In January, David Cameron nailed his colours to the mast with a speech in Davos that set out the three Ts agenda for the UK’s chairing of the June G8 meeting: taxes, trade and transparency. There have also been some raised eyebrows among the cognoscenti about a fourth T: turf. Some worry that a Cameron-led G8 effort might step on the toes of the G20 and its existing working groups, perhaps stimulating production of “not invented here” antibodies that would make it hard for the initiative to gain global traction.Continue reading
The 300 richest people on the planet have the same wealth as the bottom 3 billion, according to this video.Continue reading
In the second of a series of three Development Drums podcasts about the relationship between citizens, states and development, Duncan Green talks about effective states and active citizens. Duncan is widely known for his terrific development blog; he is also the author of an ambitious book, From Poverty to Power, which is now out in its second edition.Continue reading
Two interesting ideas from economists on gun control. First: require gun owners to take out liability insurance. Second, create a fund which for every dollar the NRA pays to a political candidate would pay $2 to the opponent.Continue reading
Europe’s approach to development could be characterized as energetically tackling the symptoms of poor economic opportunities for developing countries by providing substantial and effective aid, while doing relatively little to tackle the underlying structural causes of poverty.Continue reading
There has been bad news about the effectiveness of the leading candidate for a malaria vaccine. Has the time has come for donors to make an Advance Market Commitment?Continue reading
The video of a talk I did at the Development Policy Centre at the Crawford School of Public Policy at Australian National University on 9 October 2012.Continue reading
The full text of an article in Europe's World by Stephanie Majerowicz and me, commenting on an article by José Antonio Ocampo about the future of the World Bank.Continue reading
Two reasons why I am concerned about plans for a big campaign in 2013 on food, agriculture, hunger, food security and nutrition.Continue reading
Remarkable chart from the National Institute for Economic and Social Research showing what has happened to GDP in each recession, compared to the cyclical peak.
Discussing the work of the CGD and Social Finance Development Impact Bonds Working Group.Continue reading
A disarmingly simple but effective way to put more pressure on illegitimate regimes: declare that any future contracts will not be enforceable against their successors.Continue reading
The Guardian development blog is running a series of end of year reflections on development, including one by me. Many of the articles are upbeat about progress in developing countries, but pessimistic about the short term economic prospects for the industrialised world and for global cooperation to tackle shared global problems.
The series so far includes:
- Duncan Green from Oxfam, who contrasts progress in developing countries over the last year with the gloom of the ‘formerly rich’ countries of the G-8.
- Calestous Juma from Harvard, who identifies regional integration and better links with the diaspora as key drivers of Africa’s growth.
- Shanta Devarajan from the World Bank, who is cautiously optimistic, especially in the light of increased demand by Africans for their governments to be accountable.
- Linda Raftree from Plan, who also emphasizes progress towards more inclusive and open societies.
- Kevin Watkins from Brookings and UNESCO, calling for “a properly financed global fund for education like those that have delivered such striking results in the health sector“.
- Jonathan Glennie from ODI and the Guardian, who is pessimistic about the prospects for international cooperation in the face of rising protectionism and nationalism as a result of poor economic prospects in the US and Europe.
- and my contribution, reproduced below, which gives a positive account of progress in many countries in Africa over the past year, and emphasizes the importance for developing countries of better global decision-making.
Duncan Green has been awaiting ”the inevitable response from Owen” to a recent post by Dr Kamal-Yanni of Oxfam and Daniel Berman of Médecins Sans Frontières about different approaches to getting vaccines into developing countries. The main point of disagreement is how vaccines first developed with rich countries in mind can best be made available quickly and at an affordable price in developing countries. This is an important issue because we have a poor record of making these vaccines available, which is part of the reason that 2 million people die each year of vaccine-preventable diseases.
There is a separate but related question of how we can get vaccines to be developed in the first place to protect against diseases which do not much affect people in rich countries. On this we apparently agree that it is a good idea to test commercial incentives such as Advance Market Commitments.
For vaccines developed primarily for industrialised countries, my view – which I expressed in an earlier blog post – is that we should use aid to make it more attractive, and more profitable, for pharmaceutical companies to invest in making these vaccines available in developing countries. The view of Dr Kamal-Yanni and Daniel Berman is that, on the contrary, we should “err on the side of the poor” by holding down prices, making these markets less profitable.
My ‘inevitable response’ is now on the CGD global health blog (and reproduced below). It is all a bit down in the weeds, but the main point is that it is simplistic to suggest that existing vaccines (for example, against pneumococcal infection) can simply be rolled out at marginal cost in the developing world. I explain why in in the blog post. Unless we do something to make these markets more attractive for the private sector, we will continue to see delays in access to vaccines in poor countries. In these circumstances, insisting on keeping prices down errs on the side of the ideology, not the side of the poor.
As always it would be great to have your views: comments are open on the CGD blog.
There seems to be some confusion about what the international definition of poverty actually means.
The Millennium Development Goal is to halve, between 1990 and 2015, the
number proportion of people living in extreme poverty. The poverty line was… Continue reading
Progressive development thinkers have welcomed the announcement of new money for the Global Alliance for Vaccination and Immunization (GAVI), and support the partnership between governments and the private sector. A minority of NGOs have criticized GAVI on the grounds… Continue reading