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May 2017

Media (R)evolutions: How users purchase goods online differs by country

Darejani Markozashvili's picture
New developments and curiosities from a changing global media landscape: People, Spaces, Deliberation brings trends and events to your attention that illustrate that tomorrow's media environment will look very different from today's, and will have little resemblance to yesterday's.

The 2017 CIGI-Ipsos Global Survey on Internet Security and Trust conducted by Ipsos (global research company), on behalf of the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the Internet Society reveals interesting findings on Internet security, user trust, and e-commerce behaviors.

The survey found stark differences between countries in terms of how users purchase goods online. While in China, India and Indonesia more than 86% of respondents expect to make mobile payments on their smartphone in the next year, only 30% in France, Germany and Japan expected to do so. The chart below shows the percentage of respondents likely to use mobile payments on their smartphone in the next year.
 

Source: Ipsos

Most G-8 countries mark near the bottom of this list, while emerging economies are near the top, with Indonesia leading at 55%. 

The survey also found that among those surveyed 49% said that lack of trust is the main reason they don’t shop online, suggesting that Internet users are increasingly concerned about their online privacy.

Blog post of the month: Urban Agriculture: Food, Jobs, and Lower Food Miles

Vivek Prasad's picture

Each month People, Spaces, Deliberation shares the blog post that generated the most interest and discussion. For May 2017, the featured blog post is "Urban Agriculture: Food, Jobs, and Lower Food Miles" by Vivek Prasad and Iftikhar Mostafa. 

Millions of urban dwellers cultivate vegetables and fruit trees in home gardens, both for their families and for sale. In Dakar, 7500 households “grow their own” in micro-gardens. In Malawi, 700 000 urban residents practice home gardening to meet their food needs and earn extra income. Low-income city gardeners in Zambia make US$230 a year from sales. In cities like Bamako, Accra and Kumasi, depending on crop and season, between 60 and 100 per cent of leafy vegetables consumed are produced within the respective cities with employment figures ranging from 1,000 to 15,000 jobs. Even megacities such as Shanghai, with about 15% population growth per year, one of the fastest growing cities on the planet, maintains its urban farming as an important part of its economic system.

 

Farm plots amidst apartment blocks in Chaozhou, China.

Around 15 percent of the world’s food is now grown in urban areas. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), urban farms already supply food to about 700 million residents of cities, representing about a quarter of the world’s urban population.    

Most cities in developing countries are facing challenges to create formal job opportunities. Urban agriculture can play an important role not only in enhancing food security but also in contributing to the eco-system - improved nutrition, poverty alleviation, local economic development and job creation as well as productive reuse of urban wastes.

Cuba has a system of urban organic farms called Organopónicos, which provides a fresh supply of organic food to the community, neighborhood improvement, beautification of urban areas, as well as employment opportunities. Cuba has more than 7,000 organopónicos, with some 200 gardens in Havana alone, covering more than 35,000 hectares of land, which supply its citizens with 90% of their fruit and vegetables. In Havana, 117,000 jobs in Havana and income for 150,000 low income families were directly provided by urban and peri-urban agriculture.

Quote of the week: Simon Armitage

Sina Odugbemi's picture

“If everybody’s reading poetry, it’s probably not doing its job. I don’t think it can or ever should be a frontline, popular art form. If it was, I wouldn’t be interested in it. The poetry I will always like sounds like a version of people talking, or singing, or praying. I’ve always thought of it as alternative, not a mainstream activity: a kind of refuge. It’s never been the new rock ‘n’ roll, or the new stand-up comedy or whatever else it’s supposed to have been. It’s still an art form of dissent – to the extent that it even refuses to get to the end of the page. It’s unbiddable!”

Simon Armitage is an English poet.
 

Do ‘media’ and civil society work together well to produce change? (Notes from a CIMA Seminar)

Sina Odugbemi's picture

In the untroubled, quotidian quietude of a cloudy morning in Washington DC on Tuesday this week, I walked from World Bank HQ on Pennsylvania Avenue to the offices of the Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) on F Street, hoping that the skies above would not open up uproariously and ruin the walk. Happily, they did not, and I made it to the plush offices of CIMA, a think tank within the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). I was there to attend a seminar on: Media and Civic Engagement: From Protests to Dialogue. I had been attracted by both the topic and the panelists: Naomi Hossain of the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), Sussex, England, Ivana Bajrovic of NED, Tara Susman-Pena of IREX, a major implementing agency in development, and the World Bank’s own Marco Larizza, one of the authors of the World Development Report 2017 on Governance and Law. The session was ably moderated by Nicholas Benequista of CIMA.

