Tag: governance

Civil Society, Public Action and Accountability in Africa

An important new paper from some big development names – Shanta Devarajan and Stuti Khemani from the World Bank, and Michael Walton (ex Bank, now at Harvard Kennedy School) – directs a slightly fierce (but welcome) political economy gaze at donor efforts to strengthen civil society (one of the more recent developmental fads). As with […]

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What does a ‘rights-based approach’ look like in practice? A new Oxfam guide

Sometimes it seems like the devil has all the best tunes, while the angels struggle to get their message across. In development, some of the most interesting and important concepts are rendered impenetrable to non-specialists by a morass of jargon. Take human rights for example. Today is International Human Rights Day, but I for one, […]

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What have we learned from 5 years of research on African power and politics?

The Africa Power and Politics Programme (APPP) is winding down as its five year funding from DFID comes to an end, and I’ve been wading through the 120 page synthesis report as well as the strictly-for-wimps Policy Brief. Both are entitled ‘Development as a collective action problem: Addressing the real challenges of African governance’. Like […]

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What can political economists tell us about Africa, aid and development?

This post also appeared on the World Bank’s ‘People, Spaces, Deliberation’ governance blog There’s a clutch of different research initiatives trying to understand Africa’s political economy and its impact on development and aid. Often, the tone of the political economists can be quite discouraging – Alex Duncan gives a tongue-in-cheek definition of a political economist […]

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How can aid agencies promote local governance and accountability? Lessons from five countries.

This post also appeared on the World Bank’s ‘People, Spaces. Deliberation‘ blog Oxfam is publishing a fascinating new series of papers today, drawing together lessons from our programme work on local governance and community action. There are case studies from Nepal (women’s rights, see photo), Malawi (access to medicines), Kenya (tracking public spending), Viet Nam (community […]

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Building accountability in Tanzania: applying an evolutionary/venture capitalist theory of change

A version of this post appeared yesterday on ‘People, Spaces, Deliberation’, the World Bank’s clunkily-named but interesting governance and accountability blog. I’ve been catching up on our accountability work in Tanzania recently, and it continues to be really ground-breaking. Rather than churning out the standard logical framework of activities, outputs and predicted outcomes before the […]

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Can Cities build local 'developmental states'? Some surprising good news from Colombia

Discussions of the role of states in development, and in particular the role of the hands-on ‘developmental state’ in producing impressive take-offs in East Asia and elsewhere, almost exclusively focusses on the national level. But in many countries, particularly since the push for decentralization in recent decades, local and city governments play an increasingly influential […]

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What use are models of change? An experiment in Tanzania

I spent last week in Tanzania, but had to wait til I returned to internet-land before blogging on it. So this is Tanzania week on the blog.   First up, models of change (MoC). As you may have noticed, I’ve been thinking a lot about these recently. That usually involves exhausting intellectual gymnastics in seminars […]

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Africa Power and Politics – David Booth responds

ODI’s David Booth responds to my post on the ODI’s Africa Power and Politics Programme “The APPP could hardly have hoped for a more encouraging reception for its first policy brief than the one provided by Duncan’s blog of 15 April. Encouraging and suitably challenging! The point of a policy brief is to be, well, […]

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The World Bank breaks its promises on Africa's voting power

The World Bank went backwards in Washington last week, when it announced a set of reforms on ‘voice’ (the different countries’ share of voting power at the Bank) that reversed many of the gains for African countries from the previous voice reform, at the Bank’s last Annual Meeting in Istanbul in September 2009. In last […]

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Lifting the Resource Curse (or how to make finding oil a blessing)

‘Lifting the Resource Curse’, a new Oxfam paper, revisits the difficult question of how to ensure natural resources are a blessing, and not a curse, for poor countries. Countries like Angola, where oil revenues (which represent 80 per cent of national income) are estimated at $10bn per year, yet 70 per cent of the population […]

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Natural Resources and Development Strategy after the crisis: useful (but flawed) new World Bank paper

The World Bank’s influential PREM (Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network) team has a new series of topical notes, pulling together its research on breaking issues (they’ve obviously been reading the literature on using research for influence – rehashing existing research at the right moment for policy makers is one of the most effective forms […]

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