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Community based health insurance schemes in Africa: the case of Rwanda

Community-based health insurance schemes (Mutuelles) in Rwanda are one of the largest experiments in community based risk-sharing mechanisms in Sub-Saharan Africa for health related problems. This study examines the impact of the program on demand for modern health care, mitigation of out-of-pocket catastrophic health expenditure and social inclusiveness based on a nationally representative household survey using traditional regression approach and matching estimator popular in the evaluation literature. Our findings suggest that Mutuelles have been successful in increasing utilization of modern health care services and reducing catastrophic health related expenditure. According to our preferred method, higher utilization of health care services was found among the insure non-poor than insured poor households, with comparable effect in reducing health-related expenditure shocks.

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Microcredit for the development of the bottom of the pyramid segment: impact of access to financial services on microcredit clients, institutions and urban sustainability

The focus of microcredit for the bottom of the pyramid segment in urban areas is increasingly becoming an area of focus as development policy-makers work towards improving the lifestyles of urban poor. Previous research has had a keen focus on the impacts of financial services to business outcomes, leaving behind other equally vital aspects of development. In addition, very little of this research has focused on socio-economic and sustainability outcomes in urban areas. Using randomized controlled trials, this paper measures the impacts of microcredit to selected groups of people in Kibera slum in Nairobi city, using a combination of double difference and propensity score matching techniques to evaluate the impacts of these financial services on businesses, households, micro-finance institutions and urban sustainability outcomes. While the paper finds little evidence on urban sustainability outcomes, there is a significant, although small, improvement on business and households outcomes.

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Eliminating extreme poverty in Africa: trends, policies and the role of international organizations

Eradicating extreme poverty for all people everywhere by 2030, measured by people living on $1.25 a day, is the first goal among the UN Sustainable Development Goals expected to guide the post-2015 development agenda. This paper summarizes several studies on eradicating poverty globally and examines feasibility of this goal for Sub Saharan Africa (SSA), the world’s poorest but rapidly rising region. It finds that under plausible assumptions extreme poverty will not be eradicated in SSA by 2030, but it can be reduced to low levels. National and regional policies should aim at accelerating growth, while making it more inclusive and ‘green’. International organizations, including informal ones such as the G20, can play a critical role in this endeavour by encouraging policy coordination and coherence. Further, African countries will need a greater scope for bringing their perspectives into global economic debates on issues impacting sustainable development on the continent.

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Child labour and schooling in South Sudan and Sudan: is there a gender preference?

Based on the 2009 household surveys conducted in Sudan and South Sudan, the objective of this article is to analyse gender inequality for the young population aged 10 to 14 who should be at school. Although education is free in both countries, children’s enrolment at school is low especially for girls, many of them stay home performing domestic chores or have an economic activity particularly in rural areas. The bivariate probit model highlights the key role of the household head’s education, gender and poverty status in determining children’s schooling. Drawn on Pal (2004) who extended the Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition, we confirm that children’s activity in Sudan and South Sudan is strongly determined by the fact of being a girl or a boy. The article also provides some policy recommendations to address the issues of low school attendance and high gender inequality.

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Climate change, gender and development in Africa

This article focuses on policy to support adaptation to climate change, and the importance of good gender analysis in planning and following through. It first examines how vulnerabilities are understood by climate change specialists. Then it examines how, through these perspectives, African people – particularly women in environment-based livelihoods – can best be supported by governments and development partners to adapt to the effects of climate change.

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Health in Africa over the next 50 years

This report reviews the progress made in the health sector in Africa over the last 50 years, in terms of health outcomes, and particularly in the utilization of, and access to, healthcare services. The current challenges faced by the health sector are thoroughly assessed, focusing on the progress made toward the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the need to establish more robust health systems, the problems of equity in access to and use of health services, sustainable health financing, and the quality of healthcare service provision. The discussion lays the groundwork for projections regarding the future of healthcare in Africa over the next 50 years. The analysis looks at how the sector is likely to evolve and the emerging trends, the key features of the post-MDG agenda, the future of health financing, and the methods that might be deployed to strengthen the system and human resources.

