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  • Author: Kimberly Ann Elliott
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The United Kingdom will confirm its departure from the European Union on 31st January 2020. As part of its independent trade policy, the government has committed to improve access to UK mar- kets for the poorest countries. This note sets out three ways it can do so: expanding duty-free market access while avoiding piecemeal trade agreements that undermine Africa’s own trade integration ef- forts; using an alternative framework for those trade agreements it does negotiate with developing countries; and supporting a “back-to-basics” multilateral negotiation at the World Trade Organiza- tion that could help to rebuild confidence in that institution and thus protect the interests of small and vulnerable countries. After a brief review of the background and context, it sets out specific pro- posals in each of these areas.
  • Topic: Development, International Cooperation, International Trade and Finance, European Union, Brexit
  • Political Geography: Africa, United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Maryam Akmal, Lant Pritchett
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for education include the goal that “all youth...achieve literacy and numeracy” (Target 4.6). Achieving some absolute standard of learning for all children is a key element of global equity in education. Using the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) data from India and Pakistan, and Uwezo data from Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda that test all children of given ages, whether in school or not, on simple measures of learning in math, reading (local language), and English, we quantify the role of achieving equality between the richest 20% and the poorest 40% in terms of grade attainment and learning achievement toward accomplishing the global equity goal of universal numeracy and literacy for all children. First, excluding Kenya, equalizing grade attainment between children from rich and poor households would only close between 8% (India) and 25% (Pakistan) of the gap to universal numeracy, and between 8% (Uganda) and 28% (Pakistan) of the gap to universal literacy. Second, children from the poorest 40% of households tend to have lower performance in literacy and numeracy at each grade. If such children had the learning profiles of children from rich households, we would close between 16% (Pakistan and Uganda) and 34% (India) of the gap to universal numeracy, and between 13% (Uganda) and 44% (India) of the gap to universal literacy. This shows that the “hidden exclusion” (WDR, 2018) of lower learning at the same grade levels—a gap that emerges in the earliest grades—is a substantial and often larger part of the equity gap compared to the more widely documented gaps in enrollment and grade attainment. Third, even with complete equality in grade attainment and learning achievement, children from poor households would be far from the equity goal of universal numeracy and literacy, as even children from the richest 20% of households are far from universal mastery of basic reading and math by ages 12-13. Achieving universal literacy and numeracy to accomplish even a minimal standard of global absolute equity will require more than just closing the rich-poor learning gap, it will take progress in learning for all.
  • Topic: Development, Education, Sustainable Development Goals, Language
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Kenya, Africa, Middle East, India, Asia, Tanzania
  • Author: Bright Simons
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Just before the yuletide of 2018, I arrived in my native Ghana after one of my long spells away. I flipped out my phone, opened Uber, and tried to flag a ride from inside the shiny new terminal of Accra’s international airport. After a couple of false starts I gave up, walked out, and headed for the taxi stand. In the many days that followed, this ritual repeated itself with remarkable regularity. Sometimes I got the Uber, but on as many occasions, I couldn’t. The reasons for the frequent failure ranged from curious to bizarre. The “partner-drivers” would accept the request. Then they would begin to go around in circles. Sometimes they would start heading in the opposite direction. On a few occasions they would call and announce that they were “far away,” even though their registered location was visible to me on the app and their estimated time of arrival had factored into my decision to wait. It would take me a whole week to figure out that the problem wasn’t always that many Ghanaian Uber drivers couldn’t use GPS all that well, or that they were displeased with fares. There were other issues that I’d left out of my calculation, such as my payment preference, which was set to “bank card” instead of “cash.” The drivers want cash because it allows them to unofficially “borrow” from Uber and remit Uber’s money when it suits their cashflow. Though Uber offers two tiers of service, the difference in quality appeared negligible. Even on the upper tier, it was a constant struggle to find an Uber whose air conditioner hadn’t “just stopped working earlier today.” As something of a globetrotter used to seamless Uber services in European and American cities, I found the costs of onboarding onto Uber as my main means of mobility in Accra onerous. Why is a powerful corporation like Uber, reportedly valued by shrewd investment bankers at $120 billion, with $24 billion in capital raised, unable to maintain even a relative semblance of quality in its product in Ghana? And in other African cities I have visited? It may seem bleedingly obvious why heavily digitalised Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, and Google manage to deliver fairly uniform standards of product quality regardless of where their customers are based, whilst Uber, because of its greater “embeddedness in local ecosystems” and lower digitalisation of its value chain, fails. But in that seemingly redundant observation enfolds many explanations for why the innovation-based leapfrogging narrative in frontier markets, especially in Africa, unravels at close quarters.
  • Topic: Development, Science and Technology, Governance, Digital Economy, Emerging Technology
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Alex Ezeh, Jessie Lu
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: In order to achieve sustainable development outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), African institutions must be the leading experts on and primary providers of research solutions to local problems. Despite years of investment in capacity building, SSA lags behind every other region in terms of research outputs and government investments, and new models for building institutional capacity are needed. Through interviews with African institutional leaders and development partners working in SSA, this study finds that funding inefficiencies lead to key challenges within institutions’ governance and management structures, financial systems, talent management processes, leadership and institutional vision capacities, and peer support networks, all of which obstruct the ability of African institutions to become impactful and sustainable drivers of development outcomes in the region. We present for consideration three possible innovative models that can facilitate the emergence of strong Africa-based, Africa-led institutions: a multi-stakeholder funding platform, an integrator organization model, and a scale model.
