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Weekly wire: The global forum

Roxanne Bauer's picture

World of NewsThese are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

The Global Risks Report 2016
World Economic Forum
Now in its 11th edition, The Global Risks Report 2016 draws attention to ways that global risks could evolve and interact in the next decade. The Global Risks Report 2016 features perspectives from nearly 750 experts on the perceived impact and likelihood of 29 prevalent global risks over a 10-year timeframe. The risks are divided into five categories: economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal and technological. The report also examines the interconnections among the risks, and through that analysis explores three areas where global risks have the greatest potential to impact society.

The Quest for Good Governance
Journal of Democracy
Once of interest mainly to specialists, the problem of explaining how institutions change is now a primary concern not only of economists, but of the international donor community as well. Many have come to believe that history’s main lesson in this regard is “politics first”—that political institutions are decisive in shaping economic institutions and, with them, the course of innovation and investment that leads to a developed society. Yet there has been much less discussion about the key institutional change needed to bring societies to the point where they are capable of controlling corruption and achieving good governance. This is the shift from patrimonialism to ethical universalism, a transformation that I first explored in these pages a decade ago and have further analyzed in my new book The Quest for Good Governance: How Societies Develop Control of Corruption. 

How many people use social media in Africa?
In 2014, 100 million people were using Facebook each month across Africa, over 80% via mobile. That figure has now jumped to over 120 million. Four and a half million of those Facebook users are based in Kenya, 15 million in Nigeria and 12 million in South Africa, in statistics first reported by Reuters. Overall, around 9% of Africans use social media, with South Africans among the world leaders in time spent on social networks with an average of 3.2 hours a day, compared to a global average of 2.4 hours, according to data from marketing consultants We Are Social.

Overview of the Report on the World Social Situation 2016
UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs
In adopting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, world leaders committed themselves to leaving no one behind in pursuit of the eradication of extreme poverty and protection of the planet. Through concerted efforts galvanized by the MDGs, the world has made progress in reducing poverty, but social exclusion persists in both developed and developing countries. At the same time, some countries have been able to effectively promote inclusion even at low levels of income and development. This volume of the Report on the World Social Situation (RWSS) will focus on social inclusion. In particular, it will examine patterns of social exclusion and will assess whether growth and development processes have been inclusive, paying particular attention to the links between poverty and inequality trends, changes in the world of work and inclusion –or exclusion.

Are development professionals too resistant to new technologies?
A healthy tension exists in the development community about whether the uptake of new technologies can produce large-scale change. Few can deny the benefits that connectivity, computation and communication offer in the digital age. But opinions vary — at times widely — on the feasibility of spreading that digital dividend to development projects that serve the world’s poor. On one side technology advocates argue that the power of information technologies such as cognitive computing, artificial intelligence and virtual design — with appropriate funding and the right project integration — can be a vital resource for development purposes. The rollout and adoption of those systems, however, comes with a cost. For many development professionals, those costs can be burdensome and often unrealistic. 

The world's poor lose out as aid is diverted to the refugee crisis
The Guardian
Sweden is one of the most generous countries in the world when it comes to international aid. Along with other Scandinavian countries, it has given bounteously to less fortunate nations for many years. With a population of under 10 million, it also takes more than its fair share of asylum seekers - an estimated 190,000 last year, with a further 100,000 to 170,000 expected to arrive in 2016. This is proving to be an expensive business. The Swedish migration agency says the cost of assimilating such a large number of asylum seekers will be €6.4bn (£4.4bn) this year – and a debate is raging about whether the aid budget should be raided to help meet the bill. In 2015, 25% of the aid budget was spent on refugees. One proposal is to raise that figure to 60%. Other countries are responding in similar fashion.

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Photo credit: Flickr user fdecomit

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