A report this week from the World Bank recognised the importance of remittances in the global fight against poverty, one Irish start-up offers powerful alternative – mobile phone remittances.

A recent report by the World Bank reinforces the importance of migration and remittances to the global economy. By allowing people move to where they can be more productive, migration ultimately results in increased output and income in both origin and destination countries. The report states that remittances can reduce the severity of poverty in a variety of ways including higher capital accumulation, greater health and education expenditures, improve access to formal financial sector services and enhanced small business investment.

With the development of mobile technology and the ever-increasing access to handsets across the emerging world, the mobile phone plays an important role in amplifying the overall impact of remittances. Back in 2006, Irish entrepreneur Mark Roden recognised that the ability to transfer credit directly on to mobile phones abroad would be a convenient, safe complement to traditional money remittance and one that could have an exceptionally positive impact on the lives of the receivers.

“A topped-up mobile phone enables better access to information and communication technologies which empowers the individual and drives improved productivity, more entrepreneurship and better preparedness for natural disasters or epidemic outbreaks,” says Roden.

Connected to 4 billion phones across 130 countries, there are numerous ways in which ding* is being used to make a difference to people’s lives. There is Uriana, a 39 year old mother in rural Nicaragua who is totally cut off from modern day communications. Her sister in the US uses http://www.ding.com to send top-up to Uriana’s phone ensuring she gets the most out of it. When asked, Uriana confirmed that while being able to communicate is key, the best thing about receiving credit is that it allows her use Google to help her daughter with her homework.

Then there is Marvin, an aid worker with ActionAid Liberia who uses ding* to top-up phones of the field workers ensuring they can communicate, a critical lifeline during outbreaks such as Ebola. “The top-up goes a long way to help us obtain and share useful information – allowing us regularly call hospitals and update others in rural regions on vital medical information,” Marvin says.

Haiti Projects is a not-for-profit organisation focused on empowering women in rural Haiti. Partnering with ding*, they use top-up as a reward to boost productivity at the organisation’s sewing co-op as well as an incentive for women to keep vital appointments at their Family Planning clinics. “In Haiti, it is critical that we ensure that women have access to family planning services, education, and jobs so that another generation is not born into poverty. By using top-up to as an incentive for the women to keep their health care appointments, we are protecting Haiti’s future generation. Top-up empowers women, allowing them to access to services and to choices in their daily lives.” says Cherie Miot Abbanat CEO of Haiti Projects.

These disparate examples give just a taste of how a topped-up phone can help improved the lives of those in otherwise marginalised circumstances. Passionate about the impact of mobile phone remittance, Roden reflects: “While we play our part and donate free top-up to our charity partners, the real power is in the diaspora’s generosity and willingness to support loved ones in their country of origin. We deliver 100,000 top-ups every day – that’s 100,000 people helping families and friends through the power of mobile.”

About ding*

As the world’s largest top-up provider, ding* safely delivers a top-up every second of every day. Created to help people living abroad to support loved ones back home, the company is directly connected to 350 mobile operators in over 130 countries with a reach of over 4 billion phones. People can send top-up on http://www.ding.com, the mobile app and in more than 500,000 retail locations around the world. ding*employs 200 people and is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland with regional offices in Miami, Dubai, San Salvador, Bucharest and Dhaka. For more please visit http://www.ding.com

Inter-American Development Bank Policy Dialogue 

Beyond the Washington Consensus:
The Role for Productive Development Policies

Anemic economic growth in Latin America and the Caribbean is in need of a post-Washington-Consensus policy shot in the arm. Unfortunately, the ghost of industrial policy casts a shadow over all efforts because it has often done more harm than good. IDB’s new book “Rethinking Productive Development: Sound Policies and Institutions for Economic Transformation” makes the case for productive development policies necessary to prosper while avoiding the mistakes of the past. Is this a sound basis to move forward? Are multilateral financial institutions ready to play their part? Join a debate among movers and shakers beyond the Washington Consensus.

Join Ricardo Hausmann, Dani Rodrik, Charles SabelAlberto TrejosEduardo Bitrán, Anabel González, and José Miguel Benavente as they comment on the 2014 edition of the IDB’s flagship series, Development in the Americas.

When: Thursday May 14, 2015
Where: 1330 New York Ave., NW, Washington DC
Conference Room CR2
Time: 3:00pm
Open to the public: Prior registration required

Livestream available the day of the event: English and Spanish.


Watch live streaming video from idbevents1 at livestream.com

Karsten Weitzenegger:

You might enjoy AID LEAP’s latest entry on whether development consultants are overrated, overpaid, and overused.

Originally posted on AID LEAP:

From www.webdonuts.com From http://www.webdonuts.com

When I started working in development, I idolised development consultants. They seemed such awe-inspiring figures; wise, glamorous, and with experience seeping from every pore. Now I work as a development consultant myself. The awe has faded, and been replaced with an increasing concerned that the growth of consultancy is a serious threat to the effectiveness of the aid sector.

