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What’s the Latest Research in Development Economics? A Round-up from NEUDC 2019

13. November 2019 - 9:52
In October 2019, over 150 research papers were presented at the North East Universities Development Consortium annual conference covering a wide range of topics in development economics. The Centre for Global Development’s David Evans summarises these research findings in his recent World Bank blog. Below, INCLUDE provides a shortened version of this blog, relaying those results related to the African region.

 

Households and human capital Child nutrition and child health:
  • A training program for parents of young children in Rwanda that included “listening to a radio show and…discussions over the course of seventeen weekly village-level meetings” led to improved child development outcomes nearly three years later. (Justino et al.)
  • Providing community-based parent training and nutrition counseling in Sierra Leone reduced wasting, improved parenting practices, increased fathers’ involvement in parenting, and reduced physical and violent punishments. (Chandra et al.) #RCT
Education
  • Randomly selected lower secondary school students in Ghana received guidance on how to apply to upper secondary schools and information on which were the best. It changed which schools students applied to, but it didn’t change whether they graduated. (Ajayi, Friedman, and Lucas) #RCT
  • Scorecards, i.e., providing school performance information to parents, improved school management outcomes (parental satisfaction, public access to school information) in the Angolan province of Kwanza Sul. Collective action, especially  when combined with information, is a relevant component of these effects. There was no impact on students’ test scores and absenteeism.  (Di Maro et al.)
Health
  • Richer patients in the Democratic Republic of the Congo receive better health care. More than half of that is explained by the fact that richer areas have better health facilities, but the relationship holds even within facilities. (Fink, Kandpal, and Shapira)
  • What is the demand for glasses in a resource-poor setting? In Burkina Faso, willingness to pay for glasses is low, amounting to 20 percent of their market price. A layaway scheme does not affect willingness to pay, while a video intervention raises the willingness to pay by 16 percent without having a lasting influence on the use of corrective glasses.  (Grimm and Hartwig)
Household bargaining and community interactions
  • Is following traditions driven by social image concerns? In Malawi, those who plan to marry off their under-age daughters are seen as more pro-social in villages where child marriage prevalence is high, but alternative signals (public donations) change perceptions and decrease favorable attitudes towards harmful traditions by 20–30 percent. (Haenni and Lichand)
Intimate partner violence and gender discrimination
  • Providing women in Ethiopia with jobs increases their income but has no impact on physical intimate partner violence. There are reductions in emotional abuse in the short-run, but for women who had little bargaining power in their relationships before the jobs, the job offers may have increased abuse. (Kotsadam and Villanger) #RCT
Migration
  • Increased female migration within South Africa at the end of Apartheid reduced employment and hours of low-skilled male non-migrants. (Sharp)
Government, institutions, and conflict Civil service
  • Performance pay attracted more money-oriented teachers in Rwanda, without comprising teacher effectiveness. Overall, the effect of performance pay is at 0.21 standard deviation of pupil learning. One quarter of this impact can be attributed to selection at the recruitment stage, with the remaining three quarters arising from increased effort. (Leaver et al.)
Conflict
  • Exposure to terrorist attacks in Kenya reduced children’s primary school enrolment attendance. (Alfano and Görlach)
Corruption
  • Regions receive more health aid when a region-born health minister is in New borns from the same region as the health minister are less likely to die, as data from 45 African countries shows. (Widmer and Zurlinden)
Infrastructure and property
  • Even though the Bus Rapid Transit system reduced commuting time by about 18 percent in Accra, Ghana, it did not dramatically change howpeople commute. (Abeka-Nkrumah, Opoku Asuming, and Telli)
Political economy, institutions, and voting
  • Mobile phone and internet access reduced violent collective action by 21 percent during the Libyan (Absher and Grier)
  • Are the state and traditional leaders (village chiefs) substitutes or complements? If chiefs are integrated into the institutional structure, chiefs become complements (state presence will increase service provision by the chief).  If they are not integrated,  they  are  substitutes (service provision by the chief will decrease with greater state presence). (Henn)
  • Do voters care about (education) service delivery in Liberia? Yes! The presidential candidate who had set up private-public partnerships to improve school quality was rewarded  by  voters  in  places  where  the  program was successful, and punished where the program diminished school quality. (Sandholtz)
  • An anti-vote-buying campaign in Ugandastruggled to instill norms of refusing gifts from politicians in exchange for votes, but it levelled the electoral playing field by convincing some voters to abandon norms of reciprocity—thus accepting gifts from politicians but still voting for their preferred candidate. (Blattman et al.)
Public finance
  • Are tax rates too high in developing countries? in Kananga, Democratic Republic of the Congo, when tax liability decreases by half, tax compliance increases by 94 percent, bribes decrease by 75 percent, and there is no change in contributions to informal taxes, particularly among the poorest and least politically connected citizens. (Bergeron, Tourek, and Weigel) #RCT
Utilities and Energy
  • A field experiment of energy efficient cookstoves in Nairobi, Kenya, shows “an average rate of return of 300% and savings of $120 per year in fuel costs—around one month of income…  Factoring in financial savings and avoided environmental damages we estimate that a subsidy on the energy efficient technology would have a marginal value of public funds of $20 per $1 spent.” (Berkouwer & Dean)
Working and saving Agriculture
  • What drives subsistence farmers to start growing cash crops in Uganda? Agricultural extension did, especially for farmers who started with poor info on the price of the crops. (Bonan, Kazianga, and Mendola) #RCT
  • Providing subsidized watchmen to farmers in Kenya increased agricultural production and dramatically reduced disputes among farmers. (Dyer) #RCT
  • Village level inequity aversion and fairness norms protect tenants by lowering the rent landowners can charge in rural Malawi. (Krah et al.)
  • Training farmers on aflatoxin (a food safety hazard) and its prevention substantially improves post-harvest practices in Northern Ghana. (Magnan et al.) #RCT
  • In Burkina Faso, households with access to warrantage substantially increased the take-up  of  storage   (94 percent),  while  credit  take-up  was  moderate (38 percent). (Delavallade and Godlonton)
  • Two different interventions in Kenya—including a game that helped farmers understand how weather index insurance works—both led more farmers to indicate they’d buy it in an auction. Two months later, very few bought it regardless. (Janzen et al.)
  • In Rwanda, irrigation enables dry season horticultural production, which boosts farm cash profits by 70 percent. However, adoption is constrained: Access to irrigation causes farmers to substitute labor and inputs away from their other plots. Eliminating this substitution would increase adoption by at least 21 percent.  Substitution is largest for smaller households and wealthier households. (Jones et al.) #RDD
Firms
  • Chinese  FDI in district-sector induces competing domestic Ethiopian firms to shrink, as output prices drop, while firms in up/downstream sectors expand. There is a zero effect on the local economy. (Crescenzi and Limodio)
  • Placing “young professionals for one month in established firms to shadow middle managers” in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, increases their likelihood of subsequent wage employment (but not self-employment). (Abebe et al.)
  • A seven-day training for firms in Liberia on how to bid on “contracts from large buyers that are awarded through a formal bidding process” led firms to bid on more contracts and to win both more and better contracts. The biggest effects were for firms that had access to the internet. (Hjort, Iyer, and Rochambeau) #RCT
Labor
  • Among women school-feeding workers in South Africa, “private feedback on performance is more effective at boosting effort than competing for public recognition,” and “image motivation crowds out intrinsic motivation.” (Delavallade and Burns) #RCT
  • Certifying the skills of youth looking for jobs in urban South Africa “and allowing them to share the certification with firms substantially increases employment and earnings.” (Carranza et al.)
Risk
  • How does risk affect technology adoption by farmers? In Malawi, a one standard deviation increase in the coefficient of variationof predicted yields reduces fertilizer application (use of improved seeds) by between 12.2–18.8 percent. Sensitivity to price risk is highest early in the season, when reliable information on output prices is still many months away. (Soumaila and Dillon)
Savings and credit
  • A large expansion of microcredit in Rwanda led more people to take loans not only from microlenders but also from commercial banks. (Agarwal et al.)
  • Offering a savings account that automatically deducts from the paycheck and then pays out after three months (with zero interest) led agricultural workers in Malawi to save more and then make more large purchases after the payout. They also work more. (Brune, Chyn, and Kerwin)
Methods Measurement
  • “Using  nationally  representative  data  from four sub-Saharan African countries, we find strong evidence that measurement error in plot size reflects a mixture of farmer misreporting and misperceptions.” (Abay, Bevis, and Barrett)