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Informal cross border trade in Africa: implications and policy recommendations

Despite being a source of income to about 43 percent of Africa’s population, informal cross border trade (ICBT) is generally regarded as illegal commercialization of cross border activities. ICBT can have positive macroeconomic and social ramifications such as food security and income creation particularly for rural populations who would otherwise suffer from social exclusion. If properly harnessed, ICBT has the potential to support Africa’s on-going efforts at poverty alleviation.

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AfDB Strategy for 2013–2022 - at the center of Africa’s transformation

This ten-year Strategy is designed to place the African Development Bank at the centre of Africa’s transformation and to improve the quality of Africa’s growth. The Strategy will focus on two objectives to improve the quality of Africa’s growth: inclusive growth, and the transition to green growth. It also outlines five main channels for the Bank to deliver its work and improve the quality of growth in Africa: Infrastructural development; Regional economic integration; Private sector development; Governance and accountability; Skills and technology. In implementing its ten-year Strategy, and as an integral part of the two objectives, the Bank will pay particular attention to fragile states, agriculture and food security, and gender.

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Feed Africa: strategy for agricultural transformation in Africa 2016–2025

There is a massive opportunity to reframe the current social and economic costs associated with the low productivity of the agricultural sector in Africa. What has — up till now — been an area of relative weakness for the African continent, can be recast as an area of strength and, more importantly, one of the fastest options for feeding, employing, and lifting millions of people out of poverty. Agricultural transformation has proven to be a complex endeavour, but is becoming increasingly understood as pockets of successful interventions spring up across the continent. New technologies — especially in the ICT realm — are bringing new ways of achieving and scaling success. Critical to realizing this opportunity will be shifting the development of the sector from ‘agriculture as a way of life’ to ‘agriculture as a business’. The public-sector has an essential role to play in fostering a private-sector led transformation of agriculture. Farmers, entrepreneurs, and investors alike will find a way to develop thriving agribusinesses if given the opportunity in the form of access to sufficient and affordable capital, access to markets and the right overall conditions in terms of policy and infrastructure.

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Agricultural production, food security and higher value in North Africa

This paper argues that the problems of food security and rural poverty in North Africa are interlinked. It proposes a strategy to enhance food security while also reducing rural poverty and rural-urban inequality by increasing farmers’ share of value added. The proposed strategy has four prongs: (1) making better use of world markets and maintaining a security food reserve, (2) greater support to domestic food producers (especially small family farmers) to link them better with national and international markets, (3) introducing new social safety net programs based on cash transfers, and (4) building new inclusive economic institutions that represent small farmers and ensure that they have a voice in the policy making process.

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Assessing progress in Africa toward the Millennium Development Goals

This report, produced jointly by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the African Union (AU), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), assesses the progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Africa. Africa has seen an acceleration in economic growth, established ambitious social safety nets and designed policies for boosting education and tackling HIV and other diseases. It has also introduced women’s quotas in parliament, leading the way internationally on gender equality, and increased gender parity in primary schools. Although overall poverty rates are still hovering around 48 percent, according to the most recent estimates, most countries have made progress on at least one goal. Much more work lies ahead to ensure living standards improve for all African women and men. While economic growth has been relatively strong, it has not been rapid or inclusive enough to create jobs. Similarly, many countries have managed to achieve access to primary schooling; however, considerable issues of quality and equity need to be addressed.

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African human development report 2016

Gender inequality is costing sub-Saharan Africa on average $US95 billion a year, peaking at US$105 billion in 2014– or six percent of the region’s GDP – jeopardising the continent’s efforts for inclusive human development and economic growth, according to the Africa Human Development Report 2016. The report analyses the political, economic and social drivers that hamper African women’s advancement and proposes policies and concrete actions to close the gender gap. These include addressing the contradiction between legal provisions and practice in gender laws; breaking down harmful social norms and transforming discriminatory institutional settings; and securing women’s economic, social and political participation. Deeply-rooted structural obstacles such as unequal distribution of resources, power and wealth, combined with social institutions and norms that sustain inequality are holding African women, and the rest of the continent, back. The report estimates that a 1 percent increase in gender inequality reduces a country’s human development index by 0.75 percent.

