From the category archives:

International economy and trade

June 21, 2012

Private sector & development: can we blend great expectations with a willingness to fail?

Posted: 18:10 PM UTC

by Bruce Byiers on June 21, 2012

“Getting more bang for the development Euro” is not usually how we talk about “enhancing aid effectiveness”, but this was the title of a session from a recent Friends of Europe roundtable.  While involving the private sector more closely in development might therefore bring new jargon as well as additional finance, the discussion highlighted two other important issues: the high expectations that donors and the private sector have from one another, as well as the need for donors to manage potential failure and to improve their adaptability… Temper expectations Private sector representatives at the roundtable ...


June 15, 2012

EU support to regional integration: between cuts and ‘unfailing’ commitment

Posted: 14:13 PM UTC

by Kathleen van Hove on June 15, 2012

Despite being hit by the current economic and financial crisis, Europe remains a strong advocate and keen supporter of deep regional integration, at home and abroad. In Africa, the arguments for fostering integration are manifold; from building larger markets that can attract Foreign Direct Investments, achieving economies of scale, enhancing competitiveness, to fundamental security considerations. Today there are a host of ambitious integration arrangements among African states, many of them overlapping in space and scope. However the track record is quite disappointing for a variety of reasons. What could the EU do to improve this ...


June 8, 2012

A new conflict-free standard can build confidence in gold

Posted: 14:56 PM UTC

by Terry Heymann on June 8, 2012

++ GUEST CONTRIBUTION ++ Mining is a driver of development but despite its capacity to create wealth and alleviate poverty, it can also be a potential source of finance for armed conflicts in certain high-risk and fragile areas. A number of multilateral initiatives are under way to address this issue and to reduce the risks. The World Gold Council is pioneering in developing a “conflict free gold standard”, and ECDPM will hold a consultation to gather inputs from various stakeholders before the World Gold Council finalises the standard. In a guest contribution Terry Heymann, Director, ...


On 3-4 May, around 200 delegates came together in Nairobi for the annual Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) Partnership Platform meeting. CAADP, endorsed by African leaders in 2003, is the agricultural component of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development. Contrary to what the name may suggest, CAADP is not a (donors’) programme, it is a common and Africa-led framework for stimulating and guiding national, regional and continental initiatives to enhance agriculture productivity and food security. Forging partnerships is at the core of CAADP. In that spirit, the 8th Partnership Platform meeting brought together a ...


May 4, 2012

It’s governance, stupid!

Posted: 11:30 AM UTC

by Bruce Byiers on May 4, 2012

While “good governance” has been on donors’ agendas for some time now, development practitioners realise more and more that all reforms require an understanding of governance contexts. As a result, they increasingly consider governance as a cross-cutting element of all development policy with a subsequent rising interest and demand in political economy analyses. In this context - and with its mandate expiring in December this year -  the OECD-DAC’s Governance Network (GOVNET) , a donor platform, met last week to discuss a “new focus and strategy” with ECDPM in attendance as an observer. Participants discussed a wide ...


Water, energy and land belong to the most under-pressure resources today. This year’s European Report on Development, to be launched in mid-May 2012, focuses on these 3 key natural resources and analyses how the ways they are managed affect development objectives. The Report examines the constraints on each, the interrelationships between them and considers how water, energy and land can be managed together to promote economic growth in the poorest developing countries – growth that is both socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable. While the Report’s layout and formal launch are being prepared, this blog post, ...


March 30, 2012

Sorting out the what, how, and who for regional action on agriculture in Africa

Posted: 15:41 PM UTC

by Dolly Afun-Ogidan on March 30, 2012

In 2003, African Heads of States launched the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), as an effort to renew interest in and prioritize the continent’s agriculture agenda, as well as put food security objectives at the fore of national, regional, continental and global processes. Progress on CAADP has been reviewed every year since 2006 at the CAADP Partnership Platform meeting. During the Platform meeting,  various stakeholders who contribute to, have vested interest in or are associated with the CAADP process, have an opportunity to coordinate collective and mutual responsibilities for CAADP implementation. This year, the ...

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March 16, 2012

Beyond development as a business by-product?

Posted: 13:56 PM UTC

by Bruce Byiers on March 16, 2012

That the private sector is important, if not key, to economic development is nothing new. However, with the increasing rhetoric on the need to “enhance the role of the private sector in development”, events around this topic are mushrooming. BusinessEurope organized a seminar in Brussels on March 15th, with the European Commission, the European Investment Bank, as well as business federation and private sector company representatives present. While we have commented before on the need to distinguish “which” private sector we are talking about, here we were very much discussing how the EU private sector ...


March 8, 2012

“Wicked hard problems” and isomorphic what?

Posted: 13:05 PM UTC

by Bruce Byiers on March 8, 2012

Lant Pritchett, a Harvard University Professor, was the keynote speaker at the OECD Development Centre’s 50th anniversary conference in Paris last week. In his presentation he summarised a few simple insights that are helpful for understanding how and where policy reforms might have more impact. One idea he discussed was that of “isomorphic mimicry” - basically, in the natural world when something takes on the appearance of another thing on the outside, but without necessarily having any of the underlying characteristics. According to Prichett, donors and governments engage in this kind of camouflage too often: ...

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February 10, 2012

EC Communication on Trade, Growth and Development: A good start or a missed opportunity?

Posted: 15:32 PM UTC

by San Bilal on February 10, 2012

On Friday 27 January the European Commission published its Communication on “Trade, Growth and Development: Tailoring Trade and Investment Policy for Those Countries Most in Need” proposing “concrete ways to enhance synergies between trade and development policies”. It contains all the right words, but does not say much new. As is often the case with EC Communications, the document brings together a breadth of content from across different Directorates within the EC. This leads to a relatively un-controversial document that appears to draw on the main emerging consensus in both fields of trade and development ...