An article in Saturday’s New York Times entitled “Violence Grips South Sudan as Vote Nears” reminded me of a 2008 research paper by Ibrahim Elbadawi, Gary Milante and Constantino Pischadda which models the relationship between Juba and Khartoum as a “game” leading up to the referendum in 2011.
There is considerable evidence that Africa is the continent that will be hit the first, most and worst by climate change.
Agricultural productivity, already among the world’s lowest, could in several African countries fall by 50 percent in 10 years because of higher and more variable temperatures, which in turn could lead to faster desertification, rising sea levels, and more frequent droughts, floods and typhoons.
Le déclin économique à Madagascar s’inscrit dans la durée. Depuis 1980, il n’y a que 7 pays en développement qui ont reporté une croissance de leur revenu par habitant moindre que Madagascar. Cette performance traduit des insuffisantes criantes en matière de développement humain et en infrastructure ainsi que des retards technologiques, qui sont les moteurs de la croissance.
For the first time since the beginning of the crisis, the Government spent massively in October through a combination of debt-service and investment outlays. Over the next few months, the new Government is expected to face three daunting challenges with significant financial implications:
- Organizing institutions and the electoral process (US$10-20 million for each election and an additional US$5-7 million per month to run the institutions)
- Managing humanitarian vulnerability to climatic and external shocks (e.g.,US$40 recovery cost in 2007/2008)
At the recent Africa Economic Conference, UN under-secretary general and executive secretary of UNECA, Abdoulie Janneh, said "[Africa’s] previous growth, while benefiting from improved macroeconomic management, was largely dependent on commodity exports and resources flows from outside the continent."
Many of the objections to my blog post, “Another reason why aid to Africa must increase” centered around corruption. “I disagree. Africa needs to get rid of corruption…” said one commentator, while another said, “Aid to African countries must follow country steps in good governance, democracy, fighting corruption, etc.”
I think we can agree on the following two facts:
- There is considerable corruption in Africa. The recently-released Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index for 2009 finds 10 African countries in the bottom decile (with Somalia at the very bottom of the list). Of the 47 African countries reviewed, 31 scored less than 3 out of 10, “indicating that corruption is perceived as rampant.” Another data source, World Governance Indicators, reaches a similar conclusion.
- Corruption undermines economic growth and poverty reduction.
But even with these two facts, it doesn’t necessarily follow that aid should be cut off from countries with high corruption.
In the face of numerous constraints, there is always a solution!
Photo taken by Mahamadou Djibou, in Niamey, Niger.
Not a day passes without somebody asking me about the impact of the global financial crisis on Africa's poverty reduction efforts. So I thought I would share this interview I recently did for Deutsche Welle radio.
I have also written extensively about what the crisis may mean for Africa on this blog. You can see those entries here.
Since the publication of the 2008 World Development Report, there has been a vigorous discussion in the development community about agriculture; today’s publication of the World Bank’s Agriculture Action Plan is a milestone in that process. To stimulate further discussion on the subject, here are some thoughts from a garden-variety economist.
1. The oft-quoted statement, “GDP growth originating in agriculture is about four times more effective in raising incomes of extremely poor people than GDP growth originating from other sectors,” is an arithmetical point, not an economic point. It simply reflects the fact that 75 percent of the world’s poor depend on agriculture for their livelihoods.
A visual reminder of why many of us work in development:
The schoolchildren in this picture are first- and second-graders in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They're holding their new textbooks, given to them as part of a project that distributed some 14 million free textbooks to private and public schools across the country.
After the photo was taken, the teachers tried to take the books back to put them in the classrooms for safekeeping. The kids refused. For many of them, this was the first time they had held a book in their hands--and they weren't about to let go of them. The Minister of Education (seen in the photo with my colleague Marie-Francoise Mary-Nelly), wanting to give the kids a chance to enjoy their new textbooks, let them keep them.