Annual Bank Conference on Africa: Examining the Challenges and Opportunities of Firms’ Productivity in Africa

June 14-15, 2018

Stanford, California

The fifth Annual Bank Conference on Africa (ABCA) will be held at Stanford, California, on June 14-15, 2018. It will cover various topics pertinent to firms in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is being organized jointly by the World Bank (Office of the Chief Economist for the Africa Region), and the Stanford Center on Global Poverty and Development.

The conference will include a keynote address by David McKenzie of the World Bank and opening remarks by Makhtar Diop (World Bank Vice-President for the Africa Region), as well as invited contributions by senior scholars.

For more information about the conference, contact

  • 08:30 – 09:00 Registration and Breakfast

    09:00 – 10:30 Opening Session

    • Room: Koret-Taube Room 130
    • Introductory Remarks: Makhtar Diop, Vice President for Africa, The World Bank
    • Keynote Address: David McKenzie, The World Bank

    10:30 - 11:00 Coffee Break

    11:00 – 12:30 PARALLEL SESSIONS A

    A1: High Growth Firms
    Room: Koret-Taube Room 130   
    Chair: TBC

    • High-growth Firms and Misallocation in Low-income Countries: Evidence from Côte d'Ivoire
      X. Cirera; R. Fattal Jaef; N. Gonne
      Discussant: Taye Mengistae 
    • Defining High-Growth Firms in South Africa
      Mulalo Mamburu
      Discussant: Cesar Calderon
    • Selection, Firm Turnover, and Productivity Growth: Do Emerging Cities Speed up the Process?
      Patricia Jones; Taye Mengistae; Albert Zeufack
      Discussant: R. Fattal Jaef

    A2: Jobs, Training and Matching
    Room: Lucas Room A
    Chair: TBC

    • The Selection of Talent. Experimental and Structural Evidence from Ethiopia
      Girum Abebe; Stefano Caria; Esteban Ortiz-Ospina
      Discussant: Gautam Bastian
    • Training Mentors? Experimental Evidence from Female Owned Enterprises in Ethiopia
      Gautam Bastian; M. Mehrab Bin Bakhtiar; Eliana Carranza; Markus Goldstein
      Discussant: Marc Witte
    • Job referrals and strategic network formation: Experimental evidence from urban neighborhoods in Ethiopia
      Marc Witte
      Discussant: Stefano Caria

    A3: Labor markets
    Room: Koret-Taube Room 120
    Chair: Marcel Fafchamps

    • Welfare Impacts of Factory Jobs: Experimental Evidence from Ethiopia
      Girum Abebe; Niklas Buehren; Markus Goldstein
      Discussant: David McKenzie
    • Media and Motivation: The Effect of Performance Pay on Writers and Content
      Ivan Balbuzanov; Jared Gars; EmiliaTjernström
      Discussant: Patrizio Piraino
    • The Value of Reference Letters
      Martin Abel; Rulof Burger; Patrizio Piraino
      Discussant: Marcel Fafchamps

    12:30- 02:00 Lunch

    02:00 - 03:30 Invited Panel:   The future of research on firms in sub-Saharan Africa

    Room: Koret-Taube Room 130
    Chair: David McKenzie


    • Marcel Fafchamps, Stanford University, NBER
    • Morgan Hardy, NYU
    • Pete Klenow, Stanford University
    • Girum Abebe, Ethiopian Development Research Institute

    03:30 – 04:00 Coffee Break

    04:00 - 05:30 PARALLEL SESSIONS B

    B1: Governance
    Room: Lucas Room A
    Chair: TBC 

    • The Cost of Distance: Geography and Governance in Rural India
      Sam Asher; Karan Nagpal; Paul Novosad
      Discussant: Paul Castañeda Dower
    • Asymmetry in Civic Information: An Experiment on Tax Incidence among SMEs in Togo
      Moussa Blimpo; Paul Castañeda Dower
      Discussant: Darin Christensen
    • Healthcare Delivery during Crises: Experimental Evidence from Sierra Leone's Ebola Outbreak
      Darin Christensen; Oeindrila Dube; Johannes Haushofer; Bilal Siddiqi; Maarten Voors
      Discussant: Karan Nagpal