Consultancy is a good solution when a task requires specialist expertise, or benefits from an external perspective. It is damaging and ineffective, however, when consultants replace internal staff rather than support them. For example, rather than investing in expertise in monitoring and evaluation, organisations might choose to bring in a consultant for a few months. They use consultancy as a way to avoid spending the money needed to do their job properly.

This allows organisations to reduce their overheads. While a consultant can easily get double the pay of an equivalent…

View original 556 more words

The annual Summer Academy of Mesopartner has become an important capacity-building event for economic development practitioners around the world. The 2015 event will be the 11th Summer Academy and the fourth to be held in Berlin.

This year the theme of the Summer Academy will be Territorial Economic Development. The event will draw on more than a decade of Mesopartner’s global experience in Local and Regional Economic Development (LRED), including the promotion of territorial innovation systems, clusters and value chains. However, it will address more than LRED and have a much stronger emphasis on integrating different priorities, perspectives and challenges faced by sub-national regions where industries, communities and government programmes co-evolve. This evolution of territories is complex, and factors originating within the location (such as the demise of a key industry) interact with factors beyond the locality (such as changes in national policy or even international shifts).

More info:
Interactive Brochure link
Registration form link

Originally posted on Work In Progress:

1KofiSimel Esim, Chief of the ILO’s Co-operatives Unit and Waltteri Katajamaki, Junior Professional Officer – ILO Cooperatives Unit

The cooperative enterprise model is seeing a renaissance around the world. The turnover of the largest 300 cooperatives in the world over the last 3 years has grown by 11.6 per cent to reach 2.2 trillion USD in 2012. Preliminary data from 76 countries points to more than 250 million people working in co-operatives. The International Co-operative Alliance recently postulated that cooperatives would be the fastest growing form of enterprise by 2020.

This is an ambitious goal, even taking into account the momentum of the cooperative movement in the aftermath of the crisis and following the 2012 UN International Year of Cooperatives. Their continued appeal in follow up to the global ‘great recession’ suggests it might not be off target.

View original 642 more words

Originally posted on NORRAG NEWSBite:

By Robert Palmer, NORRAG.

toolkit50 years ago, in 1965, a young doctoral student called Keith Hart arrived in Ghana to begin his fieldwork exploring the informal economic activities of the northern Frafra migrants in a poor area of the capital, Accra. Through his published work in 1973, Hart became acknowledged as “discovering” the informal sector (Hart, 1973), though of course the concept draws on the earlier dual economy work of the 1950s, as well as other studies. Keith Hart’s work not only drew attention to the reality of working in the informal economy, but also to the learning taking place there; he referred to informal apprenticeships and noted the potential to build upon such training.

50 years later, it is still the case that the vast majority of all learning taking place in Africa’s informal economies is on-the-job informal learning; this can be either through an informal apprenticeship…

View original 483 more words

Karsten Weitzenegger:

Dave Algoso finds What Works in Facilitation:

Originally posted on Praxis:

Standing at the front of a room, all eyes are on you. The group might have only five people, or more than fifty. They bring a range of perspectives and knowledge and maybe a broadly shared goal, though it might be subject to different interpretations and personal interests. You have no formal authority in this situation. You’re just somehow the person at the front of the room. Your task is to bring them together, forge a common goal, and make productive use of your time together.

In a word: Facilitate.

Many of us have found ourselves in variations on this scenario throughout our work. It could be an internal meeting with team members who know each other well, a workshop with a loose coalition of partner organizations, or an open-door session filled with community members. The situations vary, but the core question is the same: How can I help this group come to a…

View original 1,022 more words

Originally posted on Work In Progress:

Sara Elder, CTA Work4Youth Project, Youth Employment Unit Sara Elder, CTA Work4Youth Project, Youth Employment Unit

If you’re as baffled as I am by the speed at which the acronym NEETs has become standard jargon in the media, academia and international organisations, please take a moment to join me for a brief examination of what NEETs actually means. Read the technical brief

Who are NEETs? Strictly speaking, NEETs are young people who are “Neither in Education nor in Employment or Training”. Why is everybody talking about them? Perhaps because the idea of NEETs is vague enough to allow for all-encompassing interpretations of the challenges facing young people. NEETs has become shorthand for exclusion, marginalization, joblessness and discouragement. It’s even been given as evidence for a “jobless generation”, which—let’s face it—makes a great headline.

View original 499 more words

President Narlikar Calls for More Responsibility on the Part of the Rising Powers in Exchange for a Reform of International Organizations

The new president of the GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Prof. Dr. Amrita Narlikar, gave a lecture on the rise of India at the Senate Reception in Hamburg City Hall on the occasion of her inauguration. “The new rising powers could be persuaded to take on more responsibility towards solving global problems,” she argued. “In exchange they would gain more influence via a reform of international institutions. We could improve global governance if it were framed in terms of a bargain that I call ‘Reform for Responsibility’ or ‘RfR’.”

