Links I Liked

October 18, 2021

     By Duncan Green     

The political economy of UK aid ht Lee Crawfurd

James Putzel and I have been having fun organizing the LSE’s Friday afternoon lecture series, ‘Cutting Edge Issues in Development Thinking and Practice’. Ha-Joon Chang was brilliant on ‘the political economy of Parasite (the movie)’ with the Squid Game thrown in. Take your pick from student write-ups, podcast or Youtube. This Friday it’s Clare Short on ‘What’s Wrong with Aid?

Lots of twitter outrage at disgraced former UK Health Minister Matt Hancock’s bizarre appointment as ‘special representative for financial innovation and climate change for the UN’s Economic Commission for Africa. Here’s Nic Cheeseman:

‘Unbelievable that this has been offered to & accepted by someone with no deep knowledge of the challenges African economies are facing whatsoever. There are so many people with such great insights who could have been chosen. A scandal and I expect a forced resignation soon …’

Maybe an example of political SWEDOW? 😉

Update: the social media battering appears to have brought ECA to its senses, and they withdrew the offer. Result

Parting thoughts from a humanitarian reporter: insightful valedictory reflection on the aid biz from The New Humanitarian’s Ben Parker

Failure to ensure women have equal access to the internet has exacerbated gender inequality & cost low-income countries $1tn over past decade and could mean an additional loss of $500bn by 2025 if governments don’t take action, according to new research.

What happened to land grabs in Africa? Useful update, including discussion on deals stuck in legal/conflictual limbo – a particular problem in much of Africa.

Branko Milanovic deciphers this scatter plot of income inequality by country 2018: ‘Latin America in green is (still) very unequal, and Eastern Europe/Central Asia, in red, is still, with a few exceptions, relatively equal. WENAO (Western Europe, North America, Oceania) is in blue. Most African countries are exceptionally unequal.

October 18, 2021
Duncan Green


  1. The analysis of the Digital Gender Gap report seems either optimistic, illogical or a strange approach to an economic problem.

    If there was no gender gap in access to the internet would that mean the same overall number of people with access, but with an equitable gender split? If so, there is not much money being lost. If not, then where does the investment come from to provide the extra access?

    In the figures given, about 60% of adults in these countries don’t have any access to the internet. Why not focus mainly on this large number instead of ‘just’ 14% of women (which is 7% of all adults)?

    Throughout the report it is clear that access is growing relatively consistently for both men and women, but with men in the lead. It seems clear that a strong focus on rapidly improving access for all (e.g. improving infrastructure) will help more people (and the economy) than a focus based mainly on gender.

    The final quote in the Guardian article is: “For governments looking to build a resilient economy as part of their Covid-19 recovery plans, closing the digital gender gap should be one of the top priorities.”. An even better economy would be built if they closed the whole digital gap and not just this fairly small part of it.

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