Het bericht What’s the Latest Research in Development Economics? A Round-up from NEUDC 2019 verscheen eerst op INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

Assessing past and future strategies for reducing poverty in Africa

30. Oktober 2019 - 10:52

When the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were announced in 2015, it was clear that success on SDG1—eradication of extreme poverty—depended on Africa’s performance. Recent forecasts from the United Nations and the World Bank suggest that Africa is not going to make it.

We should all be concerned, but what can be done? The recent World Bank study, Accelerating Poverty Reduction in Africa, offers governments and stakeholders both new suggestions as well as new takes on old recommendations, providing a clear if bumpy road map for future strategies and intervention designs. Despite its length, the report is well worth our time. I have no doubt that it will serve as a key reference volume in the coming years.

Discussion with the authors INCLUDE and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, are co-organizing a seminar to discuss this World Bank report with the authors Luc Christiaensen and Kathleen Beegle, on 22 November in The Hague. Find the event details here.

Why has poverty in Africa stayed so stubbornly high despite record economic growth? According to the report, three main reasons: (i) less of Africa’s growth translates into poverty reduction because of high initial poverty, including low asset levels and limited access to public services, which prevent households from taking advantage of opportunities; (ii) Africa’s increasing reliance on natural resources for income growth rather than agricultural and rural development excludes the 85 percent of the poor population living in rural areas; and (iii) Africa’s high fertility and resulting high population growth mean that even high growth translates into less income per person—a point too often ignored in discussions on the sub-continent and in Washington.

In addressing these worrying trends, the report singles out four areas for particular attention: (i) reduce fertility; (ii) increase agricultural productivity, especially for food crops (an African green revolution); (iii) address risk and conflict; and (iv) increase domestic resource mobilization and focus resources on the poor. These areas are certainly key for the livelihoods and welfare of the poor, and it is great to see a report that sets a few priorities as opposed to requiring African governments to undertake a laundry list of initiatives at once. While I might have added a fifth—urban governance for poverty reduction—the focus on a few areas combined with an excellent synthesis of vast quantities of new research on what has worked in supporting economic development in Africa is both stimulating and refreshing.

Despite its importance to economic growth and poverty reduction throughout Asia and Latin America, agriculture remains a neglected sector in Africa. The report appropriately highlights this gap and calls for a focus on transforming the livelihoods of small-holder farm households. One reason for current neglect is the failure of many interventions in rural areas. The report clearly and cogently summarizes a large and recent literature on successes and failures of interventions and policies in Africa and elsewhere to argue for a renewed effort. Food crops are still the basis for the badly needed green revolution in Africa because of the large share of food that is imported; the fact that poorer farmers are more likely to produce staple crops; and, that low profit margins discourage the private sector from investing to develop the value chains in this sector the way that they do for vegetables, fruits, or sesame, for example. The report calls for public sector interventions throughout the staples value chain—in research and development, infrastructure, extension and marketing—noting that interventions that only address one constraint (e.g., input quality) often fail as other binding constraints (e.g., lack of rural roads) kick in. While arguing for an integrated approach, operating on multiple constraints throughout the value chain to improving farm livelihoods, the report admits in the chapter conclusion that this is much more difficult to execute and sustain—especially if external donors are in the driver’s seat instead of domestic agencies and institutions. Although I agree with the admission, I found the chapter conclusion less than satisfactory. Is there a middle ground, addressing fewer issues with less complexity that has lower risks yet enough rewards? Also, the report ducked the genetically modified foods (GMO) controversy, even though this technology is the best hope for African agriculture (including staple crops).

Fortunately, the chapter onmobilizing resources for the poor” is not the same old clarion call for African governments to raise taxes as a share of GDP. Though the authors do call for tax increases, they caution that expanding/increasing the value-added tax (VAT) is regressive unless complementary steps are taken (e.g., cash transfers to households), a point often missed by other experts. Introducing direct taxes on income and land (which would hit the rich) is an important recommendation that is not made often enough, especially by economists, who love the VAT despite the regressive impact. Getting more mineral extraction revenues (transparently) into the public finance system is an old chestnut showing up in this chapter. If only we could figure out how to do this in the face of massive governance failures.

New, and very welcome, is a forceful call for reducing or eliminating subsidies on agricultural inputs (especially fertilizer) and energy. The authors cite studies that show that eliminating these subsidies and sending the money directly to poor households would easily finance a basic income guarantee for poor households¹. Since the World Bank has, in the past, supported fertilizer subsidies in agricultural projects in Africa, this new position is certainly welcome. The report gives short shrift, however, to the difficulty of improving the efficiency of spending in sectors which should be pro-poor, such as health, education, and water, sanitation, and hygiene. The last page notes that “[h]ow best to improve efficiency in spending remains an exigent space for further exploration and learning.” Indeed.

The report’s clear and unambiguous presentation of the negative effects of high population growth on poverty reduction efforts is an important addition to the discussion as this issue has been mostly absent from poverty reduction discussions. No country has successfully sustained economic growth and reduced poverty at the average fertility level of sub-Saharan Africa². High fertility forces public and private expenditures on human capital development to focus on quantity rather than quality; it reduces public and private savings owing to high dependency ratios; and complicates efforts to improve livelihoods through rapid labor force growth. It is associated with low levels of female empowerment, in part because of the association with child marriage. Several authors (cited in the report) have argued that Africa’s fertility rate will not fall on its own. I agree, and there is no doubt that a focused and targeted effort is needed to address the issue, including increasing supply and demand for contraception, reducing child marriage, as well as increasing female education. African countries can do this even at very low incomes, as both Ethiopia and Rwanda have shown.

A few quibbles.

The report mostly ignores the reasons why the policies and programs African countries implement are not pro-poor. One serious omission is how monopolistic arrangements among the economic elite—for example, high transportation costs caused by lack of competition in the trucking sector, or high fertilizer prices caused by a few authorized dealers who keep prices high, and benefit a lot from subsidy programs³. In small countries and underdeveloped markets, monopolistic arrangements are more common as competition is hard to achieve. Trade could possibly help, but this would mean removing the trade barriers that cause intra-African trade to be among the costliest in the world⁴. Another omission is a discussion of why African governments have neglected agriculture, especially staple foods. Yes, this sector is hard, but prejudice among urban elites against investing in small-holder agriculture unfortunately seems to persist and does not help generate the breakthroughs needed.

The report’s special section on gender does discusses the usual intermediate causes and outcomes associated with women’s inequality (lower school enrollment for girls, high maternal mortality and the disproportionate burden of HIV/AIDS, the burden of providing domestic services, limited legal rights such as owning or inheriting property), but the fundamental cause of the inequality—a specific view about the implications of women’s childbearing role on responsibilities and acceptable behavior in economic, social, political, and private space—is not addressed. While gender norms differ across the continent, are often less binding for richer women than poorer, and certainly change over time, their importance as the underlying cause of gender inequality deserves mention.

