Electronic University of Leipzig Papers on Africa (e-ULPA) - [show most recent issue]

01 Title: Area Studies and Economics of Sub-Saharan Africa: A comment
  Author:  Helmut Asche 2011
  Abstract: The epistemological nature of socio-economic area studies is an old conundrum. While most economists concerned with the global South hardly attribute special scientific status to development economics and understand their work as application of universal laws to a specific group of countries, of which those in Sub-Saharan Africa constitute nothing but a sub-sample, many sociologists and anthropologists think the exact opposite. This paper argues that social science retreat to methodological self-restraint leaves important questions on Africa’s present and future to economic universalism, which however does a bad job in explaining African peculiarities with overly stylized econometric variables. Almost certainly, neither the socio-economic stagnation in Sub-Saharan Africa from the 1980s to the mid—1990s nor the current near-general growth spell can be understood without rigorous search for Africa-specific socio-economic determinants.
02 Title: Modernizing Rwanda: Information and communication technologies as driver for economic growth?
  Author:  Helmut Asche and Michaela Fleischer 2011
  Abstract: Rwanda’s government has embarked upon an ambitious project to transform the country into a regional banking as well as information & communication technology (ICT) hub. A priori, nothing favours the country to play this role, as it lags in most indicators behind its regional peers. Current attempts at overcoming Africa’s uncomfortable position in the digital divide consist of laying off-shore fibre-optic cables, again putting landlocked countries at a disadvantage. Yet inland connection has reached Rwanda at a surprising speed. As the country manifestly counts on handling substantial parts of Eastern Congo’s mineral wealth, the hub project may also have the critical financial mass which it would otherwise not get from Rwanda’s agriculture and small industry alone. This paper argues that it remains intrinsically difficult to predict how realistic such an undertaking of leapfrogging industrialization will actually be. The inherent economic voluntarism turns the attention to Rwanda’s developmental state. Its ruling elite displays a political determination that has already succeeded in other places (East Asia) – with surprising similarities.
03 Title: Afrika in der Globalen Finanzkrise
  Author:  Helmut Asche 2011