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Why isn’t the entire world developed? No question is more central to economic historians and scholars of development, with the elusive answer directly impacting billions of people living in underdevelopment and poverty.
Information and communication technologies have been rewiring the global economy for more than a quarter of a century. However more is known about tangible goods than about the growing intangible flows between nations. Multinationals have long allocated their financial transactions, leases, and intellectual property across economies based on a number of considerations, including to reduce their tax payments. These internal transfers are quite opaque. And two newer phenomena related to the digitalisation of economic activity are making it particularly difficult to analyse the modern global economy: contract manufacturing and cloud computing.
As the United Nations General Assembly meets this week, global leaders will be taking stock of their countries’ progress towards the SDGs and mapping out where they still have to go. Our research has shown that, together, financial accounts, ID, and mobile phones can facilitate a wide variety of cross-cutting programs to meet the SDGs, which can be cost-effective at scale.
Ethiopia has its sights set on becoming Africa’s next tech hub, rivalling Nairobi, Lagos, and Cape Town. But in its quest for digital supremacy, Ethiopia will need to take steps to create an enabling environment for the digital startup sector, which across Africa is driven in large part by fintech.
India is now recognized as a leader in digital government service delivery, enabled by the Aadhaar unique identification platform which has registered the equivalent of almost 15 percent of the world’s population. Many service delivery programs have been deployed at the state level, providing a rich comparative context. Some states have struggled to move towards effective and inclusive digitized programs while others have seemingly achieved a sophistication that is on par with, or surpasses, many developed countries’ capacities.
For all its faults, Facebook does not lack ambition. The company’s announcement last week that it, along with other members of the newly-formed Libra Association, intends to create a new global digital currency is big news for global finance and the future of money.
In a new CGD working paper, we try to measure the impact of one of the most significant open contracting reforms worldwide, which took place in Ukraine in the last few years. Since 2015, the country has overhauled its procurement system, including the introduction of an e-procurement platform called ProZorro.
Last week, the Trump administration’s move to limit Huawei’s access to American components brought the waves of the trade war ashore in ways that were perceptible to the most casual African observer of the China-Africa relationship.
If you work in or on international development, the last time you heard, saw, thought, or said the word “accountability” was probably this week—maybe even today. Lant Pritchett and I argue in our new paper that accountability is, indeed, central to high-performing governance and welfare-enhancing service provision (education, health, etc.) systems.