Finally, while many argue the Africa’s macroeconomic problems are mostly under control (e.g., years of low-ish inflation and flexible exchange rate regimes, in contrast to the 1980s and 1990s), other observers expect that high levels of external and internal debt will become unsustainable if the world economy experiences a recession, even a mild one. Africa’s poor suffered a lot during the last African debt crisis. Can such negative impacts be averted this time? Maybe that will be the next report.

Readable, technocratic, and fact-filled, this report shows the strength of the World Bank as an intellectual leader in economic development thinking. The length, at almost 300 pages, and the five years spent in preparation also show the Bank’s weakness—over-thinking, over-programming, over-reviewing, and over-doing. If African thought leaders and policymakers can find a way to absorb all the facts and analysis in digestible bites, the report should have an impact on development thinking in Africa.

 

1. Most of these studies abstract from the costs of administering and targeting cash transfers, so the results in practice if such an approach were followed are likely to be less robust. Nonetheless, the point about regressive subsidies remains important.
2. An exception could be the Gulf States, owing to the dominance of oil earnings in the economy.
3. One justification that World Bank economists in the agricultural sector offered for supporting the fertilizer subsidies in Africa was fertilizer’s high cost relative to incomes.
4. See Porteous, Obie (2019). “High Trade Costs and Their Consequences: an estimated dynamic model of African Agriculture Storage and Trade”, American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 11(4): 327-366 for an estimation of the welfare costs in the food market of high trade costs. This issue should clearly be discussed in the context of an agricultural strategy focused on staple foods.

This blog was originally published on the Brookings Institute website. The original can be found here.

Het bericht Assessing past and future strategies for reducing poverty in Africa verscheen eerst op INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

100 Years of the International Labour Organization

29. Oktober 2019 - 9:10

Today we congratulate ILO on its 100th anniversary. This tripartite (governments, employers, and workers) institution, which was established to promote social justice and better working conditions against a backdrop of the industrial exploitation of workers, still represents an immense mission, as captured in the Preamble of its Constitution

…the failure of any nation to adopt humane conditions of labour is an obstacle in the way of other nations to improve the conditions of their own countries.

The latest World Bank Report, Accelerating Poverty Reduction in Africa, states that with a business as usual scenario, poverty is expected to decline to 23% in 2030 and will become “primarily an African phenomenon”. Africa is the youngest continent, with 20% of the world’s youth (15–24 years old) in 2015, and by 2030 it is estimated that 30 million youth will be entering the African labour market annually. These youth will all seek employment and there is a real danger that millions of them will be left behind in the years to come.

Let’s use this celebratory day to reflect on this and to look forward to opportunities to fulfil the pledge of social justice and decent work by 2030.

Small and informal matters

One such opportunity is to celebrate the importance of small and informal businesses in Africa. The latest ILO report, Small Matters: Global Evidence on the Contribution to Employment by the Self-Employed, Micro-enterprises and SMEs, which spans 99 countries, shows that in recent years the majority of employment has been generated by self-employment and micro-enterprises. Evidence also shows the importance of informality worldwide, especially in Africa and among its growing youth population.

  • Small economic units (up to 9 employees) account for 70% of total employment (84.3% in Sub-Saharan Africa)1
  • 80% of Sub-Saharan Africa’s workers are informal
  • Around 78% of small economic units operate within the informal sector1
  • Some 362 million youth are working in informal employment worldwide, more than half of whom are in Sub-Saharan Africa or southern Asia

Despite its presence and significance for employment, Africa’s SMEs and informal economy still suffer from low income rates, a high level of uncertainty and lack of social protection for workers.

Beyond formalization

Over the years, informality has become synonymous with poverty, tax evasion and the avoidance of regulation, prompting governments and NGOs to push for formalization. However, it is being recognized that informality also offers flexibility, creativity and growth opportunities beyond survival, in the absence of other supportive structures or opportunities. In addition, the informal sector is very much linked to wider economic systems. Seeing informality from this perspective means acknowledging the daily reality of informality:

There are steps that can be taken to make policy more inclusive of informal enterprises and workers, and to generate knowledge that embodies the daily realities of informal workers. Small and informal businesses face major constraints in accessing finance and markets, managing risks and occupational hazards, acquiring business skills, and navigating unconducive regulatory and operating environments. On top of that, they generally do not benefit from formalization policies, and may experience adverse impacts from policies aimed at improving the formal sector, such as trade facilitation or minimum wages. Women in informal employment face disparate challenges in their work and entrepreneurship, for example, occupational segregation and inhibiting social norms. These issues need to be addressed to unlock the potential of informal workers and small businesses.

Informality is not rooted in abnormality – it is normal. Given that informality has been researched for over 45 years, and given that the new ILO budget for the next biennium is in the pipeline – and in honour of the 100th anniversary of its cause to leave no one behind – we hope that ILO will lead efforts to reach out to those workers in informal enterprises, to see what works for them. In the coming years INCLUDE will be contributing to knowledge on informal entrepreneurship and employment to achieve better, and more evidence-based, inclusive development policies and practices in Africa. In the run-up to 2030, when ILO will be celebrating its 111th anniversary and the time will be up for the SDGs, we hope that informality will no longer be seen as an obstacle, but as a building block for decent and productive employment for all.

  1. International Labour Organization. (2019). Small matters: global evidence on the contribution to employment by the self-employed, micro-enterprises and SMEs. Geneva: ILO.

Het bericht 100 Years of the International Labour Organization verscheen eerst op INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

New ILO research identifies policies to tackle poverty and inequality

23. Oktober 2019 - 15:50

Combining active labour market policies with income support makes both measures more effective in tackling poverty and helping people find decent work, a new report finds.

ADDIS ABABA (ILO News) – Strategies to increase access to decent work and tackle poverty are significantly more effective when active labour market policies (ALMPs) are combined with income support, according to a new report by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

What’s more, the analysis found that while income support and ALMPs both had drawbacks when implemented in isolation, when combined “the beneficial effects tend to be unequivocal”.

The new report What works: Promoting pathways to decent work , looks at the role of ALMPs (such as training, career advice and start-up support) in emerging and developing economies, and how they can help people overcome labour market obstacles when combined with income support.

“Gainful employment remains the most reliable way of escaping poverty”, the report says, and people who receive this combined support have greater chances of finding a job and the employment they get is generally of better quality. Such integrated packages can also reduce skills mismatches, increase labour productivity, and help workers cope with the labour market consequences of economic crises, technological change, climate-related changes and seasonal variations.

“Countries which increase income support find that the effectiveness of their ALPMs also increases, and when spending on ALMPs is increased the impact of income support is also magnified,” states the report “What’s more, if properly designed and executed these policies can become self-financing in time.”

“The effects on poverty eradication of the right combination of income support and active labour market policies cannot be overestimated,” said Verónica Escudero. “Together, they can affect not only unemployment but underemployment and informality too.”

The report advises that certain conditions are required for an integrated approach to be effective, notably, sufficient resources, sufficient institutional capacity to administer the policies, and the full involvement of the social partners – workers’ and employers’ organizations – as well as governments.

The report includes as range of analytical tools and outputs and examines in detail two successful, ‘combined’ schemes, the Workfare Programme in Mauritius and the national Social Emergency Plan (PANES) in Uruguay.

The Report the broader research project

 

This post was originally published on the website of the ILO, which you can find through this link.

Het bericht New ILO research identifies policies to tackle poverty and inequality verscheen eerst op INCLUDE Platform.

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Internet as the gateway to the future of work in Ethiopia

23. Oktober 2019 - 13:22

The future of work (FoW) creates new job opportunities, but unless measures are taken, only a select group will benefit. Internet access is a precondition for many manifestations of FoW and can be considered the gateway to knowledge, a conduit for systems and a linkage facilitator. Therefore, our main policy advice to the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) is to invest in open Internet access for all Ethiopians.

