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12 June 2020
The global oil industry is experiencing major shocks as the Covid-19 pandemic endures. The challenge to the industry is not just coming from a decline in global demand for energy commodities, but also from questions about the future of the extractive industry in an era of climate change. Current ecological breakdown is related to a host of factors, but clearly the question of extractives can no longer be ignored. The much-reported fall in oil prices and OPEC’s historic agreement on 12 April 2020 to cut global oil production by close to 10 million barrels a day has accelerated the pressure for a low carbon economy on a global level.
Those favouring the position that oil and other fossil fuels should be left underground as stranded assets for the sake of sustainability no longer need to point towards an apocalyptic future. Simultaneously, however, the disruption of the entire sector and consequent loss of export earnings, threat to livelihoods and end to the potentially progressive development trajectories is a major concern for many developing countries. Considering the uncertainty of the pandemic and its impact on government revenues, immediate substitutes addressing both environmental and economic concerns are difficult to implement.
So what are the implications of Covid-19 for the new African oil-producing countries tracked by ESID research – Ghana, Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda?
PAPER – The gendered politics of social protection: The case of social cash transfers in Zambia
Author: Kate Pruce
Paper short abstract:
This paper examines the gendered nature of policy design and targeting debates in Zambia, identifying a ‘double burden’ placed on women, who are expected to earn and take care of their families. In this case, cash transfers have failed to challenge existing gender relations and roles in communities.
Paper long abstract:
Approaches to social protection have been accused of being ‘gender-blind’, with considerations of gender within social policy usually being limited to the inclusion of women as a target group. However, gendered narratives of dependency and deservingness continue to shape debates on welfare and social protection policies. For example, in Latin American countries, the focus on motherhood as the basis for welfare provision has served to reproduce traditional roles and social divisions, in which the primary duty of women lies within the family. This paper examines the targeting debates around social cash transfers in Zambia through a gender lens. My PhD research found a predominant belief that able-bodied people – both male and female – should be working to support themselves and their families. This view seems to subvert the stereotype of women’s ‘traditional’ roles as dependants and caregivers to some extent, but does so in a punitive, rather than a transformative way. While there has been an apparently empowering shift towards increased flexibility in gender divisions in the labour market in Zambia, this has not been accompanied by a change in attitudes to unpaid care work. Caring and homemaking roles continue to have low status and are considered to be ‘feminine’ work, leading to a ‘double burden of labour’ for women. By failing to recognise these unequal responsibilities within the household, social protection designs can perpetuate rather than challenge existing gender relations and power structures, including the high expectations placed on women to earn and take care of their families.
PANEL – Leadership, political settlements and bureaucratic ‘pockets of effectiveness’: Exploring the role of ‘technopols’ in delivering development
Author: Sam Hickey
The role of bureaucratic ‘pockets of effectiveness’ in delivering development often relies heavily on the role of ‘technopols’, leaders of both governments and organisations who not only possess a technical command of their field but also an ability to navigate difficult political terrains.
It remains a puzzle that certain parts of the state function remarkably effectively in developing countries, despite being located in governance contexts that many characterize as dysfunctional. Often referred to as ‘pockets of bureaucratic effectiveness’, PoEs, can be defined as public organizations that are reasonably effective in carrying out their functions in otherwise dysfunctional governance contexts. PoEs have played essential roles in establishing the conditions for economic growth, avoiding problems associated with the resource curse, delivering services and performing a range of regulatory functions. Leadership has been identified as a particularly important variable in enabling PoEs to emerge, flourish and be sustained. More specifically, the literature has identified a particular type of leader as often defining PoEs, namely ‘technopols’. Technopols are leaders of both governments and organisations who not only possess a technical command of their field but also an ability to navigate difficult political terrains. We welcome papers that examines the role of technopols and other forms of leadership that are critical to PoEs, and which locate PoEs in their political context, including with reference to wider strategies of state-building and regime survival.
