Africa: Time to Rediscover the Economics of Population Density and Development

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By Professor Erik S. Reinert, Tallinn University of Technology, and Dr. Richard Itaman, King’s College, London


Learn more about this timely topic at the upcoming
18th International Economic Forum on Africa


Africa-Industrialisation-Factory.jpgAt the OECD’s origin, we find the 1947 Marshall Plan that re-industrialised a war-torn Europe. At the very core of the Marshall Plan was a profound understanding of the relationship between a nation’s economic structure and its carrying capacity in terms of population density. We argue that it is necessary to rediscover this theoretical understanding now, in the mutual interest of Africa and Europe.

In early 1947, worries grew in Washington that an impoverished Germany – where manufacturing industry had been forbidden under the Morgenthau Plan – would fall an easy prey to the Soviet Union. US President Truman therefore sent former president Herbert Hoover on a fact-finding mission to Germany. One powerful sentence in Hoover’s Report of March 18 that year zeroed in on the basic problem:

‘’There is the illusion that the New Germany left after the annexations can be reduced to a ‘pastoral state’. It cannot be done unless we exterminate or move 25.000.000 out of it’.1 

Hoover understood that the population density of a country is determined by its economic structure: Industrialisation makes it possible to dramatically increase the population carrying capacity of a nation. ‘Exterminate’ was an extremely strong word to use after the horrors of World War II, and everyone understood that there was no place where 25 million Germans could be sent: Re-industrialisation was the only option. Continue reading

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Par Jacques Ould Aoudia, Chercheur en économie politique du développement et auteur de « SUD ! Un tout autre regard sur la marche des sociétés du Sud » (Ed. L’Harmattan, 2018)


This blog is part of an ongoing series evaluating various facets
of
Development in Transition. The 2019 “Perspectives on Global Development” on “Rethinking Development Strategies” will add to this discussion


Sud-jacques-AoudiaVu du Nord, un mystère demeure dans les relations entre Nord et Sud de la planète en matière de développement. Les préconisations des pays du Nord à la plupart des gouvernements du Sud sur la démocratie, la bonne gouvernance, les droits de l’homme, le respect de l’état de droit… semblent d’une telle évidence ! Pourquoi les pays du Sud ne suivent-ils pas ces conseils qui leur sont déversés depuis tant d’années pour leur plus grand bien, afin de rejoindre l’état envié des pays du Nord ?

Mais… sommes-nous sûrs d’avoir les bons outils pour comprendre la marche des sociétés du Sud ? Les connaissances sur les sociétés du Sud qui servent de fondements aux politiques de la plupart des bailleurs de l’aide au développement, sont basées sur l’idée que ces sociétés sont des répliques défaillantes et pathologiques de celles du Nord. D’où la nécessité de les aider à réparer les carences, à combler les manques qui les affectent (manques de routes, d’hôpitaux, de démocratie, de droits…) en cherchant à transférer au Sud les techniques et les institutions du Nord. La tentative d’exporter au Sud, pendant les années 2000, la « bonne gouvernance » est emblématique de cette démarche. Or la Chine, qui arbore de très mauvais indicateurs de gouvernance selon les critères du Nord, a réussi à s’arracher au sous-développement, avec d’immenses erreurs (Grand Bond en Avant, Révolution Culturelle), mais aussi les immenses succès qu’on lui connait.

Et si ces sociétés du Sud suivaient leurs logiques propres ? Avec leurs forces, leurs capacités, leurs règles, leurs imaginaires, mais aussi leurs difficultés, leurs craquements devant l’offensive de la modernité que la mondialisation conduite par le Nord répand partout ?

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Why do some countries reduce poverty faster than others?

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By Antonio Savoia, Global Development Institute and Effective States and Inclusive Development Centre, University of Manchester and M Niaz Asadullah, Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya; Global Development Institute, University of Manchester


This blog is part of an ongoing series evaluating various facets of Development in Transition. The 2019 “Perspectives on Global Development” on “Rethinking Development Strategies” will add to this discussion


poverty-DiT.jpgCan poverty be eradicated is the biggest question for development. Progress in poverty reduction was a central success with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): Estimates suggest that as many as one billion people were lifted out of poverty. Since poverty reduction remains important for the more ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it seems that the time is right to identify why poverty has been reduced so much and why some countries have seen a greater reduction than others.