The future of work

The nature of work and the workplace are rapidly changing. From the rise of the gig-economy, facilitated by online platforms such as AirBnb, Uber, and Etsy, to artificial intelligence applications in healthcare capable of identifying abnormalities on medical scans, society and the labour market are transforming. Much of the existing research conducted on the FoW is oriented towards Western labour markets. Little is known about the FoW trends in Sub-Saharan Africa – a unique setting that will house over a quarter of the world’s under 25 population by 2030. In Sub-Saharan Africa, 10 to 12 million youths enter the labour market each year, while annual job creation falls short by 3.1 million. Failure to capitalize on this demographic dividend has resulted in large scale youth unemployment, a phenomenon that is not without consequences, as bleak job prospects and poor living conditions have been linked to civil unrest and migration within and out of Africa.

While the FoW trends offer unparalleled opportunities, at the same time, they threaten to exacerbate inequalities, as the gap widens between those with the capacity to adapt to the changing circumstances and those who lack the means to do so. Informed policy interventions with targeted investments are imperative to harness the potential of the FoW and ensure decent jobs for all. In addition, trends associated with the FoW are not equally applicable in all settings. We identified mechanization, online platforms, big data and artificial intelligence as the four FoW manifestations most likely to play a role in Ethiopia’s agricultural sector in the coming years.

Four manifestations of FoW – in brief Mechanization: 70% of the Ethiopian labour force is employed in the agricultural sector, a sector characterized by smallholder farming with only 0.7% of plots currently using agriculture machinery. The mechanization of farming will not only increase productivity, but has the potential to create job opportunities, both up and downstream.

Online platforms: Over 80% of Ethiopia’s 3.8 million active social media users are between 18 and 34 years of age, and online platform usage will only increase as the young population grows. Social media has the potential to facilitate linkages between young people and other stakeholders, as well as the life-long learning that the FoW requires.

Big data: In 2015, Addis Ababa housed over 700 computer technology companies and 95 software businesses operating both domestically and abroad. Large-scale agricultural datasets hold the power to reform and optimize agricultural processes, for instance, by advising regions on fertilizer use or mapping the effect of environmental degradation.

Artificial intelligence (AI): The first AI solutions for the agricultural sector based on visual recognition software are rapidly emerging, including smartphone applications that detect crop diseases based on photos. These AI applications can have significant spillover effects in other sectors.

With the exception of mechanization, all of the manifestations of the FoW in Ethiopia will require Internet access. Internet access is no longer a luxury, but a vital necessity for growth and development, not only at a national and international level for governments and large multinationals, but for entrepreneurs and individuals such as smallholder farmers as well. In the coming decades, the Internet will function as a vital medium for knowledge exchange and linking stakeholders with connectivity, forming an integral part of the way systems function. Open Internet access not only holds great potential for transforming the labour market, increasing productivity, and creating new job opportunities, it can contribute to other sectors as well, including governance, healthcare, education and services. For this reason, above all, the Dutch MFA should prioritize supporting inclusive, sustainable and open Internet access for all Ethiopians. Other recommendations include investing in building local digital knowledge, using the full potential of existing data, creating a data market and promoting knowledge sharing through open access online courses. Women, the illiterate, and people in rural areas must be included when implementing these recommendations to ensure that existing inequalities are not increased.

Interested in reading the full policy brief? You can find it here.

About the research The future of work (FoW) is shaped by trends deriving from the ongoing interaction between technological innovation and societal development. However, these trends are highly debated and more research is needed on this topic. The Sustainable Economic Development Department and the Social Development Department (DDE/DSO) track of The West Wing – a think tank of students and young professionals – conducted a case study on the manifestations of the future of work in Ethiopia, with a focus on the agricultural sector, to fill knowledge gaps on employment in Sub-Saharan Africa. The central goal of this year-long project was to draft recommendations for the Dutch MFA that would allow young Ethiopian smallholder farmers to benefit from FoW in an inclusive way.

DDE/DSO track of the West Wing 2018–2019

Het bericht Internet as the gateway to the future of work in Ethiopia verscheen eerst op INCLUDE Platform.

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Africa’s growing mobile economy

21. Oktober 2019 - 16:04

In 2019, sub-Saharan Africa will continue to have the fastest-growing mobile economy in the world, states GSMA’s recently-released report The Mobile Economy: Sub-Saharan Africa 2019. Figure 1 predicts that sub-Saharan Africa will add an additional 167 million unique mobile subscribers in the period between 2018 and 2025, reaching a total mobile subscriber base of 623 million in 2025, or around half of Africa’s population. The report states that around half of these new mobile subscribers will likely come from Nigeria, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, and Kenya.

Figure 1: Sub-Saharan Africa’s unique mobile subscribers, 2012-2025

Source: The Mobile Economy in Sub-Saharan Africa 2019. GSMA 2019.

This growth in unique mobile subscribers will be mirrored by growth in the mobile ecosystem’s contribution to sub-Saharan Africa’s economy. In 2018, mobile technologies and services contributed to 8.6 percent of Africa’s GDP, or around $144 billion. This number includes the direct contribution of the mobile industry, indirect contributions from other sectors that benefit from mobile industry activity, and increases in economic productivity due to mobile activity.

Figure 2 shows that mobile’s contribution to economic growth will continue to grow in all of these areas through 2023, when the mobile industry will contribute almost $185 billion, or 9.1 percent of GDP, to Africa. The majority of this contribution will occur through improvements to productivity brought by increased adoption of mobile services. The mobile industry will also continue to be a major employer; already in 2018, the report states that almost 500,000 people were formally employed in the mobile industry and 1.2 million people informally employed, mostly in distribution and retail of mobile services.

Figure 2: The economic contribution of mobile in sub-Saharan Africa, 2018-2023 (billions of USD, % of GDP)

Source: The Mobile Economy in Sub-Saharan Africa 2019. GSMA 2019.

Despite encouraging growth statistics, mobile inclusion remains a challenge across the continent. More than three quarters of the population—over 800 million people—remained offline at the end of 2018. Among this group, Figure 3 shows that about 300 million lack mobile coverage, while an additional 500 million have mobile coverage but do not subscribe to mobile internet. Improving mobile inclusion is important, as mobile technology can play a large role in development and economic progress. Mobile connectivity can, for example, enable better delivery of and access to services such as education, health, and financial inclusion. The report states that mobile has the potential to play a particularly large role in development in Africa, where it is more difficult to provide services using conventional means because of infrastructure and funding gaps.

Figure 3: Gaps in mobile inclusion in sub-Saharan Africa (% of population)
(MBB stands for mobile broadband)

Source: The Mobile Economy in Sub-Saharan Africa 2019. GSMA 2019.

 

This blog post originally appeared on the Brookings Institution ‘AFRICA IN FOCUS’ blog. You can find the original through the following link: Figure of the week: Africa’s growing mobile economy.

 

Het bericht Africa’s growing mobile economy verscheen eerst op INCLUDE Platform.

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From ‘if’, through ‘how’, to ‘by whom’ in empowering locally-rooted CSOs

16. Oktober 2019 - 9:30

Supporting grassroots movements is often praised as both an inclusive process and an inclusive outcome. This recognizes the importance of local agency and can be a catalyst for social change. Many policymakers, including the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, acknowledge the importance of supporting grassroots civil society organizations and make efforts to empower these strategic actors. However, research on the issue shows that a lot can be improved. The main question is not what can be improved, but what roles the various actors involved can play.

The closing conference of the research programme ‘New roles for CSOs in inclusive development’, titled ‘Co-creating knowledge on advocacy with civil society’, took place on 8 October in The Hague. In line with its purpose of co-creating and sharing knowledge, the conference drew on the findings of researchers and insights from policy and practice provided by representatives of civil society organizations (CSOs) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). A snapshot of this conference, including some concluding remarks, can be found below.

