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A South African puzzle

Sandeep Mahajan's picture

In recent months, the external sector in South Africa has strengthened in ways that are somewhat perplexing. The strengthening has partly to do with weak import demand due to the economic slowdown.  But the surprising aspect has been sustained inflows of foreign portfolio investment in South African domestic securities.  Just as the news on the real sector and fiscal balances has gotten worse, somewhat paradoxically foreign investors’ appetite for South African securities has grown.

How have policies and institutions in low-income African countries fared?

Shanta Devarajan's picture

Last Friday, the World Bank released its Country Policy and Institutional Assessment (CPIA) of low-income countries.  While the assessments are mainly used to determine the allocation of concessional IDA resources to poor countries, they can also provide a useful picture of the evolution of policies and institutions in Africa, as a r

Critiques from inside the World Bank

Shanta Devarajan's picture

While my blog posts seemed to elicit a fair number of comments, I had been wondering how many of them, if any, were coming from my World Bank colleagues. Last Friday, I got to find out. Our Internal Communications department ran a story on the Bank’s intranet with the headline “The effects of the global recession on Africa will be permanent, says Africa Chief Economist.” The story then linked to my blog post, “Why aid to A

Pourquoi il faut augmenter l'aide en faveur de l'Afrique

Shanta Devarajan's picture

Dans les pays riches, lorsque le taux de croissance économique diminue de 3 ou 4 points, les individus perdent leur emploi et, probablement, leur maison, mais ils les retrouvent lorsque la reprise économique intervient. Dans les pays pauvres d’Afrique, les enfants sont retirés de l’école — et sont privés de la possibilité de devenir plus tard des adultes productifs. Dans certains cas, les enfants meurent avant d’avoir eu la chance d’aller à l’école. Si l’effondrement actuel de la

Why aid to Africa must increase

Shanta Devarajan's picture

In rich countries, when economic growth declines by three or four percentage points, people lose their jobs and possibly their houses, but they regain them when the economy rebounds. In poor African countries, children get pulled out of school—and miss out on becoming productive adults. In some cases, children die before they have a chance to go to school. If t

The problem with economists

Shanta Devarajan's picture

I flinched when, at a recent BBC World Debate Zeinab Badawi asked Bob Zoellick why, when there are so many economists at the World Bank, they couldn’t do anything about protecting developing countries from the impact of the global crisis. Were we asleep at the wheel? Montek Ahluwalia gave us temporary respite by pointing out that the economists in the industrialized countries didn’t see the global recession coming even in their own countries, much less that it would spread to poorer count

On Aid to Africa

Tijan Sallah's picture

Dambisa Moyo' book "Dead Aid" is gaining influence among African leaders (I wanted to point to President Kagame's thoughtful commentary in the FT). I would like to add the following comments. Volumes of aid to Africa per se are not the issue; instead the issue is the quality of political leadership and the effectiveness with which aid is put to in Africa to support the continent's development. &nb

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