    B2: Financial Access, Credit and Firm Performance
    Room: Koret-Taube Room 120
    Chair: TBC

    • Credit, training, risk preference and enterprises performance: Evidence from Ethiopia
      Yesuf Awel; Ajebush Shafi; Eleni Yitbarek; Jonse Boka; Mulatu Zerihun; Hiwot Girma
      Discussant: João Montalvao
    • Short-Term Impacts of Improved Access to Mobile Savings, with and without Business Training: Experimental Evidence from Tanzania
      Gautam Bastian; Iacopo Bianchi; Markus Goldstein; João Montalvao
      Discussant: Emma Riley
    • Can mobile money help overcome temptation spending and social pressures among microfinance clients?
      Emma Riley
      Discussant: Eleni Yitbarek

    B3: FDI, Learning and Competition
    Room: Koret-Taube Room 130
    Chair: TBC

    • Foreign Direct Investment and Knowledge Diffusion in Poor Locations: Evidence from Ethiopia
      Girum Abebe, Margaret S. McMillan, Michel Serafinelli
      Discussant: Daniel Björkegren
    • Competition in Network Industries: Evidence from Mobile Telecommunications in Rwanda
      Daniel Björkegren
      Discussant: Beecroft Ibukun
    • Incentives and Firm Productivity: Exploring Multidimensional Fiscal Incentives in a Developing Country
      Efobi Uchenna Rapuluchukwu; Tanankem Voufo Belmondo; Beecroft Ibukun
      Discussant: Margaret S. McMillan

    06:30 - 09:00 Dinner with Invited Guests

    • Room: TBC
  • 08:30 – 09:00 Breakfast

    09:00 – 10:30 PARALLEL SESSIONS C

    C1: Resource (mis)allocation
    Room: Koret-Taube Room 120
    Chair: TBC 

    • Misallocation of Resources and Productivity: The Case of Ghana
      Charles Godfried Ackah; Patrick Opoku Asuming; Derrick Abudu
      Discussant: Robert Fattal Jaef
    • Taxing the Good? Distortions, Misallocation, and Productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa
      Xavier Cirera; Robert Fattal Jaef; Hibret Maemir
      Discussant:  Dawit Zenebe
    • Trade Liberalization, Productivity, and Resource Allocation in Manufacturing Firms in Ethiopia
      Dawit Zenebe
      Discussant: Charles Godfried Ackah

    C2: Rural enterprises and livelihoods
    Room: Koret-Taube Room 130
    Chair: Marcel Fafchamps 

    • Agronomic Endowment, Crop Choice and Agricultural Productivity
      Rishabh Sinha; Xican Xi
      Discussant: Pete Klenow
    • Do Asset Transfers Build Household Resilience?
      Lokendra Phadera; Hope Michelson; Alex Winter-Nelson; Peter Goldsmith
      Discussant: Marcel Fafchamps
    • Willingness to Pay for Index-Based Livestock Insurance: Perspectives from West Africa
      Aina I.V.; Ayinde O. E.; Thiam D. R.; Muchandondwa E.; Miranda J. M.
      Discussant: Rishabh Sinha

    C3: Gender and Entrepreneurship
    Room: Lucas Room A
    Chair: TBC 

    • Intra-Household Resource Management and Women's Microenterprises: A Case Study from Urban Ghana
      Sophia Friedson-Ridenour; Rachel S. Pierotti
      Discussant: Katherin Wolf
    • Help or Hindrance? Husbands' Influence on Women's Entrepreneurial Success in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Latent Profile Analysis
      Katherin Wolf; Michael Frese
      Discussant: Ketki Sheth
    • Discrimination from Below: Experimental Evidence on Female Leadership in Ethiopia
      Shibiru Ayalew; Shanthi Mania; Ketki Sheth
      Discussant: Rachel S. Pierotti