PAPER – Leadership matters: the role of ‘technopols’ in Zambia’s economic institutions during an era of technocratic consensus, 2001-2011
Authors: Marja Hinfelaar, Caesar Cheelo (ZIPAR)
Paper short abstract:
Technopols in Zambia are most productive if they are aligned with State House, in terms of personal rapport and ideas/ideologies, as was the case between 2001 and 2008 when a technocratic consensus emerged. The impact of technopols lessened when Zambia’s political settlement changed in 2011.
Paper long abstract:
Strong and independent leadership of Zambia’s economic institutions, such as the Ministry of Finance, the Bank of Zambia and Zambia Revenue Authority, have proven to be a crucial element in turning these institutions into ‘Pockets of Effectiveness.’ However, as we set out in our paper, these technopols are most productive if they have any influence on, or are aligned with the executive powers. Closeness to State House, in terms of personal rapport and ideas/ideologies are important, as was the case between 2001 and 2008 when a technocratic consensus emerged. The impact of technopols lessened when Zambia’s political settlement changed in 2011, leading to varying outcomes of PoE in Zambia’s economic institutions, with only the Bank of Zambia being able to carry out its mandate.
PAPER – The politics of state capacity and ‘pockets of effectiveness’ in Kenya
Author: Matthew Tyce
Paper short abstract:
Employing an expanded political settlements approach, this paper explores the political economy factors that have explained the emergence and persistence of ‘pockets of effectiveness’ in Kenya
Paper long abstract:
This paper explores the role that ‘pockets of effectiveness’ (POEs) have played in Kenya’s recent developmental trajectory, as well as the political economy factors that explain their emergence and persistence over time. Drawing on in-depth primary research conducted at a number of Kenyan public-sector organisations, the paper finds that the country’s competitive-clientelist political settlement creates an environment that is largely unconducive to the emergence of POEs, and certainly to their sustenance. This is because ruling elites are generally preoccupied with their own short-term political survival and are reluctant to invest in the longer-term venture of building and protecting state capacity. Instead of being top-down initiatives, as in many dominant political settlements, POEs in Kenya tend to be the result of multi-stakeholder initiatives, making them especially vulnerable to fluctuations in the interests and/or influence of various actors within the political settlement. That said, the paper identifies several factors that have played a kind of countervailing role on Kenya’s competitive political settlement, helping to sustain certain POEs over considerable periods of time. These factors include ideas, which have occasionally motivated political leaders to support and protect organisations that they deem critical to their developmental visions, as well as transnational actors, who have offered significant support in terms of capacity-building and oversight, especially within the macroeconomic technocracy. Also important have been the leaders of POEs themselves, who by juggling both developmental and political goals have been able to maintain sufficient autonomy for their organisations to operate effectively.
PAPER – The politics of bureaucratic pockets of effectiveness in Ghana: The primacy of ‘technopols’ over technocrats
Paper short abstract:
This paper highlights the centrality of technopols for understanding how and why bureaucratic pockets of effectiveness emerge and persist within Ghana’s largely dysfunctional public sector.
Paper long abstract:
This paper highlights the centrality of technopols for understanding how and why bureaucratic pockets of effectiveness emerge and persist within Ghana’s largely dysfunctional public sector. It focuses on the experiences of the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Ghana, two public sector agencies that have been widely acknowledged to have maintained relatively high levels of performance overtime, although with significant dips in performance both across and within ruling coalitions. Across both case studies, we find that the specific moments of good performance were those characterized by leaders who combined technocratic expertise with significant political influence within the ruling coalition. Unlike pure technocrats, such ‘technopols’ are often better able to push through relevant but difficult reforms because of the political trust that they wield within ruling coalitions. These findings support recent observations that in contexts of personalised forms of governance as in much of Africa, public sector agencies can enhance their effectiveness, not by isolating themselves from politics, but instead by cultivating ‘strong political relations’ and engaging in various forms of ‘political bargaining’ with powerful political and bureaucratic elites.
PAPER – PoEs, political settlements and technopols: From state-building to regime survival in Uganda?