The mayor of Hamburg, Olaf Scholz, said, “It is an honour for the GIGA, the University of Hamburg and our city to have someone of Professor Narlikar’s high calibre and level of experience as part of our academic community here in Hamburg. Hamburg is proud to be known as Germany’s ‘gateway to the world’, and as such it offers ideal conditions for GIGA’s research. The institute’s close cooperation with the Senate of Hamburg and the Federal Foreign Office can greatly benefit the GIGA’s work. I’m certain that scholarship in the city of Hamburg will profit greatly from her input.”

Amrita Narlikar has been the president of the GIGA since October 2014. She joined the institute from the University of Cambridge, where she was the founding director of the Centre for Rising Powers. In her research she focuses on India, the rise of new powers, international relations and world trade.

In her lecture, she especially referred to the growing impact of India on the international stage: “An economically stronger India will be better placed to potentially contribute to the provision of existing global public goods such as free trade and climate change mitigation, or even to provide alternative global public goods. And in this process of India’s economic growth, I believe Germany could play a very important and constructive role.” There may be some real opportunities in the offing in Indo-German relations, Narlikar said, especially in light of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first visit to Germany this coming April.

Additional Information
Website and CV of Prof. Narlikar:
GIGA website: www.giga-hamburg.de/en

Originally posted on Waylaid Dialectic:

Duncan Green has an enthusiastic blog post on an interesting sounding book in which bottom-up approaches to development are promoted over conventional aid. Duncan writes:

 It covers a series of themes, with a set of practical recommendations on each:

Identifying and supporting local capacity
Listening to local voices to develop responses and approaches
Using funding mechanisms that enable rather than distort local entities
Supporting local actors to work together to achieve greater impact

It then distils these into a set of ‘good practice principles’ and key recommendations which are worth reproducing in full:

Good Practice Principles:

1. Listening: design and adjust according to locally-felt concerns and shifts in the local context; listen to and act upon information and feedback received.

2. Harnessing and deploying latent capabilities: before identifying gaps and needs, look at what already exists in terms of local resources and capabilities, and how they can be supported.


View original 671 more words

Rich and poor nations should link up to recycle e-waste

By Ruediger Kuehr , Feng Wang

A global system can tackle e-waste until developing countries can do so themselves, say Ruediger Kuehr and Feng Wang.

Since the 1990s, electrical and electronic equipment have revolutionised people’s lives. And with ever-increasing technological innovation, their lifetimes are, on the whole, decreasing. This means that electronic waste — or e-waste — is a fast-growing waste stream. The UN University (UNU) predicts that e-waste will rise from the 41 million tonnes currently produced each year to 47 million tonnes in 2017. [1]

This is a challenge for waste management as many electronic products contain hazardous materials, as well as valuable elements.

It’s well documented that used equipment is also shipped to developing countries for reuse, but much of it still ends up as e-waste. The unsophisticated, informal recycling common in many countries pollutes the environment and puts people’s health at risk.

But now a more complex picture is emerging: since 2013, the developing and transition countries have been producing more e-waste than the so called industrialised world. Latin America, for example, contributed approximately 3.95 million tonnes to the world’s e-waste mountain last year. [1]

“There is a way to offer affordable and environmentally friendly recycling for developing countries: through cooperation between local dismantling operations and the global networks of infrastructure that can further refine materials.”

Ruediger Kuehr and Feng Wang

Innovative models are needed to tackle the problem until developing countries are better equipped to deal with such waste themselves — and one such model is already being developed.

Limited e-waste regulation

Of the 21 Latin American countries, e-waste regulations are in place only in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru. But in the absence of a national strategy, most of them only operate at the local level.

Meanwhile, only Brazil, Costa Rica and Mexico have R2-certified facilities, an internationally recognised standard for responsible recycling. This is partly due to limited legal requirements, a lack of awareness of pollution control during recycling and limited training opportunities.

Overall, in much of the developing world there is a lack of systems covering e-waste management through the different stages of collection, pre-processing (to liberate components from the waste) and end-processing (refining and disposing of materials). Often there is insufficient funding to support technology transfer and a sophisticated recycling industry. Establishing modern infrastructure requires substantial technological know-how, large investments in industrial equipment and environmental control measures.

The wide involvement of the informal sector also makes it difficult to establish effective systems to collect e-waste from consumers. Consumers’ low awareness is another barrier.

Global recycling

But there is a way to offer affordable and environmentally friendly recycling for developing countries: through cooperation between local dismantling operations and the global networks of infrastructure that can further refine materials.

This can be achieved through a global ‘reverse supply chain’, where treatment facilities in various locations work together to deliver recycling solutions for different materials and at different treatment stages.

Such a concept has already been developed by the institutions involved in the Solving the E-waste Problem (StEP) Initiative coordinated by UNU. The concept, called Best-of-2-Worlds (Bo2W), aims to integrate technical and logistical aspects of best practice in advanced, international end-processing facilities.

