March 2013

What is the impact of women’s collective action? Evidence from 3 African countries

admin - March 28, 2013

Sally Baden (left, in the white shirt), Oxfam’s former Senior Adviser on Agriculture and Women’s Livelihoods, summarizes the findings of a new Oxfam report and research project on women’s collective action in agriculture. As an Oxfam policy adviser in West Africa (2001-8), I worked with many different kinds of farmer organization. These included cotton farmers, pastoralists and rice growers, grouped in informal enterprises as well …

Continue reading

What can DFID learn from Chinese and Brazilian aid programmes?

admin - March 27, 2013

IDS researcher Henry Tugendhat (right) wonders whether UK aid is following in the path of China and Brazil Two weeks ago at the London Stock Exchange, Justine Greening announced her new policy of supporting UK businesses to invest in developing economies for the mutual benefit of both sides. According to the UK’s Secretary of State for International Development: “This is good for investors, who earn …

Continue reading

Strikes, Spookytown, and a traumatic exit from feudalism: Women on Farms in South Africa

admin - March 26, 2013

Managed to squeeze at least one day away from offices and lecture theatres in South Africa last week. In this case a road trip with Women on Farms, an Oxfam partner led by the charismatic Colette Solomon (right), IDS PhD turned grassroots activist. In the Western Cape, scenic is an understatement: lush vineyards festooned with bougainvillea at the feet of colossal bare rock escarpments; dinky, …

Continue reading

Brit aid rocks; economists’ letters; out of order; gods v condoms; what did dev pundits get wrong?; carbon taxes; land grabs + bent pols in Malaysia: links I liked

admin - March 25, 2013

I generally tweet links these days (@fp2p if you want to follow), but for the untwittered, here are a few recent highlights: A wonderful (and politically inexplicable) thing happened last week. Amid gloom and austerity, the UK government kept to its promises and increased aid to 0.7% of national income – the first G8 country to do so. It barely warranted a mention in the …

Continue reading

The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World. Synthesis > novelty in a big new UN report.

admin - March 22, 2013

Of the big reports that spew forth from the multilateral system, some break new ground in terms of research or narratives, while others usefully recap the latest thinking on a given issue. Last week’s 2013 Human Development Report, The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World, falls into the latter category, pulling together the evidence for a tectonic North-South shift in global …

Continue reading

Kevin Watkins on inequality – required reading

admin - March 21, 2013

If you want an overview of the current debates on inequality, read Kevin Watkins’ magisterial Ryszard Kapuściński lecture. Kevin, who will shortly take over as the new head of the Overseas Development Institute, argues that ‘getting to zero’ on poverty means putting inequality at the heart of the development debate and the post2015 agreement (he doesn’t share my scepticism on that one). As a taster, …

Continue reading

Brazil v South Africa: what can the BRICS tell us about overcoming inequality?

admin - March 20, 2013

The blog’s inequality week here in South Africa continues with some thoughts on inequality and the BRICS. An edited version of this post appeared earlier this week on the FT’s Beyond BRICS blog The acronym may have been cooked up in far-off New York, but the BRICS grouping of countries is starting to generate some interesting life of its own. Last week, I was in …

Continue reading

On inequality, let’s do the Palma (because the Gini is so last century)

admin - March 19, 2013

What better place than South Africa to run an inequality week on the blog? Today’s guest post from Alex Cobham (left) and Andy Sumner (right) summarizes their new paper on inequality – got a feeling this one might be quite important. Tomorrow, Brazil v South Africa. There’s one measure of inequality that gets all the attention – the Gini index. The Gini was developed in the …

Continue reading

How to build local government accountability in South Africa? A conversation with partners

admin - March 18, 2013

This is what a good day visiting an Oxfam programme looks like. I skim the interwebs (and this blog) to put together some thoughts on a given issue from our experience or what others are writing (‘the literature’). Then sit down with local Oxfamistas and partner organizations (who are usually closer to the grassroots than we are) to compare these bullet points with their reality. …

Continue reading