Our research1 presents new evidence on what facilitates poverty reduction. We find that in more effective states, or in countries with greater state capacity, income poverty has been reduced at a significantly faster speed, and those countries are much more likely to achieve MDG 1 of halving poverty. Our estimates suggest that countries with the highest state capacity can reduce income poverty at up to twice the speed of countries with the weakest capacity.

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Upgrading International Development Cooperation

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By Alicia BarcenaStefano Manservisi and Mario Pezzini

Dev-in-Trans-Barcena-Manservisi-PezziniIn an era when the benefits of multilateralism are being questioned, income inequality is growing, and innovation and technology are transforming how people learn and work, the world needs a more equitable approach to globalization. Can Latin America and the Caribbean offer a way forward?

PARIS – These are hard times for international cooperation. With rising protectionism, burgeoning trade disputes, and a troubling lack of concern for shared interests like climate change, the world seems to be turning its back on multilateralism.

And yet cooperation remains one of our best hopes for addressing humanity’s most complex development-related challenges. Just as the Marshall Plan rebuilt a war-ravaged Europe and the Millennium Development Goals lifted some 471 million people out of extreme poverty, the international development agenda can still deliver results thanks to the combined potential of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, and the Paris climate agreement.
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It is time for a new finance paradigm in development

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By Arthur R Wood, Founding Partner, Total Impact Advisors; Convenor, Project1800.org


This blog is part of an ongoing series evaluating various facets of Development in Transition. The 2019 “Perspectives on Global Development” on “Rethinking Development Strategies” will add to this discussion


On 27 November 1095, Pope Urban declared the crusades ostensibly a religious call, but one that reinforced the power of the spiritual over the temporal. To support the crusades, the church built a financial institution by leveraging the Templars under the Papal bull Omnes Datum Optimum, creating a monastic banking system that gave birth to such financial innovations as letters of credit, banking and, by extension, fiduciary products like trusts.

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Charting a different future for social protection: Kyrgyzstan’s opportunity

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By Alexander Pick , Fiscal economist, OECD Development Centre


This blog is part of an ongoing series evaluating various facets of Development in Transition. The 2019 “Perspectives on Global Development” on “Rethinking Development Strategies” will add to this discussion


Kyrgyzstan-woman-Radiokafka Shutterstock.com
Women in Kemin, Kyrgyzstan. Photo: Radiokafka/Shutterstock.com

A voice in Svetlana Alexievich’s Secondhand time, a chronicle of post-Communist disillusion in the former Soviet Union, declares that “the future is… not where it ought to be.” This despair at what constitutes progress neatly captures something we increasingly appreciate – that development is neither a linear process nor one with a clear end goal. Few countries understand this better than the former republics of the Soviet Union, where the geopolitical and economic aftershocks of the USSR’s fall continue to be felt today.

Kyrgyzstan embraced the move to a market economy quicker than any of them. Nonetheless, gross national income per capita in 2015 was below its level in 1990, and industry’s contribution to output and employment has shrunk dramatically. Moreover, large holes have appeared in the social safety net that once covered the entire population. This might be a surprise given that Kyrgyzstan spent 10.7% of gross domestic product (GDP) — a high rate for a country at its income level — on social protection in 2015, more than on health and education combined. In 1990, however, social protection spending was equivalent to 17% of GDP.
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The Transition from Least Developed Country Status

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By Dr Jodie Keane, Economic Adviser, and Dr Howard Haughton, Quantitative Analyst, Commonwealth Secretariat1


This blog is part of an ongoing series evaluating various facets of Development in Transition. The 2019 “Perspectives on Global Development” on “Rethinking Development Strategies” will add to this discussion.

To learn more about countries’ strategies for economic transformation, including a session on Least Developed Countries (LDCs), follow the 10th Plenary Meeting and High-Level Meeting of the OECD Initiative for Policy Dialogue on Global Value Chains, Production Transformation and Development in Paris, France on 27-28 June 2018.


The Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are an internationally defined group of highly vulnerable and structurally constrained economies with extreme levels of poverty. The Committee for Development Policy (CDP) is a subsidiary body of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Every three years, the CDP advises ECOSOC and the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on which countries should either enter or leave the LDC category. Since the category was created in 1971, only five countries have graduated and the number of LDCs has doubled on the basis of selected indicators (income, human assets, economic vulnerability). And when countries graduate they lose international support measures provided by the international community.

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