Dismantling is a highly efficient way to separate materials and components from e-waste, and is also economically viable due to low labour costs and little need for equipment. At the same time, fractions such as circuit boards and batteries require high-tech treatment that is usually unavailable in developing countries. Under the Bo2W concept, these would be delivered to global facilities for safe and efficient refining and disposal.

In this way, the initiative connects the best pre-processing already occurring in developing countries (manual dismantling) with the best end-processing (material refinery and disposal) in the global treatment network.

Reducing environmental impact

StEP member institutions have conducted several trials to compare the environmental and economic performances of this Bo2W concept with other conventional recycling scenarios. Such scenarios include informal recycling techniques — such as dismantling then extracting materials with acid leaching of circuit boards and other extraction methods — as well as direct landfill disposal or mechanical processing such as shredding.

The assessment showed that the Bo2W concept is more economical and environmentally friendly than other solutions. For instance, shredding generates less pure recyclables because materials mix more easily with each other at smaller sizes. By comparison, manual dismantling as part of Bo2W can separate fractions effectively with minimal mixing of materials — and it requires little investment in equipment and labour.

On the other hand, typical backyard refinery activities score worse for environmental impacts and economic gains compared with modern refinery practices. This means that safely disposing of e-waste containing hazardous substances demands support from strong domestic laws, proper financing and international cooperation.

A short-term solution

But in the short term, the Bo2W initiative can be a pragmatic solution until developing countries can establish full end-processing facilities. Its implementation should be flexible and adjusted to local conditions. This could, for example, decide the depth of dismantling and what fractions to send to global facilities.

Experiences from pilot projects in China and India have also highlighted societal factors that influence successful implementation. [2] For instance, the model would work well in a relatively small country generating limited amounts of e-waste because the domestic waste stream cannot justify building a full-scale refinery.

To work effectively, Bo2W also requires a well-functioning reporting, registration and tracking system to guarantee the safe movement of fractions between countries. Such cooperation through a global network can also facilitate sharing knowledge on materials and treatment techniques. And, in the long run, it can help establish local refinery facilities in developing countries, when sufficient financing and technology know-how become available.

Ruediger Kuehr is head of Sustainable Cycles (SCYCLE), an operating unit of UNU’s Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability based in Bonn, Germany. Feng Wang is a research associate at SCYCLE. Kuehr can be contacted at kuehr@unu.edu and Wang at fwang@unu.edu


[1] Kees Baldé and others The global e-waste monitor — 2014, Quantities, flows and resources (UN University, to be published in 2015)
[2] Feng Wang and others The Best-of-2-Worlds philosophy: Developing local dismantling and global infrastructure network for sustainable e-waste treatment in emerging economies (Waste Management, 2012)

This article was originally published on SciDev.Net. Read the original article.

Originally posted on NORRAG NEWSBite:

By Robert Palmer, NORRAG.

Education post2015This is the second blog in a series of post-2015 reflection blogs (see first blog here); a synthesis review of NORRAG NEWSBite’s post-2015 education blogs over the last couple of years.

There is an overwhelming view that the next round of education targets needs to be more ambitious than the 2015 targets, even while there is acknowledgment that the 2015 targets remain an unfinished agenda. The world in 2015, and the world in 2030, will be very different from 2000, and education is regarded as being central to the whole post-2015 global development agenda (Adams). There is indeed a lot of interest in examining how global changes will impact education (and of course, vice-versa). Perhaps not surprisingly, one of most read blogs on post-2015 has been about global mega trends and the post-2015 agenda for education.

In about six months’ time…

View original 1,058 more words

Education, Learning, Training: Critical Issues for Development is the new issue 5|2014 of International Development Policy.

Carbonnier, Gilles, Michel Carton and Kenneth King (Eds.) (2014) Education, Learning, Training: Critical Issues for Development, International Development Policy series No.5, Geneva: Graduate Institute Publications, Boston: Brill-Nijhoff, 220 p. (EAN: 9789004281141)

Education: Fundamental human right or strategic tool in support of economic growth? To what extent can this tension be defused? How does commodity-dependence influence education policy and practice? What is the role of vocational training vis-à-vis university education in developing countries? Are MOOCs and Chinese cooperation a game changer for higher education in Africa? And how does student migration sit vis-à-vis the globalisation of knowledge? These and other questions lie at the heart of Education, Learning, Training: Critical Issues for Development, a collection of essays edited by Gilles Carbonnier, Michel Carton, and Kenneth King, which explore 50 years of international discourse surrounding education and development. Drawing on examples from Africa, Asia and Latin America, the articles examine issues hitherto largely neglected, but of increasing relevance to researchers and policymakers.
International Development Policy | Revue internationale de politique de développement.via International Development Policy | Revue internationale de politique de développement.

Karsten Weitzenegger:

Excellent analysis of think tanks by Enrique Mendizabal, not only valid for Peru.

Originally posted on on think tanks:

The Premio PODER al Thin Tank del Año in Peru, inspired by Prospect Magazine’s own award, offers an opportunity to celebrate the good work that think tanks do for their countries and learn a lot about them in the meantime.

