Blog

A globe in front of screens and binary code

Let’s Dump Technology Transfer from the Addis Agenda

Let’s dump technology transfer from the Addis declaration and substitute technology development and sharing — they could be two of the most important components of post-2015 development success.

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Beth Barnes talking at TEDx Exeter

Effective Altruism

Here is Beth Barnes of Exeter College on the difference that effective altruism could make:

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Road signs for Downing Street and Whitehall at the gates of Downing Street

Joined up government

The Secretary of State for International Development is missing from a number of key Cabinet Committees and task forces on which a development perspective would be useful.

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The Ajaokuta steel factory in 1994

How should donors work with the private sector?

We are enthusiastic about the growing interest in supporting private investment in developing countries, but it matters a lot how this is done. The tools that donor countries usually use to “crowd in” the private sector — guarantees and cheap loans — distort firms’ incentives by reducing their risks or increasing their rewards irrespective of how well they do. Donors should not pick winners.

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Ants forming a bridge across a gap

Can aid agencies help systems fix themselves?

If economic development is a property of a complex adaptive system then what, if anything, can development agencies and NGOs do to accelerate it?

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A photo of Lagos, Nigeria

Aid 2030

Future development challenges cannot be tackled by aid alone. The biggest risk of the ringfence around the aid budget is that it will imprison us.

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A black silouhette of a man dancing listening to an iPod against a gold-yellow backgroun

Fixing Windows drivers for my iPod

How to get Windows 8.1 to recognise my Apple iPod

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"Pick Yourself Up and Pull Yourself Together," Installation at London's South Bank by Alex Chinneck

Pull Yourself Together

One reason I love London is stumbling across art installations like this.

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Computer code on a screen

Blog revamp

I’ve made some design changes to this blog. For those who are interested, here are the details.

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Zero inbox – an update

How to manage a lot of email, using (mainly free) tools in Outlook.  Shows how to keep a “zero inbox”.  An approach loosely based on Getting Things Done.

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An all male panel at the Global Summit for Women

The Pledge

I have resolved not to participate in a panel that does not contain at least one woman (not including the chair of the panel).

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A picture of the National Audit Office

No smoking gun – DFID and the surge in spending

Press reports about the NAO report on DFID budget management in 2013 are wholly misleading. DFID actually comes out of the report pretty well. There is a cautionary tale here for DFID, but it isn’t about the way it manages its budget. It is that the sharks are circling, and they do not seem to be very interested in the facts.

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A guard tower by a fence

Migration and Development: Small Tweaks for Big Benefits

With immigration policy potentially in flux, this might be a good time to think about how migration policies can make a more positive contribution to development.

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A person making a healthy sandwich

Thirty years a vegetarian

Reflections on the thirtieth anniversary of becoming a vegetarian

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The London School of Economics D building

The governance deficit

I gave evidence this morning to the LSE Diplomacy Commission, which “seeks to understand Britain’s place in the world and make recommendations for the future strategy of British foreign policy.”   I was part of a group of panelists (all much more eminent than me) which was asked to speak for 5 minutes on the question … Continue reading The governance deficit

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Ending the Exaggeration of Aid: A Modest Proposal

The current rules for counting loans in the aid statistics are a mess. Owen Barder and Stephan Klasen review the emerging consensus for reform, and suggest three improvements.

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Picture of sign saying "Attention Ebola! Ne Touchons Jamais Ne Manipulons Jamais"

Finding a cure for Ebola

The lessons of Ebola: first, set sensible cost-effectiveness thresholds for investments in global health, and so increase our willingness to invest; second, make an Advance Market Commitment to accelerate the development of new vaccines, for Ebola and for other neglected diseases.

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A crystal ball, with a line graph in it.

The development agency of the future

The International Development Committee of the British House of Commons has asked: Does a stand-alone Department for International Development have a long-term future? In a memorandum submitted to the Committee in evidence, Alex Evans and I argue that it should.

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