Tag: South Africa

What does ‘going to scale’ mean in poor communities in South Africa?

Albert van Zyl of the International Budget Partnership considers how progress goes to scale in IBP’s work in South Africa Among development’s chattering classes, scale is a hot topic – what’s the point of supporting small pockets of progress, unless we can scale them up to the country/population at large? In the shanty towns of […]

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Campaigning around Elections: Some smart South-South learning

Just before Christmas I eavesdropped on a fascinating conversation between Oxfam’s teams in Peru and South Africa (all nationals, not a white man in shorts to be seen). The topic was election campaigning, with Oxfam South Africa currently designing its strategy for the 2019 elections in a state of extreme uncertainty about the state of […]

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Where do South Africa’s activists go from here? A Cape Town conversation

My last morning in Cape Town last week was spent deep in discussion with three fine organizations – two local, one global. The global one was the International Budget Partnership, who I’ve blogged about quite a lot recently. The local ones were very different and both brilliant: the Social Justice Coalition and the Development Action […]

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How looking through a doughnut can test if South Africa is on track for inclusive and sustainable development

Oxfam researcher Katherine Trebeck introduces some new work on doughnut economics, (whose inventor, Kate Raworth has left Oxfam to write a book on it) There is an African proverb that says: ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together’ It could be taken as call for inclusivity, solidarity, […]

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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 […]

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Why is the EU threatening to cut investment in South Africa?

Bilateral Investment Treaties are one of those nerdy ‘important but dull’ bits of international governance that too often get ignored by NGOs and others. So thanks to Liz May at Traidcraft for drawing my attention to this week’s punch-up between South Africa and the EU. First the fisticuffs. According to South Africa’s equivalent of the […]

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How to end foreign aid and avoid a punch-up

An edited version of this piece appeared on the Guardian’s Comment is Free site on Saturday The spat between South Africa and Britain over ending its (very small) aid programme has sparked another round of debate about whether British aidshould be going to middle income countries (the last round was over aid to India, which […]

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Whither (wither?) the ANC? Final thoughts on South Africa as a developmental state and the crisis of leadership

Like most of my overseas trips, my recent visit to South Africa resembled an intensive rolling seminar, as debates with brilliant Oxfam staff, partners and academics spilled over from conferences and meetings into cars and bars. Before it all recedes into the mists, I wanted to capture one of the recurring themes. The role of […]

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Brazil v South Africa: what can the BRICS tell us about overcoming inequality?

The blog’s inequality week here in South Africa continues with some thoughts on inequality and the BRICS. An edited version of this post appeared earlier this week on the FT’s Beyond BRICS blog The acronym may have been cooked up in far-off New York, but the BRICS grouping of countries is starting to generate some […]

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How to build local government accountability in South Africa? A conversation with partners

This is what a good day visiting an Oxfam programme looks like. I skim the interwebs (and this blog) to put together some thoughts on a given issue from our experience or what others are writing (‘the literature’). Then sit down with local Oxfamistas and partner organizations (who are usually closer to the grassroots than […]

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How can South Africa promote citizenship and accountability? A conversation with some state planners

How can states best promote active citizenship, in particular to improve the quality and accountability of state services such as education? This was the topic of a great two hour brainstorm with half a dozen very bright sparks from the secretariat of South Africa’s National Planning Commission yesterday. The NPC, chaired by Trevor Manuel (who […]

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Can South Africa build a developmental state?

Ha-Joon Chang recently sent me an interesting paper of his on ‘How to ‘do’ a developmental state’, his contribution to a book on the prospects for building a democratic developmental state in South Africa. In it, he does one of his typically fascinating comparisons of the ways various other countries have build ‘developmental states’ (which […]

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