You will notice that I put the word media in quotation marks in the title of the piece.  That is because, as often happens in these events, the term at the center of the discussion turned out to be contested. What is media as a subject of intervention and support in international development? It became clear that as the discussion went on that there are those who still think of media in the sense of traditional print and broadcast entities. But there are those --and I am in that group --who think of media in terms of media systems, as in the media ecosystem in a particular country: the totality of the means of communication, how it is structured, owned and governed. There is a normative element here of course; you also want the media system to travel firmly in the direction of pluralism, independence and a capacity to serve as not only an inclusive public forum but as a truculent watchdog. Finally, at the seminar Susman-Pena of IREX was promoting the organization’s intriguing new formulation: Vibrant Information Systems.

Weekly wire: The global forum

Darejani Markozashvili's picture

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

Fragile States Index 2017 – Annual Report
Fund for Peace
The Fragile States Index, produced by The Fund for Peace, is a critical tool in highlighting not only the normal pressures that all states experience, but also in identifying when those pressures are pushing a state towards the brink of failure. By highlighting pertinent issues in weak and failing states, The Fragile States Index—and the social science framework and software application upon which it is built—makes political risk assessment and early warning of conflict accessible to policy-makers and the public at large.

Inclusive Growth Opportunities Index 2017
The Economist Intelligence Unit
Technological advances and globalization have led to major advances for many, but have seen others’ income and well-being stagnate or even decline. These disparities, both real and perceived—and, more broadly, how to make growth inclusive—are some of the greatest challenges facing the world today. Support for inclusive growth—that is, economic growth that is broad-based, sustainable, and provides opportunities for all to participate in its benefits—is gaining momentum. The hoped-for result: dramatic reduction of poverty and inequality. As the world seeks to address these challenges, there is significant potential for private sector actors to pursue unique opportunities that support inclusive growth.

Campaign Art: #GirlsCount

Darejani Markozashvili's picture

People, Spaces, Deliberation bloggers present exceptional campaign art from all over the world. These examples are meant to inspire.

Getting access to quality education is one of the most pressing challenges. Around 61 million primary school-age children remained out of school in 2014, even though globally the enrollment in primary education in developing countries reached 91 percent.
 


Source: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Institute for Statistics; WDI (SE.PRE.ENRRSE.PRM.ENRRSE.SEC.ENRRSE.TER.ENRR).

Although a global issue, it affects some groups more disproportionally than others. In many countries around the world girls are more likely to be denied education than boys. In order to raise awareness about the gender inequality and to urge global leaders to prioritize girls’ education, The One Campaign has launched a digital campaign #GirlsCount.

Why rethinking how we work on market systems and the private sector is really hard

Duncan Green's picture

Whatever your ideological biases about ‘the private sector’ (often weirdly conflated with transnational corporations in NGO-land), markets really matter to poor people (feeding families, earning a living, that kind of thing).  But ‘making markets work for the poor’ turns out to be really difficult and, just as with attempts to tackle corruption or improve institutions, there is a rethink going on in the aid business. Critics of conventional approaches (of which I am one) argue that systems thinking and complexity both explain why a lot of previous approaches haven’t worked that well, and suggest some new ways to tackle the problem.

To catch up on some new research on all this, I spent a fascinating afternoon at DFID last week. The ‘knowledge hub’ BEAM Exchange (they don’t like to be called a thinktank) presented a discussion paper and technical paper on ‘rethinking systemic change’, along with a warts-and-all case study from Palladium on the difficulty of trying to put this into practice in a large market development programme in Uganda. Some highlights.

The discussion and technical papers reviewed the lessons from the 3 elements of New Economic Thinking: evolutionary economics, new institutional economics and complex adaptive systems. Eric Beinhocker’s influence much in evidence. The papers draw some useful and pretty challenging conclusions:

‘The aim of development must be to enhance the evolutionary process in an economy and create access to this process for all levels of the society, both politically and economically.’

