These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
Mobile phones on the rise in Africa
IT News Africa
“Seven in ten Africans own their own mobile phones, with access essentially universal in Algeria and Senegal, according to Afrobarometer findings from across 34 countries.
The report, based on face-to-face interviews with more than 51,000 people, reveals that 84% use cell phones at least occasionally, a higher level of access than reported previously by the United Nations. Internet use is less common – with only 18% using it at least monthly.
These technological trends are detailed in Afrobarometer’s report, “The Partnership of Free Speech and Good Governance in Africa,” released today at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Nairobi.” READ MORE
An Impact Revolution in Aid
“Caring is easy. Making a difference is hard. This perennial problem faced by anyone trying to make the world a better place is felt most acutely in the fight against extreme poverty. International aid is beset by accusations that a decent hunk of what we spend trying to feed the starving, give kids an education, or prevent unnecessary deaths from diseases unheard of in the rich world, disappears in corruption and bureaucracy. So can the hottest innovation in social policy of the past decade, the ‘Social Impact Bond’ (SIB), be applied to development without falling foul of those old failings? The answer, according to a new report by the Center for Global Development (CGD), is an enthusiastic ‘yes’.” READ MORE
“What role, if any, should businesses and the private sector play in the fight to end global poverty?
With more than a billion people living in extreme poverty worldwide, ending poverty will require robust and broad-based economic growth across the developing world, sufficient to generate decent jobs for a global labor force that is expected to expand by half a billion people by 2030. Affordable solutions must be found to meet people’s demand for food, quality education, housing, healthcare and other basic needs. Major new investments will be required to plug the financial gaps associated with global development challenges, such as the estimated $1 trillion to $2.5 trillion annual shortfall in financing for climate change mitigation. On all these fronts, the private sector, from small- and medium-sized enterprises to major global corporations, must play a critical and expanded role.” READ MORE
“Here’s a quiz for you. Let’s say you are in the middle of a rural below-poverty-line area in a developing country. Let’s say you have 30 mobile phones, or 30 tablets, or 30 laptops. They are all loaded with good quality educational software. You have a class of 30 teenagers or adults. Or even extremely old people.
So the question is – how many of your devices do you hand out to the students? Do you give them one each? Er, no. At least, not in my experience.” READ MORE
The End of ‘The End of Poverty’?
Together in Dignity
“Humanity can end the devastation caused by AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, polluted water, failed crops and other crises linked to poverty. Jeffrey Sachs convinced the world of this a decade ago. In charge of the United Nations Millennium Development Project, he insisted to world leaders that their efforts could indeed end poverty. His 2005 New York Times bestseller, The End of Poverty—with a foreword by Bono—did the same for the general public, stressing how solvable these issues are. He has impressed me as a passionate and dynamic speaker every time I have heard him connect with college students or with heads of state.” READ MORE
In Africa, It’s About Governance
“Many friends and observers of Africa, including myself, see shortcomings in governance as key to the slow rate of economic, social, and political development in some African countries. The converse is also true. Where governance is better, development can be rapid. The Mo Ibrahim Foundation has published its annual ranking of African states. The top five in descending order are Mauritius, Cape Verde, Botswana, Seychelles, South Africa, and Namibia while the bottom five, going from bad to worse, are Zimbabwe, the Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, and Somalia. For a second consecutive year, the Foundation has announced that there is no winner of the Ibrahim Prize for outstanding leadership by a chief of state. Established in 2006, the prize’s independent and highly distinguished judges have awarded the prize only three times, to the former chiefs of state of Botswana, Cape Verde, and Mozambique. They have also recognized the work of Nelson Mandela, out of office long before the prize was established, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, both of South Africa. Subsequently, I will be blogging on the Ibrahim Index and the Ibrahim Prize. Here I cite them to support the point about the relationship between good governance and social and economic progress, and to point out that poor governance remains a significant challenge for Africa.” READ MORE