Topic: General

What’s at stake in the South African and Malawi elections this month?

Max Lawson, Oxfam’s Head of Advocacy and Public Policy, reflects on impending elections in South Africa and Malawi Malawi and South Africa’s election cycle is identical.  Both had their first democratic multi-party elections 20 years ago this month.  Who can forget the incredible photos of black people queuing from before dawn across South Africa to […]

Read More »

For tax dodging: ‘pounded by stone mallet, grounded by large stone’. A nice day out in Singapore

As you have probably guessed by now, I’ve been in Singapore this week. What you won’t know is that this is my first time here since 1969 (my dad was in the navy, which exited the island around then, along with the rest of Britain’s colonial baggage – Singapore promptly took off and has never […]

Read More »

Into the Unknown: Explorations in Development Practice: lovely (and short) new book from Robert Chambers

Robert Chambers is who I want to be when I grow up, an object lesson in how to grow old (dis)gracefully. Funny, passionate, always willing to admit doubt and failure, and endlessly curious – he never pulls that weary ‘oh, we tried that in the 1970s and it didn’t work’ routine beloved of other development […]

Read More »

How can Governments and Donors support Africa’s Women Farmers?

I got into a bit of hot water recently for a recent post taking down a dodgy stat on women’s land ownership, so it’s nice to be able to post on some really good numbers on gender and agriculture. Levelling the Field: Improving Opportunities for Women Farmers in Africa, is an important and innovative new report (exec […]

Read More »

Understanding the nature of power: the force field that shapes development

I wrote this post for ODI’s Development Progress blog. It went up last week, closing a series of posts on the theme of Political Voice. Women’s empowerment is one of the greatest areas of progress in the last century, so what better theme for a post on ‘voice’ than gender rights? Globally, the gradual empowerment […]

Read More »

Why are Africans getting ripped off on remittances?

Whatever your views of migration, a consensus ought to be possible on one thing: if migrants do send money home, as much as possible of the hard-earned dollars that they send should actually get there, to be spent on putting feeding the kids, putting them through school or even having a bit of fun (that’s […]

Read More »

Angus Deaton makes the case against aid (and you get to vote)

I am grateful to Duncan Green for giving me an opportunity to respond to his comments on The Great Escape. I summarize the key evidence, and try to give a coherent story of how I think aid works, and when it will fail. Like Duncan, I fully recognize (and am motivated by) the moral imperative […]

Read More »

What about the 1 in 7? Important progress in getting DFID (and other donors) to get serious on disability

Disability campaigners Mosharraf Hossain and Julia Modern on a new report on disability and development Back in 1988, I was denied a job in the Bangladesh civil service. This wasn’t because I didn’t have the skills to do the job – I had a Masters in Economics from the University of Dhaka – but because […]

Read More »

“Parlez-vous politics?” Or why working politically is like learning a language

Alina Rocha Menocal of the ODI introduces her new paper The world of development assistance has come a long way since James Ferguson published his searing critique of the aid establishment in The Anti-Politics Machine: ‘Development,’ Depoliticization and Bureaucratic Power in Lesotho in 1994. The (gradual) evolution that different international development actors have undergone to […]

Read More »

What are the limits of transparency and technology? From three gurus of the openness movement (Eigen, Rajani, McGee)

After a slightly disappointing ‘wonkwar’ on migration, let’s try a less adversarial format for another big development issue: Transparency and Accountability. I have an instinctive suspicion of anything that sounds like a magic bullet, a cost-free solution, or motherhood and apple pie in general. So the current surge in interest on open data and transparency […]

Read More »

The World Bank tackles Mind and Culture: heads up on the next World Development Report

Even though annual reports by the many fragments of the multilateral system have proliferated in recent years (I can’t keep up any more), the World Bank’s World Development Report still stands head and shoulders above the rest. And the next one’s theme, WDR 2015: Mind and Culture, due out in November this year, is pretty […]

Read More »

Killer factcheck: ‘Women own 2% of land’ = not true. What do we really know about women and land?

Cheryl Doss, a feminist economist at Yale University argues that (as with ‘70% of the world’s poor are women‘ ) we need to stop using the unfounded ‘women own 2% of the world’s farmland’ stat, and start using some of the real numbers that are emerging (while also demanding much better gender data). For advocates, […]

Read More »