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Paul Collier

How Does Emigration Affect Countries-of-Origin? Paul Collier Kicks Off a Debate on Migration

Duncan Green's picture

Take a seat people, you’re in for a treat. Paul Collier kicks off an exchange with Justin Sandefur on that hottest of hot topics, migration. I’ve asked them to focus on the impact on poor countries, as most of the press debate concentrates on the impact in the North. Justin replies tomorrow and (if I can work the new software) you will then get to vote. Enjoy.

How does emigration affect the people left behind in poor countries? That many countries still provide little hope of even basic prosperity to their citizens is the great global challenge of our century. It is a vital matter that the poorest countries catch up with the rich world, but it will require decades of sustained high growth. To see how emigration might affect this process of convergence we need some understanding of why poor countries have remained poor. Poverty persists in very poor countries because of weak political institutions, dysfunctional social attitudes, and a lack of skills. These all make it difficult to harness economic opportunities. Emigration can either help or hinder convergence depending upon who leaves, how many leave, and for how long they go.

Potentially the most important effect of emigration is on political institutions and social attitudes. There is now solid evidence that emigrants can be influential in their home societies. Students from poor countries who have studied abroad in democracies and then return home bring with them pro-democracy attitudes. They spread these attitudes and are sufficiently influential that they speed up democratization. An astonishingly high proportion of the political leaders of poor countries have studied and worked abroad, and this equips them with both new skills and new attitudes. Even migrants who do not return have some influence with their relatives back home. During elections they give advice and commentary, and they become role models for smaller family size.

Mining Indaba Focuses on the New Science of Stakeholder Outreach

Kelly Alderson's picture

Mining Indaba 2014At Indaba Mining, the annual gathering Feb. 3-5 in Cape Town of leaders of Africa’s mining sector—from government, corporations and civil society—the words “sustainability” and “stakeholder outreach” were ubiquitous. This focus on sustainability issues reflects impressive progress made in recent years around how mining can contribute to shared value.

Natural resources: Africa VP calls for ‘creative dissatisfaction’ campaign

Derek Warren's picture

Mauritania mining corridor. Photo credit: World Bank Policy Note on Utility Service Reform in Mauritania's Mining Corridor. This was a lunchtime debate designed to induce a degree of indigestion!

Participants at an annual meetings session hosted by Africa Region VP Oby Ezekwisili faced the uncomfortable assertion that the majority of citizens in resource-rich African countries have seen little if any improvement as a result of decades of natural resource exploitation.

For some, oil or mineral wealth has proven a curse rather than a blessing, exposing them to economic instability, social conflict and lasting environmental damage.

To an audience including government ministers from DRC and Cameroon, Oby followed that up with a call for a campaign to generate a sense of ‘creative dissatisfaction’ – to provoke a demand for change in the way natural resources are exploited and the resultant benefits distributed.

Centre-piece of the debate was a new Natural Resource Charter, circulated in draft for consultation. Its intention is to aid governments and their citizens in resource-rich countries to use them to generate economic growth and promote the welfare of their population, without destroying their environment. It’s a blueprint for implementing the objectives of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

Media Literacy: An Avenue to Broader Citizen Participation & Good Governance

Susan Moeller's picture

Development economists used to argue that elections were THE best instruments of accountability.  But events have overtaken that idea and now there are many, including Oxford economist Paul Collier, author of The Bottom Billion, who are focusing on the limitations of elections: “If you have an uninformed citizenry,” Collier says, “elections just won’t work.”

Once articulated, it makes sense that the sine qua non of good government and economic development is an informed society.  And on the face of it, getting critical news and information out to citizens should be an easier and easier task in today’s digitalized, networked and hand-held world.  But Collier and others note that most media—across regions and on any platform: print, radio, TV or online—aren’t interested in serving the public good, because “there is no finance to that public-good role.  Indeed far from there being finance for it,” says Collier, “there is actually a hostile environment to it….”

Not "Only Radio"

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

Photo Credit: Flickr User verhoogen.beIn the developed world, radio is a more or less dying medium. In the age of iPods, who needs to switch on a radio to listen to music? Much less to listen to political talk, which you get anywhere from your local newspaper (preferably online) to cable television (also online, of course).