From themes, projects and assumptions to cross-cutting issues.

A large share of the morning was devoted to the final findings of the 8 research projects, presented by the project leaders (see box below). These findings built on the findings shared in the conference ‘Research for Dialogue & Dissent 2.0’ and the seminar on how non-state actors influence the operational space for CSOs held earlier this year, where it was concluded that although the projects worked on different research questions in different contexts, they came up with similar findings. In the process of synthesizing these findings, the INCLUDE Secretariat and The Broker have identified 8 cross-cutting issues (see box below), which were discussed during breakout sessions in the afternoon.

Box 1: research projects and their cross-cutting issues 8 research projects

1. Civil society advocacy collaborations in India

2. Civil society against corruption in Ukraine

3. Civil society engagement with land rights in Kenya

4. CBOs within the official development aid system in Kenya

5. Enabling rules for advocacy in Kenya

6. CSOs in sustainable development in Kenya

7. Dilemmas in sustainable development and civil society in Bangladesh and Zambia

8. Non-state actors and civic space in Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and Palestine 8 cross-cutting issues

1. Legitimacy and embeddedness

2. Cooperation between CSOs

3. How ‘non-state’ actors limit civic space

4. Partnerships with unusual suspects

5. Dynamic support in limited civic space

6. Project-based funding

7. Roles of international NGOs

8. Operating in low civic space.

 

These cross-cutting issues allowed for various important discussions, such as on strategic coalition-building between CSOs, the potential of trust-building of CSOs within a competitive donor landscape, the type of knowledge that CSOs require, incentives for private sector engagement, the outdated distinction between service delivery and advocacy as separate activities, the detrimental effect of short-term, project-based funding, addressing power relations within the aid chain and manoeuvring strategies for CSOs within limited civic space.

These discussions were followed by a closing panel with McDonald Lewanika (London School of Economics), Bart Romijn (Partos), Nicola Banks (University of Manchester) and Sara Ruto (PAL Network and INCLUDE). This programme was opened by Adrie Papma (Chair of the day) and Jelmer Kamstra (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and closed with remarks by Jeroen Kelderhuis (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and Isa Baud (INCLUDE).

Moving closer to the ground: not ‘if’, but ‘how’ and ‘by whom’

When it comes to the value of supporting CSOs, the vision of enabling social transformation and the knowledge of the constraints and challenges that CSOs face, there appears to be a large amount of understanding on the part of the researchers, policymakers and practitioners who participated in the conference. This was underlined by Jelmer Kamstra, who described many of the issues raised as ‘preaching to the choir’. In his presentation, he outlined how the Ministry is moving from a managerial approach to supporting CSOs to one where the Ministry enables social transformation and donors play a facilitative role in equal partnership with the CSOs.

Perhaps the most noteworthy conclusion of the day is that the main challenge lies not in a lack of understanding of what issues CSOs face and how these constrain them in their daily activities, but in identifying the power dynamics along the aid chain and empowering the right actors that can enlarge operating space. This brings to mind an important theme raised by INCLUDE since its inception: inclusive development is not only about designing the right policies, but identifying and empowering strategic actors that can enforce and implement them.

Research is of paramount importance in this process: not only to provide evidence on what policies work and what don’t. According to Isa Baud: “researchers provide analytical frameworks, compare them and bring these to policy discussions” to contribute to evidence-based policymaking in a dialectic manner. The research programme ‘New roles of CSOs in inclusive development’ has been a prime example: through the involvement of all relevant actors, including policymakers, since the beginning, the co-creation of knowledge and ongoing dialogue have contributed to rich and policy-relevant discussions and the building of networks that will last beyond the duration of the programme.

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Getting specific to leave no one behind

25. September 2019 - 9:23

World leaders are gathering in New York this week to attend the first major stocktaking summit on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). When the SDGs were agreed by all countries in 2015, they were intended to help countries accelerate their transition to more sustainable paths by 2030, with sustainability understood to include economic, environmental, and social issues. As part of this, all countries committed to “leave no one behind” (LNOB), a broad promise to address the pervasive and damaging problems of inequality and exclusion. The 2015 SDG agreement even doubled down on this commitment through a pledge to “reach the furthest behind first.”

All good as words, but much harder to deliver in practice. In the sphere of global development cooperation and poverty reduction, governments and official agencies often deploy the rhetoric of LNOB but revert to traditional development strategies in their programming. To make LNOB into a practical agenda, this tendency must be confronted. This is why we, together with colleagues at the Japan International Cooperation Agency and other partners, collaborated on a new edited volume, Leave No One Behind: Time for Specifics on the Sustainable Development Goals. We thought it time to showcase ideas that could help shift LNOB from admirable slogan to practical approach.

Considerable progress has been made on raising average living standards for much of humanity, but tackling inequality and exclusion is no small task and there are fewer big success stories to draw upon. Inclusion requires addressing complex drivers of social outcomes. It demands attention on the underlying reasons why highly marginalized people are being left behind in the first place. It suggests a shift from big picture thinking about national or regional trends to much more precise thinking about the challenges faced by individual people in the communities where they live.

Simply put, an LNOB agenda is not necessarily synonymous with a national development agenda. To illustrate the point, consider the example of Canada. It is a country that has made huge achievements in its long-term national development, but still faces profound LNOB challenges, as one of us has shown elsewhere. Even if driven by overall good intentions, government systems may bolster average national progress while doing far too little for many groups and individuals.

The LNOB challenge is particularly salient when thinking about global efforts for the SDGs because so much international cooperation has traditionally been channeled through governments and elite-dominated social structures. The powers that be, whether governments or economic elites, often have vested interests in system inertia, either through inadvertent neglect of the disadvantaged or by intentionally using their position to further their own interests. Public distrust of government varies tremendously around the world and is a problem in many countries, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer, especially in places like South Africa, Spain, and Brazil. A recent Pew Research Center poll also found that the share of people responding that the U.S. government is run by a few big interests looking out for themselves has risen from 29 percent in 1964 to 76 percent in 2018.

Our book highlights the scale of the challenge for no one to be left behind. It shows that on indicators related to life and death and personal well-being, where there is reasonably comprehensive global data, progress is still far too slow to meet the SDGs and the scale of interventions needs to be sharply accelerated. In fact, as we have highlighted elsewhere, some 44 million lives are at stake and there is little evidence as yet that the rate of progress on development indicators is changing fast enough. Worryingly, the evidence on some key inputs into development, like the volume and cross-country allocation of aid, is actually getting worse. The neediest countries are getting less international support.

The need for specific development goals

At the same time, the global development community must also target its interventions better and be more specific about what outcomes are to be expected from any given project or program. We argue that the best way to put teeth into the LNOB agenda, both domestically and internationally, is to reframe the relevant SDG targets more precisely—on specific people facing specific problems in specific places. Our book is not comprehensive but suggests a way of designing the questions to be more actionable. How do we achieve gender equality by 2030; how do we improve the lot of the ultra-poor; what works for small-holder farmers; how to resolve problems faced by refugees and migrants; what leapfrogging opportunities are available to deliver quality education; are options for universal health care realistic; how to make sure women participate in new technologies for accessing financial services; what are the trade-offs in using domestic taxes to finance pro-poor transfers; can we identify poverty hotspots and develop better place-based policies; how should we manage approaches to fragile contexts; can we bring city leadership on board; and what can be done to redistribute power.

