What have the MDGs achieved? We don't really know… Heretical thoughts from Matthew Lockwood

A second instalment in Matthew Lockwood’s series of valedictory boat-rocking blogs (his first was on fossil fuel subsidies) as he leaves the IDS Climate Change team for a new role in the UK energy sector. This time, he asks why the results agenda often stops short of being applied to the big picture stuff like […]

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African techno-euphoria and the origins of Kenyan mobile exceptionalism

I’m struck by one of those periodic waves of Africa techno-euphoria as I catch up on my post holiday reading (Google Reader, twitter, email, random subscriptions – is there no end to it?). The Guardian has pieces on how the web is changing Africa and 15 innovations that are transforming the continent. Meanwhile the Economist […]

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August wonkwar 3: Martin Ravallion v Ricardo Fuentes on inequality

August was wonkwar month here on the blog, with an epic exchange on private v public provision of education, featuring Kevin Watkins v Justin Sandefur. Then I got all cranky about a new paper on NGOs and development. And now a third, and final, exchange (much the most polite) as World Bank poverty guru Martin […]

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In praise of the Edinburgh Festival

Please indulge me with this bit of off-topic blogging, because I’m just got back from a wonderfully restorative week at the Edinburgh Fringe, the world’s largest arts festival (this year, 25 days totalling over 2,695 shows from 47 countries in 279 venues). The format is a one hour maximum on performances, allowing you to hop easily […]

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Campaigning on education and the Robin Hood Tax (and wise counsel from Dilbert)

Keeping it visual and campaign-y today. First a nice 10 minute video on the role of civil society organizations in lobbying for better education (see previous education wonkwar debate if you want more analysis) They certainly know a thing or two about campaigning in Germany, recently getting major German banks to drop commodity funds and […]

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The hidden cost of hamburgers

The hidden cost of hamburgers. Do Americans really eat an average of 3 burgers a week? That must mean some are eating 10 or something – anyone got the distribution curve? [h/t Ricardo Fuentes]

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Tackling a cinderella issue – lethal indoor pollution

In this guest post, Oxfam’s Ian Bray (left) looks at the latest developments in getting clean cookstoves to the world’s poor (and saving two million lives a year) The recent massive electricity blackout across India received a great deal of media interest and comment. The coverage, with the exception of the ever excellent Onion, masked […]

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Africa's other big BRIC – India

Some nice analysis of India’s African footprint in a new paper by Sumit Roy (right) in LSE’s Global Policy journal (ungated – props to them). India’s exchange with Africa is rooted in the precolonial period with subsequent developments in the colonial and the post-colonial era. In the 18th century the territories were tied through migration […]

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If fossil fuel subsidies are so bad, why can't we get rid of them? Time for some politics

My mate Matthew Lockwood (right) has decided (again) to abandon development and focus on UK climate change issues. In an earlier exit (from development to climate change) he wrote The State They’re In, a brilliant book on the political economy of African development. This time, as he heads for the exit, he is writing some […]

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Intern wanted; Owen Barder, Elinor Ostrom and a falling cat on change, complexity and development; rapid welfare states in China and Mexico; Tyler's evil exam question: links I liked

I need an intern to work with me to launch the 2nd edition of From Poverty to Power. Despite last week’s rant, I’m usually quite friendly, honest….. Owen Barder introduces development in text and online, through a one hour presentation, starting with THAT toaster (right) ‘Colonial powers assumed we have the answers, and destroyed social capital. […]

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Three x 4 minute videos for World Humanitarian Day (that's today)

Three thought-provoking short pieces from the slightly Orwellian-sounding Security Management Initiative in support of today’s UN World Humanitarian Day Access and Acceptance   Risk Principles and Pragmatism

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What can Africa learn from China on Agricultural Development?

Some fascinating South-South thinking from a blog and paper by Li Xiaoyun, Tang Lixia, Xu Xiuli, Qi Gubo and Wang Haimin of the China Agricultural University. Things that jump out compared to the usual Western spiel? The focus on staple foods, smallholders, gradualism and the role of the state. “In China, a consistent agriculture-centred development strategy […]

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