Alors que j’ai récemment quitté l'Afrique du Sud pour m’installer en Belgique, une question s’impose à moi : l’Union européenne et ses six décennies d'intégration constituent-ils un exemple pertinent pour l'Afrique ? Ou alors est-ce comme comparer des pommes avec des mangues ?
- About 20 percent of the children who had completed seven years of primary school could not read their own language, Kiswahili, at the Grade 2 level;
- Half of them could not read English, which is the medium of instruction in secondary education;
- And about 30 percent could not do a simple (Grade 2) multiplication problem.
Interestingly, Tanzania has seen dramatic increases in primary school enrolments—so much so that the country won a Millennium Development Goals award for achievements in primary education.
To better understand the relationship between these different findings, I interviewed Rakesh Rajani of Twaweza, the NGO that conducted the survey, on the margins of the Open Forum at the recent World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings.
We discussed why and how they did the study, what the results mean, and what to do with them.
Here’s the quick summary of a new working paper I have co-authored with Michael Clemens of the Center for Global Development:
When is the rigorous impact evaluation of development projects a luxury, and when a necessity? We study one high-profile case where it is a necessity: the Millennium Villages Project (MVP), an experimental intervention in rural Africa. We compare development trends inside versus outside the villages in three countries, and show that estimates of the project’s effects depend heavily on the evaluation method.
The impact evaluation currently planned by the MVP is unlikely to yield adequate estimates of its effects on Africans in general, for five reasons we explain. But it is not too late to carefully measure the project’s effects, by making small and inexpensive changes to the next wave of the project.
Michael’s own blog post gives more details about the paper. The paper uses publicly-available data from the MVP mid-term evaluation report and Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS). Field visits played no role in the study.
But after the study I found myself wanting to learn more about a couple of the places behind the statistics. So after we completed the analysis, during September 26-28, I took a trip with several World Bank colleagues to the western edge of Kenya. We visited two village clusters in Nyanza Province: first the MVP site in Bar-Sauri, and then the town of Uranga, 50 km to the west, which is not an MVP site.
Here’s a picture of me pressing the flesh with the kids at Nyamninia Primary School in Bar-Sauri:
This month Homi Kharas and I published a book titled “Delivering Aid Differently – Lessons from the Field”. We launched the book yesterday at the University of Nairobi. Here is a summary of the main messages:
We live in a new reality of aid. Rich countries delivered US$ 3.2 trillion of aid to poor countries between 1960 and 2008, and it is a US$ 200 billion dollar industry today. Despite disputes and convulsions, the core of the aid industry has changed little over the past few decades. Now the new pressures on the aid systems may be too strong to resist fundamental change.
The recent riots in Maputo were triggered by increases in the cost of living, and they raised concerns of a possible repeat of the 2008 food and fuel price crisis around the world.
But this time the riots were at least as much the result of misguided domestic policies as of international price volatility.
Yesterday’s side-event at the U.N. summit on the Millennium Development Goals on “Scaling up Africa’s infrastructure to meet the MDGs” was unusual for three reasons.
This week’s Millennium Summit has given data mavens like myself motivation to take a second look at the development indicators for the countries where they work.
For Kenya (my current focus, along with Sudan) a rich source of information is the recently published report for the 2008-09 Demographic and Health Survey.
Below I’ve graphed several indicators from the Kenya DHS from 1998, 2003, and 2008-09. We see that there have been substantial gains along several lines. School attendance rates rose with the introduction of free primary education earlier in the decade. Vaccination rates increased sharply between 2003 and 2008. Access to improved water sources also expanded, and phone access jumped as the mobile revolution hit Kenya.
Au mois d’avril dernier, lors d'une conférence du Département britannique pour le développement international (DFID) sur les objectifs de développement pour le Millénaire, j'ai soutenu que l'Afrique était en mesure d'atteindre les ODM, peut-être pas d'ici 2015, mais du moins peu de temps après. Voici pourquoi :
1. Bien que de nombreux pays africains soient en retard pour la plupart des ODM, l'Afrique est sans doute, depuis le milieu des années 1990, le continent qui a accompli les progrès les plus importants en vue de leur réalisation.
3. Alors que l'Afrique a probablement été le continent le plus durement touché par la crise économique mondiale, la réponse des dirigeants africains a permis d'en atténuer les répercussions et a préparé le terrain pour que le continent bénéficie de la reprise mondiale.
Essayons d’approfondir :
The 2010 FIFA World Cup drew to a close on July 11, 2010, with a Spanish victory and a thunderous ceremony. South Africa took a bow as the world applauded its wonderful organization of the high profile tournament.
A record number of people across the globe viewed the tournament, and the crime rate was the lowest of any World Cup. The direct economic impact of the event is estimated at around 0.5% of GDP in 2011, and the tournament did much to burnish South Africa’s image across the world as an attractive tourist destination.
Sadly, the real drama started after the curtains came down on the World Cup.
In particular, a coalition of unions, representing over one million-public servants -- including teachers, doctors, nurses, police, and court and government officials -- has launched an indefinite strike after the unions’ demand for an 8.6% salary increase (plus 1,000 rand monthly housing allowance) was rejected by the Government.
Patrick Bond’s lengthy comment on my response to his blog post merits a separate blog post.
Thanks for your response. It appears as if there are at least four areas where we end up agreeing, except that I reach these conclusions using economic reasoning, which also serves to highlight some differences.
1. I’m glad you agree that there is a difference between accounting and economic welfare. But you still don’t seem to accept the result of my simple example of two countries (one following a wasteful trajectory and the other the optimal one) that genuine savings is the same in both cases.