Anush Wijesinha wrote this post for the Daily Mirror Business of 10th June 2015, under the ‘Smart Future’ weekly series column that advances ideas on competitiveness, innovation, and economic reforms.
Expanding Business Development Services to Tackle Inherent Weaknesses of SMEs.

UNESCO’s vision of universal Knowledge Societies builds on a free, open and trusted Internet that enables people to not only have the ability to access information resources from around the world, but to also contribute information and knowledge to local and global communities. What can UNESCO do to move towards the realization of this vision of Internet-enabled Knowledge Societies that can foster inclusive sustainable human development worldwide?

To address this question within the mandate of this study, UNESCO has worked with Member States and other stakeholders to analyse four separate but interdependent fields of Internet policy and practice, within the mandate of UNESCO, perceived to be central to achieving this vision. These are access to information and knowledge, freedom of expression, privacy, and ethical norms and behaviour online.

This report assesses these four fields by viewing them as keystones for building a free and trusted global Internet that will enable inclusive Knowledge Societies. As a part of this multi-stakeholder consultative process, UNESCO has organized the CONNECTing the Dots Conference on 3 and 4 March 2015, with 400 participants from all stakeholder groups, from across the world, reviewing the draft Study. Ahead of the conference, the draft study was put online in open consultation with stakeholders. All those comments and suggestions, received through the Conference and online consultation, have been incorporated into the final version of the Study. The study was built on a year-long multistakeholder consultation process, which involved several rounds of consultation with member states and other actors, as well as almost 200 major responses to an online questionnaire.

The Study includes the Options for future actions of UNESCO in the Internet related issues, which has served as a basis for the Outcome Document as adopted by the “CONNECTing the Dots” conference.

The Study also affirmed that the same rights that people have offline must be protected online, and good practices are shared between Member States and other stakeholders, in order to address security and privacy concerns on the Internet and in accordance with international human rights obligations. The Study also supports the Internet Universality principles (R.O.A.M) that promote a human rights-based approach, including freedom of expression, privacy, open Internet, accessible to all and characterized by multistakeholder participation”.

Keystones to foster inclusive knowledge societies: access to information

and knowledge, freedom of expression, privacy, and ethics on a global

internet, Paris: UNESCO, 2015, 107 p.

http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0023/002325/232563E.pdf English

http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0023/002325/232564F.pdf French

More on http://en.unesco.org/post2015/

 

Su Kahumbu Stephanou

Su Kahumbu Stephanou, Kenyan organic-farming pioneer and inventor of the iCow app.

700 delegates from 70 countries all agreed that we need to work together for our sustainable activities to succeed. At the Bonn Conference for Global Transformation on 12 and 13 May, they took inspiration from the best ideas from around the world.

Bonn, 13 May 2015 (GIZ) –  ‘We don’t need to ask ourselves ‘Can it be done?’ We need to ask ourselves ‘How can it be done?!’’ Speaking at the first Bonn Conference for Global Transformation, Jeffrey D. Sachs, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Advisor on the Millennium Development Goals, got straight to the point: ‘Especially in times of climate disaster, famine and war, taking sustainable action is the only viable option. There is an urgent need for international dialogue so we can learn from one another and push ahead with putting our sustainable plans into practice.’ This is precisely what the 700 delegates from 70 countries did at the two-day conference as they shared their effective ideas and approaches, expanded their global networks and took inspiration from sustainability experts.

These included Su Kahumbu Stephanou, a Kenyan organic farmer and pioneer in the field of organic food in Africa, who has developed a mobile app that supports local farmers with livestock breeding. ‘When it comes to putting sustainability into action, we first have theorists and strategists, then policy-makers, and then the movers and shakers, or those who come up with creative and innovative projects. They all need to engage in targeted dialogue in order to ensure that sustainable initiatives are effective. That’s why this conference is so important; it gives us all an opportunity to do just that. It’s a good thing that it will be taking place every two years from now on. In actual fact, we need conferences like this all over the world.’

