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.
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'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.)
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.
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.
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.