Paper short abstract:
This paper explores how the interplay of political settlement dynamics and organisational leadership shapes public sector performance in Uganda, and how Uganda’s PoEs have increasingly come to reflect the politics of regime survival rather than any wider state-building project.
Paper long abstract:
Uganda’s impressive levels of economic performance over much of the past three decades have often been linked to the performance of certain ‘pockets of effectiveness’ (PoEs), including the Ministry of Finance, the Bank of Uganda and, more unevenly, the Uganda Revenue Authority. The President’s extension of political protection to these (and other) PoEs has been central to their success, as has been the appointment of ‘technopols’ to lead these organisations, and who have proven capable of managing both the political and technical aspects of their briefs. However, the performance of these organisations has varied considerably over time, with all coming under considerable pressure as a result of shifts within Uganda’s political settlement, which moved from being broadly ‘dominant-developmental’ to ‘vulnerable-populist’ in character from the early 2000s onwards. This shift profoundly altered the ’embedded autonomy’ that PoEs had previously enjoyed, in ways that have undermined their capacity to deliver on their mandate. This paper explores how the interplay of political settlement dynamics and organisational leadership shapes public sector performance in Uganda, and how Uganda’s PoEs have increasingly come to reflect the politics of regime survival rather than any wider state-building project.
PANEL – Gatekeepers and gamechangers: How women matter for promoting equitable change
Convenors: Sohela Nazneen, Ayesha Khan
The panel explores how women’s leadership matters in bringing about and consolidating gender equitable policy change. Using case studies the panel highlights how women leaders can be game changers and strategies they use to tackle gatekeepers and counter backlash against gender equity gains.
The panel focuses on the micro-politics of policy making and what role women’e leadership play in bringing about change. Using primary research on case studies of specific policy change conducted in Nepal, Peru, Pakistan and Uganda, the panel will explore how women leaders emerge as critical actors for securing policy change and consolidating the policy gains made. The policy cases explored in this panel are related to matters that require challenging male power, religious/ cultural norms- such as land rights, reproductive rights, violence against women. The panel explores the different strategies women’s movement actors and women inside the state (political heads, and femocrats) use to bypass the political gatekeepers and diffuse resistance in policy spaces. It makes the argument why presence of powerful women and collective leadership matter, and how pro gender equity advocates relational and inter-personal capital plays a critical role in making change. By investigating how women matter the papers also reflect on whether women’s leadership style is different, how do women leaders navigate various gendered institutional norms and constraints that limit their agency. The panel collectively will also reflect on when do women leaders become critical actors and what factors enable them to become ‘game changers.’ Given that in many of the case study countries there is a push-back against women’s rights and the nature of the civic space is shrinking, the panel hope to offer important insights into how women leaders may continue to matter.
PAPER – Leaders, coalitions and political settlements: Operationalising a new approach to the study of political settlements
Author: Tim Kelsall
Paper short abstract:
This paper provides an introduction to the approach and findings of ESID’s ‘defining and measuring political settlements’ programme.
Paper long abstract:
Over the past three years ESID’s ‘Defining and Measuring Political Settlements’ project has devised a system for coding and measuring political settlements based on the relative strength and social composition of the de facto political leader’s support coalition. This, introductory, panel paper provides an overview of the project and a brief preview of the findings of a 42 country survey, of which a subset was chosen for a QCA.
PAPER – Unpacking the effectiveness of leadership: Political settlements and state capacity
Paper short abstract:
Studying the effectiveness of leaders raises questions about state capacity. This paper explores the impact of different political settlements on state capacity. Initial illustrative evidence comes from case studies of Zambia and Uganda, and Rwanda and Burundi.