Meanwhile, Claudia Roth, Vice President of the German Bundestag, highlighted the key role that Germany has to play in promoting effective global sustainability: ‘So many countries look to us to see whether and how sustainability can be achieved, and not only in the energy and business sectors. They quite plainly say that if Germany can do it, then they will attempt it too.’ Referring to the Bonn Conference for Global Transformation 2015, she said: ‘This forum brings together the actors who work away, day by day, to develop effective, practical solutions for a sustainable future.’

Guest Post by Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir, President, High Atlas Foundation, yossef@highatlasfoundation.org
After fifteen years of nations pursuing the Millennium Development Goals established by the United Nations, representatives of the member states, along with experts and private citizens, have defined Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to help set the course for the next fifteen years.

All told seventeen goals have been developed which together aim to end poverty and hunger; ensure access to health and education for all; achieve gender equality as well as greater equality between individuals and nations; and protect the environment, combat climate change and promote sustainable growth.

One critical SDG involves the strengthening of the means by which nations can implement the overall vision.  Is there proven methodology that member states can consider and adopt in this regard, even as the challenges and opportunities they face are as diverse as humanity itself?  We suggest four specific factors that are applicable in this case.

First, we know from decades of global project development evaluations that people’s participation from design to evaluation is the primary factor in determining whether sustainability will be achieved.  In order to promote effective community participation, an administrative system that is decentralized will empower local populations to make decisions and assume responsibility for implementing the social change they seek.  Since sustainable development is a reflection of the extent to which people own their particular development process, it follows that institutionalizing local open spaces so that people can come together and build partnerships and shared action plans is of paramount importance in achieving the SDGs.

A fortuitous occurrence is that in global terms decentralization is on the rise, albeit for different reasons in different countries.  In a number of Arab Spring nations, for example, the promotion of human development and popular empowerment is – rightfully – part of a calculated attempt to avoid political instability.

A second necessary measure at the national level is capacity building among stakeholders to advance projects that achieve the SDGs.  Specifically, there is a critical role to be performed by facilitators of local community meetings and dialogue in order to promote participation.  Trained facilitators help to ensure that all voices are represented and heard.  Further, they are aware of pre-existing power relationships and how to engage with these so as to guide a development process in a manner that is broadly based and just.

Third, it would be helpful if measures for sustainable implementation were described in culturally relative terms.  In many societies the enduring precepts of people’s participation in communal life leading to sustainable societies are informed fundamentally by Islam.  Integrated Islamic and developmental concepts include shura, itself the practice of participation and consultation; ummah is the global integration of individuals and groups with rights to solidarities and part of humanity as a whole (decentralization); baya in Islamic tradition holds leaders accountable; and tawhidi society is one that recognizes the indivisibility of mankind.  Ensuring that participation and decentralization are explained in Islamic, rather than Western, terms would allow Muslim people to see their own outlook and values fully present and incorporated in the steps needed to implement the SDGs.

Developmental concepts are also present in the Biblical story of creation.   “And God said, “Let us make Man in our image, after our likeness…”.  What is meant by us?  Jewish Sages recording a tradition dating back at least two thousand years explain that God included the angels in the decision to create humanity in order avoid conflict between the angels and humankind (by being part of the decision, angels accepted the outcome).  God in effect created the blueprint for consulting with others before embarking upon initiatives.  Only then did God create humankind who – by virtue of being formed in the Divine image – are enjoined to follow the Divine example.

Finally,  policy development embarked upon by nations in order to achieve the SDGs, occurs sustainably and most suitably as local participatory processes unfold and light is shed naturally upon policy opportunities that promote sustainable development.   People’s participation in a sense tests the social system.  In this way for example, restrictions to the growth of civil society are clarified and the necessary roles that could be played by public agencies, in order to bring to fruition projects determined by local communities, may be defined in greater detail.  In sum, the most effective policy development emerges from lessons gained from the experience of community participation in development.

In the same way as laws and policies to advance the human condition, the SDGs find their efficacy only in their processes of implementation.  Indeed, in development and social processes generally, the means are the ends (or at least they determine them to a large extent).  While there are no absolute preconditions to sustainable human development there are undoubtedly conditions conducive to such development.  Enabling local communities to plan and implement their future in an empowering decentralized environment is a recipe for success on an historic scale in this respect.

