Yesterday morning Bill Gates was a guest on BBC Radio 4's 'Saturday Live' programme. He was talking, mainly, about the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the work that it does, the issues it faces in trying to target the most useful aid, the effectiveness of different types of aid and of aid in different continents, corruption... in other words, plenty of real work evidence of relevant topics for students preparing for unit 4 this week, especially for those who are taking Edexcel's paper which has such a heavy emphasis on Growth and Development. I strongly recommend listening to the interview via this link - 19 minutes really well spent!
In May 2013, the Brazilian government announced that it plans to cancel or restructure almost $900m in debt owed by African countries. The move is designed mainly to expand Brazil's economic ties with Africa and fast forward the growth of trade and investment between emerging countries and regions. In the aftermath of this move, Brazil’s future aid assistance is likely to target infrastructure, agriculture and social programmes. Among the 12 countries set to benefit are Tanzania, oil-producing Republic of Congo and copper-rich Zambia. The Southern Silk Road continues to develop as new models of aid and trade are forged between the emerging fast growing countries of the world.
The BBC's Chief Business Correspondent Linda Yueh @lindayueh has new page on developments in global economy http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/correspondents/lindayueh/ - definitely one for students and teachers to follow. The opening article focuses on a concept that we have been pushing in our own macro coverage in recent times, namely the emergence of a multi-polar world economy with growth coming from a bigger number of countries / regions and less dependent on the advanced western economies. Read the article here
The latest edition of African Pulse published by the World Bank focuses on growth and development prospects in Sub-Saharan Africa and the overall sentiment is that the region is set to continue with a strong growth performance.read more...»
The annual NORFACE migration conference at University College London this week has generated plenty of new research papers on the economics of international migration, a topic that of growing significance for students of globalisation, competitiveness, innovation and growth. Some of the key findings are summarised below together with external links to relevant articles and news reportsread more...»
New figures from the OECD find that overseas development aid fell by 4% in real terms in 2012, following a 2% fall in 2011. Aid payments have dropped in large party because many governments of developed countries are embroiled in fiscal austerity and choosing to cut aid as a result. The OECD data shows too that there is also a shift in aid allocations away from the poorest countries and towards middle-income countries.
What if Africa were to become the hub for global science? This is a deeply optimistic piece which stresses the low base of higher education opportunities in Africa at the moment but which reveals the potential of cross country collaboration and the gains that will come from reversing the brain drain. A great example to use when discussing human capital and long-term development. More on the Square Kilometre Array
For every $120 million seized by pirates operating off the coast of Somalia, the cost to the shipping industry and their customers is as high as $3.3 billion, according to research by Tim Besley, Thiemo Fetzer and Hannes Mueller, to be presented at the Royal Economic Society’s 2013 annual conference. This money is enough to employ well over a million Somalis for a whole year.
The study looks at the effect of pirate attacks on shipping costs, focusing on shipping routes whose shortest path takes them through regions where pirates are known to operate. It finds that the increase in attacks in 2008 led to an increase in shipping costs of around 8%. These extra costs are mostly due to the increased security measures that are needed to repel pirate attacks and risk premiums paid to crew and insurance.
A brief overview of economic developments in Angola, one of the fastest growing countries in the world - contains updated links to study resources on Angola.
Revision blog on the economics of foreign direct investment in Africa with a special focus on investment from China and other BRIC countriesread more...»
Attention is often focused on the tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade and in particular, the extent to which trade from developing countries to advanced high-income nations is influenced by import taxes. Average tariff rates have come down to historic lows in recent years although non-tariff barriers proliferate.
New research from a group of European economists finds that trade costs - a concept that captures the broader expenses of getting goods and services across borders into international markets - are much higher than tariffs. And for developing countries these costs have not fallen to the same extent as richer countries.read more...»
Schools and College up and down the country are preparing for all sorts of different activities for the Comic Relief Red Nose Day this Friday (15th March). Are you doing anything with your class?
Here is a ready-made Powerpoint game to run for approximately 20 to 25 minutes in your class this Friday. Whilst being a fun, team-based challenge, the multi-choice questions are all about facts and figures related to the causes that Comic Relief are attempting to support. As such, the information contained within the game should prove a useful stimulus for discussion within your class about the causes of poverty in Africa, as well as alcohol-abuse and other social issues within the UK. It could also prove a useful tool with discussing why these problems exist and what government solutions could be implemented (as well as asking why they haven't already been put in place!).
Click on this link to go to the Powerpoint file that contains the game.read more...»
Mark Austen writes on this essay title: Evaluate the impact that the micro-finance and Fair
Trade movements can have in supporting development in some of the world’s
Although many of the broad approaches to economic growth and development are “top-down” in nature – for example an ambitious government strategy to increase productivity or attract foreign direct investment projects – in recent years there has been huge interest in a bottom-up or grassroots approach to enterprise and innovation supported by the micro-finance industry. The world’s poor are exposed to irregular income flows, and their needs are irregular too – ranging from unforeseen medical bills to having to pay more when food prices rise unexpectedly.