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A compendium of case studies on gender mainstreaming initiatives in UN-Habitat 2008-2012

Whilst we recognize that much work has been done in the main-streaming of gender equality in human settlement, UN-Habitat acknowledges that much more is required. This compendium of case studies is designed to bring into one document some of the gender main-streaming initiatives UN-Habitat implemented from 2008 to 2012. The case studies provide the most comprehensive examples of the field implementation of the UN-Habitat Gender Equality Action Plan of 2008 to 2013. The projects and programmes compendium brings recognition to UN-Habitat’s efforts to advance the internationally agreed agenda for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women. The compendium serves as a good start towards capturing the successful efforts under way to advance the agenda on equality and empowerment of women. In addition, the compendium serves as a learning and resource tool to UN-Habitat and its partners

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Gender issue guide: housing and slum upgrading

Access to adequate housing is a fundamental human right and is enshrined in numerous international agreements and conventions. Yet millions of women and men continue to live in towns and cities without security of tenure and with inadequate housing and related services. This guide’s objectives are: to increase understanding of gender concerns and needs in housing and slum upgrading; To develop capacity to address gender issues in this area; to encourage the integration of a gender perspective into policies, projects, and programmes for sustainable urban development; to support the institutionalization of the culture of gender main-streaming and gender equality, the implementation of gender-sensitive projects and programmes, and the monitoring of gender-main-streaming progress.

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Planning sustainable cities: global report on human settlements 2009

This report reviews recent urban planning practices and approaches, discusses constraints and conflicts therein, and identifies innovative approaches that are more responsive to current challenges of urbanization. It notes that traditional approaches to urban planning (particularly in developing countries) have largely failed to promote equitable, efficient and sustainable human settlements and to address twenty-first century challenges, including rapid urbanization, shrinking cities and ageing, climate change and related disasters, urban sprawl and unplanned peri-urbanization, as well as urbanization of poverty and informality. It concludes that new approaches to planning can only be meaningful, and have a greater chance of succeeding, if they effectively address all of these challenges, are participatory and inclusive, as well as linked to contextual socio-political processes.

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Enhancing urban safety and security: global report on human settlements 2007

This report addresses three major threats to the safety and security of cities: crime and violence; insecurity of tenure and forced evictions; and natural and human-made disasters. It analyses worldwide trends with respect to each of these threats, paying particular attention to their underlying causes and impacts, as well as to the good policies and best practices that have been adopted at the city, national and international levels in order to address these threats. The report adopts a human security perspective, concerned with the safety and security of people rather than of states, and highlights issues that can be addressed through appropriate urban policy, planning, design and governance.

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Local leadership for climate change action

This publication is a call to action for cities to address climate change. It presents information and practical case studies of what cities can do to respond to one of today’s leading challenges in 12 key messages. It takes the view that climate change presents cities with an opportunity to review urban policy and local strategies which would lead to more sustainable, liveable and vibrant cities.

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53 UN-Habitat model projects 2013/2014

The efforts of UN-Habitat have been focused on building a brighter future for developing cities, which are most in need of support in guiding the process of urbanization. This catalogue of projects centres on three fundamental generators of wealth and employment in cities: planning and urban design, urban law and urban economy. It includes experiences in applying UN-Habitat’s methodology of community participation in the provision of basic services, housing and urban reconstruction. It also highlights how legislation, governance and soil treatment plays a key role in achieving urban transformation.

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Prosperity of cities: state of the world’s cities 2012/2013

What this new edition of State of the World’s Cities shows is that prosperity for all has been compromised by a narrow focus on economic growth. UN-Habitat suggests a fresh approach to prosperity beyond the solely economic emphasis, including other vital dimensions such as quality of life, adequate infrastructures, equity and environmental sustainability. The Report proposes a new tool – the City Prosperity Index – together with a conceptual matrix, the Wheel of Prosperity, both of which are meant to assist decision makers to design clear policy interventions. The Report advocates for the need of cities to enhance the public realm, expand public goods and consolidate rights to the ‘commons’ for all as a way to expand prosperity. This comes in response to the observed trend of enclosing or restricting these goods and commons in enclaves of prosperity, or depleting them through unsustainable use.

