Syndicate content

October 2008

A Mozambique Paradox

Shanta Devarajan's picture

There is widespread consensus that financial development is critical to economic growth, globally, and in Africa. Yet Mozambique, a country with very low levels of financial development (in a recent survey, only 13 percent of firms had obtained credit from the banking sector, rural credit is almost nonexistent), registered a GDP growth rate of over 8 percent a year over the last decade.

The African media and state accountability

Gözde Isik's picture

I attended a very interesting seminar today on the role of the media in governance and anti-corruption. Key speaker for the session was the first African-born winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Nigerian journalist Dele Olojede. Mr. Olojede talked about the information and communication revolution that has taken place in Africa in the last decade and how it has transformed the role of the media all across the continent.

Will the financial crisis reduce foreign aid?

Shanta Devarajan's picture

This question comes up frequently in discussions with policymakers, civil society and journalists. Two things need to happen for the crisis to lead to a significant reduction in foreign aid. First, the financial crisis has to lead to a major recession in donor countries. Second, the recession leads to such fiscal constraints that foreign aid is cut. Since the first is the subject of intense discussion among macroeconomists around the world (not all of whom agree) that a recession is inevitable, I loo

Poverty in Africa and elsewhere

Shanta Devarajan's picture

Poor people are poor because markets fail them and governments fail them.  That markets fail them is well-known.  Failures in capital markets mean that young people cannot get loans to finance their education; imperfect or nonexistent insurance markets mean that poor people will not get decent health care if left to unfettered markets; economies of scale as well as the simple fact that basic services such as water are necessities mean that markets will not ensure that poor people will get the services they need to survive.  As

The Nobel Prize in Economics and Africa

Shanta Devarajan's picture

The awarding of this year’s Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics to Paul Krugman is a tribute not just to the elegance of Krugman’s pathbreaking contributions to international trade and economic geography, but also to his ability to apply cutting-edge economics to real-world problems.  Two pieces by Arvind Panagariya and Arvind Su

Can Africa's growth be sustained?

Shanta Devarajan's picture

We had a fascinating seminar on this topic yesterday.  Goolam Ballin of Standard Bank said that Africa today looks like Asia did 20 years ago--poised to grow rapidly over the next two decades.  At the same time, he was worried about the next two years because of Africa's dismal experience in adjusting to the external shocks of the 1970s.  Nigerian central bank governor Chukwuma Soludo struck a distinctly more optimistic note, pointing out that, for example, Nigeria's non-oil sector was growing even

Does the financial crisis signal the end of free markets and a return to state intervention?

Shanta Devarajan's picture

At a recent videoconference with journalists, I was asked the question in the title of this post several times.   Does the fact that private banks in the United States are going bankrupt mean that the free market system is a failure?  Does the fact that the United States government is bailing out these banks and in some cases “nationalizing” them mean that state intervention is back?

L'autre débat

Shanta Devarajan's picture

Pour ceux qui ont raté le débat entre Sarah Palin et Joseph Biden, les deux candidats à la vice-présidence des Etats-Unis, je vous offre une alternative—un débat entre le professeur Kako Nubukpo de l’Université de Lomé et moi-même.  Contrairement aux candidats américains, nous avons traité des sujets diff&eac