2018/10/08: Upon closer inspection, GVCs and new technologies exhibit features that limit the upside to – and may even undermine – developing countries’ economic performance. One such feature is an overall bias in favor of skills and other capabilities. This bias reduces developing countries’ comparative advantage in traditionally labor-intensive manufacturing (and other) activities, and decreases their gains from trade.
Second, GVCs make it harder for low-income countries to use their labor-cost advantage to offset their technological disadvantage, by reducing their ability to substitute unskilled labor for other production inputs. These two features reinforce and compound each other. The evidence to date, on the employment and trade fronts, is that the disadvantages may have more than offset the advantages.
The usual response to these concerns is to stress the importance of building up complementary skills and capabilities. Developing countries must upgrade their educational systems and technical training, improve their business environment, and enhance their logistics and transport networks in order to make fuller use of new technologies, goes the oft-heard refrain.
But pointing out that developing countries need to advance on all those dimensions is neither news nor helpful development advice. It is akin to saying that development requires development. Trade and technology present an opportunity when they are able to leverage existing capabilities, and thereby provide a more direct and reliable path to development. When they demand complementary and costly investments, they are no longer a shortcut around manufacturing-led development.
Compare the new technologies with the traditional model of industrialization, which has been a powerful engine of economic growth in developing countries. First, manufacturing is tradable, which means domestic output is not constrained by demand (and incomes) at home. Second, manufacturing know-how was relatively easy to transfer across countries and, in particular, from rich to poor economies. Third, manufacturing did not make large demands on skills.
These three characteristics collectively made manufacturing a fantastic escalator to higher incomes for developing countries. New technologies present a very different picture in terms of the ease of transferring know-how and the skill requirements they imply. As a result, their net impact on low-income countries looks considerably more uncertain.
2018/08/02: a truly sustainable and ethical future for fashion requires a seismic cultural shift in how humans work together. Not, sadly, a technological one.
2018/03/08: In northern Nigeria, thanks to the ingenuity, dedication, and hard work of a local entrepreneur, Habiba Ali, a new solar energy initiative is not only providing her community with a sustainable and affordable source of energy, but is also empowering other women through access to income-generation activates.
There is huge energy poverty in our country and over 89 per cent of this poverty lies in rural areas. There is a need to bring innovation in renewable energy and sustainability to bridge the poverty gap. I believe innovation is only as good as the impact that it makes.
This sentiment echoes IRENA’s research, which shows that off-grid renewables offer a cost-effective, environmentally sustainable way to accelerate the pace of electrification. Expanding the range of appliances powered by off-grid renewables can also encourage income generating activities in rural areas.
Through Sosai, Habiba also created Women of the North for Excellence (the MASI), an initiative where women can become entrepreneurs through leadership in commission-based projects.
One project involves renting out solar dryers for drying peppers and other crops, thereby increasing their shelf life. Nigeria accounts for about 50 per cent of Africa’s pepper production and in rural northern Nigeria as much as 40 per cent of a family’s income can come from harvesting peppers.
Women play a major role in agriculture, and the introduction of solar powered technology will go a long way to improving their economic and social status.
2018/09/14: This all suggests that, given the scale and speed of change needed on sustainability, many and perhaps most of today’s major old companies, simply won’t get there. Not because they couldn’t in theory, but because they won’t in practice. They have some combination of products, assets, culture and values that means transitioning is simply too difficult, too expensive in the short term or just isn’t going to happen in time. They will instead be replaced by new companies – a process profoundly beneficial to the economy.
If this is right, it calls into question the very foundation of the global movement for corporate sustainability. We need to have that discussion.
2018/09/11: The future of food in the world will depend on what Africa does with agriculture.
one recent study estimates that elevated carbon dioxide (co2) could cause an additional 33.6 million in sub-Saharan Africa to become zinc deficient and another 16 million protein deficient by 2050 if levels continue to increase unabated. Today, an estimated 60 million African children under 5 years old are stunted due to inadequate nutrition.
Africa contributes little to global greenhouse gas emissions, but is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change due to its weak ability to adapt to related weather impacts, as well as its dependence on rain-fed agriculture.
A range of actions across sectors is needed to ensure the sustainability of Africa’s food and land use systems - and the health and well-being of millions of children.
2018/08/28: if the majority of [the poorest!] people already lives in cities, but the United Nations, World Bank, European Union and the likes are still told that most poor people still live in rural settings, a lot of development money will be spent in the wrong place, period.
2018/07/10: Widely accepted numbers on how much of the world's population lives in cities are incorrect, with major implications for development aid and the provision of public services for billions of people, researchers say.
2015/12/02: circular economy will boost the EU's competitiveness by protecting businesses against scarcity of resources and volatile prices, helping to create new business opportunities and innovative, more efficient ways of producing and consuming.
It will create local jobs at all skills levels and opportunities for social integration and cohesion. At the same time, it will save energy and help avoid the irreversible damages caused by using up resources at a rate that exceeds the Earth's capacity to renew them in terms of climate and biodiversity, air, soil and water pollution.
Action on the circular economy therefore ties in closely with key EU priorities
We need to invest in finding sustainable and scalable alternatives to plastic. Even marine plastic is in large part a fishing issue: 46% of the Great Pacific garbage patch is composed of discarded nets,
Poverty isn't just a fact of nature. We made it happen, and we can fix it.