Everyone seems to agree that most, if not all, policy problems have their roots in politics.
Launched today, the 2011 World Development Report is on “Conflict, Security and Development.” In making a presentation on its relevance to Africa to my World Bank colleagues, I counted six messages that are new and different.
1. 21st century violence is different from 20th century violence.
2. Conflict and violence are caused by a combination of weak institutions and external stresses.
3. Build good-enough coalitions to break the cycle of repeated violence.
4. Create jobs, even with second-best approaches that are inefficient and likely not sustainable.
5. Address external stresses alongside institution building.
6. International partners should do more good than harm.
More on each on them:
The world is in turmoil. The combination of the Japanese earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis, the conflict in Libya and the European debt crisis, may change the way we look at the world. Newsweek put it most dramatically last week in its headline: “Apocalypse Now”
The perspective of developing countries is different. They appear to be a beacon of stability in these turbulent times. Africa is set to grow again by more than 5 percent in 2011--for the 7th time in 8 years.
In Madagascar, donors have traditionally counted for almost half of the Government’s budget and have been, by far, the main source of funding in social sectors.
Since the beginning of the crisis, official aid toward education, health and social protection surged, reaching almost US$260 million in 2010 against US$180 million in 2008. Nonetheless, this increase failed to improve significantly social indicators.
As a brief follow-up to Shanta's post on the economic policy workshop in South Sudan, here is the World Bank's recent poverty profile for the soon-to-be-country. I've worked closely with the Southern Sudan Centre for Census, Statistics and Evaluation, which collected the data underlying the poverty profile.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.