The Africa Business Champions for Science is a new group of influential figures from industry with a passion for science, technology and innovation on the continent

LONDON, United-Kingdom, May 14, 2015 (APO)

  • First meeting of the ‘Africa Business Champions for Science’ held last month
  • Joint initiative of the World Bank and the Planet Earth Institute
  • High level meeting of African Heads of State and the African Business Champions is now being planned

Dr Álvaro Sobrinho, the prominent African businessman and Chairman of the Planet Earth Institute NGO (http://www.planetearthinstitute.org.uk), led the first meeting of the ‘Africa Business Champions for Science’ last month in London.

The Africa Business Champions for Science is a new group of influential figures from industry with a passion for science, technology and innovation on the continent. Alongside Dr Álvaro Sobrinho of Angola, Lionel Zinsou of Benin (CEO and Chairman of PAI Partners) and Justin Chinyanta of Zambia (CEO and Chairman of Loita Capital Partners), have both been appointed members.

The Africa Business Champions for Science group was formally outlined in a Call to Action at the ‘Partnership for Skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET)’ Regional Forum in 2014, in Dakar, Senegal. The World Bank is facilitating the PASET initiative, which seeks to help meet Africa’s skills needs in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (ASET) fields for the socio-economic transformation of Africa. PASET serves as the platform for public-private partnerships; engaging in related advocacy, analytical and technical streams of work; and supporting African governments to mobilize funding to support country and regional level ASET initiatives.

The Africa Business Champions for Science group will work alongside African governments, the PASET Steering Committee (comprising of three African Ministers from the Education sector – Ethiopia, Rwanda and Senegal and the World Bank); and a high-level Consultative Advisory Group (comprising of scientists and academics).

A high level meeting of African Heads of State and the African Business Champions is now being planned, at which further members and commitments will be announced.

Mr Makhtar Diop, Vice-President for Africa of the World Bank: “The African continent has experienced very strong growth over the past decade and it has been noted that this growth has really repositioned the African continent and changed the perception of the African continent. However while doing so, we have not had the transformation we would like to have; we have not had a structural transformation of African economies. To address this we need a combined effort of all sectors, and the role of industry is absolutely crucial. This new group of prominent African entrepreneurs and business figures can play an important role in putting the continent back on a path of sustainable growth, of inclusive growth, and a path toward transformation of the structure of our economies.”

Dr Álvaro Sobrinho, Chairman, Planet Earth Institute: “For too long business and scientific communities have operated in isolation in Africa. As we seek to move from economies based on resource to those based on knowledge, this disconnect has to be addressed head on. I’m delighted to be working with a group of inspirational business figures and in tandem with international and national organisations at the heart of this debate, to play our part in making sure Africa’s scientific progress delivers for the whole continent. And I call to others interested in the initiative to work with us”.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of the Planet Earth Institute (PEI).

Logo Better Than Cash

 

Government, private sector, mobile operators and development organizations convene to establish a plan for the future

LILONGWE, Malawi, April 30, 2015 Today, Malawi took a significant step towards creating a digital payment ecosystem in order to address poverty and drive inclusive growth. An event organized by the Government of Malawi with the United Nations Capital Development Fund’s (UNCDF) Better Than Cash Alliance (http://www.betterthancash.org) and Mobile Money for the Poor initiatives brought together digital payments players to accelerate the progress of digital finance in Malawi. The convening also marks the release of an in-depth analysis of the country’s readiness to transition from a nearly cash-only economy to one where digital payments are widely available through an ecosystem approach.

Download the report: http://betterthancash.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/BTCA-Long-Version-Malawi-Diagnostic.pdf

 

Honorable Goodall Gondwe, MP, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development stated that the transition to digital payments is part of the Government’s commitment to achieving social and economic goals within the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy. “This is part of our mandate to realize balanced and sustainable economic growth and to reduce poverty,” said Gondwe. “We believe creating an economy where digital payments are widely available is the right path for us to embark on and we are doing so based on sound economic and fiscal policies.”

