We took advantage of the recent ABCDE conference in Stockholm during May 31-June 2, 2010 to hold side discussions with 15 high-profile academics and researchers.
Last week I participated in the World Economic Forum Global Redesign Summit at Doha (see program ). In a brainstorming panel, the kind where you hit your head against the wall, I was asked the following question:
|Photo © Yosef Hadar / World Bank|
Despite the leftist tone of this question, it is important to note that being pro-labor does not imply a bias against capitalists. My response to this question can be summarized as follows:
1) Let labor markets work
2) Let's make realistic policies but not lose the long-term perspective
3) Let's think on a global scale.
As the month-long FIFA 2010 World Cup tournament kicks-off on June 11, all eyes will be on South Africa. Quite literally, since the 2006 tournament in Germany had a global viewership of around 30 billion.
The event is an opportunity for South Africa to showcase itself not just as an attractive destination for tourism and investment but also as the Rainbow Nation, home to people of every race, color, and creed.
The economic dividends will be plenty. As President Zuma explained: “the country’s transport, energy, telecommunications, and social infrastructure are being upgraded and expanded. This is contributing to economic development in the midst of a global recession, while improving conditions for investment.”
Some economists are skeptical, seeing white elephants in large stadium constructions and citing analyses that show little net economic benefit to the hosts of previous such events.
When I think of social capital, I think of a group, an organization or a coalition of groups that hold memberships of common interests, purposes and visions, where there is solidarity, reciprocity and collective strength, and which wields power and resources to forge collective benefits. Community empowerment, group formation, civil society strengthening, coalition building are integral components of social capital and social development interventions, which are gradually getting recognition for their economic and political potential in serving broader development goals. But social capital can be highly contextual. One kind of social capital may be good in one setting but not necessarily in another setting. Therefore, it is very important to understand negative and positive consequences of social capital in designing policy and program interventions.
The current recovery in advanced economies is now exhibiting several signs of fragility. Their medium term growth prospects also look difficult. In this environment two questions arise: Will developing economies experience a renewed downward “recoupling” as a result of a low-growth scenario in advanced economies?
Barbara Stocking, the Chief Executive of Oxfam GB, sent me a letter about the Africa Development Indicators essay on “Quiet Corruption.”
My colleague and good friend, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, gave an inspiring speech at Harvard where she described Africa as the next BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China). Everything she says in the speech is music to my ears (confession—I provided some background materials to her staff)—that Africa’s growth prospects are strong, that reforms seem to have taken hold—and her idea of African Development Bonds is innovative and worthy of discussion.
My only concern is the labeling of Africa as the next BRIC. First, Africa is not a country, whereas each of the BRICs is. Africa is 47 countries, some of which are quite small (20 countries have populations less than 5 million). The distinguishing feature of the BRICs is that they are both middle-income and large. So it’s not clear how any individual African country can aspire to being a BRIC. Countries such as Malaysia or Chile may be more appropriate models for most African countries.
Development Marketplace 2008 winner International Development Enterprises Cambodia is the recipient of the first Nestlé “Creating Shared Value” prize worth $475,000. The award will support IDE Cambodia to scale its micro-franchise agricultural program that has substantially raised the income of participating Cambodian farmers (photo at left).
IDE Cambodia received the prize -- for which 549 applicants from 79 countries competed -- at a ceremony Friday, May 28, in London.
The award will permit IDE Cambodia to extend its Farm Business Advisors (FBA) program -- initially funded with a $200,000 grant from Development Marketplace -- by recruiting and training an additional 36 advisors, generating approximately US $1.9 million in new income to impact 20,000 people in over 4,000 rural households around Cambodia. This represents an increase in income by upwards of 27 percent.
Mozambique’s weak socio-economic infrastructure and geographic location make the country particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Rain-fed agriculture is the main livelihood for subsistence farmers in this southeastern Africa country. But the resources farmers depend on are severely affected by the climate hazards of drought, flooding, and epidemic disease, and the outlook is for even more adverse impact. Moreover, the Government of Mozambique currently has neither the capacity nor the financial resources for an integrated adaptation strategy.
Helvetas (Swiss Association for International Cooperation), which has promoted rural development in rural Mozambique for more than 30 years, is working to close those gaps through activities concentrated in rural areas in the Northern Provinces of Cabo Delgado and Nampula. (Photo above shows Zero Emission Fridge seed storage silo that was Development Marketplace 2009 finalist and which subsequently won $2 million funding from European Commission Food Facility.) The Food Security and Value Chain (SAAN) project aims to contribute to increased livelihoods of semi-subsistence farmers and increased income from cash crop sales. To achieve its goals, SAAN promotes organizational and entrepreneurial capacity for improved productivity, post-harvest management, and processing and commercialization of agricultural produce.
Climate proofing of the Helvetas Mozambique Food Security and Value Chain (SAAN) project should decrease the vulnerability of farming families and increase their adaptation capacity. A Vulnerability Assessment and Evaluation of Adaptation Capacity (CVCA) in Cabo Delgado Province improved understanding of links between climate related risks, people’s livelihood, and project activities.