What is the value of exports?

I’ve now seen the same annoying elementary (but quite common) mistake twice in two days, and I’d like to knock it on the head before it gets repeated.

According to a blog post yesterday by Malaka Gharib at ONE, Daniel … Go to www.owen.org to read the rest

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Lalibela kids on football

Will Ross has a nice piece on BBC Radio 4 Today this morning in which he goes to Lalibela, a small, quite remote, mountain-top town in Northern Ethiopia, and interviews the kids there about the World Cup. They know … Go to www.owen.org to read the rest

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Why I am not a fan of the “Robin Hood tax”

No less a scholar than Bill Nighy urges us to support a “Robin Hood Tax” to take money from the bankers and speculators and give to the poor.

The Robin Hood tax appears at first sight to be a way … Go to www.owen.org to read the rest

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To them that hath … a fifth poverty trap for Africa?

Paul Collier’s last book, The Bottom Billion, proposed that there are four “traps” in which the poorest countries can become enmeshed (a conflict trap, resource trap, geography trap and governance trap).   He vividly explains why he thinks that “business … Go to www.owen.org to read the rest

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It is all decided by a Professor in New York

Jeff Marlow writes in the New York Times about Koraro, a Millennium Village Project village in Northern Ethiopia:

As the project’s first five years wind down, its ultimate goals remain elusive, and the five-year initiative has swelled to 10.

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The Kindle in Ethiopia

My kindle at Bishoftu
The 6" Kindle, with a Bishoftu lake in the background, January 2010

I’ve had a Kindle here in Ethiopia for a few weeks now, and I’m lovin’ it.

I bought the international edition, with a 6 inch display (the … Go to www.owen.org to read the rest

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Pop singer makes two excellent points on development

I know it is fashionable to denounce celebrities who get in involved in international development, but I admire both Bono and Bob Geldof.   They are smart enough to take advice from smart people, and they put serious amounts of … Go to www.owen.org to read the rest

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“Dead Aid is a work of self-flagellating simplicity”

In Business Day, Adekeye Adebajo, the executive director of the Centre for Conflict Resolution, Cape Town, takes the gloves off in criticising Dambisa Moyo’s book, Dead Aid:

… This is a work of self-flagellating simplicity, totally devoid of any

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Getting deliveries right this Christmas

Send a goat to Africa

My sister was sent this card. I thought it was funny.

Please do send a goat to Africa this Christmas. It will change somebody’s life, and it will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Or you can send Go to www.owen.org to read the rest

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Aid works even if it does not cause development

daughterMy article on OpenDemocracy today discusses whether aid works.

Some supporters of aid have made what seem to me to be extravagant claims that aid should aim to bring about economic and social transformation of developing countries, so accelerating economic … Go to www.owen.org to read the rest

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Who says aid doesn’t work?

The Independent reports Bob Geldof’s recent trip to Ethiopia:

Though 35 per cent of Ethiopian children are malnourished, and 40 per cent are stunted when they start school, the number who die below the age of 5 is down 40

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“We are all in this together”

George Osborne said eight times in his speech to the Conservative Party Conference that "we are all in this together". Let's consider what this might mean. Read the full post »

It’s our money – where has it gone?

Have a look at this video produced by the International Budget Partnership.

The video is about the way that a civil society organisation in Kenya, MUHURI, has enabled a local community in Mombassa to hold their government to account. … Go to www.owen.org to read the rest

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Thank God we don’t have them here

tsetse flyThe Ethiopian Government has been running posters in the southern part of Ethiopia to warn farmers about the risk of tsetse fly (which kill cattle and cause sleeping sickness).

To reinforce the message, and to make sure that farmers know … Go to www.owen.org to read the rest

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What to bring to Africa

Scarlett Lion has this list.  Her main advice is to keep it to a minimum.

Here is our list, intended for visitors to Ethiopia.

So apparently zip off safari shorts/trousers make you look stupid. I guess I don’t … Go to www.owen.org to read the rest

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Why Africa Matters: My Father’s Despatch of 1991

My father was a diplomat.  When he left his last post in Africa (as High Commissioner to Nigeria) to become High Commissioner to Australia, he sent a message to the then Foreign Secretary reflecting on a career spent mainly in … Go to www.owen.org to read the rest

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Abortion by amateurs

The New York Times describes what happens if women do not have access to safe abortions:

Worldwide, there are 19 million unsafe abortions a year, and they kill 70,000 women (accounting for 13 percent of maternal deaths), mostly in poor

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Is Dambisa Moyo shifting her position?

Dambisa MoyoIn the FT debate on aid, Dambisa Moyo, author of Dead Aid, seems to be adjusting her position:

To focus on the five-year aid-reduction example that my book offered as an illustration of an exit strategy deliberately misses the

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