Topic: Trade

Impact investing: hype v substance, the importance of ownership and the role of aid

Oxfam’s Erinch Sahan tries to disentangle hype from substance and makes a pitch for a new approach to impact investing. Impact investment is the next black. It’s already worth about $46 billion, and rapidly growing. In 2010, when it was a mere $4 billion, JP Morgan predicted it would be between $400 billion to $1 […]

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Have technology and globalization kicked away the ladder of ‘easy’ development? Dani Rodrik thinks so

Dani Rodrik was in town his week, and I attended a brilliant presentation at ODI. Very exciting. He’s been one of my heroes ever since I joined the aid and development crowd in the late 90s, when he was one of the few high profile economists to be arguing against the liberalizing market-good/state-bad tide on […]

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Four roles for the Multilateral System – how well will it perform any of them?

Along with a bunch of Oxfam’s specialist policy wonks, I recently helped Francoise Vanni, our new Director of Policy and Campaigns, put together a presentation on the multilateral system. Writing a new powerpoint is also a pretty good way to generate a blog post – key messages, simply transmitted (assuming you obey the ‘less than […]

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What do we know about the politics of reducing inequality? Not much – it’s time to find out

Spent a fun day at the Developmental Leadership Program annual conference in Birmingham yesterday. I was on a panel pitching an idea for a research programme that has got me very excited (along with David Hudson and Niheer Dasandi from University College London). Here’s my pitch. One of my formative influences as a policy wonk […]

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What should Europe do about Illicit Financial Flows? Five take-aways from the African Union’s High-Level report

This post by tax campaigner Christian Hallum (@ChrHallum) also appeared on the Eurodad blog.  Last Saturday a landmark decision was taken when the African Union, made up of 54 African Heads of State, adopted the report of the High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows (IFF). This report documents the scale and impact of IFF from […]

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New research: A wage revolution could end extreme poverty in Asia, with massive knock-on effects in Africa

Spoke last week as a ‘discussant’ (my favourite speaking role, no prep required) at the launch of an extraordinary new ODI paper, with the deeply forgettable title ‘rural wages in Asia’ (we’ll come back to the title later). In one of those papers that restores your faith in economists, Steve Wiggins and Sharada Keats crunch […]

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Why I love the UN, aka the battle between policy space and trade/investment agreements

Being a fan of the UN is always a bit of a mixed blessing. Various bits (UNDP, UNICEF, UN Women and many more) churn out some really useful research. For many years, they provided the sole islands of sanity resisting the market fundamentalism of the Washington Consensus. But all too often their publications sink without […]

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Not so mega? The risky business of large-scale public-private partnerships in African agriculture

Oxfam policy adviser Robin Willoughby shrugs off the big ag groupthink and argues that the current trend of mega projects in African agriculture is a risky and unproven way to help poor farmers. Last week, I attended a large summit on the future of African agriculture in Addis Ababa, hosted by A Green Revolution for […]

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Jamie Love’s Next Big Idea: Making the WTO into a force for good in Public Health

I’ve heard the name Jamie Love mentioned in reverential tones over the years, and a few weeks ago, I was asked by STOPAIDS to interview him in an ‘in conversation’ format in front of a small group of activists. It was fantastic fun (for me at least). Jamie is director of Knowledge Ecology International and […]

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Why aren’t we using government purchasing to promote the right to food (among other things)? Great farewell paper from Olivier de Schutter

Oliver de Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food reaches the end of his term at the end of May, leaving some pretty big shoes to fill. He summarized his arguments in March with a final report to the Human Rights Council, but kept on going til the end, with a really thought-provoking […]

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Supporting labour rights in Indonesia’s sportswear factories (Nike, Adidas etc). Draft case study for your comments

I’d like to continue picking your brains on the drafts of a series of case studies I’ve been working on. Next up is some long term advocacy on labour rights in Indonesia. Here’s the full draft case study for your comment (PC case study Indonesia Labour Rights Project May 2014). From 1997-2013 Oxfam Australia’s Indonesian […]

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Reformers v lobbyists: where have we got to on tackling corporate tax dodging?

The rhythm of NGO advocacy and campaigning sometimes makes it particularly hard to work on complicated issues, involving drawn-out negotiations where bad guys have more resources and staying power than we do. Campaigns on trade, climate change, debt relief etc often follow a similar trajectory – a big NGO splash as a new issue breaks, […]

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