Satellites find "hidden forests" helping fight against global warming

Umberto Bacchi's picture
Vast tracts of land previously considered barren are actually covered by forests "hiding in plain sight", scientists said on Friday, a discovery that could help the fight against climate change and desertification.
 

An international team of researchers led by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) used new technology to analyse high-resolution images from Google Earth and map forest coverage in drylands worldwide.

They found that trees like baobab and acacia shade 467 million more hectares of land than previously thought - an area roughly equal to half the size of the United States - increasing estimates of global forest cover by at least nine percent.

The discovery allows for more accurate assessments of how much greenhouse gases are absorbed from the atmosphere by the world's vegetation, FAO experts said.

"Drylands absorb more carbon than we thought and they can actually help mitigate climate change," Eva Muller, director of FAO's forestry policy and resources division told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.
 

Weekly wire: The global forum

Darejani Markozashvili's picture

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

Report Card on International Cooperation
Council of Councils (CFR)
The Council of Councils (CoC) Report Card on International Cooperation evaluates multilateral efforts to address ten of the world’s most pressing challenges, from countering transnational terrorism to advancing global health. No country can confront these issues better on its own. Combating the threats, managing the risks, and exploiting the opportunities presented by globalization require international cooperation. To help policymakers around the world prioritize among these challenges, the CoC Report Card on International Cooperation surveyed the Council of Councils, a network of twenty-six foreign policy institutes around the world.

Global survey reveals the impact of declining trust in the internet on e-commerce
UNCTAD/Ipsos/Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI)
The survey, conducted by Ipsos and the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), in collaboration with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the Internet Society, comes as data breaches and the reported hacking of elections in several European countries continues to capture international headlines. The survey results suggest that the resulting impact on trust is hindering further development of the digital economy. Released today at the UNCTAD E-Commerce Week in Geneva, the 2017 CIGI-Ipsos Global Survey on Internet Security & Trust shows that among those worried about their privacy, the top sources of concern were cybercriminals (82%), Internet companies (74%) and governments (65%).

Media (R)evolutions: Virtual Reality – a future business model for newsrooms?

Darejani Markozashvili's picture
New developments and curiosities from a changing global media landscape: People, Spaces, Deliberation brings trends and events to your attention that illustrate that tomorrow's media environment will look very different from today's, and will have little resemblance to yesterday's.
 
Virtual reality (VR) in journalism is still in its early years of development. However, it has enormous potential to transform the way news content is made and consumed. Offering a new narrative form, VR has become increasingly popular in newsrooms. Is this the way of the future? Is virtual reality a feasible way to present news? Is this a lucrative stream of revenue for newsrooms?

VR is “an immersive media experience that replicates either a real or imagined environment and allows users to interact with this world in ways that feel as if they are there.” Immersive storytelling may come in a few forms such as “virtual reality,” “augmented reality” and “spherical/360-degree video.”  While early experimentation of VR in media focused on documentaries, by 2017 there is a larger variety of VR news content expanding to short features, foreign correspondence, political news coverage and others.

According to the recent report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, further success of VR in journalism is highly dependent not only on good/diverse content, but also on the adaptation of VR headsets by consumers to fully immerse themselves in the virtual reality experience. While the experimentation of virtual reality storytelling has been on the rise, the adaptation of VR headsets by consumers is still low. It is estimated that total high-end headset sales are around 2 million worldwide. Others predict that by 2020 up to 34 million headsets will be sold, with virtual reality market reaching $150 billion in sales

Building Capacity vs. Building Capability: Why Development Needs ‘Systems Thinking’

Roxanne Bauer's picture

This is the fifth post in a series of six in which Michael Woolcock, Lead Social Development Specialist at the World Bank and lecturer in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, discusses critical ideas within the field of Social Development.

Development is both an individual and collective endeavor. To be lifted out of poverty, people must attend school, stay healthy, live free of violence, and find rewarding employment— to name a few.  Yet these achievements rely on the systems that provide these services and opportunities— the educational system, the healthcare system, the police and civil servants… the list goes on.  

Systems, as many of us know, rely on a huge amount of human interaction. Every system relies on time being kept, progress and problems being reported, and rules being followed. This is why Michael Woolcock emphasizes that development could be more effective if it focused on building the capability of systems, not just the capacity of individuals. 