The research was conducted through a partnership between the Malawian Ministry of Finance, the Reserve Bank of Malawi, and the Better Than Cash Alliance, and is entitled The Opportunities for Malawi’s Transition Away from Cash (http://betterthancash.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/BTCA-Long-Version-Malawi-Diagnostic.pdf). The report detailed the current state of Malawian digital payments, providing an important baseline to track progress. The study also identified four potential opportunities for Malawi, including the Government advancing on digitizing its centralized payment system with support from banks, and merchants accelerating digital payment acceptance via mobile money and debit card at the point of sale.

“Malawi is moving forward to build a strong digital ecosystem that will respond to the needs of the people in the country,” said Mr. Tillman Bruett, Advisor and Programme Manager, Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P), a UNCDF initiative, undertaken in Malawi with the support of the US Agency for International Development. “We expect that as a result, Malawi will progress from 3.5 percent of total active adult population using digital financial services at the start of this year to 15 percent by 2019.” As part of the programme, UNCDF plans to provide technical and financial assistance to build capacity in public and private sector organizations to support the switch from cash to digital for the most promising payments streams identified in the research.

Making payments in cash can be expensive and inefficient for governments, companies and international organizations. Cash is also difficult to trace, and extremely vulnerable to theft and loss. Many people living in poverty only use cash, and this is a key barrier to broader financial inclusion because cash makes it costly to provide financial services.  According to UNCDF, in least developed countries such as Malawi mobile penetration is at 30 percent while access to a bank account is at 14 percent.  Mobile payments can therefore be one way to accelerate this shift.

Malawi’s approach can set an example for other countries in the early stages of transitioning to digital payments. “Digitization is an important development tool for many countries looking to reduce the cost of delivering payments, increase transparency and increase access to financial services for citizens,” said Dr. Ruth Goodwin-Groen, Managing Director, Better Than Cash Alliance. “By undertaking this research and by using it to plan its shift, Malawi has taken a bold step in increasing transparency and moving towards an economy where the Government, businesses and people can pay and get paid electronically.”

Transitioning from cash to digital payments is a complex process, however, and requires collaboration between the government and businesses, as well as building trust and increasing familiarity among citizens. That reality is why leading figures came together today to discuss the diagnostic data and develop a blueprint for the country’s digital payments future. Participants noted that by working collaboratively to address the barriers to transitioning payments from cash to digital, they would be able to accelerate the shift and ensure that it brings real benefits to citizens in the form of greater financial inclusion.

USAID/Malawi Mission Director Doug Arbuckle noted in his remarks that, “The U.S. Government is glad to join many other governments and international organizations in encouraging a transition away from cash to digital payments in Malawi.  This can be a long road, but the benefits are clear and overwhelming.”

Ms. Mia Seppo, United Nations Resident Coordinator and United Nations Development Programme Resident Representative, who spoke at the event, noted, “The introduction of digitization is timely as Malawi is currently going through public service reforms that will ensure equitable access to financial and payment services in a manner that is transparent and efficient.” Malawi is a focus country of MM4P and member of the Better Than Cash Alliance.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of the Better Than Cash Alliance, United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF)/Mobile Money for the Poor (MM4P) and Malawi Ministry of Finance.

 

The paper illustrates the growing prominence of the private sector in development cooperation and identifies reasons for this trend. It shows that PSD is not a “technical solution” but that there are different theoretical approaches to PSD that favour distinct policy measures, discussing the structuralist, neoclassical and neostructuralist approach. Finally, it presents reflections on the relationship between current PSD strategies and sustainable economic and inclusive development.

Österreichische Forschungsstiftung für Internationale Entwicklung
Working Paper 51
Private sector development – business plan or development strategy?
by Karin Küblböck / Cornelia Staritz
Wien, April 2015
Download Working Paper 51 (pdf / 164 KB)
From Detail Working Paper – Österreichische Forschungsstiftung für Internationale Entwicklung.

via ÖFSE Working Paper 51: Private sector development – business plan or development strategy?.

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.

http://cdn.livestream.com/embed/idbevents1?layout=4&height=340&width=560&autoplay=false

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…

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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:
http://www.mesopartner.com/our-offering/events/article/11th-mesopartner-summer-academy-2015/
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.

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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.

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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:
www.giga-hamburg.de/en/team/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.

3…

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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

References

[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…

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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: 

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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 :

Diffe

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…

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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…

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