The book is not intended as a complete review of all the people, problems and places that need to be addressed to fulfill the LNOB pledge. But it does draw attention to the need for specific strategies and actions. That said, many of the chapter authors recognize the interdependence between success in one area and success in another. They point to the tension between solving specific problems and getting trapped into faulty policy and program segmentation. They also point to the difficulties in getting to specifics because of the dearth of adequately disaggregated data. Building a sound empirical foundation is essential for LNOB success.

Is it overly optimistic to think, in today’s fraught global context, that countries might cooperate on LNOB? Public opinion in many countries still supports the idea of expanding international collective efforts to alleviate suffering. Even amid the intense domestic debates across the United States, recent polling by the University of Maryland’s Program on International Policy Attitudes shows a strong foundation of global compassion. Americans do not look to foreign aid to help themselves—for example in jobs or improved national security—but to solve specific problems for others who are less fortunate. When a concrete issue is presented with a price tag showing how the burden can be shared with other countries, Americans are very willing to spend more, even if it means their taxes would go up.

The general point seems to be that clear, crisp goals with specific outcomes and strategies for collective contributions can elicit strong and widespread support. These are key ingredients for shifting the LNOB mantra from words to results. It’s time to focus on specific people, living in specific places, facing specific problems. We hope that the U.N. Summit, and efforts like our book, will help move the agenda this way.

 

This blog post is a Brookings original Future Development blog post. The Future Development blog was by the World Bank in an effort to hold governments more accountable to poor people and offer solutions to the most prominent development challenges. Please visit the original blog post via this link. Related publication Upcoming: Leave No One Behind

Edited by Homi KharasJohn W. McArthur, and Izumi Ohno (2019)

Het bericht Getting specific to leave no one behind verscheen eerst op INCLUDE Platform.

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Cash transfers improve child nutritional status, but under which conditions?

28. August 2019 - 11:14

A lack of integration of quantitative evidence on the overall effects of cash transfers leaves us largely in the dark about their true effect. One outcome for which this is the case is child nutritional status. In my study, I analyse 27 different studies on the effect of cash transfers on child nutritional status, including 311 estimates on 23 variables. I found no significant differences between conditional and unconditional programmes. However, nutritional supplements increased the effectiveness of programmes. Other variables were too insignificant to draw conclusions from.

Despite scepticism about giving away ‘free money’, cash transfers have become an increasingly popular tool for poverty alleviation. Although cash transfers have been successful in increasing business income and school attendance, and decreasing child labour, their effect on the nutritional status of children is unclear. A large body of literature has examined the link between cash transfers and child nutritional status, but the evidence is mixed. Given that many programmes target child nutritional status, and 162 million children suffer from stunting globally, it is important to ask: Are cash transfers effective in improving child nutritional status? And, if so, what conditions have an influence on this effect?

How do we find out?

Several studies have been undertaken to identify the effect of cash transfers on child nutritional status. However, these are context specific, making it hard to draw conclusions. Using statistical methods, I integrated the findings of 27 of these studies (see Table 1), enabling me to find out what the average effect of this relationship is, and which conditions alter this effect. The studies cover 311 estimates on 23 different variables.

Table 1. Programmes and studies analysed

Apni Beti Ap Dhan, India FFA, Bangladesh FSVGD, Bangladesh Oportunidades, Mexico PRAF, Honduras Red de Protección Social, Nicaragua Atención a Crisis, Nicaragua GiveDirectly CT, Kenya Oportunidades, Mexico Bolsa Alimentação, Brazil Juntos, Peru Oportunidades, Mexico[  Bolsa Alimentação, Brazil[ Juntos, Peru[  Pantawid, Philippines Bono de Desarollo Humano, Ecuador NTCPP, Burkina Faso Primary Education Stipend, Bangladesh Bono Solidario, Ecuador Older Person’s Grant, South Africa RPS, Nicaragua Child Grant Programme, Zambia Oportunidades, Mexico RPS, Nicaragua[ CT-OVC, Kenya Oportunidades, Mexico Samurdhi, Sri Lanka Familias en Acción, Colombia Oportunidades, Mexico[ Save The Children CT, Niger Note: 27 studies of 22 programmes were analysed.

Positive, negative, or no effect?

After analysing quantitative data from these studies, all from programmes in different contexts, I found that, overall, cash transfers had a positive effect on child nutritional status. While some studies had negative effects and others no effect at all, the average effects (weighted by sample size) was positive. Although this positive effect is small, it is robust, making me more certain that this effect exists. This means that cash transfers are in fact an effective solution for reducing child malnutrition.

But under which conditions?

It might seem obvious that an increase in money leads to better fed children. However, it might not be so simple. Different conditions may lead to very different outcomes. In my research, I quantified which categories might make a difference and found two notable cases to discuss.

First, the most discussed difference is that between conditional cash transfers and unconditional cash transfers. Exactly one half of all the estimates considered conditional cash transfers, and the other half considered unconditional ones. Within programmes, there were also differences in conditionality, with programmes including both conditional and unconditional transfers. I found no difference in effectiveness between the two. This is an important finding, given that the majority of cash transfers targeting child nutritional status are conditional cash transfers. However, conditional cash transfers programmes are more expensive to implement, as the conditions need to be monitored. Therefore, if the desired outcome is improved child nutritional status (or reduced child malnutrition), parties looking for a more cost-effective solution might consider using an unconditional cash transfer programme instead.

Within conditional programmes, differences also exist regarding the types of conditions. In my analysis, programmes either contained educational (sending children to school), medical (vaccinating children or sending them for regular medical check-ups), or financial (saving a percentage of the cash transfer) conditions. I analysed these different types and found no significant differences regarding their effect on child nutritional status.

The second notable variable is a more obvious factor that benefits programme effectiveness: providing a nutritional supplement with the cash transfer. These supplements differed per programme, and the precise supplement was often not specified. Nevertheless, a supplement might be the extra boost children need in order to benefit from the programme. Programme designers might, therefore, consider adding nutritional supplements to cash transfer programmes.

Besides these variables, I also analysed others. In total, I ran four statistical models. The variables included the difference in effectiveness between female and male recipients of the transfer, the age of the child, the gender of the child, the region of the programme, if conditions were enforced, and several methodological variables. The results for these variables were inconsistent, making it difficult to draw conclusions.

Towards more effective cash transfer programmes

Cash transfer programmes exist in many different forms. Their effect is not, however, unequivocal. As my analysis illustrates, what works in one programme, might not work in another. Governments and NGOs should focus on tailoring cash transfers to local circumstances, and the focus should be on understanding the causal mechanisms that underlie the differences in effects.

The post Cash transfers improve child nutritional status, but under which conditions? appeared first on INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

Cash transfers improve child nutritional status, but under which conditions?

28. August 2019 - 9:58

A lack of integration of quantitative evidence on the overall effects of cash transfers leaves us largely in the dark about their true effect. One outcome for which this is the case is child nutritional status. In my study, I analyse 27 different studies on the effect of cash transfers on child nutritional status, including 311 estimates on 23 variables. I found no significant differences between conditional and unconditional programmes. However, nutritional supplements increased the effectiveness of programmes. Other variables were too insignificant to draw conclusions from.

Despite scepticism about giving away ‘free money’, cash transfers have become an increasingly popular tool for poverty alleviation. Although cash transfers have been successful in increasing business income and school attendance, and decreasing child labour, their effect on the nutritional status of children is unclear. A large body of literature has examined the link between cash transfers and child nutritional status, but the evidence is mixed. Given that many programmes target child nutritional status, and 162 million children suffer from stunting globally, it is important to ask: Are cash transfers effective in improving child nutritional status? And, if so, what conditions have an influence on this effect?

How do we find out?

Several studies have been undertaken to identify the effect of cash transfers on child nutritional status. However, these are context specific, making it hard to draw conclusions. Using statistical methods, I integrated the findings of 27 of these studies (see Table 1), enabling me to find out what the average effect of this relationship is, and which conditions alter this effect. The studies cover 311 estimates on 23 different variables.