    10:30 - 11:00 Coffee Break

    11:00 – 12:30 PARALLEL SESSIONS D

    D1: Manufacturing and growth
    Room: Koret-Taube Room 130
    Chair: TBC

    • Market Size, Sunk Costs, and Transport Costs: An empirical evaluation of the Impact of Demand Side Factors versus Supply Side Factors on Manufacturing Productivity
      Patricia Jones; Taye Mengistae; Albert Zeufack; Emmanuel Lartey
      Discussant: Youssouf Kiendrebeogo
    • Economic Policy, Upgrading, and Growth: Theory and Evidence from Africa
      Shanta Devarajan; Youssouf Kiendrebeogo
      Discussant: Tsegay G Tekleselassie
    • Productivity Determinants in the Manufacturing Sector in Ethiopia: Evidence from the Textile and Garment Industries
      Tsegay G Tekleselassie; Kidanemariam Berhe; Tigabu D Getahun; Girum Abebe; Gebrehiwot Ageba
      Discussant: Taye Mengistae

    D2: Firm Productivity and Dynamics
    Room: Koret-Taube Room 120
    Chair: TBC

    • Exports and Firm Productivity in Ethiopian: Evidence from Firm-level data
      Ali Yibrie Esmaile
      Discussant: Veron Vukeya
    • Firm Dynamics in South Africa
      Mpho Tsebe; Vernon Vukeya; Christine Lewis; Flavio Calvino; Chiara Criscuolo
      Discussant: Wilfried Kouamé
    • Structural Reforms and Firms' Productivity Evidence from Developing Countries
      Wilfried Kouamé; Sampawende J-A Tapsoba
      Discussant: Ali Yibrie Esmaile

    D3: Energy and Climate
    Room: Lucas Room A
    Chair: Pete Klenow 

    • Temperatures, Productivity, and Firm Competitiveness in Developing Countries: Evidence from Africa
      Nouhoum Traore
      Discussant: Justice Tei Mensah
    • Productivity Losses and Firm Responses to Electricity Shortages: Evidence from Ghana
      Ama Baafra Abeberese; Charles Ackah and Patrick Asuming 
      Discussant: Nouhoum Traore
    • Jobs!  Electricity Shortages and Unemployment in Africa
      Justice Tei Mensah
      Discussant: Pete Klenow

    12:30 – 02:00 Lunch

    02:00 – 03:30 PARALLEL SESSIONS E

    E1: Cities, Infrastructure and Firm Growth
    Room: Koret-Taube Room 130
    Chair: TBC

    • Cities as Engines of Growth: Evidence from a Global Sample of Cities
      Patricia Jones
      Discussant: Marco Sanfilippo
    • Input tariffs, Roads and Firm Performance: Evidence from Ethiopia
      Marco Sanfilippo
      Discussant: Manabu Nose
    • Road for Industrialized Africa: Role of Efficient Factor Market in Firm Growth
      Manabu Nose
      Discussant: Patricia Jones  

    E2: Labor markets and natural resources
    Room: Koret-Taube Room 120
    Chair: TBC

    • Vocational Education and Employment Outcomes in Ethiopia: Displacement Effects in Local Labor Markets
      Takahiro Fukunishi; Tomohiro Machikita
      Discussant:  Marie Albertine Djuikom
    • Incentives to labor migration and agricultural productivity: The Bayesian perspective
      Marie Albertine Djuikom
      Discussant: Lacina Balma
    • Managing Natural Revenue for Sustainable Development in Ghana: Simulations using DSGE Model
      Lacina Balma; Mahamudu Bawumia; Mthuli Ncube
      Discussant:  Takahiro Fukunishi


  • DATE: June 14-15, 2018
  • OPENING SESSION: June 14, 2018 at 9am PDT
  • LOCATION: Stanford, California