Like it or not: coercive power is essential to development

By Erwin van Veen, Lead Levant Research Programme, Senior Research Fellow, Conflict Research Unit at Clingendael

Understanding the political economy of coercion is essential to achieving developmental gains in countries at the lower end of stability and institutional performance. Surprisingly, this matter rarely features on the development agenda, which means the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals continues to suffer in such countries.

If national development is defined as the long-term, collective pursuit of the highest level of wellbeing for the greatest number of citizens, it is a deeply political and highly contested process by default. That is in part because all these components are subject to varying definitions. What is the collective? What is wellbeing? Who is a citizen and what are their rights? Different countries offer starkly different answers to such questions. But beyond definitions, there are also more commonplace reasons for development being such a political undertaking.

Continue reading

Repenser le développement en Afrique et pour l’Afrique

Par Firmin Edouard Matoko, Sous-directeur général, Département Afrique, UNESCO


Ce blog fait partie d’une série qui invite acteurs et penseurs à renouveler le discours actuel sur l’Afrique et son développement.

La crise du COVID-19 qui a révélé l’extrême fragilité des économies africaines, est venue nous rappeler les limites du développement en Afrique. De nombreux africains réclament une révision urgente des modèles de développement et prônent pour l’élaboration de nouveaux paradigmes propres à l’Afrique. Ce discours n’est pas nouveau. Samir Amin, qui fut l’un des plus grands économistes africains, révélait déjà les limites des modèles fondés sur des théories importées de l’extérieur. Thandika Kandawire, autre penseur africain de renom et bien d’autres ne disent pas autre chose aujourd’hui. L’Afrique a besoin de repenser son développement et de réinventer son histoire sociale et économique, comme l’affirmait encore récemment le groupe d’intellectuels africains réunis par l’UNESCO pour débattre de la crise du COVID-19 en Afrique : « cette crise est une occasion de repenser les hypothèses actuelles sur les paradigmes de développement adoptés par les États africains. Il s’agit de se concentrer sur les priorités de développement centrées sur l’homme, et d’investir en priorité dans l’éducation, les soins de santé, la protection sociale et la recherche scientifique comme base pour créer une nouvelle Afrique, capable de regarder vers l’intérieur et de trouver des solutions endogènes à ses problèmes, tout en assurant sa place sur la scène internationale ».

Continue reading

Côte d’Ivoire and Morocco: tax reforms for sustainable health financing

By Céline Colin, Tax Economist, and Bert Brys, Senior Tax Economist, Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, OECD

Lire ce blog en français

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that weaknesses in one country’s health sector can rapidly become a health challenge for other countries. Additionally, as countries around the world, including Côte d’Ivoire and Morocco, face the current economic and health crisis, the sense of urgency to mobilise domestic resources has increased. The crisis has put spending and tax revenues under severe pressure while at the same time requiring increased funding for the health sector. Moreover, the post-COVID-19 period might lead to particular challenges to financing for other ongoing health threats like AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, as health budgets might be re-prioritised and budget increases might not be allocated to those three particular diseases.

Continue reading

Côte d’Ivoire et Maroc : réformer la fiscalité pour assurer un financement durable de la santé

Par Céline Colin, Économiste fiscaliste, et Bert Brys, Économiste fiscaliste senior, Centre de politique et d’administration fiscales, OCDE

Read this blog in English

La pandémie de COVID-19 a montré que les faiblesses du système de santé d’un pays peuvent rapidement devenir un enjeu de santé publique pour les autres pays. En outre, dans les pays du monde entier aux prises avec la crise sanitaire et économique actuelle, dont la Côte d’Ivoire et le Maroc, l’urgence de mobiliser des ressources intérieures s’est accrue. La crise a mis sous tension les dépenses publiques et les recettes fiscales au moment même où le secteur de la santé avait besoin de financements additionnels. De surcroît, la période post-COVID-19 pourrait entraîner des difficultés particulières pour le financement de la lutte contre d’autres menaces sanitaires, comme le Sida, la tuberculose et le paludisme, car les priorités au sein des budgets de santé pourraient être revues et les augmentations budgétaires ne pas nécessairement bénéficier à la lutte contre ces trois maladies.

Continue reading

Scaling-up job opportunities in food systems for youth and women in West Africa

By Koffi Zougbédé, Sahel and West Africa Club Secretariat (SWAC)

In 2011, Fatoumata Cissoko, a graduate in accounting and a young woman living in Guinea, launched her dried-fruit processing company with USD 260. Her company produces about 16 tonnes of dried pineapple a year sold in many shops and supermarkets in the capital, Conakry, and other cities around the country. Recently, her company increased its production capacity substantially to improve its competitiveness in regional and international markets. Fatoumata also opened an organic restaurant to complete the production chain and she directly employs 15 women. The story of Fatoumata is one example of the many emerging job opportunities in West Africa’s food systems.

Continue reading

Building tax systems in developing countries is vital to overcoming COVID-19 and achieving the SDGs

By Ben Dickinson, Head of the Global Relations and Development Division, Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, OECD

T&D cover imageThe Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) serve to stimulate action in areas of critical importance for humanity and the planet. With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting lives and livelihoods alike, the question is how will the SDGs be financed?

