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January 2009

Responsible aid in a time of crisis

Shanta Devarajan's picture

My friend, former colleague and one-time co-author Bill Easterly, in his inaugural blog post, takes issue with Bob Zoellick’s Op-Eds in the New York Times and the Financial Times  on the need for more aid to poor countries in the wake of the global financial and economic crisis. Bill’s argument is that Bob is calling for more aid without specifyi

Empowering matatu passengers

Shanta Devarajan's picture

In low-income countries, road traffic accidents account for 3.7 percent of deaths, twice as high as deaths due to malaria.  Anyone who has traveled in Kenya won’t be surprised to hear that 20 percent of recorded crashes involve matatus, the private buses that careen around the city.  Billy Jack and James Habyarimana have a fascinating impact evaluation where they randomly put posters in matatus encouraging passengers to “heckle and chi

Commodity price shocks

Shanta Devarajan's picture

The steep decline in the prices of commodities (oil, minerals, metals) following the global financial crisis is clearly having an effect on African countries. But the effect is asymmetric between importers and exporters of commodities. For instance, oil importers, who suffered in 2008 from the sharp increase in oil prices (reaching $140 a barrel), will benefit from the decline in oil prices, whereas the reverse is true for oil exporters. Using the latest commodity forecasts available, my colleague

The human crisis

Shanta Devarajan's picture

My colleague Justin Lin says that it is important not to let the global financial crisis become “a human crisis.” Nowhere is this truer than in Africa. Although spared the first-round effects of banking failures, Africa is already facing the second-round impacts of declining capital flows, slowing remittances, stagnating foreign aid and falling commodity prices and export revenues. The c

La facilitation des échanges comme réponse à la crise et le développement en Afrique

John Wilson's picture

La réponse de l’Afrique à la crise économique actuelle doit se faire sur plusieurs façades. Une reforme des politiques commerciales permettant l’épanouissement du secteur privé devrait être au centre de tout effort tendant à minimiser l’impact sur les économies africaine à  court terme et à long terme des perturbations des marchés.

Crisis Management Today and Investing for Tomorrow: Why Trade Facilitation Matters to Africa

John Wilson's picture

There are many factors which will impact Africa’s ability to weather the current economic crisis. Finding ways to reform trade policy that enhances private sector growth should be part of any strategy now and in the long-term to counteract the damage today’s economic crisis is having. As Shanta noted in his lecture in November at Columbia, private sector growth is a key priority for Africa.