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)

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 […]

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What does the British Conservative Party think about development?

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 […]

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

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 […]

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

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 […]

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

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 […]

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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

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 […]

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

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 […]

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WOCA load of rubbish – fiddling aid numbers at the G8

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 […]

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What has climate change done to the seasons?

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 […]

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

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 […]

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Did you notice last week’s UN Conference on the crisis? Thought not…..

In the end the UN Conference that considered Joe Stiglitz’s Commission’s report on the crisis was even more underwhelming than I predicted (given the chaotic preparations, which included a last minute postponement). Only 14 heads of state attended, 10 of them from Latin America; most of Stiglitz’ recommendations bit the dust (e.g. his proposal for […]

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Plant clinics – or why sometimes development looks easy and obvious

Bumped into an ‘agricultural anthropologist’, Jeff Bentley, who works in Cochabamba, Bolivia and was intrigued by his work promoting ‘plant clinics’, where farmers bring in examples of sick plants and get a diagnosis and prescription in a system modelled on human healthcare (they even have a two tier structure of General Practitioners as first point […]

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