Nigeria has a vibrant and growing tech sector. In a survey of tech firms conducted in 2018, we find that most firms start small but grow quickly, more than doubling their size in the few years since the start of operations. Many are addressing inefficiencies in distribution of goods and services. But firms are still hampered by the business environment, notably unreliable electricity and lack of access to credit. Most suffer significant power outages, forcing them to purchase generators. Few firms have access to financial institutions or venture capitalists, relying instead on family and professional networks. Finally, tech firms employ very few women. While the Nigerian government has made the tech sector a priority, it needs to do more to improve the basics of the business environment. The government and the private sector must also take steps to increase the participation of women in the tech sector.
Global development is increasingly intertwined with state fragility. It's time for donors to rethink how their engagement can better help countries address the underlying causes of fragility.
In November 2015, CGD published the report Unintended Consequences of Anti–Money Laundering Policies for Poor Countries, which warned that efforts to curb illicit finance were producing significant adverse side effects. This new report takes stock of what has been accomplished as well as what remains to be done.
Even while policy solutions to address de-risking are being implemented, new technologies have emerged to address de-risking by increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of AML/CFT compliance by financial institutions.
Money laundering, terrorism financing and sanctions violations by individuals, banks and other financial entities are serious offenses with significant negative consequences for rich and poor countries alike. Governments have taken important steps to address these offenses. Efforts by international organizations, the US, UK and others to combat money laundering and curb illicit financial flows are a necessary step to increase the safety of the financial system and improve security, both domestically and around the world. But the policies that have been put in place to counter financial crimes may also have unintentional and costly consequences, in particular for people in poor countries. Those most affected are likely to include the families of migrant workers, small businesses that need to access working capital or trade finance, and recipients of life-saving aid in active-conflict, post-conflict or post-disaster situations. And sometimes, current policies may be self-defeating to the extent that they reduce the transparency of financial flows.
Food security has arisen again on the development agenda. High and volatile food prices took a toll in 2007–08, and in many low-income countries agricultural yields have risen little, if at all, in the last decade. Moreover, food production in these poor countries is especially vulnerable to climate change. Meeting this demand is a global challenge. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is expected to lead the way in meeting this challenge and, with the arrival in 2012 of the first new director-general in 18 years, it has an opening to restructure itself to do so.
International corporations interested in joining the fight against global poverty can choose from a wide range of options, according to a new CGD report released last week. The report, Joining the Fight Against Global Poverty: A Menu for Corporate Engagement, suggests six approaches for corporations to consider. Based on interviews with senior executives at 15 firms with global reach, it includes stories about what has worked (and what hasn't) and describes some of the advantages that companies have found in working for development.