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Infectious Diseases, Longevity and Labour Productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa

Adedayo Adedeji () and Anthony Akinlo

African Development Review, 2016, vol. 28, issue 1, 127-139

Abstract: type="main" xml:lang="en">

In recent times, the increases in longevity of sub-Saharan Africans are expected to transform into substantial economic gains. Unfortunately, the rising longevity is accompanied by an increase in the prevalence of diseases. This study, therefore, examined the impact of infectious diseases (HIV and TB) in the relationship between longevity and labour productivity in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) using panel data that spanned between 1990 and 2012. The study covered 38 of the 48 countries in SSA and adopted Generalized Method of Moments (GMM) for data analysis. The results revealed that the negative effects of HIV on longevity and TB on labour productivity were statistically significant, as longevity was an increasing function of labour productivity. Thus, HIV and TB formed an infectious-disease-trap for longevity and labour productivity in SSA. It was further found that food availability was vital for longevity and labour productivity; while basic education and capital stock were crucial in spurring labour productivity. This study recommended that both HIV and TB diseases needed to be accorded equal attention in health policy formulation and budgeting by both the government and non-governmental organizations in tackling health challenges in SSA. Also, both public and private sectors should be adequately involved in the effort against the spread of HIV and TB diseases in the region.

Date: 2016
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