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Poverty

More on financial crisis, market failures and government failures

Shanta Devarajan's picture

My earlier post on the lessons to be drawn (and not drawn) from the financial crisis for the balance between state and market in developing countries elicited a lively discussion on this blog. Many of the comments responded to other comments, which gladdens the blogger’s heart (and eases his workload). More seriously, I recently came across two papers that significantly deepened the points I was making in that original post. On t

Songs of Change: Improving Sanitation in Mozambique through Popular Music

Antonio Lambino's picture

A well-known musician from Mozambique, Feliciano Dos Santos, was recently featured in a New York Times article  on his use of pop music toward changing people’s sanitation habits, especially in far-flung rural villages.  His songs include messages regarding boiling water to prevent diarrhea and washing one’s hands before leaving the bathroom.  His band, Massukos gained international fame via a combination of pop and socially relevant songs, while his nonprofit Estamos (“We are”) installs latrines and provides services to AIDS patients.

A Mozambique Paradox

Shanta Devarajan's picture

There is widespread consensus that financial development is critical to economic growth, globally, and in Africa. Yet Mozambique, a country with very low levels of financial development (in a recent survey, only 13 percent of firms had obtained credit from the banking sector, rural credit is almost nonexistent), registered a GDP growth rate of over 8 percent a year over the last decade.

The African media and state accountability

Gözde Isik's picture

I attended a very interesting seminar today on the role of the media in governance and anti-corruption. Key speaker for the session was the first African-born winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Nigerian journalist Dele Olojede. Mr. Olojede talked about the information and communication revolution that has taken place in Africa in the last decade and how it has transformed the role of the media all across the continent.

Will the financial crisis reduce foreign aid?

Shanta Devarajan's picture

This question comes up frequently in discussions with policymakers, civil society and journalists. Two things need to happen for the crisis to lead to a significant reduction in foreign aid. First, the financial crisis has to lead to a major recession in donor countries. Second, the recession leads to such fiscal constraints that foreign aid is cut. Since the first is the subject of intense discussion among macroeconomists around the world (not all of whom agree) that a recession is inevitable, I loo

Africa Migration Project: Household surveys call for proposals

Sonia Plaza's picture

In collaboration with the African Development Bank, the World Bank is undertaking a comprehensive study of migration and remittances in Sub-Saharan Africa and destination countries outside Africa. The World Bank Household Survey of Migrants is part of this effort, and will be conducted in 10 countries (Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Ivory Coast, and Uganda). 

Poverty in Africa and elsewhere

Shanta Devarajan's picture

Poor people are poor because markets fail them and governments fail them.  That markets fail them is well-known.  Failures in capital markets mean that young people cannot get loans to finance their education; imperfect or nonexistent insurance markets mean that poor people will not get decent health care if left to unfettered markets; economies of scale as well as the simple fact that basic services such as water are necessities mean that markets will not ensure that poor people will get the services they need to survive.  As


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