The Great Debate UK

A local approach to building resilience


–Nicholas Rutherford is the Director of AidEx. The opinions expressed are his own.–

South-South Cooperation is currently and correctly being cited as a route to cutting poverty and increasing food security in the developing world, with recent plaudits including Ban Ki-moon and Amina Mohamed. The premise is that two or more developing countries achieve goals through mutual cooperation and exchanges of knowledge, skills and resources.

It’s an argument that has long had currency within the development community. But the idea has started to capture the attention of the humanitarian world as more and more governments, NGOs and UN agencies realise the importance of long term planning and local self-sufficiency when it comes to responding to emergencies in developing countries.

Traditionally, the humanitarian model followed a familiar pattern whereby a disaster would strike and the international community would arrive, often bringing everything they needed – including tents, food and medicine – with them. This kind of approach would last throughout the emergency phase and into the weeks and months of the reconstruction period. And, while it was well intentioned and often practical, it did not always sufficiently address the role the local community could play – either as interested parties who could be active in preparing for a flood or drought, or as potential suppliers of food once that crisis had actually hit.

from Global News Journal:

YOUR TURN TO ASK: Karel De Gucht, EU humanitarian aid chief

** This post is from Alertnet, the Thomson Reuters Foundation's global  humanitarian news Web site.**

Earthquakes, floods, the global recession and recurrent famines have been keeping aid professionals across the world as busy as ever. Such crises hit poor countries the hardest, focusing increasing attention on preventing and preparing for disasters rather than dealing with their devastating aftermath.

How the world’s poor live on $2 a day


Jonathan MorduchJonathan Morduch is Professor of Public Policy and Economics at the Wagner School of Public Service of New York University and managing director of the Financial Access Initiative. He is the co-author, with Daryl Collins, Stuart Rutherford and Orlanda Ruthven of Portfolios of the Poor: How the World’s Poor Live on $2 a Day (Princeton University Press, 2009).

In New York City, $2 is what you spend for a ticket on the subway or to buy a coffee. But for billions of people around the world, $2 or less is the average amount of money you have to put food on the table every day, pay medical bills, keep children in school, and seize business opportunities. It seems impossible.

from The Great Debate:

Africa and the global economic crisis

- Jorge Maia is head of Research and Information for Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa, established in 1940 to promote economic growth and industrial development. The opinions expressed are his own -

Serious shockwaves are hitting Africa's shores as the global economic crisis unfolds.

from Africa News blog:

Time to stop aid for Africa? An argument against

Earlier this month, Zambian economist Dambisa Moyo argued that Africa needs Western countries to cut long term aid that has brought dependency, distorted economies and fuelled bureaucracy and corruption. The comments on the blog posting suggested that many readers agreed. In a response, Savio Carvalho, Uganda country director for aid agency Oxfam GB, says that aid can help the continent escape poverty - if done in the right way:

In early January, I travelled to war-ravaged northern Uganda to a dusty village in Pobura and Kal parish in Kitgum District. We were there to see the completion of a 16km dirt road constructed by the community with support from Oxfam under an EU-funded programme.

from Africa News blog:

Time to stop aid for Africa?

Far from being all bad news for Africa, the global financial crisis is a chance to break a dependence on development aid that has kept it in poverty, argues Zambian economist Dambisa Moyo, who has just published a new book “Dead Aid”.

Moyo’s book, her first, comes out at a time when Western campaigners, financial institutions and some African governments have been warning of the danger posed to Africa by the crisis and calling for more money from developed countries as a result. The former World Bank and Goldman Sachs economist spoke to Reuters in London.

from The Great Debate:

Davos debate: What happens to development and sustainability amid crisis?

davos-delegatesDavos leaders have traditionally looked to the long term and have largely been keen on helping all nations of the world to benefit from economic development. But with politicians and businesses tied up with short term concerns about the economic crisis there's a risk at least that efforts to spread development and to ward against the threat of climate change may go on hold, at least for a time. Reuters News asked delegates at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting to share their thoughts on whether we should be concerned about development and sustainability slipping down the global agenda.

from Africa News blog:

Selling Africa by the pound

The announcement by a U.S. investor that he has a deal to lease a swathe of South Sudan for farmland has again focused attention on foreigners trying to snap up African agricultural land.

A few months ago, South Korea’s Daweoo Logistics said it had secured rights to plant corn and palm oil in an even bigger patch of Madagascar - although local authorities said the deal was not done yet. Investors from Asia and the Gulf are looking elsewhere in Africa too.