In his mind, capacity building involves strengthening the individual ability of people to function or perform tasks. It therefore, focuses on skills training and improving technical ability among individuals. But people change, they move around, they leave.  What is really needed for development to take hold are strong systems that can deliver services and weather storms. These complex systems underpin much of what people do and require learned collective skills, robust structures, rules that apply for everyone.
 

Video

Blockchain for Development: A Handy Bluffers’ Guide

Duncan Green's picture

Top tip: if you’re in a meeting discussing anything to do with finance, at some point look wise and say ‘you do realize, blockchain is likely to change everything.’ Of course, there is always a terrifying chance that someone will ask what you actually mean. Worry not, because IDS has produced a handy bluffer’s guide to help you respond. Blockchain for Development – Hope or Hype?, by Kevin Hernandez, is the latest in IDS’ ‘Rapid Response Briefings’ series, (which itself is a nice example of how research institutions can work better around critical junctures/windows of opportunity). It’s only four pages, but in case even that is too onerous, here are some excerpts (aka a bluffer’s guide to the bluffer’s guide).

‘What is blockchain technology?

At its heart, the blockchain is a ledger. It is a digital ledger of transactions that is distributed, verified and monitored by multiple sources simultaneously. It may be difficult to think of something as basic as the way we keep and maintain records as a technology, but this is because record-keeping is so ingrained in daily life, albeit often invisibly. The ubiquity of ledgers is in part the reason why blockchains are held as having so much disruptive potential. Traditionally, ledgers have enabled and facilitated vital functions, with the help of trusted third parties such as financial institutions and governments. These include: ensuring us of who owns what; validating transactions; or verifying that a given piece of information is true.

Quote of the week: Svetlana Alexievich

Sina Odugbemi's picture

“I love how humans talk…I love the lone human voice. It is my greatest love and passion.”
 
Svetlana Alexievich, an investigative journalist and non-fiction prose writer who was awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature "for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time." She is the first writer from Belarus to receive the award.
 

What our government clients think in fragile countries: A perspective from the Country Surveys

Sharon Felzer's picture
The World Bank Spring Meetings have just come to a close with much emphasis placed on the fragile states.  Sessions at the meetings focused on a range of relevant topics including “Financing for Peace” and “Supporting Private Enterprise in Conflict Affected Situations.”  The challenge that the Bank faces in the fragile states is considerable, with donor expectations high for the institution post IDA 18 replenishment.

The World Bank’s Country Survey Program has been surveying key influencers, in nearly all of its client countries systematically, since 2012, in order to assess and track their views over time. These respondents come from a range of stakeholder groups including government, media, private sector, civil society and academia.  The views of respondents from government (i.e., the offices of presidents/prime ministers/ministers/parliamentarians, employees of ministries, including PMUs, and other governmental bodies) are the focus of this blog (and how their views compare to those outside of government), because this group is one that Bank Group interacts with the most in ‘client’ mode.  In a sense, the Country Surveys are really ‘client satisfaction’ surveys when it comes to the thousands of government respondents who participate.


How do these government ‘clients’ think the Bank Group is faring in fragile and conflict states?  How do they perceive our engagement on the ground?  How can the Bank do better? Where is the perceived Bank Group niche, according to those who own the projects and programs that the Bank supports?

Weekly wire: The global forum

Darejani Markozashvili's picture

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

Protecting Journalism Sources in the Digital Age
UNESCO
While the rapidly emerging digital environment offers great opportunities for journalists to investigate and report information in the public interest, it also poses particular challenges regarding the privacy and safety of journalistic sources. These challenges include: mass surveillance as well as targeted surveillance, data retention, expanded and broad antiterrorism measures, and national security laws and over-reach in the application of these. All these can undermine the confidentiality protection of those who collaborate with journalists, and who are essential for revealing sensitive information in the public interest but who could expose themselves to serious risks and pressures. The effect is also to chill whistleblowing and thereby undermine public access to information and the democratic role of the media. In turn, this jeopardizes the sustainability of quality journalism.

