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What’s still missing from climate and development talks?

November 27, 2019
With COP25 around the corner (now hosted in Madrid) and the first review of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or Global Goals behind us, what are some gaps and opportunities to look out for? Below are some insights from Maria Theresa (Tetet) Nera Lauron, an advocate with deep knowledge of both global development and climate change discussions. Tetet is an

Big demographic tides are sweeping the world: how should aid organizations respond?

May 24, 2019
Recently I spent half day BS’ing (breeze-shooting, obviously) about future trends and challenges for international organizations like Oxfam. Confession: we’re supposed to hate these, but often they’re really fun. A table on demographic shifts got me particularly excited. Great human tides are sloshing around the globe, populations are moving geographically, and their age make-up is changing rapidly. All that has

The UK’s ridiculous, self-harming scandal of visa rejections for visiting academics

May 21, 2019
We had a blog training workshop at the LSE last month where only one person out of 25 expected showed up. No, it wasn’t because they’d heard how boring I am, it was because they were Africans trying to attend the LSE’s Africa Summit and various other events, but they couldn’t get visas. So we (Esther Yei-Mokuwa from Sierra Leone,

Is the African Diaspora the Continent’s “Secret Weapon”?

May 15, 2019
Diasporas are often treated as foreigners in their adopted homes and as traitors in their place of birth, despite often hidden cultural and economic contributions. In this post, first published on the LSE’s Africa Centre blog, Behailu Shiferaw Mihirete writes about the potential hidden within the African diaspora across the globe.  Behailu is a is a former journalist and communication

What kind of evidence might persuade people to change their minds on refugees?

November 7, 2017
Oxfam Humanitarian Policy Adviser Ed Cairns reflects on using evidence to influence the treatment of refugees Who thinks that governments decide what to do on refugees after carefully considering the evidence? Not many, I suspect. So it was an interesting to be asked to talk about that at the  ‘Evidence for Influencing’ conference Duncan wrote about last week. When I

Why do people flee their homes? The answers may surprise you

June 21, 2016
Yesterday was World Refugee Day and a new UN report put the total number of ‘forcibly displaced’ at 65.3 million. Most of those remained within national boundaries (internally displaced). Oxfam researcher John Magrath summarizes a recent study on the causes of internal displacement Why do people become displaced? That is, forcibly displaced in that they have, or believe they have,

What’s happening to inequality in China? Update from a visit to Beijing

June 7, 2016
Spent a fascinating few days in Beijing last week, at the invitation of Oxfam Hong Kong. The main topic was inequality, including a big seminar with lots of academics (NGOs are very research-based in China – it was a graphtastic, PhD-rich week). Here are some of the headlines: Income Inequality in China is changing fast. According to the National Bureau

Links I Liked

October 19, 2015
Schrödinger’s Immigrant, via Ingrid Srinath Could the Jaded Aid satirical cardgame help reform the aid industry? Or is it just the perfect Xmas pressie for jaundiced aid workers? humanosphere.org/basics/2015/10 Poverty is falling faster among Africa’s rising number of female headed households (which are now up to 26% of the total), but we don’t really know why Good news on Malaria

What difference do remittances and migration make back home?

September 8, 2015
Reading the Economist cover to cover is an illicit pleasure – it may be irritatingly smug and right wing, especially on anything about economic policy, but its coverage on international issues consistently goes way beyond standard news outlets. This week’s edition had everything from the changing face of Indian marriage to the spread of pedestrian and cycling schemes around the

Migrant remittances are even more amazing that we thought

January 30, 2015
At least in economic terms, migration appears to be some kind of developmental wonder-drug. Remittances from migrants to developing countries are now running at some three times the volume of aid, and barely faltered during the 2008-9 financial crisis (see graph). The World Bank’s latest Global Economic Prospects report looks at the impact of migrant remittances on developing countries and

Why are Africans getting ripped off on remittances?

April 22, 2014
Whatever your views of migration, a consensus ought to be possible on one thing: if migrants do send money home, as much as possible of the hard-earned dollars that they send should actually get there, to be spent on putting feeding the kids, putting them through school or even having a bit of fun (that’s allowed too). But according to

Migration and Development: Who Bears the Burden of Proof? Justin Sandefur replies to Paul Collier

March 19, 2014
Justin Sandefur responds to yesterday’s post by Paul Collier on the impact of migration on developing countries, and you get to vote The global diaspora of educated Africans, Asians, and Latin Americans living in the developed world stand accused of undermining the development of their countries of origin. Paul Collier’s recent book, Exodus, makes the case for strict ceilings on the