Thinktankers from all over the country met last 29th October at the El Virrey bookstore in Lima for what could become an annual think tank party. For the record, the winners were:

  1. Think tank of the year: Instituto de Estudios Peruanos (IEP)
  2. Regional think tank of the year: Instituto de Economía y Empresa (IEE)
  3. Economic and financial policy think tank of the year: Centro de Investigación de la Universidad del Pacífico (CIUP)
  4. Social policy think tank of the year:  Grupo de Análisis para el Desarrollo (GRADE) and Centro de Investigación de la Universidad del Pacífico (CIUP)
  5. Environmental, climate change and natural resources policy think tank of the year: 

View original 2,516 more words

Karsten Weitzenegger:

Arnaldo Pellini works in development and lives in Southeast Asia. He blogs about governance and the demand and use of evidence in policy making.

Originally posted on Demand 4 Evidence:


Yesterday evening was my turn to be with our daughters and read the good night book. We are making progress in Harry Potter N.1 in Italian. However both my daughters are currently very much into Wimpy Kids and preferred to read on their own. So I sat on the floor next to their beds and switched on my laptop, reached Duncan Green’s blog and read his thoughts about the recent Doing Development Differently (#differentdev) seminar which has hosted by Harvard’s Building State Capabilities programme in collaboration with ODI’s Politics and Governance programme.

Doping Development Differently? How? Duncan Green summarizes it as remembering to develop small-scale experiments, monitor them closely, learn and research what works, share it. At the same time build relationships and trust. Understand really well the context in which your interventions will operate, be flexible and adapt to change. Build momentum with quick wins (i.e. experiments that supports…

View original 895 more words

One of the themes at this year’s African Development Forum, an UN ECA event, was new forms of partnership. The idea is to move away from development assistance and adapting to the realities of today. Global economic trends reflect the ongoing geopolitical and economic rebalancing in favour of developing and emerging economies, particularly Brazil, China and India, all of which call for stronger South-South partnerships.

Prior the economic crisis, Africa’s share of trade with other emerging markets was a mere 30%. Today that has gone up to nearer 50%, and by 2020, on current trends that could be as much as 70%.

At the opening the session, Inyang Ebong-Harstrup, Deputy Director of UN Office for South-South Cooperation said, “I believe there is a deep sense that south-south should be the foundation for Africa.”

According to the ECA report, in Africa, for example, developing countries’ exports and imports have increased in just 15 years from 26 to 43 per cent, and from 33 to 50 per cent respectively. Furthermore, foreign direct investment from the five emerging economies known as the BRICS countries – Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China and South Africa – reached 25 per cent of total foreign direct investment in Africa in 2010 and continues to increase. There is, moreover, considerable scope to further strengthen Africa’s engagement with its southern trade partners in ways that promote structural reform while avoiding the so-called “primary commodity trap” or a “race to the bottom” by countries seeking to attract foreign investment.

Dr. Nkosana Moyo, Founder and Executive Chair, Mandela Institute for Development Studies, South Africa, said, “We have to look within and act together. It is true that economic indicators show us that Africa is rising but it would be good to find correlation between indicators and activities. I believe, the world is excited about us because we have resources and we have our markets.” He cautioned, “But we should not become a dumping ground for other peoples’ goods”

Prof. Adebayo Olukoshi, Director of IDEP, seconded Dr Moyo’s sentiments, “For too long our continent has been engaged in partnerships that are unfavourable to us. It’s true that things are changing but we need to understand and learn to partner in such a manner that we do not lose out in our deals. I strongly believe that no one is going to come to Africa to develop us. We have to do it for ourselves.”

On a positive note, Symerre Grey Johnson, NEPAD, pointed out that African countries were already coming together to form positive partnerships as in the case of Agricultural trust funds wherein the main contributions have come from Angola and Equatorial Guinea.”

Speakers agreed that intra-trade among African countries is very low. Last year, it stood at 7 per cent. The level of intra-trade among African countries compares unfavorably with other regions of the world. Intra-trade among the EU-27 is around 70 per cent, 52 per cent for Asian countries, 50 per cent for North American countries and 26 per cent for South American countries.

Ebong-Harstrup stressed that for a strong foundation in partnerships it is essential to have constructive partnerships within the continent. She said, “We can’t grow without trade between African countries? Why didn’t the three African countries got together to deal with Ebola? We need to finance our development without looking to the North.”

The ECA advises that new partnerships must also take into account the increasing complexity of development finance. New actors have emerged, including development partners from the global South and private philanthropic foundations, and innovative assistance modalities. While traditional donors still tend to allocate most of their aid budgets to initiatives promoting social development, southern development partners tend to focus on infrastructure projects and productive sectors.

Source: African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of UNECA.

Africa is growing at a steady rate and is on the path to sustainable long-term growth, opening up a number of investment opportunities. In fact, one-third of Africa’s countries have GDP growth rates of more than 6%. However, as discussed at the ECA’s Ninth African Development Forum, the resources required for Africa’s sustainable development will not come from aid. Africa must look within, generating financial resources from its own economies.