Positive, negative, or no effect?

After analysing quantitative data from these studies, all from programmes in different contexts, I found that, overall, cash transfers had a positive effect on child nutritional status. While some studies had negative effects and others no effect at all, the average effects (weighted by sample size) was positive. Although this positive effect is small, it is robust, making me more certain that this effect exists. This means that cash transfers are in fact an effective solution for reducing child malnutrition.

But under which conditions?

It might seem obvious that an increase in money leads to better fed children. However, it might not be so simple. Different conditions may lead to very different outcomes. In my research, I quantified which categories might make a difference and found two notable cases to discuss.

First, the most discussed difference is that between conditional cash transfers and unconditional cash transfers. Exactly one half of all the estimates considered conditional cash transfers, and the other half considered unconditional ones. Within programmes, there were also differences in conditionality, with programmes including both conditional and unconditional transfers. I found no difference in effectiveness between the two. This is an important finding, given that the majority of cash transfers targeting child nutritional status are conditional cash transfers. However, conditional cash transfers programmes are more expensive to implement, as the conditions need to be monitored. Therefore, if the desired outcome is improved child nutritional status (or reduced child malnutrition), parties looking for a more cost-effective solution might consider using an unconditional cash transfer programme instead.

Within conditional programmes, differences also exist regarding the types of conditions. In my analysis, programmes either contained educational (sending children to school), medical (vaccinating children or sending them for regular medical check-ups), or financial (saving a percentage of the cash transfer) conditions. I analysed these different types and found no significant differences regarding their effect on child nutritional status.

The second notable variable is a more obvious factor that benefits programme effectiveness: providing a nutritional supplement with the cash transfer. These supplements differed per programme, and the precise supplement was often not specified. Nevertheless, a supplement might be the extra boost children need in order to benefit from the programme. Programme designers might, therefore, consider adding nutritional supplements to cash transfer programmes.

Besides these variables, I also analysed others. In total, I ran four statistical models. The variables included the difference in effectiveness between female and male recipients of the transfer, the age of the child, the gender of the child, the region of the programme, if conditions were enforced, and several methodological variables. The results for these variables were inconsistent, making it difficult to draw conclusions.

Towards more effective cash transfer programmes

Cash transfer programmes exist in many different forms. Their effect is not, however, unequivocal. As my analysis illustrates, what works in one programme, might not work in another. Governments and NGOs should focus on tailoring cash transfers to local circumstances, and the focus should be on understanding the causal mechanisms that underlie the differences in effects.

Table 1. Programmes and studies analysed

Apni Beti Ap Dhan, India FFA, Bangladesh FSVGD, Bangladesh Oportunidades, Mexico PRAF, Honduras Red de Protección Social, Nicaragua Atención a Crisis, Nicaragua GiveDirectly CT, Kenya Oportunidades, Mexico Bolsa Alimentação, Brazil Juntos, Peru Oportunidades, Mexico[ Bolsa Alimentação, Brazil[ Juntos, Peru[ Pantawid, Philippines Bono de Desarollo Humano, Ecuador NTCPP, Burkina Faso Primary Education Stipend, Bangladesh Bono Solidario, Ecuador Older Person’s Grant, South Africa RPS, Nicaragua Child Grant Programme, Zambia Oportunidades, Mexico RPS, Nicaragua[ CT-OVC, Kenya Oportunidades, Mexico Samurdhi, Sri Lanka Familias en Acción, Colombia Oportunidades, Mexico[ Save The Children CT, Niger Note: 27 studies of 22 programmes were analysed.

Het bericht Cash transfers improve child nutritional status, but under which conditions? verscheen eerst op INCLUDE Platform.

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Preliminary programme: Closing conference ‘New roles of CSOs for inclusive development’

27. August 2019 - 17:12

Download this document for the preliminary programme of the October 8 closing conference ‘New roles of CSOs for inclusive development’: Co-creating knowledge on advocacy with civil society.

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Taxing mobile phone transactions in Africa: Lessons from Kenya

19. August 2019 - 12:11

Taxation on mobile phone-based transactions and on airtime has  been introduced in Kenya and is spreading to other African countries. Some countries in sub-Saharan Africa view mobile phones as a booming subsector easy to tax due to the increasing turnover of transactions and the formal nature of such transactions by both formal and informal enterprises. The increasing tax burden on the subsector and the consumers, though, has raised concerns that the massive gains made in financial inclusion in developing countries made possible by retail electronic payments platform via mobile phone transactions may be reversed—resulting in a return to cash transactions.

In addition to a 2003 excise tax on airtime, since 2013, Kenya has introduced and reworked taxes on goods such as mobile phones, computer hardware, software, and, more recently, retail financial transactions. The most recent adjustments in taxation in the Finance Act 2018 increased the excise tax on money transfer services by banks from 10 percent to 20 percent, on telephone services (airtime) from 10 percent to 15 percent, on mobile phone-based financial transactions from 10 percent to 12 percent, and introduced a 15 percent excise tax on internet data services and fixed-line telephone services.

This paper shows that taxation on mobile phone airtime and financial transactions may not expand the tax base significantly but, rather, may reverse the gains on retail electronic payments and financial inclusion. A higher tax rate on low-level retail electronic transactions mostly levied on low-income earners that are sensitive to transaction costs may discourage the use of mobile phone-based transactions, incentivizing them to revert to cash transactions to evade taxes and so less tax revenue. This trend will deal a big blow to the financial inclusion success witnessed so far.

Poorly designed tax policy will have poor outcomes on tax revenue and market distortions will drive consumption behavior on an undesired path, so any future review of excise tax rates on airtime and financial services should be preceded with a thorough analysis of optimal taxation excise taxes, the likely change in behavior around financial services, and, above all, the marginal contribution to the tax effort that policy aims to raise. The data so far available shows that the contribution of mobile money-related taxes is less than 1 percent of total tax revenue, a negligible contribution to Kenya’s total tax income, at high economic costs. These lessons are not just relevant for Kenya but also for other countries in Africa with such tax propositions. Introducing and increasing taxes on mobile phone transactions may risk stalling progress on digitization and fiscal policy design as well as revenue administration.

This article and policy brief is a republication of a Brookings Institution news article; find the original post here or download the policy brief.

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How can we tackle youth employment challenges? Revisiting the evidence base for soft skills in Africa

14. August 2019 - 14:54

This two-pager on youth employment summarizes some of the evidence on the impact soft skills interventions and highlights priority areas for policies and programmes.

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Kategorien: english

How do NGO and company partnerships for inclusive business work?

8. August 2019 - 12:13

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) builds a lot on engaging the private sector. But how to move from philanthropy-driven collaboration, which is an add-on for a company, to strategic and equal partnerships? How to make such partnerships really effective and realize social impact with a business case? Together with pioneering NGOs and Partos/The SpindleEndeva developed a guide on NGO and company partnerships for inclusive business.

Inclusive business ‘A commercially-viable business model that integrates low-income people into value chains as consumers, producers, suppliers, employees, or entrepreneurs with the aim of creating mutual benefit’. (Inclusive Business guide, p. 18)

Why this guide? The reason is that the synergy that combines the best of both worlds – between the civic and private spaces, between ‘development and business’ – does not come automatically.  Challenges for NGO partnering with companies

The interest in partnerships that are more strategic or even systemic in nature (see graph), is immense. “A clear trend”, says Katja Freiwald, Director of Global Partnerships of Unilever, is “co-created partnerships based on complementary assets and skills. True value-added is one of our guiding principles when selecting NGOs for our inclusive business partnerships”.