Everything We Knew About Sweatshops Was Wrong
New York Times
In the 1990s, Americans learned more about the appalling conditions at the factories where our sneakers and T-shirts were made, and opposition to sweatshops surged. But some economists pushed back. For them, the wages and conditions in sweatshops might be appalling, but they are an improvement on people’s less visible rural poverty. As the economist Joan Robinson said, “The misery of being exploited by capitalists is nothing compared to the misery of not being exploited at all.” Textbook economics offers two reasons factory jobs can be “an escalator out of poverty.” First, a booming industrial sector should raise wages over time. Second, boom or not, factory jobs might be better than the alternatives: Unlike agriculture or informal market selling, these factories pay a steady wage, and if workers gained skills valued by the market, they might earn higher wages. Factories may also have incentives to pay more than agricultural or informal market work to persuade workers to stay and be productive. Expecting to prove the experts right, we went to Ethiopia and — working with the Innovations for Poverty Action and the Ethiopian Development Research Institute — performed the first randomized trial of industrial employment on workers. Little did we anticipate that everything we believed would turn out to be wrong.

Campaign Art: Disruptive technologies and development goals

Darejani Markozashvili's picture
People, Spaces, Deliberation bloggers present exceptional campaign art from all over the world. These examples are meant to inspire.

Disruptive technologies are redefining the way of life. Everyone is buzzing about drones, driverless cars, autopilot planes, robots, and supply chains, starting from the entertainment industry, to agriculture and food sector, to private sector, to humanitarian and development fields. Drones delivering food, water, or health supplies, using off-grid power, innovative mobile apps, and other technological developments are all very exciting and unknown at the same time.

How will drones impact the supply chains and service delivery in the future? What are the opportunities and risks associated with utilizing drones to deliver supplies? What is the role of technology in helping us reach Sustainable Development Goals? I can’t pretend I have answers to any of these questions, nor do I dare predict what our future may look like in 10,20,30 years. However, it sure is interesting to look at the recent technological developments and try to understand what their role may be in the future.  

That’s where the unlikely and innovative story of Zipline International Inc. and the Government of Rwanda comes in. Last fall the Government of Rwanda partnered with the California-based robotics company Zipline International Inc. and became the first country in the world to incorporate drone technology into its health care system by delivering blood and medical supplies to 21 hospitals across Rwanda’s Southern and Western provinces.
 
Delivering blood

Source: Zipline

How social media data can improve people’s lives - if used responsibly

Stefaan Verhulst's picture

Image 20170412 25862 wxzwfmIn January 2015, heavy rains triggered unprecedented floods in Malawi. Over the next five weeks, the floods displaced more than 230,000 people and damaged over 64,000 hectares of land.

Almost half the country was labelled a “disaster zone” by Malawi’s government. And as the humanitarian crisis unfolded, relief agencies, such as the Red Cross were faced with the daunting task of allocating aid and resources to places that were virtually unrecorded by the country’s mapping data, and thus rendered almost invisible.

Humanitarian workers struggled to navigate in many of the most affected areas, and one result was that aid did not necessarily reach those most in need.

To prevent similar knowledge gaps in the future, researchers, volunteers and humanitarian workers in Malawi and elsewhere, have turned to an unlikely partner: Facebook.

In 2016, as part of its “Missing Maps” project, the Red Cross accessed Facebook’s rich population density data to find and map people who were critically vulnerable to natural disasters and health emergencies, but remained unrecorded in existing maps.

10 reasons to apply for World Bank-Annenberg Summer Institute

Roxanne Bauer's picture
How can professionals looking to lead reform initiatives find the best way forward?

They can start at the World Bank-Annenberg 
Summer Institute in Reform Communication: Leadership, Strategy and Stakeholder Alignment, held at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, from June 5 - June 16, 2017.

The course is designed for leaders, strategists and advisors who want to strengthen the critical competencies necessary to support change agents and reform initiatives in developing countries.  

If this sounds like you, but you need a little nudge, check out these 10 reasons why attending the Summer Institute is a good decision.

1. Strengthen the critical competencies necessary to support change agents and reform leaders in developing countries: The program was developed on the premise that successful implementation of policy reforms depends significantly on non-technical, real-world issues that relate to people and politics. 

2. Develop the skills necessary to bring about real change: Finding a way to push a reform forward can sometimes be elusive. Political or sectoral change is usually needed.  The course will develop your skills to analyze policy options and effectively mobilize support.

Keeping Up with Sunstein!