Speakers agreed that a major impediment to domestic resource mobilisation is the existence of thousands of African SMEs which continue to operate within the informal sector and are not paying taxes. The informal economy accounts for 20 to 40 per cent of the countries’ wealth and about 70 per cent of the African population works in the informal sector. Therefore, the formalisation of the informal sector is crucial for domestic resource mobilisation.

Kaba Nialé, Minister of Economy and Finance, Côte d’Ivoire, said, “Domestic resource mobilisation is important to sustain the current economic growth of the African continent.” She agreed that many African countries have recognised that they need to improve the capacity to generate revenue internally in order to have a sustainable economic growth.

“It is well known that African governments have a weak capacity to collect taxes. Although tax revenues are the largest source of domestic resources, many African countries have a tax-to-GDP ratio below 10 per cent,” she pointed out.

It was noted that though the African continent excessively relies on export of natural resources, they only receive 3 to 5 % of natural resources revenues. Subsequently, over the last decade, more than $ 500 billion has been lost through capital flight. Experts agreed that this is the result of weak regulatory regimes, but also of the investors’ perception that there are limited options in those countries.

Machiko Nissanke, Professor of Economics, SOAS, and Aeneas Chapinga Chuma, Assistant Director-General and Regional Director for Africa, ILO, underscored, what is missing is not liquidity but financial intermediaries to channel this capital into productive investment.

Remittance flows in African countries

Experts also looked into ways to mobilise funds and discussed remittances. Dr Esman M. Nyamongo, Central Bank of Kenya, said, “Remittance, in particular in the last two decades, has overtaken traditional sources of external flows. Additionally, studies exploring the impact of remittance flow in the region have unearthed a number of positive outcomes. For instance, the majority of remittance money is channelled into the public sector departments such as education and health.

Furthermore, due to the sheer magnitude of these flows, remittance can even support a country’s exchange rate and even introduce macro-economic stability.

Remittance flows in African countries average around 3-5% of their GDP, however this figure is considerably higher in Lesotho where it constitutes 25% of the nation’s GDP. The remittance flows are having a considerably impact on the bank sector and stock market development. Faiza Feki, Central Bank of Tunisia, highlighted, “Some 88% of Tunisia’s funds are transfers from Europe and 9% are from the Arab countries.”

Undeniably, remittance flows are making a fundamental impact on African countries’ economic eco-system. The question that now emerges: How can governments convert short-term remittance flows into long-term investments? Some believe the solution lies with diaspora bonds. These bonds are designed specifically to target the diaspora and entice them into funding governmental projects. Essentially, these bonds are good conduits for converting remittance flows into long-term investments.

The World Bank estimates that Africa’s diaspora remittances soared to $40bn in 2012 and they have the potential to grow to $200bn over the next decade. Added to this is the potential that can be realised by addressing the losses to the continent through illicit financial flows.

Aly Abou-Sabaa, Vice-President in charge of Agriculture, Human Development and Governance, African Development Bank, pointed out that tax collection in Africa over the last ten years has significantly improved, and that there are very encouraging examples of African countries that successfully took steps to bring in reforms to increase internal capacity for resource collection.

Source: Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of UNECA.

Karsten Weitzenegger:

In order to systematise existing theoretical and practical knowledge on learning and working in the informal economy, the BMZ recently commissioned the GIZ to develop an online platform bringing together the results of academic research and experiences from practitioners. This toolkit is now available in English at http://www.giz.de/toolkit-informal-economy.

Originally posted on NORRAG NEWSBite:

By Léna Krichewsky, The Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg.

toolkitThe share of self-employed workers and employees without regular work contracts is rising globally, reaching over 70% of the workforce in African countries like the Ivory Coast, Mali or Zambia, and over 60% in Bolivia, Honduras, Nicaragua or Paraguay. The problems associated with informality – poverty, precarious work conditions, gender inequalities and social as well as economic marginalization, among others – are not new and have been described and analysed for over 40 years by numerous economists and social scientists. By asking “Is informal normal?”, the OECD has, however, been challenging our perspective on the phenomenon, prompting us to reconsider what we already know about the causes and consequences of informal employment and how we deal with it.

Taking the example of German development cooperation policy in Vocational Education and Training (VET), changing perspectives on the informal economy can be observed to…

View original 449 more words

Originally posted on NORRAG NEWSBite:

By Albert Damantang Camara, Minister of Technical Education, Vocational Training, Employment and Labour, Guinea.

AfricaAbidjan (Côte d’Ivoire) hosted the Third Ministerial Conference of the Inter-country Quality Node on Technical and Vocational Skills Development (ICQN/TVSD) from 22nd to 23rd July 2014.

[La version originale de ce blog a été écrit en français et apparaît ci-dessous]

Like previous events of its type, the Ministerial Conference aimed to ‘think about and take resolute action on the type of socio-economic measures required and promote the type of skills which should be developed to allow young Africans to gain access to jobs and thus earn a decent living while doing all they can to create wealth in their countries’.