Paper long abstract:
The effectiveness of leaders inevitably raises questions about state capacity—why states in some parts of the world have become more effective at providing valued social goods than in others. In this paper I draw on insights from political settlements analysis and explore the likely impact of different power configurations on state capacity. Specifically, I analyze (1) the political cohesion of the political settlement, that is, the groups in control of political authority and state resources, and (2) its social foundation, or the amount of support and resistance the governing coalition faces from the wider population. I expect a unipolar settlement to be more effective than a multipolar one in accomplishing what they set out to do (for better or for worse), largely because they allow state leaders to operate within a longer time horizon and enable the political protection particular state agencies. The expected impact of social foundations on state capacity is less clear-cut and likely varies across different policy domains (e.g., economic projects, social provision). Initial evidence to illustrate the insights and limitations of this framework will be drawn from comparative case studies of Zambia and Uganda, and Rwanda and Burundi.
PAPER – Do political settlements matter? A qualitative comparative analysis
Paper short abstract:
Conducting a QCA of six selected countries (and 64 country-periods), using data from our “ESID Political Settlements Survey”, this paper studies whether the relative size, strength and social composition of the leader’s support coalition affect a country’s development trajectory.
Paper long abstract:
The aim of this paper is to explore whether there are relationships between political settlement types and countries’ development experiences. In particular, does the relative size, strength and social composition of the leader’s support coalition affect a country’s willingness and ability to implement inclusive growth or social policies, and to what extent is this mediated or affected by other variables such as economic ideologies or systemic threats? To approach this goal, it conducts a qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) of six selected countries (and 64 country-periods), using data from our “ESID Political Settlements Survey”. The six countries – Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, Myanmar, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka – were selected since all are medium-sized, predominantly agricultural, resource ‘poor’, coastal, former British colonies, thus enabling us to hold these potential explanations constant in the QCA while leveraging variation in other factors. Allowing for equifinality, QCA analysis is particularly powerful as a first tool to identify parallel potential pathways that can explain developmental success and other outcomes of interest in developing countries. It hereby provides important guidance for future analyses.
PANEL – Private sector leaders, processes and linkages in the Global South: Changing structures and the pursuit of the SDGs
Conveners: Jessica Sklair, Farwa Sial, Jo-Anna Russon, Aurelie Charles
This panel explores the emerging leadership roles played by private sector development actors and institutions in the Global South, particularly in pursuit of the SDGs. It will examine how Southern actors are helping redefine businesses as leaders and executors of the sustainable development agenda.
This panel explores the DSA2020 theme of ‘New Leadership for Global Challenges’ by examining the emerging leadership roles played by private sector development actors and institutions in the Global South. We are seeking papers that examine the role played by private sector actors in providing leadership on meeting the SDGs and responding to diverse development challenges. The role of the private sector in development is changing, with new private sector actors and emerging networks recreating the traditional domain of development. Prominent examples include the rise of outsourced management consultancies specializing in development, philanthropic institutions and CSR initiatives and a series of contractors that engage with international organizations such as the UN. New processes building on on-going financialisation, such as metric-based institutions specializing in impact and social investing and insurance companies redefining risk in relation to international development are also important dimensions of this change. These transformative shifts redefine the earlier notion of development assistance as a transfer of resources from one state to another making it a complex arena of multiple private sector interests, and challenging traditional flows of aid. The SDGs are central to this shift, helping to both equate sustainability with business interests and redefine the role of business actors as both leaders and executors of the sustainable development agenda. This panel aims to conceptualize these transformations by focusing on the actors and institutions leading these processes in the Global South, and emerging linkages between private sector actors in the South and North in pursuit of the SDGs.
30 May 2020
Any glimmer of hope that the Covid-19 crisis would provide an opportunity for technocrats to assert themselves, within the increasingly personalised approach to policy-making under Zambia’s ruling Patriotic Front (PF) party, seems to have disappeared. Since our previous blog, President Edgar Lungu has made several controversial moves that suggest the health advisors have already been sidelined.
As the total number of confirmed cases in Zambia passes the 1,000 mark, the Ministry of Health continues to deliver daily Covid-19 updates and press briefings. However, these are becoming increasingly politicised, with some within PF considering the Health Minister, Dr Chitalu Chilufya, to be a potential threat, and this is undermining the level of trust in the information being conveyed. Chilufya has also clashed with Minister of Finance, Dr Bwalya Ng’andu, who is speaking out publicly about Zambia’s unsustainable debt and budget financing gap, as well as demanding greater accountability of Zambia’s COVID-19-related funds.
