Some good news from Africa: Burkina Faso's farming miracle

October 26, 2010

Book Review: Small Acts of Resistance

October 26, 2010

Whose bottom billion?; another disease eradicated; the world's richest women; what price aid?; crazy food prices; Africa from the outside and death by consultation: links I liked

October 26, 2010
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“My bottom billion is better than your bottom billion”: Andy Sumner v Paul Collier on an IDS podcast (and Paul comes out swinging – Collier and Sumnerthese academics take no prisoners). Further briefings on Andy’s boat-rocking Bottom Billion paper (previously reviewed on this blog) here. And if you’re in central London at 5pm tomorrow, why not drop in to the House of Commons to hear Andy, me and others discuss ‘Beyond the MDG Summit: What Next for Global Poverty Reduction?

Good news, anyone? Scientists have eradicated a killer virus in the wild, only the second time such a feat has been achieved in human history. Rinderpest, a virus that causes devastating cattle plague, has been wiped out, the first time such an announcement has been made since the end of smallpox more than 30 years ago.

Over half the world’s richest women are Chinese [h/t Penny Fowler]

So Britain’s aid budget has, miraculously, survived the cuts in last week’s Comprehensive Spending Review, but at what long-term cost in terms of aid quality (e.g. halving DFID’s staff), asks the LSE’s Nilima Gulrajani

Blattman Africa mapSix examples of crazy food price swings, from Korean cabbage to Russian Bread,

Chris Blattman posts this great mental map of Africa – anyone got versions from the other continents?

So you’re in an interminable meeting, bored and on-line.  Why not take part in an online discussion? Death by consultation is a constant threat for outnumbered NGO policy wonks. Here’s a couple of options:

USAID is having an online forum on broad-based growth. Register here

And DFID’s Private Sector development people are at it too, saying they are ‘planning to undertake a major research programme on private sector development (PSD) in low-income and fragile countries with the aim of improving policies to deliver economic growth and poverty reduction.’ Sign up for the six week consultation.


  1. Duncan listening to Andy Sumner v Paul Collier it just seemed to me like two guys arguing over how best to divide a cake while the ship they are on was sinking. In a context of Climate Change and Peak Resource business as usual ideas of how best to allocate aid resources or growing people out of poverty, misses the point entirely. Even if you forget Climate Change we don’t have 3-4 extra Earths to grow the poor in middle or lower income countries out of poverty.

    So is anyone taking resource issues onboard?

  2. Would have liked to be at the Commons tomorrow for what sounds like a very interesting discussion. Do blog about it please.

    Unfortunately can’t get much beyond strikes, pensions and fuel shortages here in France!

  3. The map reminded me of being asked by an earnest Polish friend (in the early 90s): ‘What people in England thought about Poland?’ To which I rather cruelly replied: ‘Em…Pope, is n’t he Polish and did n’t they start the war’ to which I suppose we could now add ‘plumbers’!!!

    I am fascinated by the Reagan map precisely because the world is radically different: the number of godless communists have shrunk, China’s position radically shifted and the ME is no longer simply our oil but full of godly terrorists (in this warped view).

    I fear only the level of ignorance has remained constant!

  4. Sumner’s paper and your Oct. 6 review are eye-opening. If, as you suggest, middle-income country poverty persists as a “result of internal inequality” demanding solution via “internal redistribution,” does the parallel to wealth inequality in rich countries bear significance?

    In other words, to what extent do rising economic powers embrace the market ideology recently ascendant in the rich world? If substantially, then those middle-income country citizens who seek “internal redistribution” as a means of combating “internal inequality” will more and more find themselves swimming upstream, as have rich world residents with the same goal.

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