27 May 2014
By Antonio Savoia.
This was the key question that emerged at the World Press Freedom Day 2014 conference held on 5-6 May in Paris at the UNESCO headquarters. Not the usual academic folk I am used to mingling with, but the theme was so interesting that even an economist would join in. The theme was ‘media freedom and the post-2015 development framework’, with the view of feeding into UN process that will establish the new set of development goals. The UN High Level panel report, published last year, suggested creating a goal on good government and effective institutions. A component of it, the panel recommended, should be a target around ensuring ‘people enjoy freedom of speech, association, peaceful protest and access to independent media and information’.
23 May 2014
By Kate Pruce.
Current donor approaches to ‘successful transition’ in post-conflict states focus on institutional reforms, with the aim of creating an underlying settlement leading to strengthened security and democracy. However, this narrative simplicity disappears in any attempt to map this kind of sequence to a particular case. David Craig, Associate Professor at the University of Otago, and Doug Porter, Adjunct Professor at the Australian National University, have conducted political and institutional analyses of the contrasting cases of Cambodia and the Solomon Islands to explore the dynamics of post-conflict arrangements in reality. They engage closely with ESID’s language, which contributes to the framing of the current debates on political settlements.
15 May 2014.
By Indrajit Roy.
Political pundits have described the just-concluded elections in India as ‘transformational’. However, none of the issues highlighted by the national media, the intelligentsia and the ‘mainstream’ political parties – development, secularism, corruption – are really novel. Most of them have nothing to say about widening inequalities, sharpened by discrimination based on caste, ethnicity and religion, and the related questions of social justice. Their deafening silence makes all talk of ‘transformational politics’ sound like empty rhetoric.
Malawi goes to the polls on 20 May. We spoke to ESID researcher and economist Jonathan Said to get a sense of the issues ahead of the election. Said has been working in Malawi as an economist for three years.
Malawi has recently been rocked by what’s termed “cashgate” – the biggest financial scandal in the country’s history. At the centre of the “cashgate” scandal is a computer-based financial information storage system and some government officials who have allegedly been exploiting a loophole in the system to divert millions from government coffers.
13 May 2014.
By Diana Mitlin.
After three-and-a-half days of sitting in central Cape Town, what have I learnt about a core underpinning assumption of ESID, i.e. that academics can contribute to inclusive development?
It is relatively easy to understand what academics have to offer to “effective states”. Strategies to achieve economic growth, ways of improving bureaucratic performance, reviews of the benefits and burdens of regulation, new ways of collecting information about consumer experiences, analyses of ineffective programmes… All of these are themes on which academic research studies may offer insights and advice that governments are likely to welcome.
But policy and programming objectives related to inclusive development are a different ballgame. Inclusive development is going to require large-scale redistribution, especially in countries in which significant proportions of the population remain in acute poverty. Inclusive development requires a shift from interventions to address the needs of a selective (and generally small) part of the population to more universal considerations and larger-scale programming. Inclusive development also requires engaging with the very groups that tend to be excluded, and excluded in numbers, at least some of whom will be seen as the “un-deserving poor”.