In the early stages of Covid-19 in Zambia, a coalition of Ministry of Health officials and health partners, including the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), appeared to be at the forefront of the response. The key role of such national-level coalitions, bringing together political leaders and technical experts, within a political settlements analysis, provided some hope that the technocrats would be given more space. However, while the Ministry of Health in particular has largely retained control of the flow of public information, the influence of the coalition over government directives is more limited.
For example, the current strategy of closing hotspots, such as the town of Nakonde on the border with Tanzania, is in line with the recent WHO advice for Africa. However, the medical experts in Zambia called for a complete lockdown of points of entry as early as January, but the government did not listen to this advice. The call to close the Nakonde border was made two weeks before the localised outbreak occurred, but was ignored. The temporary closure of the border was finally ordered just before a spike of 208 new cases in the area, concentrated among truck drivers, was announced within a 24-hour period. Lungu has since publicly directed the Minister of Health to handle the Nakonde situation in a way that allows business to keep flowing, despite more than half of Zambia’s Covid-19 cases (565) being located in this area.
The significant increase in Zambia’s total number of cases came days after the president’s fourth national address on Covid-19 on 8 May, in which he announced the re-opening of restaurants, cinemas, gyms, tour operators and casinos, among others, although bars must remain closed. Critics have suggested that this selective re-opening is favouring specific businesses because they are owned by people within government, and indeed many of them are not important sectors within Zambia’s economy. As early as 24 April, President Lungu decided to allow some activities to resume, including congregating at places of worship, seemingly under pressure from the Ministry of Religious Affairs and National Guidance, as well as individual religious leaders. He also announced that barbershops and salons could re-open, despite the inherent difficulties of social distancing in such settings, presumably appealing to ‘that barber in Chiwempala, and that young lady who plaites hair in Mazabuka‘ who have been losing income due to the restrictions.
This move towards a ‘new normal’ through the easing of some restrictions reflects the delicate balance that all countries are seeking between reviving the economy and avoiding a public health crisis. Lungu claims that it might be possible to achieve the best of both worlds – ‘We have to choose life or livelihood or both’ – while apparently prioritising economic and political interests, despite a rapid rise in the number of cases and projections that the Covid-19 peak in Zambia will be in two or three months.
However, some of these presidential directives are being resisted. The statement that places of worship could re-open caused division among churches, as many told their members not to congregate. State House defended the announcement, by saying that this was not a directive, but advice for churches to make their own decision. But, as lodge owners and tour operators contest the order to resume their operations, the tone has become increasingly authoritative, with President Lungu giving a warning not to argue or politicise his directive. Lungu is also turning to religion by directing the nation, through its Ministry of Religious Affairs, to observe seven days of National Prayer and Fasting, entitled ‘Help from Above in the face of Covid 19’.
In the face of this rapid rise of cases and corresponding government measures, the public is divided. Some are worried and think the government should be doing more. According to a study conducted in 12 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Zambia and Mozambique have the highest perceived risk of catching the virus, at 82 percent and 83 percent, respectively. Zambia also had among the highest portion of respondents who strongly disagreed that their government was doing enough (31 percent). On the other hand, others are resisting the measures that are being put in place, as demonstrated by the riot in Nakonde in response to the lockdown.
Zambia’s response to Covid-19 is limited by underlying economic and structural constraints. Financial challenges include low economic growth rates (2 percent in 2019), depreciation of the local currency and unsustainable debt – with central government debt standing at 91.6 percent of GDP at the end of 2019 (IMF, 2019). Limited state capacity and long-term under-investment in healthcare also undermine the response and have recently come under heavy criticism, in the wake of a road traffic accident that killed a young lab technician carrying Covid-19 test samples. This incident highlights both inadequate health systems – with only three testing centre in the whole country – as well as poor road infrastructure and safety, particularly in terms of public transport. Dr Chilufya explained that the technician used public transport because the Ministry vehicles were being used for other purposes, which led to a public outcry about the use of funds donated for the Covid-19 response and a challenge from Lungu, who demanded an investigation.
