Syndicate content

March 2011

2011: South Africa's Year of Job Creation?

Fernando Im's picture

The latest figures from the Quarterly Labor Force Survey (QLFS) indicate that the unemployment rate has fallen from 25.3% in 2010Q3 to 24% in 2010Q4.

After shedding 86,000 jobs between 2010Q2 and 2010Q3, employment increased by 1.2% q/q, adding 157,000 jobs between 2010Q3 and 2010Q4. Although these figures are encouraging, unemployment has been persistently high over the past decade.  Unemployment has not fallen below 21% since 2001. Moreover, as a result of the global financial crisis, over 1,000,000 jobs were lost.

Can randomized control trials reduce poverty?

Shanta Devarajan's picture

If you give milk to schoolchildren and they perform well in school, how do you know it’s because of the milk, or because the children were high achievers anyway, or went to better schools? 

By randomly choosing the children who receive the milk, and comparing the outcomes of this “treatment group” with a “control group” (those that didn’t receive milk), we can get a more accurate measure of the program’s impact than if we were to simply compare the children’s performance before and after they drank milk. 

MVP evaluation session at Oxford

Gabriel Demombynes's picture

I am at Oxford for the annual conference of the Center for Study of African Economies, which runs through Tuesday.

Here's the program with links to many of the conference papers.

Plenary sessions, including my presentation on the Millennium Village Project evaluation, will be broadcast live on the web, and the recording will later be posted on the CSAE website.

I'll present a short version of the paper, which was co-authored with Michael Clemens of the Center for Global Development. This will be followed by a presentation from John McArthur, CEO of the Millenium Promise organization. Our session will be the last of the conference, on Tuesday 6-7 p.m. UK time (2-4 pm East Coast U.S. time.) 

For background, here are the first, second, third, and fourth earlier posts on the paper and check out our podcast, the MVP response, and commentary from Julian Jamison, Chris Blattman, Eric Green, and Bill Easterly and Laura Freschi.

Here's also video of an extended talk on the MV paper which Michael and I gave in DC in December:

Economic Policy in Africa’s Youngest Country

Shanta Devarajan's picture

UPDATE: Here is a copy of an interview I gave to Otieno Ogeda, from the Pioneer newspaper in Juba.

---------------------------------

I felt truly privileged to participate in a workshop in Juba on “Growth and Sustainable Development in the new Republic of South Sudan,” organized by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement. 

South Sudan, which becomes independent on July 9, 2011, faces extreme challenges and opportunities.  Devastated by civil war, the country has high and deep poverty.  The poverty rate is 51 percent. In a recent survey, among the assets of the population is “a pair of shoes”: among the poorest 20 percent, only 37 percent owned one. About 80 percent of the people earn their living from (mostly subsistence) agriculture.  Low levels of literacy (27 percent) translate to extremely weak capacity throughout.

Africa on the brink of a take off

Shanta Devarajan's picture

Dear friends,

Today we are trying something new.

I wanted to share with you the reasons why I think we can be optimistic about Africa's development prospects, but rather than writing something up, I thought of using video.

Please, share your feedback, not only on whether you agree that Africa is on the right track, but on the video itself. If you like it, I would like to do more of this short video "Development Talks" with the readers of this blog.

Let me know what you think.

 

The Wealth of African Nations

Kirk Hamilton's picture

This is a story of three Africas.

One is all too familiar – the declining fortunes of fragile states. Another is less well-known: the growing importance of mineral and energy resources in many African economies. The big story is that, from 1995-2005, many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa grew their total wealth faster than the world average– a major African success story.

Collecting survey data via mobile phone in Southern Sudan

Gabriel Demombynes's picture

We’re in the middle of an unusual data collection exercise, which we’ve called the Southern Sudan Experimental Phone Survey (SSEPS). To get a sense of how the survey works, see this photo essay. The work has been conducted in part with funds from the Poverty and Social Impact Analysis Multi-Donor Trust Fund.

In November, in conjunction with the Southern Sudan Centre for Census, Statistics and Evaluation, we delivered mobile phones to 1000 households in the 10 state capitals of Southern Sudan. Each month starting last December, Sudanese interviewers from a call center in Nairobi have phoned respondents on those phones to collect information on their economic situation, security, outlook, and other topics.

Cameroun: le moment est-il arrivé pour le lion de se réveiller?

Raju Jan Singh's picture

La croissance économique au Cameroun s’est inscrite en 2010 à 3%, poussée par les activités non-pétrolières qui ont connu une expansion de près de 4% (particulièrement les cultures vivrières, la construction, les transports, et les télécommunications). Cette croissance demeure toutefois insuffisante pour réduire la pauvreté d’une façon durable. Sur sa trajectoire actuelle, le Cameroun ne pourra probablement pas atteindre la plupart des Objectifs de Développement du Millénaire.

Le Cameroun est pourtant riche en pétrole, bois précieux, et produits agricoles (café, coton, cacao). Les ressources inexploitées incluent le gaz naturel, la bauxite, les diamants, l’or, le fer et le cobalt. Pourquoi le pays ne connaît-il pas une croissance économique plus grande?

La réponse est qu’une infrastructure limitée, un cadre des affaires défavorables, et une gouvernance faible entravent les activités économiques au Cameroun.

Cameroon: Time for the Lion to Wake up?

Raju Jan Singh's picture

Cameroon’s GDP growth in 2010 is estimated to have reached 3 percent on the back of stronger non-oil activities, which expanded by about 4 percent (particularly food crops, forestry, construction, transport, and telecoms).  This growth, however, remains too slow to reduce poverty in a sustainable manner. On its current trajectory, Cameroon is not likely to meet most Millennium Development Goals.

Yet, Cameroon is endowed with oil, high value timber, and agricultural products (coffee, cotton, cocoa). Untapped resources include natural gas, bauxite, diamonds, gold, iron, and cobalt. Why isn’t it growing faster?

As explained in the latest Cameroon Economic Update, the answer is that poor infrastructure, an unfavorable business environment, and weak governance hamper economic activity in Cameroon.