By Mustafizur Rahman, Distinguished Fellow at the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), Bangladesh
In 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) called for a data revolution. Five years on, data scarcity became a major concern during the COVID-19 pandemic. This article explores if public-private partnerships can be an effective means of addressing data gaps in developing countries and helping them to build back better.
By Michele Delera, UNU-MERIT, Carlo Pietrobelli, UNU-MERIT and University Roma Tre, and Elisa Calza and Alejandro Lavopa, UNIDO
There are many controversies among economists but one fact is undisputed: long-run productivity growth depends on the absorption and deployment of new technologies. Some estimates indicate that differences in technology diffusion account for a quarter of cross-country differences in per capita income. In the midst of a new Industrial Revolution driven by artificial intelligence, machine-to-machine communication, cloud computing and additive manufacturing, countries’ capacity to catch-up will likely depend on the speed with which they absorb these technologies. The implications for emerging economies are profound. New technologies may undermine the viability of labour-intensive development. Yet they may also open up new ways for developing countries to integrate in the global economy.
By Steven M. Radil, U.S. Air Force Academy, Olivier Walther, University of Florida, Nicholas Dorward, University of Bristol, Matthew Pflaum, University of Florida and Marie Trémolières, Sahel and West Africa Club (SWAC), OECD
Political violence is moving away from cities in North and West Africa, even as urban populations continue to grow at an unprecedented pace in the region. More than half of the violent events observed in 2021 took place in rural areas, against 20% a decade ago. The emergence of Jihadist insurgencies in the Sahel and its southern peripheries explains this ruralisation of conflict that affects a growing number of civilians and border regions.
By Aathira Prasad, Director, Macroeconomics and Nasser Saidi, President, Nasser Saidi & Associates
“My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
The well-known “natural resource curse” comes from the observation that economic growth in nations with an abundance of natural resources tends to be lower and more volatile. A number of empirical regularities characterise these countries: (a) resource-abundant countries tend to underperform their resource-poor counterparts, with evidence of a negative relationship between real GDP growth per capita and resource exports; (b) resource-based economies’ exposure to adverse external shocks leads to macroeconomic instability and higher economic risks; (c) non-resource based activities get crowded out; and (d) institutions tend to be weak and anarchic.
By Yeo Dossina, Head of Economic Policy and Research, African Union Commission, Arthur Minsat, Head of the OECD Development Centre’s Unit for Africa, Europe and Middle EastandRodrigo Deiana, Consultant, OECD Development Centre
Africa’s value chains hold the key to unlocking its productivity, deepening its economic integration, and strengthening its resilience to shocks. Yet regional value chains accounted for just 2.7% of Africa’s total value chain participation in 2019, compared to 26.4% in Latin America and the Caribbean and 42.9% in developing Asia according to the latest edition of Africa’s Development Dynamics, a joint report by the African Union Commission and the OECD Development Centre.
By Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, Distinguished Fellow at the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) and Member, United Nations Committee for Development Policy & Ms Mamtajul Jannat, Programme Associate at CPD
The recent experience of a significant number of least developed countries (LDCs) graduating from that category has generated a certain level of interest in the development discourse. The Commonwealth Secretariat’s latest report is a welcome addition to that. It presents a cogent picture of the accomplishments and challenges that the 14 Commonwealth LDCs have experienced over the past decade. Five of these LDCs, Bangladesh, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Zambia, are poised to graduate in this decade.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the world unlike any other crisis in recent history. During 2020, world gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 3.3%, the deepest global recession in 70 years, with an estimated loss of 255 million full-time employment jobs and an additional 97 million people falling into poverty. The effects were especially severe in developing and emerging industrial economies, which suffered an average estimated output loss of 7.7% compared to 3.9% for industrialised economies, according to the UNIDO Industrial Development Report 2022. Within countries, SMEs were more likely to shut down operations than large firms and suffered larger declines in sales and profits. Across workers, women experienced greater labour-market losses than men.
By Jonathan Papoulidis, Global Director of Fragility and Resilience, Food for the Hungry Inc., Fellow, Columbia World Projects
Today, fragile contexts are the centre of the global development crisis and poised to bear the worst of the pandemic and climate change. Even before COVID-19, some 80% of the world’s poorest were estimated to live in fragile contexts by 2030—the end of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Africa is a resource-rich continent, specialising in fuel, mineral and agricultural exports. Statistics on revealed comparative advantage (RCA) show that Africa exports proportionally more primary products than most other regions. Crude materials, which include ore, metal, wood, cotton and other raw textiles, are the continent’s dominant product category, followed by tobacco, various agricultural products and fuel. One consequence of specialising in primary product exports is that other countries get to enjoy the benefits of the value they add to these raw materials. These benefits can range from higher profits for their corporations to a more diversified industrial base and consequently better insulation from economic shocks, as well as a more highly skilled, higher-earning workforce.