Tag: finance

Blockchain for Development: A Handy Bluffers’ Guide

Top tip: if you’re in a meeting discussing anything to do with finance, at some point look wise and say ‘you do realize, blockchain is likely to change everything.’ Of course, there is always a terrifying chance that someone will ask what you actually mean. Worry not, because IDS has produced a handy bluffer’s guide […]

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Can development really be delivered by investing in private banks?

Peter Chowla of the Bretton Woods Project introduces its new report, which asks why the World Bank is still stuck in pre-crisis thinking about finance and what civil society should do about it. ‘Banksters’ have become famous since the financial crisis just five years ago. Media portrayals of New York’s ‘Wall Street’ or the ‘City’ […]

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Development Impact Bonds and Impact Investing – genuine Impact, or snake oil?

The private finance people in development baffle me. They speak a different language; great swirling clouds of jargon, the fuzziest of fuzzwords, all laced with a level of macho market can-do talk that makes me deeply suspicious. Baffled but sceptical – not a good place to be. And there’s a lot going on at the […]

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From pinstripes to poverty: a refugee banker’s first 100 days at Oxfam

Oxfam is always keen to employ unusual suspects, none more so than Will Martindale, a banker turned “do gooder” (right, and no, that isn’t his Oxfam desk). Here he reflects on his first 100 days working among the (supposed) angels. Banking. Most hate it. Few understand it. And I miss it. I miss the pace, the […]

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What does Bill Gates' leaked report say about aid, tax and development?

Take a look at the leaked report by Bill Gates to the G20, which got a good deal of media coverage because of its positive noises about the Financial Transactions Tax. Actually, the rest of the report is at least as interesting. Firstly, it’s not actually the final report, but a 7 page ‘technical note’ […]

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Why do we know so little about how poor people 'do' development?

I’ve just been reading the draft of a review by Charlotte Sterrett of climate change adaption experiences in South Asia. It’s great, and I’ll link to it when it’s published, but one conclusion set me thinking more widely: ‘While autonomous adaptation is likely to become more common and widespread than planned adaptation, most research and […]

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Ending the Doomsday Cycle of global finance

‘Each time the system runs into problems, the Federal Reserve quickly lowers interest rates to revive it. These crises appear to be getting worse and worse.’ So begins a sobering analysis by Peter Boone and Simon Johnson in the CentrePiece, the journal of the LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance. The argument is contained in the […]

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Between microfinance and big bank lending there is…. a Missing Middle

Credit is the lifeblood of farming – you need cash to plant seeds, buy fertiliser and stay alive long long enough to reap and sell your harvest and pay off your loan. But you can’t always get it when you need it. A new Oxfam research paper identifies one of the main market failures resulting […]

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Portfolios of the Poor – a great new book

Portfolios of the Poor gave me the same feeling of excitement as the World Bank’s epic ‘Voices of the Poor’ study. Both of them are the fruit of intense scrutiny of the real lives of poor people that uncovers insights and destroys stereotypes. Poor people are most definitely not financial illiterates, but often sophisticated managers […]

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The UN lays into finance, speculation and the IMF: UNCTAD's Trade and Development Report 2009

Another day, another UN report, this time the Trade and Development Report 2009, from the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), released last week. It’s surprisingly forthright. Set up in 1964, in the table-thumping days of the New International Economic Order, in recent years UNCTAD had become markedly more cautious, not least under its current […]

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How will the meltdown affect development?

If the current financial meltdown causes the US and Europe to sneeze, will poor countries catch cold, succumb to pneumonia, or have they discovered a new flu vaccine in the growing economic presence of China? I’m currently on a visit to East Africa, and that is the question that is preoccupying many of its leaders. […]

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Meltdown Miscellany: stats and soundbites on the development impact

Here are a few of the things that have crossed my screen on the impact of the meltdown on developing countries. I would really appreciate suggestions for more sources on this – especially on the distributive impact within and between countries.

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