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This is a joint post with Kaci Farrell.
Later this month, world leaders will meet at the UN in New York City to discuss accomplishments and challenges to meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the 2015 target. While their discussions will cover a range of topics and strategies, summit participants should remember the importance of trade as a development tool.
Trade preference programs can encourage investment, promote prosperity and ultimately reduce poverty in the world’s least developed countries.
This is a joint posting with Rebecca Schutte.
Last week’s deadly unrest in Mozambique became a global news story, as clashes between security forces and people protesting rising food prices in the capital, Maputo, left at least ten people dead and more than 400 people injured. CGD Non-Resident Fellow Chris Blattman explained his skepticism about such riots, questioning why many were blaming climate change and higher international grain prices for domestic unrest. Rather, he pointed to poor domestic policies and alarmist journalism and “yearned for real information” about the root causes of the riots this weeks. Having recently returned from Mozambique, here are some additional insights on the food riots.
This is a joint posting with Kristy Bohling.
I recently received a text message from my friend Karim in Niger, asking “Keski ce passe?” (What’s happening?). Those of you who know French might notice his text is an abbreviation of the much longer expression for “Qu’est-ce qui se passe”, which is formal and proper but a bit long when you only have 140 characters. Such abbreviations in French, English and other languages have caused teachers and parents alike to blame texting for corrupting our language and “degrading [the] spelling of [our] youth.” Existing studies in the UK and elsewhere have debunked these claims, and, the National Adult Literacy Database called on people to celebrate International Literacy Day by “reading or writing, tweeting or texting.” In fact, mobile phones and texting might be a new tool in the arsenal against illiteracy: our new research in Niger suggests that mobile phones could promote literacy and numeracy skills in sub-Saharan Africa.
The ever-vigilant Chris Blattman drew attention yesterday to Ethiopia’s currency devaluation. What was surprising and interesting about this move is that the devaluation was not undertaken under the usual duress of “macroeconomic adjustment.” Typically, in Africa, macroeconomic and foreign exchange crises have been the trigger for devaluation.
This is a joint post with Kaci Farrell.
It is time to select our 2010 Commitment to Development Award recipient. This year, we’re asking you—our readers, friends and colleagues—to suggest worthy candidates.
The cellar-door flew open with a booming sound, and then he heard the noise much louder, on the floors below; then coming up the stairs; then coming straight towards his door.
"It's humbug still!" said Scrooge. "I won't believe it."
His color changed though, when, without a pause, it came on through the heavy door, and passed into the room before his eyes.
-Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
It was gratifying to see no less of a distinguished trio than Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, USAID administrator Rajiv Shah and George Soros acknowledge this week the connection between climate change and natural disasters such as the current devastating flood in Pakistan.
The decision by Russia to respond to scorching heat and wildfires by restricting wheat exports is threatening to trigger a panic similar to what sent food prices soaring in the first half of 2008. Commodity experts argue that supplies are sufficient to meet needs, thanks to bumper crops and increased stocks in the U.S.
Good question as the world prepares for the September summit to assess progress. But this is a slightly odd debate here at The Africa Report. The UN Millennium Promise’s Charles Abugre Akelyira seems to think the MDGs are a rejection of economic policy reform: