Featured image for “Is Africa facing its second debt crisis? What are the solutions?”

Is Africa facing its second debt crisis? What are the solutions?

July 16, 2019
Guest post from Jaime Atienza of Oxfam Intermon Here we go again. Though different to their “first debt crisis”, which was incubated in the 80s, hit in the 90s and was resolved (partly) in the 2000s, the situation is again profoundly uphill for a growing number of African countries: in 2019 their debt repayments as a percentage of revenues will

A New Scramble for Africa?

April 10, 2019
Not a single one of my LSE students reads the Economist. That may be down to the selection bias of people wanting to take my course on activism, but I think they’re missing out. If, like me, you’re liberal on social issues, sceptical on economic laissez faire, and just plain confused on politics, then at least read the Economist, which

How Does Fair Trade go from inspiring examples to Transforming Capitalism?

January 31, 2019
Erinch Sahan, an exfamer who now heads the World Fair Trade Organization network, wants to pick your brains about how to transform capitalism I think I’m sitting on a goldmine of examples that could help efforts to transform business and economies. I lead a global community of 330 real examples of alternative business models. These are the social enterprises that

Africa in 2019: 7 trends to watch, by Apollos Nwafor

January 15, 2019
I get lots of internal Oxfam emails. Some of them I even read. Here’s a particularly useful 2019 curtain raiser from Apollos Nwafor, our Pan African Director: ‘There are several issues that put Africa in focus this year: Reform at the African Union: The reforms agreed by the heads of state at the extraordinary meeting in November 2018 highlight a

How can the UN become a Thought Leader again?

December 12, 2018
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 they make much less of

Legal earthquakes and the struggle against Mining in Mexico

October 19, 2018
Second post from a great visit to Mexico last week to launch the Spanish language edition of How Change Happens. Few things get development folk fired up as much as mining. For many NGOs and grassroots organizations, not much has changed since the Conquistadores: mining is plunder. Given their long history in terms of pollution, community division, and human rights

What I’ve learned about how the structures of businesses determine their social mission

July 25, 2018
Exfamer Erinch Sahan reflects on his first 100 days as boss of the World Fair Trade Organization 100 days ago. I left Oxfam to lead the World Fair Trade Organization. After seven years in Oxfam I had got hooked on one specific question: ‘are business structures that maximise power and returns for investors the only viable option?’ So now I

Public Pressure + League Tables: Oxfam’s campaign on food brands is moving on to supermarkets.

July 5, 2018
Tim Gore explains the evolving theory of change behind Oxfam’s new supermarkets campaign ‘First the brands, now the retailers.‘ That was the reaction of a senior staffer at Mars – one of the 10 biggest global food manufacturers targeted in our award-winning Behind the Brands campaign – to the Behind the Barcodes launch last month. Why did we choose supermarkets

Public Authority through the eyes of a Dead Fish

May 31, 2018
One of the highlights of last week’s conference in Ghent was a presentation by Esther Marijnen about her research in the Eastern Congo, conducted with Chrispin Mvano. Esther is trying to understand how rebel groups (of which DRC has many) see nature – across Africa, there is a long tradition of insurgents setting up bases in national parks. To do this she looked

5 Lessons from Working with Businesses to Support Workers around the World

May 23, 2018
This piece appeared on ETI’s May ‘Leadership Series’ blog yesterday I was present at the birth of ETI 20 years ago. Recently installed at the Catholic aid agency, CAFOD, I was sent off to discuss an obscure initiative to set up a ‘Monitoring and Verification Working Group’ for companies trying to assess labour standards in their supply chains. I was impressed

Mark Goldring on how to maximise the impact of business on poverty and injustice

May 1, 2018
Guest post from Mark Goldring, Oxfam GB’s Chief Executive  Last week I introduced an Oxfam event at which Paul Polman of Unilever and a number of proponents of social enterprises came together to explore what kind of new business models we need to help beat poverty for good. My starting point was that business has played a massive part in

The World Bank’s flagship report this year is on the future of work – here’s what the draft says

April 26, 2018
The World Bank’s 2019 World Development Report will be on ‘The Changing Nature of Work’ and It’s worth reading because, even though this kind of annual flagship format feels a bit dated, WDRs are always a treasure trove of references and ideas, while what they miss out adds important insights into mainstream thinking in the aid biz. In late March