Paul Collier on post conflict reconstruction, independent service authorities, how to manage natural resources and the hidden logic of the G20 London Summit

June 29, 2009
Paul came to give a talk to Oxfam’s big cheeses last week based on his new book War Guns and Votes (see my review here) and they invited me along. Here are some highlights: Post Conflict Reconstruction: The conventional sequence is ‘build the politics first, then the economics will follow’. Collier thinks the order should be reversed. Conflict is a zero

All the latest stats on the development impact of the global crisis

June 24, 2009
My colleague Richard King, an indefatigable number cruncher, has pulled together this handy summary of the latest stats. All updates welcome. Unemployment (ILO) · Gender impact of the economic crisis in terms of unemployment rates is expected to be more detrimental for females than for males in most regions of the world and most clearly in Latin America and the Caribbean

What are governments doing about the global crisis? New country case studies

June 17, 2009
The ODI continues to churn out some useful country research on the impact of the crisis. For a synthesis paper of its findings so far, see here. Or see the individual country case studies on Bangladesh, Bolivia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and Zambia. Most of the findings are by now fairly familiar – falling investment, stock markets, trade,

latest on global crisis from UN: poverty to rise by 73-103 million by end 2009

June 8, 2009
The UN issued an update of its ‘World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009’ last week, with some pretty gloomy downward revisions. Headlines: At least 60 developing countries (out of 107 for which they have data) will suffer a fall in per capita incomes this year, while only 7 will grow fast enough to reduce poverty (compared to 69 countries in

More evidence that the IMF is going Keynesian on Africa, at least on paper

June 5, 2009
The IMF shows some encouraging signs of turning policy promises into practice in its new Staff Position Note on how governments in Africa should respond to the crisis. It still wins no prizes for sparkling prose, alas: Overview: ‘Countries will need to weigh their options for fiscal policy responses. Countries with output gaps and sustainable debt and financing options have

Big UN conference on the global crisis is postponed – why?

May 28, 2009
At the last minute, the UN has postponed its ‘Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact on Development’ from 1-3 June to 24-26th June, still in New York. This will allow it time to sort out the draft conclusions and try and convince a respectable number of world leaders to attend. The process for arriving at

What’s different about the current spate of land grabs in poor countries?

May 27, 2009
This week’s Economist has an excellent overview of the issues surrounding what it calls ‘outsourcing’s third wave’ (the first two were manufacturing and services) – deals in which foreign investors are buying up huge tracts of land in poor countries to produce food to ship back home (see map). Some highlights: Saudi investors are spending $100m to lease land from the

What are African leaders saying about the impact of the crisis? Latest overview

May 26, 2009
The African Development Bank is doing some excellent analysis and has just updated the paper submitted to the April G20 Summit by African Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (new paper here, original paper for G20 here). Main points: ‘For the first time since 1994, per capita income will contract in 2009 for the continent as a whole. Indeed a

Fire brigades or arsonists? A UN debate on the economic crisis

May 22, 2009
I spoke at an UNCTAD symposium on the global crisis in Geneva this week (Oxfam’s pre-conference submission is here). A laudable attempt to get a conversation going with civil society organizations, but a classically frustrating UN event – dozens of developing country delegates mingling with NGOs and others, but any real exchange was deadened by a format of interminable lists

How the economic meltdown and climate change are hitting Asia – new reports

May 8, 2009
The Asian Development Bank produces a remarkable amount of frequently high quality analysis. Here are two recent examples on climate change and the impact of the economic meltdown. On the meltdown, a recent ADB Economic Working Paper uses the latest national projections for growth and past poverty performance to refine the predicts that poverty across the whole of Asia will

Developing country governments are dragging their feet over the global crisis

May 1, 2009
What are developing country governments doing to respond to the damage being inflicted by the global economic crisis? Answer, according to two new papers: not much, and they could be doing a lot more. A study from the Overseas Development Institute pulls together the draft findings from studies in ten countries. The ODI finds that in terms of economic policy

How badly is the crisis hitting the poorest countries? Here’s what the IMF thinks

March 12, 2009
The IMF has a new paper out summarizing the impact of the global crisis on 78 ‘low income countries’ (LICs) – the world’s poorest, many of them in Sub-Saharan Africa. Its findings include: