July 2009

Obama in Africa; Easterly v Collier; Justin Lin on the joy of small banks and a Fox News journo bottles it on Rupert Murdoch: links I liked (and see you in two weeks)

admin - July 17, 2009

Before I head off for two blog-free weeks in Italy, here is some final reading material. In Ghana on his first presidential visit to Sub-Saharan Africa, Barrack Obama hands out some tough love – colonial legacies are no longer an excuse for corruption. Chris Blattman analyses the speech para by para (and gives it an overall A-). Plus, will oil destroy Ghana’s record of success? …

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What does the British Conservative Party think about development?

admin - July 16, 2009

This week I attended the launch of ‘One World Conservatism’, a ‘Green Paper’ (i.e. discussion document) in which the Conservative Party (who if you believe the opinion polls, are highly likely to take over from Gordon Brown’s Labour at the next election, due before next June) set out its thinking on international development. The Green Paper is the product of four years of internal thinking …

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How has Indonesia coped with the crisis, compared to the crash of 1998?

admin - July 15, 2009

How has Indonesia, the country worst affected in the late 90s by the last major financial crisis in the developing world, been coping with the current one? Quite well, according to the IMF, which predicts the economy will grow at 2.5% in 2009 and 3.5% in 2010. That’s down from the 6% average in the preceding years, but a far cry from the devastating 13-16% …

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The Pope's New Broadside on Globalization, the Crisis and Everything

admin - July 14, 2009

One of the more unusual curtain raiser documents for the G8 summit last week was ‘Caritas in Veritate’ (Charity in Truth), the latest encyclical from Pope Benedict XVI. NGOs and development wonks tend to ignore these kinds of documents, but research shows that churches matter far more in the lives of poor people than NGOs do, so it’s worth paying attention to important position statements …

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Is the organic movement missing a big opportunity on climate change?

admin - July 13, 2009

Oh dear, not only has climate change turned me into a reluctant green, but now I’m having to rethink my attitudes to organic farming. This is all the fault of a conversation with Peter Melchett and Ken Hayes from the Soil Association, who are both fervent advocates of organic agriculture (which Peter puts into practice on his own farm). What struck me in our discussions was …

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Bamboo bikes; dodgy banks; social housing; bankslaughter; Brown goes green; France in Africa; why missionaries are better than aid workers and a spectacular marketing disaster from Nigeria: links I liked

admin - July 10, 2009

Ditch your Prius: the latest must have greener than thou accessory is ….. a bamboo bike from Zambia ‘ ‘Already, the panic of the autumn of 2008 is fading. The period within which lessons can be learnt and changes made is closing. Yet without radical changes, another crisis is certain. It may not even be that long delayed.’ Martin Wolf brilliantly dissects the banking crisis and …

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Latest Growth Projections for Developing Countries: Asia doing better, everywhere else worse

admin - July 9, 2009

The IMF has just revised April’s World Economic Outlook growth projections for 2009 and 2010 (see table). Here’s the summary on developing countries: ‘Emerging and developing economies are projected to regain growth momentum during the second half of 2009, albeit with notable regional differences. Low-income countries are facing important challenges of their own because official aid has fallen and these economies are particularly vulnerable to …

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WOCA load of rubbish – fiddling aid numbers at the G8

admin - July 8, 2009

As expected, some of the more aid sceptic governments will be seeking ways to wriggle out of their commitments at the G8 summit, which opens in Italy today. But rather than just say ‘we’re breaking our promises – tough’, they are floating various kinds of creative accounting to allow them to meet their commitments without actually spending more money. The approach pushed by Sylvio Berlusconi …

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What has climate change done to the seasons?

admin - July 7, 2009

Yesterday, Oxfam published Suffering the Science, a powerful synthesis of the science and the human havoc that climate change is already wreaking. The thing that caught my eye was ‘What Happened to the Seasons?’, an input paper by my colleagues Steve Jennings and John Magrath bringing together evidence from 15 countries on how seasons are changing and the impact on poor people. Sounds techie, I …

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How do you get a job in a development NGO (starting with one in my team)?

admin - July 6, 2009

I’m prompted to post this partly because there’s a job coming up in my team at Oxfam. We’re looking for a research methods adviser to build the skills of our staff around the world who commission and/or conduct smart research to inform Oxfam’s programmes and advocacy. If you’re interested, read more here, and you need to get a move on – the deadline is this …

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