governance

What does ‘big business’ say about Africa when it’s off the record?

admin - November 14, 2013

I get a lot of random invitations along the lines of ‘come and be a token esteemed NGO rep at our next gabfest’, and accept a few of the more promising ones. So this week I ended up at a conversation on ‘Africa’s Reformers’ hosted by the Africa Governance Initiative and the FT’s This is Africa magazine (which has just published an issue with that …

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Will the next generation of thinktanks be more NGO-friendly? Geoff Mulgan on ‘do-tanks’ (sorry)

admin - November 1, 2013

I don’t often listen to lectures online – in these ADHD times, a 4 minute youtube video is usually my limit (unless it’s Breaking Bad or The Wire, of course). But I’m glad I made an exception for this lecture on ‘how do thinktanks think’ by Geoff Mulgan. No tricks, no powerpoint, just a lot of brainpower. Which is what you would expect from a …

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Getting to the ‘so whats': how can donors use political economy analysis to sort out bad governance?

admin - October 30, 2013

Close but no cigar. Just been reading an ODI paper from a few months ago, Making sense of the politics of delivery: our findings so far, by Marta Foresti, Tam O’Neil and Leni Wild. It’s part of the ODI’s excellent stream of work on governance and accountability (see my review of David Booth and Diana Cammack’s book) and repays close study. The starting point is the …

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Aid’s segmented future

admin - October 25, 2013

This piece was written for a blog discussion on the future of aid, which will double up as a Global Policy ebook, organized by Andy Sumner’s new outfit, the Kings College International Development Institute, King’s College London. It’s all part of the build up to their launch conference on Emerging Economies and the Changing Global Order, 7-8 November. One of the most pressing challenges for …

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Governance for Development in Africa: Solving Collective Action Problems: Review of an important new book

admin - October 23, 2013

The last year or so has been a bit quiet in terms of big new books on development, but now they are piling up on my study floor (my usual filing system) – Angus Deaton, Deepak Nayyar, Ben Ramalingam, Nina Munk etc etc. I will review them as soon as I can (or arm-twist better qualified colleagues to do so). But I thought I’d start …

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Should you keep innovating as a programme matures? Dilemmas from (another) ground-breaking accountability programme in Tanzania

admin - October 16, 2013

Certain countries seem to produce more than their share of great programmes. Vietnam is one, and Tanzania appears to be another. After the much-blogged-on Twaweza workshop in Tanzania last week, I headed up North to visit the Chukua Hatua accountability programme. It’s one of my favourites among Oxfam’s governance work, not least because it has a really top notch theory of change (keep clicking) I often …

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Why is football such a successful (and replicable) institution?

admin - September 16, 2013

My visit to Australia and New Zealand has been full of discussion of fragile states – how might durable, effective, accountable institutions emerge in the Pacific islands that are the focus of much of the aid (and thinking) here? I’ll need time to process those conversations, but in the meantime, here’s a more immediate question, raised in a conversation with Ausaid’s governance guy, Steve Hogg. …

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Politically smart aid? Of course! Political aid? Not so sure. Guest post by Tom Carothers and Diane de Gramont

admin - June 17, 2013

Thomas Carothers and Diane de Gramont summarize the arguments of their new book on aid and politics How political is development assistance? How political should it be? These questions provoke divergent reactions within the aid community. For some, being political means using aid to advance geopolitical interests aside from development. Others emphasize the far-reaching political consequences aid can have on recipient countries, from bolstering dubious …

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When/how does aid help Africa’s public services work better?

admin - June 4, 2013

I seem to be spending most of my life at the ODI at the moment, largely because it is producing an apparently endless stream of really useful research papers and seminars. Yesterday saw a combo of the two, as it launched Unblocking Results: using aid to address governance constraints in public service delivery (OK, maybe it still has a thing or two to learn about …

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Citizens Against Corruption: What Works? Findings from 200 projects in 53 Countries

admin - May 20, 2013

I attended a panel + booklaunch on the theme of ‘Citizens Against Corruption’ at the ODI last week. After all the recent agonizing and self-doubt of the results debate (‘really, do we know anything about the impact of our work? How can we be sure?’), it was refreshing to be carried away on a wave of conviction and passion. The author of the book, Pierre Landell-Mills …

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