More Less
In problematising the motivations behind Boko Haram's activities against the state, academic debates have remained divided. On the one hand are scholars who attribute the violence of Boko Haram as a fallout of religious intolerance, while on the other hand, others consider the proliferation - or the widespread availability - of small arms and light weapons (SALW) as the vital cause. Either claim, however, is only valid in part, and obscures an holistic understanding of Boko Haram terrorism as a political phenomenon. Using Boko Haram as a case study, this article engages with the body of work drawn from each of the aforementioned paradigms, and highlights the empirical inadequacies in exclusively focusing on either side of the debate. In turn, it suggests that only in the synergy of both paradigms can a broader and more eclectic understanding of all the factors responsible for Boko Haram's formation and violence be achieved.
Author Ishaq Akmey AlhassanSource: Africa Insight 46, pp 106 –119 (2016)More Less
There is no disagreement on the centrality of participatory planning in devolution and good governance in any local government system. It is even more critical in the case of African's quest for vibrant local governments and rapid development in their communities. This paper mainly sets out to critically evaluate communities' inputs into district development planning in Ghana and suggests ways by which participatory planning could be entrenched to promote peace, security and development in District Assemblies. As a product of an extensive critical review of literature on Ghana's planning systems, it argues for a partnership between District Planning Coordinating Units and sub-structures in each district, to make planning truly participatory and ensure development in peace and security.