Zeina Afif's picture

As an enthusiast and practitioner of behavioral science, I try to stay current with the latest research and papers from the field. I follow the work of behavioral economics superstars such as Dan Ariely, Daniel Kahneman, Cass Sunstein, Richard Thaler, Robert Cialdini, and others. One thing, though, keeps challenging me. Cass Sunstein is a publishing machine! As soon as I finish reading one of his books or papers, three or four more pop up! 

For those not familiar with Sunstein, he is a law and behavioral economics professor at Harvard who co-authored with Richard Thaler the best seller, “Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness”. Sunstein also served as the Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, where he applied behavioral economics in the design and implementation of regulations.
 

Since the publication of ‘Nudge’, an increasing number of countries and government institutions have started applying insights from behavioral science in designing and implementing new policies and programs. The World Bank World Development Report 2015: Mind, Society, and Behavior outlined the ways behavioral science can complement policy makers’ toolbox and the European Commission and OECD published recent reports highlighting the latest developments.  The number of books, research papers and articles on the topic have doubled since the book was originally published.

Weekly wire: The global forum

Darejani Markozashvili's picture

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

The World Press Freedom Index
Reporters Without Borders
The 2017 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) shows an increase in the number of countries where the media freedom situation is very grave and highlights the scale and variety of the obstacles to media freedom throughout the world.

The Mobile Economy 2017
GSMA
The GSMA Mobile Economy series provides the latest insights on the state of the mobile industry worldwide. Produced by our renowned in-house research team, GSMA Intelligence, these reports contain a range of technology, socio-economic and financial datasets, including forecasts out to 2020.

Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals 2017 : From World Development Indicators
World Bank
The Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals 2017 uses maps, charts and analysis to illustrate, trends, challenges and measurement issues related to each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The Atlas primarily draws on World Development Indicators (WDI) - the World Bank's compilation of internationally comparable statistics about global development and the quality of people's lives Given the breadth and scope of the SDGs, the editors have been selective, emphasizing issues considered important by experts in the World Bank's Global Practices and Cross Cutting Solution Areas. Nevertheless, The Atlas aims to reflect the breadth of the Goals themselves and presents national and regional trends and snapshots of progress towards the UN's seventeen Sustainable Development Goals: poverty, hunger, health, education, gender, water, energy, jobs, infrastructure, inequalities, cities, consumption, climate, oceans, the environment, peace, institutions, and partnerships.  
 

Development in the long-run: Historical context is messy and making sense of it can be messier

Roxanne Bauer's picture
This is the fourth post in a series of six in which Michael Woolcock, Lead Social Development Specialist at the World Bank and lecturer in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, discusses critical ideas within the field of Social Development.
 

Sometimes, things get worse before they get better. Students often struggle to learn new concepts but once they do, their ability to integrate those concepts and build on them accelerates.  Likewise, adults may experience the struggle of adopting new technology before realizing its benefits.  Organizations going through “change management” may similarly experience concern and confusion as departments realign before finding ways to adapt and re-build.  The idea that change experiences a dip at first— or at least that it feels that way— is known by social scientists and economists alike as the J-curve.

For Michael Woolcock, the J-curve is useful as it helps explain why historical progress doesn't always feel like progress. As he says, “what is going on now is always a product of the whole stream of things that have gone on in the past. Often, the institutional imperatives that we face are very present-tense oriented, and they’re often willfully indifferent to taking a serious look in the rear-view mirror…”  As individuals or collectively as societies, we often fail to reflect how our current experiences fit into a grander scheme. Michael asserts that how history is told, by whom it’s told and how people come to understand who they are as a people is a contested process. There is no singular view, and it is important to recognize that people have different interests in articulating a particular version of history and identity.

He adds that another key part to better understanding history and context is recognizing the non-linear nature of change processes, which involve many twists and turns in the storyline and require not only tweaks to the way power is managed but also to how expectations are formed and met. During this process of change, groups debate and forge new ideas of how to structure and think about society— and they do so in a messy and uncontrolled manner. This is why most contentious forms of political change follow a J-curve and take a long time to experience what would popularly be considered as positive outcomes. 

Development in the long-run: Historical context is messy and making sense of it can be messier

Media (R)evolutions: The video streaming boom continues

Darejani Markozashvili's picture
New developments and curiosities from a changing global media landscape: People, Spaces, Deliberation brings trends and events to your attention that illustrate that tomorrow's media environment will look very different from today's, and will have little resemblance to yesterday's.