Domestic resources, primarily tax revenues, provide the vast majority of financing for development – money needed to build roads, schools, hospitals, social protection systems, and other critical services in developing countries. A new report released today, highlights the OECD’s work on building tax systems in developing countries, unlocking a range of tools, experience and expertise to meet the tax challenges of the 21st century. Continue reading

COVID-19 has threatened medical equipment supply chains: it is in developing countries’ interest to rebuild them better

By Piergiuseppe Fortunato, Economic Affairs Officer, UNCTAD and Annalisa Primi, Head, Structural Policies and Innovation Unit, OECD Development Centre


This blog is part of a series on tackling COVID-19 in developing countries. Visit the OECD dedicated page to access the OECD’s data, analysis and recommendations on the health, economic, financial and societal impacts of COVID-19 worldwide.


supply-chains-medicalSupply chain breakdowns and the revival of export restrictions in strategic sectors underline the importance of domestic and regional manufacturing capabilities.

Trade can be instrumental for development. But increasing concentration in global markets and repeated threats and rounds of tariff hikes are putting the global trading system, and the institutions around which it was built, under severe stress. The COVID-19 outbreak has exacerbated these tensions, precipitating the World Trade Organization (WTO) into a stalemate and leading many economies to simultaneously enact temporary export bans and restrictions on critical goods. All at a time when these goods are more needed than ever before, amidst a pandemic which has put vast parts of the planet under lockdown and limited economic activities in an unprecedented way.

Global annual growth this year might fall between 6% and 7.6% according to the OECD’s latest projections and economies in all regions of the world will shrink. Developing economies will likely be hit the hardest due to their role in global trade. Most developing economies specialise in supplying commodities. Their exports have been severely hit by the COVID-19 crisis, as demand for natural resources has plummeted, prices have collapsed, and traditional exports such as fresh, perishable agricultural products have been blocked due to logistical shortages. Continue reading

Unbundling Corruption: Why it matters and how to do it

By Yuen Yuen Ang, Political Scientist at the University of Michigan, and the author of How China Escaped the Poverty Trap and China’s Gilded Age: The Paradox of Economic Growth and Vast Corruption

Corruption-whistleblower-shutterstock_1581042757Even amid a global pandemic, corruption persists and manifests itself in multiple forms, ranging from corrupt police extorting truck drivers delivering essential goods, rigged procurement contracts, to politically connected corporations receiving huge bailouts from the government while small businesses are starved of loans they desperately need to stay afloat. Although all of these actions are corrupt, they involve very different actors and stakes; some are transactional while others are extractive; and each brings about vastly different consequences.

Yet the conventional way of measuring corruption across countries does not capture qualitative distinctions across types of corruption. Instead, standard indices—most notably, the Corruption Perception Index (CPI)—measure corruption as a one-dimensional problem, ranging from 0 to 100. Consistently, rich countries rank at the top while poor countries are stuck at the bottom. Continue reading

América Latina y el Caribe en tiempos del COVID-19: no descuidar a los más vulnerables

Por Federico Bonaglia, Director Adjunto, Centro de Desarrollo de la OCDE, y Sebastián Nieto Parra, Jefe de la Unidad de América Latina y el Caribe, Centro de Desarrollo de la OCDE


Este artículo es parte de una serie sobre cómo abordar COVID-19 en los países en desarrollo. Visite la página específica de la OCDE para acceder a los datos, análisis y recomendaciones de la OCDE sobre los impactos sanitarios, económicos, financieros y sociales del COVID-19 en todo el mundo.


Photo by Manuel on UnsplashRead this blog in English

Las medidas de contención necesarias contra el COVID-19 han generado una crisis económica mundial sin precedentes, combinando choques por el lado de la oferta y de la demanda. Ahora, la pandemia está afectando a América Latina y el Caribe y los países se están preparando para el efecto multiplicador que tendrá en la región. Tan solo unos meses antes, a finales de 2019, muchos países de la región tuvieron una ola de protestas masivas impulsadas por un profundo descontento social, aspiraciones frustradas, vulnerabilidad persistente y creciente pobreza. Esta crisis exacerbará estos problemas.

Más allá de la magnitud del impacto en los sistemas de salud que ya son débiles (unos 125 millones de personas aún carecen de acceso a los servicios básicos de salud), el abrumador impacto socioeconómico de la crisis podría recaer desproporcionadamente en los hogares vulnerables y pobres si no se implementan respuestas ambiciosas de política. Continue reading

How COVID-19 could help eliminate fossil fuel subsidies

Building-better-covid19-banner

By Mario Pezzini, Director of the OECD Development Centre and special adviser to the OECD Secretary-General on development, and Håvard Halland, Senior Economist at the OECD Development Centre


This blog is part of a series on tackling COVID-19 in developing countries. Visit the OECD dedicated page to access the OECD’s data, analysis and recommendations on the health, economic, financial and societal impacts of COVID-19 worldwide.


Oil pumpjacks in Tatarstan, Russia
Photo: Yegor Aleyev/Tass/PA Images

As oil-exporting countries struggle to respond to the crisis, there is a way to make critical fiscal resources available.

The Covid-19 pandemic has hit oil-exporting countries at the worst possible moment. Severely strained health systems, and the need for economic stimulus, call for unprecedented growth in public spending. At the same time, oil export revenues have plummeted, following the demand collapse caused by the pandemic and a breakdown of traditional price-setting mechanisms. As a result, many oil exporters in the low- and middle-income category will struggle to muster anything near the level of expenditure required for an efficient response to the virus. Continue reading