A major decision to emerge from the conference was the adoption of a work programme to encourage inter-country cooperation, investment in training and the implementation of the education-training continuum.

One key question has yet to be…

View original 1,148 more words

Yesterday, Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, the first woman Prime Minister of Norway and currently Deputy Chair of The Elders, received UNDP’s Mahbub ul Haq Award for her for outstanding contribution to ‪#‎HumanDevelopment‬.

Mahbub ul Haq Lecture by Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland from Human Development Report Office on Vimeo.

New York, 25 September 2014 – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) presented the Mahbub ul Haq Award for Human Development to Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, the first woman Prime Minister of Norway and currently Deputy Chair of The Elders, at a ceremony in New York today. The award is given to an eminent personality who has demonstrated outstanding commitment and contributions to furthering the cause of human development world-wide.

UNDP Administrator Helen Clark and the Director of the Human Development Report Office, Selim Jahan, presented the award to Dr. Brundtland. Following the award ceremony, Dr. Bruntland delivered the Mahbub Ul Haq Lecture on human development.

The Mahbub ul Haq Award was instituted in 2002 to commemorate the intellectual leadership of the late Dr. Mahbub ul Haq, in articulating the notion of human development, conceptualized by Professor Amartya Sen, Nobel Laureate in Economics.

Global multi-stakeholder consultative processes to frame the future priorities of the global evaluation community

Global consultation for evaluation agenda 2016-2020 was successfully started with a webinar held on 3rd September 2014. Please see the recording of the webinar if you missed it.

The consultation was initiated online on 8th September facilitated thankfully by Mona Fetouh and Ellen Vinkey from UNEG. Please join the online consultation on EvalPartners LinkedIn group.

Originally posted on NORRAG NEWSBite:

By Maren Elfert, University of British Columbia.

CaptureThe run-up to the next round of Education for All (EFA) and development goals lends itself to a reflection about the political-economic underpinnings of the discussion about the future of EFA. The report of the high-level panel of eminent persons on the post-2015 development agenda emphasizes the role of the private sector. The document points out that “the massive investments that will be needed for infrastructure in developing countries [will require] …new ways of using aid and other public funds to mobilise private capital” (p. 3). It further stresses the role of “private philanthropists” and the importance of business “as an essential partner that can drive economic growth”, because “large firms have the money and expertise to build the infrastructure that will allow all people to connect to the modern economy” (p. 11). Also “social impact investors” are mentioned, whose “efforts can be…

View original 1,059 more words

Originally posted on NORRAG NEWSBite:

By Jovana Carapic, and Luisa Phebo, Conflict, Violence, Education and Training (CVET) Programme, NORRAG.

Urban spaces are going to be the locus of future armed conflict and organized violence. The signs are inescapable.

One reason for this is that the nature of armed conflict is changing. Traditionally conceptualized as conflict between or within states, the number and intensity (in terms of battle deaths) of armed conflict has decreased since 1990. Although armed conflict is not going to disappear – as illustrated by the recent events in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine – evidence suggests that it is no longer necessarily the most important source of insecurity affecting the majority of individuals around the globe. Instead, ‘everyday’ forms of lethal (often armed) violence in non-conflict settings accounts for the highest proportion of insecurity.

There has also been a change in where organized violence occurs. Although historically armed conflicts tend to…

View original 1,094 more words

The Board of Trustees of the GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies/Leibniz-Institut für Globale und Regionale Studien has installed Dr Amrita Narlikar from the University of Cambridge to lead the institute as its new president. Her term is set to begin on 1 October 2014. She has also been appointed by the President of the University of Hamburg (UHH) as Professor in the Department of Economics and Social Sciences of that institution.

“I am delighted and honoured to have been offered the positions,” said Narlikar. “The GIGA is already an international institute of world renown. It has the empirical expertise to understand the visions and policy perspectives of the non-Western world, and how they impact upon global governance, and is thus probably the only research institute of its kind. This analytic advantage is especially important in the context of the changing balance of power that we are seeing today. I look forward to the opportunity to harness its tremendous potential and further enhance the GIGA’s international presence and impact, in collaboration with GIGA colleagues and university colleagues across several relevant disciplines. I am especially excited at the prospect of collaborating with the German policy community, and look forward to deep and constructive engagement with the Senate of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg and the German Federal Foreign Office. I must add here that Hamburg holds a special attraction for me because of its unique history and my own research on international trade.”

Federal Foreign Minister Dr Frank-Walter Steinmeier congratulated Amrita Narlikar on her selection as the GIGA’s new president, saying, “With her selection, an excellent scholar with noteworthy international expertise will lead the research institute. For 50 years the GIGA has been making significant contributions to the formulation of German foreign policy. At the same time, the institute has established itself as an outstanding location for internationally oriented social science research, and one that also attracts highly qualified young academics from around the world. I look forward to continuing the positive collaboration between the Federal Foreign Office and the GIGA, and to expanding it further with the new president in the future. I wish Dr Amrita Narlikar great success in leading the GIGA.”

