Tag: Trade

The African Continental Free Trade Area is expanding, but who will benefit?

Brenda Kombo is a socio-cultural anthropologist and lawyer based in Nairobi, Kenya. On April 2, 2019, The Gambia ratified the agreement establishing the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). In doing so, it joined 21 other African countries, thus helping usher the agreement into force as the threshold of 22 ratifications was reached. But what does this really mean for Africa? […]

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How can the UN become a Thought Leader again?

When was the last time you read anything from UNCTAD? Back in the day (say, early 2000s), its annual Trade and Development Report (TDR) was one of the big annual milestones (along with the World Development Report, Human Development Report etc). They were essential reading for any policy wonk. They’re all still being published, but […]

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What’s the problem with Globalization?

Globalization, remember that? When I first entered the development NGO scene in the late 90s it was all the rage. Lots of rage. The anti-globalization movement roared from summit to summit. Academics traded books and papers that boosted or critiqued. The World Bank used voodoo modelling to show that really we’d all be better off […]

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What sort of trade campaigns do we need around Brexit?

Not all conference calls are as terrible as the one depicted in ‘a conference call in real life’. Had a really good one yesterday with Oxfam/Exfam trade wonks on the impact of Brexit on Britain’s trade relations. Here’s my take. Around the early 2000s, I spent about 7 years as a trade wonk, first at CAFOD […]

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Is this the right moment to reboot the Aid, Trade and Private Sector agenda?

Oxfam’s private sector adviser Erinch Sahan thinks the times are ripe for a paradigm shift  In a former life (i.e. six years ago), I worked as a development adviser to Australia’s trade negotiators. Back then, we development types were suspicious and hostile – we feared that rich countries would divert aid to pursue a narrow interpretation […]

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What’s the likely impact of Brexit on development, aid and Oxfam? Any opportunities amid the gloom?

Following on Tuesday’s retrospective ‘how did this happen?’ piece, some thoughts on the future, starting wide (development in general) then narrowing down to the aid business, and all the way to Oxfam/INGOs. All highly tentative, subject to correction etc in the coming days. One big assumption: I’m assuming that Brexit actually goes ahead. And one […]

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What did trade campaigns achieve? Plus reinventing Robert Chambers & changing aid narratives: some Berlin conversations

Had a really interesting couple of days in Berlin last week, at the invitation of the German government aid agency, GIZ. Also spent time with the impressive policy and campaigns wonks at Oxfam Germany. Here’s a few of the topics that came up. What did all that trade campaigning achieve? From the late 90s to […]

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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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What’s the link between land grabs, trade rules and climate change? Good new briefing from Sophia Murphy

You can rely on Sophia Murphy for crisp, credible analyses of agricultural trade and food issues. Her latest paper, Land Grabs and Fragile Food Systems, is up to her usual standard. She locates the current row over land grabs in some broader debates that have rather fallen off the agenda, namely globalization and trade rules. […]

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Food fight at the WTO: de Schutter v Lamy on whether trade leads to food security

The WTO ministerial (there was a ministerial?) was predictably forgettable, apart from the accession of Russia (the last major economy still to sign up) and a pretty outspoken attack on WTO boss Pascal Lamy (right) by UN Food Security czar Olivier de Schutter (below), who accused Lamy of ‘defending an outdated vision of food security’. […]

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A nostalgic debate on globalization and development

When did talking on the subject of ‘globalization and development’ start to feel so retro? I got that distinct sensation at a lunchtime discussion at IPPR yesterday. The trench warfare of yesteryear – on the WTO, the Doha round, trade liberalization, protectionism etc, has somehow acquired a nostalgic glow. Most odd. In the room were […]

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More History, less Maths – FP2P flashback

OK, I’m off on holidays this week, so thought I’d retrieve a few posts from the early months of the blog, back in 2008, when hardly anyone read it – recycling is a virtue after all. First up, some thoughts from July 2008 on the use of history – I’m still looking for suggestions on […]

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