It is estimated that online video will be responsible for much of the increase in Internet traffic, which is projected to grow by 260% until 2018. According to a report by Cisco, video traffic accounted for more than half of all mobile data traffic (60 percent of total mobile data traffic) in 2016. The same report also stated that “More than three-fourths of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video by 2021, with a 9-fold increase between 2016 and 2021, accounting for 78 percent of total mobile data traffic by the end of the forecast period.”
 
 

Note: Figures in parentheses refer to 2016 and 2021 traffic share.

Source: Cisco VNI Mobile, 2017

The Internet continues to have a huge impact on distribution and consumption of media, as global media consumption preferences are shifting toward digital formats. With increase in access and speed of Internet the upward trend of online video streaming services such as Netflix, N Play, Hulu, Apple TV, Roku, Boxes, and Amazon videos continues. Not only do streaming services offer ease of access to consumers with no storage requirements, they are also better suited to consumer demand and preference. The video streaming boom will likely continue as these companies expand globally and tap into new markets. Most recently Netflix announced that it will introduce original content in China via a licensing deal with iQiyi.com, one of the largest video streaming services in China.

Urban Agriculture: Food, Jobs, and Lower Food Miles

Vivek Prasad's picture

Millions of urban dwellers cultivate vegetables and fruit trees in home gardens, both for their families and for sale. In Dakar, 7500 households “grow their own” in micro-gardens. In Malawi, 700 000 urban residents practice home gardening to meet their food needs and earn extra income. Low-income city gardeners in Zambia make US$230 a year from sales. In cities like Bamako, Accra and Kumasi, depending on crop and season, between 60 and 100 per cent of leafy vegetables consumed are produced within the respective cities with employment figures ranging from 1,000 to 15,000 jobs. Even megacities such as Shanghai, with about 15% population growth per year, one of the fastest growing cities on the planet, maintains its urban farming as an important part of its economic system.

 

Farm plots amidst apartment blocks in Chaozhou, China.

Around 15 percent of the world’s food is now grown in urban areas. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), urban farms already supply food to about 700 million residents of cities, representing about a quarter of the world’s urban population.    

Most cities in developing countries are facing challenges to create formal job opportunities. Urban agriculture can play an important role not only in enhancing food security but also in contributing to the eco-system - improved nutrition, poverty alleviation, local economic development and job creation as well as productive reuse of urban wastes.

Cuba has a system of urban organic farms called Organopónicos, which provides a fresh supply of organic food to the community, neighborhood improvement, beautification of urban areas, as well as employment opportunities. Cuba has more than 7,000 organopónicos, with some 200 gardens in Havana alone, covering more than 35,000 hectares of land, which supply its citizens with 90% of their fruit and vegetables. In Havana, 117,000 jobs in Havana and income for 150,000 low income families were directly provided by urban and peri-urban agriculture.

The role of social media in development

Rosie Parkyn's picture

Why should development organisations care about social media? Rosie Parkyn looks at social media’s potential to enhance development outcomes in the Global South and how this stacks up against the evidence.  

At BBC Media Action, we take our content to people wherever they are, be that a refugee reception centre in Lebanon, a homestead in rural Ethiopia or their Facebook feed. Our work as a media organisation makes the biggest difference when we succeed in getting people talking, whether face-to-face or across virtual networks. Social media enables such discussion, broadening it beyond geographically defined communities and existing editorial agendas, and at a scale hitherto unimaginable.

As a development organisation that predominantly produces mass media outputs, social platforms allow us to see how people respond to our content and debate the issues we raise in our programmes. We can observe and interact with audiences in a way that isn’t possible with legacy media like newspapers and TV.

It’s true that many of our most important audiences in the Global South are yet to gain access to social media. Nonetheless, its role and influence within the information ecosystems we work in will only grow and its ability to support positive development outcomes demands exploration.

Quote of the week: Trevor Noah

Sina Odugbemi's picture

“I see most things in terms of finance and investment and marketing. In school, one of my favourite subjects was business economics. I had an amazing teacher who went beyond the syllabus. And so even now, in life, I read economics textbooks and I try to dabble in financial accounting, just to understand the world.”

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Trevor Noah – South African comedian, television and radio host.

Quoted in Financial Times Weekend print edition December 17, 2016 "Life" by Michael Skapinker