Paul Collier is Professor of Economics at Oxford University and Director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies.
In The Bottom Billion, Paul Collier points out that poverty is falling quite rapidly for about eighty percent of the world. He argues that the real crisis lies in a group of 58 failing states, home to the bottom billion, whose problems defy traditional approaches to alleviating poverty. He argues that these countries are the scene of a struggle between reformers and corrupt leaders. Collier analyzes the causes of failure, pointing to a set of traps that snare these countries, including civil war, a dependence on the extraction and export of natural resources, and bad governance. He argues that our standard solutions do not work against these traps: aid is often ineffective, and globalization can actually make matters worse, driving development to more stable nations. The Bottom Billion, was the winner of the 2008 Lionel Gelber Prize for the world’s best book on international affairs, and the 2008 Gold Medal Winner of the Arthur Ross Book Award, given by the Council on Foreign Relations.
In his new book, Wars, Guns and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places, Paul Collier investigates the violence and poverty in the countries at the bottom of the world economy that are home to a billion people. He argues that pressures to introduce partial democratic reforms may have been counterproductive and that this may have increased the risk of political violence. He argues for 3 key policy measures that the rich world should implement to reverse the declining fortunes of these countries.
Are donors living up to their promises? Eckhard Deutscher (Chair of the Development Assistance Committee) and Richard Carey (Director of the Development Cooperation Directorate of the OECD) talk about the 2009 Development Cooperation Report, progress towards increasing aid and the way it is delivered, and the work of the DAC.
Jonathan Glennie talks about his new book, The Trouble With Aid.
Jonathan Glennie is the Christian Aid country representative in Bogota, Colombia, and he campaigned as part of Make Poverty History. His new book, The Trouble With Aid, argues that when you take into account all the effects that aid has, it can do more harm than good. In this episode of Development Drums, Jonathan explains why he thinks that many countries should make it a priority to reduce their dependence on aid.
The food crisis and international tax reform, discussed by Alex Cobham (Christian Aid) and Stephen Devereux (Institute for Development Studies).
Running time: 52 minutes. File size: 20Mb.
In this episode of Development Drums, we discuss the continuing food crisis. What are the causes, and are we doing enough to tackle it? We discuss policies to increase the incomes of farmers, and the impact of social transfer programmes. We also look ahead to the forthcoming conference in Doha to discuss financing for development, particularly at proposals to reform the international tax rules so that developing countries get paid more tax.
And we mourn the passing of Miriam Makeba.
What will the US elections means for US foreign assistance? Guests Ruth Levine (Center for Global Development), Paul O’Brien (Oxfam America) discuss the implications for US foreign assistance of the US elections. Dana Hovig (Marie Stopes International) explains the US global gag rule.
Running time: 51 minutes. File size: 24 Mb
In this episode of Development Drums, we look at what President-Elect Obama and an increased Democrat majority in Congress might mean for US foreign assistance to developing countries. Will the new administration implement administrative and legal reforms that enables US aid to be more effective? Will the administration be able to double foreign assistance as they pledged during the campaign? Who might be put in charge of an “elevated” agency to oversee aid? The panel is cautiously optimistic that change will come, but it will be incremental.
Dana Hovig explains the Mexico City Policy, known as the Global Gag Rule. Fist implemented by Ronald Reagan, it was overturned by Bill Clinton on his first day in office, and reinstated by George W. Bush on his first day. But the panel does not expect President Obama to tackle this on his first day.
- Modernising Foreign Assistance Network
- Center for Global Development
- OxfamAmerica – aid reform
- Mexico City Policy (Global Gag Rule)
- Marie Stopes International
- Obama-Biden Foreign Policy
Declaration of interest: my partner works for Marie Stopes International.
Backgrounder on Eastern Congo with Patrick Smith.
In this additional episode of Development Drums, Patrick Smith, editor of Africa Confidential, explains what is happening in the Eastern Congo.
Running time: 19 min 43 seconds; File size 7 Mb.
With Shanta Devarajan and Sheila Page. Discussion of the impact of the economic crisis on developing countries, the food crisis, moves towards a new Free Trade Area for Africa, and the Mo Ibrahim Prize for good governance.
Running time: 36 min 38 secs; File size: 15Mb
Shantayanan Devarajan is the Chief Economist of the World Bank’s Africa Region. Since joining the World Bank in 1991, he has been a Principal Economist and Research Manager for Public Economics in the Development Research Group, and the Chief Economist of the Human Development Network, and of the South Asia Region. Shanta maintains the Africa Can blog.
Sheila Page is a specialist in trade at the Overseas Development Institue.
Links to topics discussed
The impact of the economic crisis on developing countries
- Will the financial crisis reduce foreign aid? | Shanta’s Blog: Africa Can
- Economic crisis threatens to destabilize developing countries – Los Angeles Times
- FT.com / Comment & analysis / Comment – The best recipe for avoiding a global recession
The Mo Ibrahim Prize for African Governance
- The Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership
- Chris Blattman’s Blog: No to Mo money
- Botswana’s Ex-President Wins Leadership Prize – NYTimes.com
- Festus Mogae: Africa’s Good Leader – TIME
African Free Trade Zone Agreed
- BBC NEWS | Business | African free trade zone is agreed
- allAfrica.com: Africa: Economic Community Target Gets Fresh Impetus
- Food crisis in retreat, but ‘major emergency’ still exists – International Herald Tribune
- FT.com | The Economists’ Forum | Food crisis is a chance to reform global agriculture
- Food and the poor | The new face of hunger | The Economist
With guests Ngaire Woods and David Roodman. Discussion of proposals for reform of the global system, the impact of the financial crisis on aid, and the impact on developing countries more generally.
File size: 15MB Running time: 46 minutes . Recorded 23 October 2008.
Ngaire Woods is Professor of International Political Economy at Oxford University, and the Director of the Global Economic Governance Programme, which is a research programme investigating how global institutions could better respond to the needs of developing countries.
David Roodman is at the Center for Global Development in Washington DC. David is the architect of the Commitment to Development Index which ranks the world’s richest countries based on their adoption of policies that affect developing countries
- David Roodman’s article about the impact on aid of previous financial crises
- Ngaire Woods’s article in the Guardian
- Ngaire Woods’s The Globalizers
With guests Peter daCosta in Kinshasa and Professor Adrian Wood of Oxford University
We’ve done our best to respond to feedback:
- the sound quality is better
- more voices
- voices from the South
- more, shorter items
- more random bits of music
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Links to items discussed in the show:
With guest Simon Maxwell of the Overseas Development Institute (ODI).
- Accra High Level Forum
- Accra Agenda for Action (pdf)
- Simon Maxwell Blog Report on Accra
- UN MDG Gap Task Force Report
- UK National Security Strategy
- World Bank Press Release on new poverty statistics
- World Bank paper – The developing world is poorer than we thought, but no less successful in the fight against poverty
Many thanks to Bob Smith for providing the Development Drums jingle.