Topic: Economics

What does the end of North-South mean for the development sector?

I spoke last night at an event in the House of Commons. It was held at Portcullis House, an architectural monstrosity next to Big Ben which despite its name is a new bit, so no-one’s been executed there. Yet. The subject was a BS (blue skies) session on ‘Beyond the MDG Summit: What next for […]

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Some good news from Africa: Burkina Faso's farming miracle

Just been reading ‘Helping Africa to Feed Itself: Promoting Agriculture to Reduce Poverty and Hunger’, a paper by Steve Wiggins and Henri Leturque, both of the ODI. It’s a brilliant and to my mind, very fair overview, with one of its main messages being that regional generalizations about Africa are usually misleading – some subregions […]

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Agriculture is key to development – why I (partly) disagree with Owen Barder

It was World Food Day on Saturday, in case you missed it, and Owen Barder had a typically thought-provoking reflection on the links between agriculture and development. He starts off by quoting Amartya Sen’s words from 30 years ago, “Starvation is the characteristic of some people not having enough food to eat. It is not the characteristic […]

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What does global aging mean for development?

Following on last week’s post on obesity, here’s another trend that’s rarely talked about (at least in development circles, with the honourable exception of Helpage International) – global aging. c/o Phillip Longman in Foreign Policy magazine. “The global growth rate dropped from 2 percent in the mid-1960s to roughly half that today, with many countries […]

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What should aid focus on, poor people or poor countries?

Finally got round to reading the paper that’s been making waves in wonk-land, ‘Global poverty and the new bottom billion: Three-quarters of the World’s poor live in middle-income countries’, by Andy Sumner from the UK’s Institute of Development Studies. In a classic bit of number crunching, Andy takes a fresh look at where poor people now […]

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How can Ethiopia’s coffee farmers get more from your $3 latte?

According to legend Kaldi (left), a 9th Century Ethiopian goatherd, discovered coffee when he saw his flock start leaping around after nibbling the bright red berries of a certain bush. He gave them a try, and the ensuing buzz prompted him to bring the berries to an Islamic holy man in a nearby monastery. The holy […]

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Should we buy roses from Ethiopia?

OK, back to Ethiopia week. On leaving Addis, we head off to the Rift Valley on one of Ethiopia’s many excellent roads (shame about the driving…) to an enormous flower farm owned by a company called Sher, which rents them out to three large Dutch flower companies, including Herburg Roses Ethiopia plc, who we are […]

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We love road blocks; flushing toilets and murder rates: random facts about Latin America

The Economist has a big report on Latin America this week, to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the start of its struggle for independence (unfinished business, some would say). Here are some of the more striking statistical nuggets and other bits and pieces. The region has 15% of the world’s oil reserves, a large […]

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Ha-Joon Chang's new book: 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism

I still remember watching with delight as Ha-Joon Chang kebabed a US trade negotiator, shortly after the launch of the WTO’s Doha round of negotiations. At one of those ‘schmooze the NGOs’ sessions in Geneva, the diplomat was explaining to us the folly of governments ‘picking winners’ – industrial policy. Those who did so were […]

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Random Highlights from the Manchester War on Poverty Conference

Some random observations from the ‘Ten Years of War Against Poverty’ conference in Manchester, before I head off to Edinburgh for tomorrow’s conference on ‘Making the Most of Scotland’s Aid (it’s that time of year…) Ravi Kanbur (one of my heroes for his paper on why NGOs and the  big institutions disagree all the time) […]

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Joe Stiglitz and David Hulme on 'What have we learned from 10 years of war on poverty?'

I’m spending a couple of days at a big development conference in Manchester. It’s called ‘Ten years of war against poverty – what have we learned?’ and it’s heaving – there are about 500 people here. It’s hosted by the Chronic Poverty Research Centre, and is both a review of 10 years’ work, and a […]

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So do food price spikes cause riots or not?

I’m a big fan of Chris Blattman’s blog (as the number of ‘hat tips’ – [h/t] – on this one demonstrates), but he lost it a bit in his recent post on food riots. Here’s what he says: ‘Globalization and growth should reduce price spikes in future. More countries are producing crops. Climate shocks in […]

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