Grabs have become an important and controversial issue
in development economics in recent years.
Many of the world’s poorest countries are saddled with high levels of external debt owed to other governments, institutions such as the IMF and foreign companies and individuals.
There is increasing interest in the use of
"smart aid" - aid
programmes that use experimentation and focus on bottom-up projects in order to increase the effectiveness of each £
or $ given in aid
Does aid help or hinder economic growth and development? This is the subject of a fierce debate in the development economics literature
The Fair Trade movement now covers over 650 producer organisations in more than 60 countries
The middle income trap exists for some countries that make significant progress in reducing extreme poverty and experience structural change and growth but then find it difficult to make the climb from being a middle-income country to achieve high-income fully-developed status. GDP growth rates often slow down and a country can struggle to build and maintain international competitiveness. Research from the World Bank finds that only 13 of the 101 countries deemed to be middle-income countries in 1960 had achieved high-income levels in 2011. Different studies find different thresholds for where growth tapers off, ranging from $8,500 to $18,500 at 2010 prices, adjusted for purchasing power parity.
Some links here for students and teachers who look at the Kenyan economy as part of their growth and development studies. Growth prospects look positive but even a growth rate of 4% is insufficient to bring about an economic transformation and tackle very high rates of youth unemployment and under-employment.read more...»
Hopefully this does what it says on the tin!read more...»
This short report from Al Jazeerah news looks at the rise of e-cash systems (electronic money) as a way for aid agencies to transfer cash to vulnerable people rather than traditional sacks of food aid. The Center for Global Development has been at the forefront of establishing cash on delivery aid - more details hereread more...»
Here is a series of links to recently available resources on international financial flows and their impact on growth and developmentread more...»
I am linking here to a lecture given recently at the Royal Society of Engineering by Tom Standage from the Economist.read more...»
In many countries, resource nationalism has become more frequent in recent years, indeed it has been one of the key stories in 2012 as several countries have introduced new resource taxes, natural resource licence reviews and expropriation of assets from private sector companies. This Financial Times news video looks at the trends including resource nationalism within countries as provinces and regions look to exert great control on the revenues from oil, gas and mining projects.
See also: Economist: Foreigners beware - oil and mining in Indonesia
Resource insecurity: New report from Chatham House
Interactive resource: New political economy of natural resourcesread more...»
Liberia has an apparently stable government, plenty of aid available, and the debt hanging over the country has been written off.
And yet, as Evan Davis explains in this valuable article, for many people in Liberia, conditions are still medieval.
Regular listeners to Radio 4's 'Today' programme will know that they have run a series of reports about Liberia. It's economy is in ruins, after years of civil war. That conflict was partly funded by exports of timber and diamonds, and the UN placed bans on those exports. However, those bans were lifted in 2006 and 2007 respectively, so why does Liberia still record unemployment of 80%?
Evan explores the multiple causes of the problems which hold the country back, and condemn it to a catch-22 in which investment cannot easily occur. It should be highly attractive as a destination for inward investment, with wage
rates of about $5 a day in the formal sector of the economy (about a fifth of those in the most industrial parts of
China). But for industrial development, as the article points out "...you first need electricity; for electricity, you need some trained
workers; for trained workers, you need some schools; for schools you
need some money; for money, you need some industry."
There are other examples of the practical issues which individually hold back progress, and which combine to slow it to a barely perceptible crawl. The article provides a superb example of how to analyse the factors that might hold back development, and is a must-read for unit 4 students over Christmas!
At our Teaching the Global Economy at the RSA (London) in November 2012, the distinguished development economist Professor Paul Collier spoke on some of the leading development issues of the moment. A-level student Mark Austen was there to scribe some notes on the talk and the subsequent Q&A discussion. Here are his notes together with some connecting links and other resources. We hope that you find them useful.read more...»
The “tragedy of the commons” is a metaphor used to illustrate the potential conflict between individual self-interests of producers and consumers and the common or public good.
In the original version of the term, the example is used of a stock of common grazing land used by all livestock farmers in a small village. Each farmer keeps adding more livestock to graze on the Commons, because the marginal cost of doing so is zero. But because the commonly own resource is then over-used or over-exploited, the result is a depletion of the soil and a fall in the value of the resource for all users. The resource may become irretrievably damaged.
The cause of any tragedy of the commons is that when individuals use a public good, they do not bear the entire social cost of their actions. If each seeks to maximize individual benefit, he ignores the external costs borne by others.read more...»
A selection of visualisations from the MIT Media Lab Observatory of Economic Complexity - these cover changes in export patterns for a small cluster of developing and developed countries. What are the most notable and perhaps significant changes that students can identify?read more...»