In terms of mitigating the impact of Covid-19 on the economy, the government has released K2.5 billion and Zambia has also received contributions from a wide range of donors, totalling K3.5 billion (about GBP 157 million). However, there are strings attached to these donor funds, which have been clearly earmarked for specific purposes. The UK, Sweden and Germany, for example, have all focused on social protection, in particular cash transfers for the most vulnerable. Donors are wary following recent government scandals and are demanding high levels of accountability. They also took this opportunity to urge the government to make the most of this new multilateral emergency support, as well as the recent G20 initiative on debt relief to address Zambia’s longer-term debt crisis. Such requests may help to build Ng’andu’s case for tackling Zambia’s intractable debt issues, in order to be able to engage with the IMF, as he is currently not receiving the support he needs from within government.
While Zambia’s Ministry of Finance has the reputation of being a high performer or ‘pocket of effectiveness’, and is relatively well disciplined, well equipped and resourced, it nonetheless remains highly dependent on the character of the president and ruling coalition. Zambia’s shift from one-party state to multiparty democracy in 1991 did little to change the nature of the executive powers, which have remained significantly concentrated within the top political leadership, specifically the president and State House. Zambia’s political settlement is becoming increasingly authoritarian in character, and the current regime’s profligacy had created significant financial challenges even before Covid-19 struck. Despite protracted talks with the IMF since 2016, Zambia has failed to secure a deal, largely due to the government’s reluctance to demonstrate commitment to fiscal management and resistance to the external accountability that such a programme would entail. In the context of Covid-19, Zambia does not qualify for the IMF’s Catastrophic Containment and Relief Trust and is struggling to access their emergency funding, due to its unsustainable debt levels.
While a broad, relatively concentrated settlement might be expected to have comparatively capable health and social protection sectors, these systems are weak in Zambia, with funds for social sectors squeezed by high debt servicing costs and public wage bill. A more collaborative strategy is therefore needed, integrating non-state actors, particularly development partners and NGOs, in order to tackle the health and economic effects of the virus. However, recent events suggest that Zambia is moving further down the path of repression and politicisation of the response, and the coalition of health experts initially driving the response is being increasingly sidelined. It is hoped that Zambia’s broad-based civil society and opposition parties can continue to act as a countervailing power as the Covid-19 situation evolves in an increasingly politicised direction.
18 May 2020
The global message on frequent 20 second handwashing to stem the spread of Covid-19 has heightened the urgency for access to safe and clean water. This in turn has put water management agencies, most of which have a poor reputation for delivering water services in developing countries, in the spotlight. One exception to this rule has been the Uganda’s National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC), which ESID research has identified as one of the countries’ few high-performing public sector agencies. This blog examines how well NWSC has responded to Covid-19 in Uganda, with a particular focus on how its performance has remained closely shaped by the paradigmatic and largely neoliberal ideas that shape service delivery within Uganda’s political settlement.
NWSC’s poor performance during the 1980s and 1990s nearly saw it privatised along with a swathe of public utilities in sub-Saharan Africa during this period. However, its entrepreneurial leader at the time persuaded government to ignore donor advice and instead appointed and supported a dedicated local management team that mounted a successful turnaround within six years. Since 2004 NWSC’s financial statements have reflected year-on-year profits and by 2019, NWSC’s services had expanded to over 250 towns, serving an estimated 17 million people (Fig.1).
Figure 1: NWSC service coverage
Remaining within public ownership enabled NWSC to attract both political protection and public financing, both of which have been critical to its success. However, its commercial orientation seems to be at odds with serving critical social goals. The 20% of the urban population that NWSC’s water services have yet to cover, are mainly low-income earners who live in informal settlements where the risk of infections like Covid-19 is highest. Continue Reading →
13 May 2020