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World Cities Report 2016: urbanization and development – emerging futures

The analysis of urban development of the past twenty years presented in this maiden edition of the World Cities Report shows, with compelling evidence, that there are new forms of collaboration and cooperation, planning, governance, finance and learning that can sustain positive change. The Report unequivocally demonstrates that the current urbanization model is unsustainable in many respects. It conveys a clear message that the pattern of urbanization needs to change in order to better respond to the challenges of our time, to address issues such as inequality, climate change, informality, insecurity, and the unsustainable forms of urban expansion.

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21 projects compendium: implementing the new urban agenda

For the last 40 years, UN-Habitat has been working to improve the lives of people in human settlements around the world. As our population has grown, so has the number of people living in cities, towns and villages on all continents. With around 3 billion more people expected to live in urban areas by 2050, it is more critical than ever that we plan and manage the way our cities expand. This publication demonstrates just a snapshot of UN-Habitat's overall portfolio and represents the ways in which, along with their partners, their work positively impacts the quality of life for people around the world. Working together we can, and must, promote economically, socially and environmentally sustainable urbanization and a better urban future for all.

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The state of African cities 2014: re-imagining sustainable urban transitions

The African continent is currently in the midst of simultaneously unfolding and highly significant demographic, economic, technological, environmental, urban and socio-political transitions. Africa’s economic performance is promising, with booming cities supporting growing middle classes and creating sizeable consumer markets. But despite significant overall growth, not all of Africa performs well. The continent continues to suffer under very rapid urban growth accompanied by massive urban poverty and many other social problems. These seem to indicate that the development trajectories followed by African nations since post-independence may not be able to deliver on the aspirations of broad based human development and prosperity for all. This report, therefore, argues for a bold re-imagining of prevailing models in order to steer the ongoing transitions towards greater sustainability based on a thorough review of all available options. That is especially the case since the already daunting urban challenges in Africa are now being exacerbated by the new vulnerabilities and threats associated with climate and environmental change.

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State of the world’s cities 2010/2011. Cities for all: bridging the urban divide

The world’s urban population now exceeds the world’s rural population. What does this mean for the state of our cities, given the strain this global demographic shift is placing upon current urban infrastructure? Following on from previous State of the World’s Cities reports, this edition uses the framework of ‘The Urban Divide’ to analyse the complex social, political, economic and cultural dynamics of urban environments. The book focuses on the concept of the ‘right to the city’ and ways in which many urban dwellers are excluded from the advantages of city life, using the framework to explore links among poverty, inequality, slum formation and economic growth. The volume will be essential reading for all professionals and policymakers in the field, and a valuable resource for researchers and students in all aspects of urban development.

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The state of Asian and Pacific cities 2015. Urban transformations: shifting from quantity to quality

This report on the state of Asian and Pacific cities is the second in the series first published by UN-Habitat (the United Nations Human Settlements Programme) and ESCAP (the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific) in 2010 then 2011. Building on the findings and baseline data provided in the 2010 report, and in capturing both rapid change and new policy opportunities, The State of Asian and Pacific Cities 2015 seeks to further contribute to policy-relevant literature on the region’s urban change. Specifically, as reflected in its subtitle, the report highlights growing gaps between current urbanisation patterns and what is needed to shift to a more inclusive and sustainable urban future, in which the role of the region’s cities is unquestionably tied to national, regional and global development prospects.

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Cities and climate change: global report on human settlements 2011

Cities and Climate Change reviews the linkages between urbanization and climate change, two of the greatest challenges currently facing humanity in the 21st Century, and whose effects are converging in dangerous ways. It illustrates the significant contribution of urban areas to climate change while at the same time highlighting the potentially devastating effects of climate change on urban populations. It reviews policy responses, strategies and practices that are emerging in urban areas to mitigate and adapt to climate change, as well as their potential achievements and constraints. In conclusion, the report argues that urban areas have a pivotal role in both climate change mitigation and adaptation and identifies strategies and approaches for strengthening this role.

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