Hamburg’s Deputy Mayor and Senator of Science and Research, Dr Dorothee Stapelfeldt, said of the appointment: “The Senate of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg is extraordinarily pleased that we have jointly managed to secure Dr. Amrita Narlikar as the future president of the GIGA. Amrita Narlikar is a world-class researcher who is internationally renowned in the area of International Relations.” Her academic profile fits exceptionally well with the GIGA, which studies the most important global issues of our time, said Stapelfeldt. “Dr Narlikar’s move to the GIGA will strengthen the GIGA’s position as an independent, federally and state-funded research institute; holds potential for multifaceted collaboration within the academic metropolis of Hamburg; and underscores Hamburg’s internationalism.”

Focus on New Rising Powers

Amrita Narlikar joins the GIGA from the University of Cambridge, where she is the founding director of the renowned Centre for Rising Powers and a Reader in International Political Economy. She is also a Senior Research Associate at the Centre for International Studies, University of Oxford.

Narlikar’s research expertise lies in the areas of rising powers (particularly India), multilateral negotiations, and international trade. Her agenda lends itself directly to insights for policy and practice. For example, her work on the World Trade Organization has offered coalition strategies for developing countries, and also directions for reforming the institution. Her research on international negotiations offers ways in which the West can negotiate more constructively with the rising powers.

Due to the global relevance of her work, Narlikar is often asked to lend her expertise to international organizations and in international negotiations. She served on the first Warwick Commission on the Reform of the Multilateral Trading System, has given expert testimony to the European Parliament, and is currently a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Emerging Multinationals. She was invited to guest-edit a special issue of the Chatham House journal International Affairs, on Negotiating the Rise of New Powers, which generated a great deal of interest from scholars and practitioners.

Amrita Narlikar has received many accolades for her work, including several prestigious research grants and prizes, and is an active member of numerous international research teams. She has written or edited nine impactful books, and has also had her research published in leading international journals and prominent edited collections. Her most recent works include Bargaining with a Rising India and The Oxford Handbook on the World Trade Organization. Narlikar serves as referee for numerous international journals, top-league university presses, and several major funding bodies.

From India to Cambridge

Narlikar grew up in India, graduating with a B.A. (Hons) from St Stephen’s College and an M.A. from the School of International Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi in 1996. She was subsequently awarded scholarships to study International Relations at Balliol College Oxford, where she received her M.Phil. in 1998 and her D.Phil. in 2000, both in International Relations. Prior to arriving in Cambridge as University Lecturer, she was a Junior Research Fellow at St John’s, Oxford, and held a permanent lectureship at the University of Exeter. She has also held a Visiting Fellowship at Yale University and a Visiting Professorship at the Université Libre de Bruxelles.

Additional Information

Dr Amrita Narlikar’s website at the University of Cambridge:
Centre for Rising Powers website: www.crp.polis.cam.ac.uk/
GIGA website: www.giga-hamburg.de


Ensuring that small-scale farmers and producers enjoy a bigger piece of the financial pie is the aim of a new web resource on agricultural development.

The Value Chains Knowledge Clearinghouse, led by the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets, is based on the concept of Value Chains Development (VCD). The approach seeks to build new or strengthen existing commercial ties between two or more actors, such as businesses and consumers. Several NGOs, donors, and governments have adopted VCD as a key element of their rural poverty reduction strategies.

The growing interest in VCD has led to a proliferation of tools for value chain analysis, the results of which inform the design of VCD initiatives. However, recent research has pointed to important gaps in the coverage of these tools, such as gender equity and impact assessment. The Clearinghouse provides a comprehensive and accessible repository of research methods and best practices surrounding value chain performance that can be used by all CGIAR research programs and partners.

At the same time, the Clearinghouse addresses the interests of users beyond the CGIAR family. Generalists, farmers, private actors, development practitioners, and researchers will find tools and good practices selected for them, instructions on application of the tools, a calendar of events, and a network for communications.

A key theme of the portal is linking small producers to markets. Millions of people participate in agricultural value chains as producers, small-scale traders, processors, retailers, and consumers. Yet these actors often receive a disproportionately small share of the final cost of many of the products that are sold to consumers. Improving the performance of value chains therefore stands to benefit large numbers of people.

The Clearinghouse also will help practitioners and specialists:

  • Identify key constraints and opportunities in value chains;
  • Evaluate opportunities for upgrading value chains;
  • Optimize and prioritize investment in institutional arrangements and value chain infrastructure;
  • Improve equity and reduce poverty in developing countries through improved market access, technical innovation, information, and improved efficiency to reduce marketing margins and increase farm gate prices;
  • Expand labor opportunities for women and the landless and boost the incomes of rural households;
  • Promote risk-coping mechanisms for farmers; and
  • Increase the quality of farmers’ products, thereby improving food security.

More Information


Source: IFPRI