  • Topic: Development, Research, Sustainability, Socioeconomics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Author: Anita Kappeli
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The arrival of a new leadership team in Brussels provides an opportunity for Europe to reinvigorate its role as a global development power and to build a true partnership with its continental neighbour, Africa. These tasks have never been more urgent. With only 10 years to go, the world is far from achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. A confluence of well-documented global trends, including accelerating climate change, declining multilateralism, and the erosion of democratic norms, is only increasing the challenge.
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, European Union, Sustainability, African Union
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe
  • Author: Heather A. Knauer, Patricia Kariger, Pamela Jakiela, Owen Ozier, Lia C.H. Fernald
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: In many low- and middle-income countries, young children learn a mother tongue or indigenous language at home before entering the formal education system where they will need to understand and speak a country’s official language(s). Thus, assessments of children before school age, conducted in a nation’s official language, may not fully reflect a child’s development, underscoring the importance of test translation and adaptation. To examine differences in vocabulary development by language of assessment, we adapted and validated instruments to measure developmental outcomes, including expressive and receptive vocabulary. We assessed 505 2-to-6- year-old children in rural communities in Western Kenya with comparable vocabulary tests in three languages: Luo (the local language or mother tongue), Swahili, and English (official languages) at two time points, 5–6 weeks apart, between September 2015 and October 2016. Younger children responded to the expressive vocabulary measure exclusively in Luo (44–59% of 2-to-4-year-olds) much more frequently than did older children (20–21% of 5-to-6-year-olds). Baseline receptive vocabulary scores in Luo (β = 0.26, SE = 0.05, p < 0.001) and Swahili (β = 0.10, SE = 0.05, p = 0.032) were strongly associated with receptive vocabulary in English at follow-up, even after controlling for English vocabulary at baseline. Parental Luo literacy at baseline (β = 0.11, SE = 0.05, p = 0.045) was associated with child English vocabulary at follow-up, while parental English literacy at baseline was not. Our findings suggest that multilingual testing is essential to understanding the developmental environment and cognitive growth of multilingual children.
  • Topic: Development, Children, Linguistics, Language
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Author: Scott Morris, Erin Collinson, Alysha Gardner
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The African Development Bank (AfDB), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) are among the international financial institutions seeking pledges from donor countries as part of upcoming replenishment cycles in 2019 and 2020. The United States is a leading donor to these funds and has played a crucial role in shaping the institutions’ agendas throughout their histories.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Development, Finance, Banks, Institutions, Banking
  • Political Geography: Africa, Asia
  • Author: Hannah Timmis, Ian Mitchell
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: As the rest of the developing world has reaped the benefits of rapid globalisation, Africa has remained marginalised in international trade. The new European Commission has an opportunity to accelerate export-led growth on the continent by introducing a bolder, more coherent policy on trade, agriculture, and aid.
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, European Union, Economic Development , Economic Transformation
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe
  • Author: Charles Kenny
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Now that computers are capable of taking the jobs that require brain as well as brawn, it may appear there is little left for humans to do. There are many scary forecasts of the capacity of automation and AI to replace a lot of workers very fast. Self-driving vehicles may wipe out opportunities for taxi driv- ers and truckers, for example. Brynjolfsson, Rock, and Syverson note there are 3.5 million people em- ployed driving vehicles in the US. If automation reduced that to 1.5 million, that alone would increase total US labor productivity by 1.7 percent,1 but it would also leave two million drivers looking for work. In 2013, Oxford economists Carl Frey and Michael Osborne made waves by predicting that 47 percent of US employment was automatable over the next two decades, with a higher estimate for developing countries.2 Erin Winick of Technology Review subsequently produced a summary table of job losses and gains estimations on automation.3 Some of the worldwide figures are in Table 1. There are clearly two sides to the ledger, but some of the predicted job loss numbers at the global level are considerable. The forecasts suggest bad news for Africa in particular, given concentration in types of low-skill jobs that might be easy to automate, rising working age populations, and already far too few good jobs to occupy the existing population. Arntz et al. suggest the share of workers at high risk of automation is 40 percent amongst those with a lower secondary education and above 50 percent for those with primary or less education.4 Advanced manufacturing and AI applications including automated call centers might even reverse the trend towards manufacturing and low-skilled services moving to developing countries. That would imperil a recent run of global income convergence. And there have been cases of impact al- ready: Foxconn replacing 30 percent of its workforce when it introduced robots, and 1,000 lost jobs in Vietnam when Adidas shuttered a factory and moved production to “speed factories” in Germany and the US. If this is the beginning of a trend, it would be harmful to African development prospects.
  • Topic: Development, Science and Technology, Artificial Intelligence, Automation, Emerging Technology
  • Political Geography: Africa