Inclusive Business Guide, pg. 19

However, both NGOs and companies alike struggle with the how. “Often, NGOs feel very weak in a partnership with large corporations”, says Gitte Dyrhagen Husager, Head of Private Sector Engagement, DanChurchAid. And Alexandra Burroughs, CEO of the social enterprise Live Well, which emerged from a partnership between CARE, GlaxoSmithKline and Barclays, stresses that “it is challenging for an NGO to step out of its traditional mindset and adopt a business approach”.

NGOs do have valid questions like: ‘What would our target group and my NGO gain from partnering with a company?’ ‘Are we not compromising our rights-based focus when we adopt a market-based approach?’ They may also face dilemmas, such as: ‘Should we be a paid service provider and receive funding or an equal partner with a company and invest as well?’ Or, they may find it hard to make the case for inclusion – the way they understand it – among their business partners.

These challenges have two root causes: The two objectives underlying inclusive business partnerships, combining social impact with a business case, are not easy to combine. Partly because NGOs and companies are, in fact, very different from one another. Often NGOs and businesses speak a different language and operate under different performance indicators and timeframes. Making a well-balanced collaboration work requires that all participants understand and respect each another’s motivation, organizational culture, and structure – and find ways to nurture the value of their differences. They need to effectively manage the risks involved, rather than have them stand in the way.

Five key building blocks of inclusive business partnerships

Based on a peer learning event with 10 international NGOs, Endeva, a Berlin-based international thought leader and ecosystem facilitator in inclusive business, took the initiative to develop a guide on this topic. They partnered with Partos/The Spindle and others, collected partnership examples from pioneering NGOs and their company partners, and interviewed academic experts to complement extensive research.

The guide is built around five chapters that represent and show the key building blocks of inclusive business partnerships. In addition it offers deep-dives into four specific cases, an overview of practical tools (from self-assessments to partnership MoUs) and documents for further reading. Here I present insights from the chapters.

Inclusive Business guide, pg. 25 
  1. When to choose an inclusive business partnerships: Inclusive business partnerships have great potential to combine social impact with a business case. Yet, because of this duality, they are not suitable in every context or for every organization. Because of the wide variety of inclusive business partnerships, in scope (see figure) and form, parties should explore what suits them best.
  2. Finding the right partner: Who should an NGO choose as a partner? Which companies should they rule out? NGOs tend to look for perfect partners, but in fact there are just good matches. It all starts with knowing yourself as an organization – what you can really offer and what you need – in order to find a partner that is complementary and fits your values. Building a trust-based relationship with a company requires moving out of your comfort zone and respecting other realities and values.
  3. Creating opportunities and managing risks: To realize the full potential of inclusive business partnerships, partners need to successfully build on each other’s strengths and be aligned. It is important they do not jump into implementing ‘yet another project’ and remain critical about whether or not they can play all the roles required. The guide also breaks through the myth that either the NGO or the company has easy money at its disposal. NGOs are called upon to use innovative methods to ensure that social impact and the related key performance indicators (KPIs) are an integral part of the business model.
  4. Changing internally: What are the implications of partnering for inclusive business for your own organization? Inclusive business partnerships diverge from ‘business as usual’ – from managing your development projects or from doing regular business. Hence, both NGOs and companies have to deal with internal critics, develop other competencies and performance criteria, and adapt existing structures. The NGO’s ‘theory of change’, for example, has to incorporate market-based approaches and private sector actors. In short, going for inclusive business partnerships has organizational implications and both partners need to be willing to change internally.
  5. Moving on or scaling up: Successful partnerships can increase their impact through replication or scaling up. Ideally, the NGO partner moves out after a couple of years, the partnership ends, and the inclusive business model sustains itself. Depending on the scope of the partnership, this can be a long-term process, although there are hard realities on both sides

Relevance for different stakeholders

The guide primarily offers practical guidance to NGOs, but is also relevant to companies. Firstly, because it helps them understand their NGO partner better and, secondly, because if can offer inspiration for the inclusive business agenda of their own company. Interestingly, companies and NGOs often have similar questions and challenges, especially those that refer to internal processes. Their issues and realities tend to mirror each other.

For other key stakeholders such as donors, the guide offers insights into the dilemmas and challenges that NGOs – and for that matter, companies – face, e.g. related to the promise of inclusiveness, NGO-company relations and funding. Despite their immense potential, inclusive business partnerships are not the new ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to achieve the SDGs; other approaches remain essential. They are also a practice that cannot emerge without internal changes in and investments by NGOs. NGOs would, thus, also benefit from adequate support to realize the promise of inclusive business partnerships.

Het bericht How do NGO and company partnerships for inclusive business work? verscheen eerst op INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

How do NGO and company partnerships for inclusive business work?

8. August 2019 - 11:31

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) builds a lot on engaging the private sector. But how to move from philanthropy-driven collaboration, which is an add-on for a company, to strategic and equal partnerships? How to make such partnerships really effective and realize social impact with a business case? Together with pioneering NGOs and Partos/The Spindle, Endeva developed a guide on NGO and company partnerships for inclusive business.

Inclusive business: ‘A commercially-viable business model that integrates low-income people into value chains as consumers, producers, suppliers, employees, or entrepreneurs with the aim of creating mutual benefit’. (Inclusive Business guide, p. 18)

Challenges for NGO partnering with companies

Why this guide? The reason is that the synergy that combines the best of both worlds – between the civic and private spaces, between ‘development and business’ – does not come automatically.  

The interest in partnerships that are more strategic or even systemic in nature (see graph), is immense. “A clear trend”, says Katja Freiwald, Director of Global Partnerships of Unilever, is “co-created partnerships based on complementary assets and skills. True value-added is one of our guiding principles when selecting NGOs for our inclusive business partnerships”.

Inclusive Business Guide, pg. 19

However, both NGOs and companies alike struggle with the how. “Often, NGOs feel very weak in a partnership with large corporations”, says Gitte Dyrhagen Husager, Head of Private Sector Engagement, DanChurchAid. And Alexandra Burroughs, CEO of the social enterprise Live Well, which emerged from a partnership between CARE, GlaxoSmithKline and Barclays, stresses that “it is challenging for an NGO to step out of its traditional mindset and adopt a business approach”.

NGOs do have valid questions like: ‘What would our target group and my NGO gain from partnering with a company?’ ‘Are we not compromising our rights-based focus when we adopt a market-based approach?’ They may also face dilemmas, such as: ‘Should we be a paid service provider and receive funding or an equal partner with a company and invest as well?’ Or, they may find it hard to make the case for inclusion – the way they understand it – among their business partners.

These challenges have two root causes: The two objectives underlying inclusive business partnerships, combining social impact with a business case, are not easy to combine. Partly because NGOs and companies are, in fact, very different from one another. Often NGOs and businesses speak a different language and operate under different performance indicators and timeframes. Making a well-balanced collaboration work requires that all participants understand and respect each another’s motivation, organizational culture, and structure – and find ways to nurture the value of their differences. They need to effectively manage the risks involved, rather than have them stand in the way.

Five key building blocks of inclusive business partnerships

Based on a peer learning event with 10 international NGOs, Endeva, a Berlin-based international thought leader and ecosystem facilitator in inclusive business, took the initiative to develop a guide on this topic. They partnered with Partos/The Spindle and others, collected partnership examples from pioneering NGOs and their company partners, and interviewed academic experts to complement extensive research.

The guide is built around five chapters that represent and show the key building blocks of inclusive business partnerships. In addition it offers deep-dives into four specific cases, an overview of practical tools (from self-assessments to partnership MoUs) and documents for further reading. Here I present insights from the chapters.

Inclusive Business guide, pg. 25
  1. When to choose an inclusive business partnerships: Inclusive business partnerships have great potential to combine social impact with a business case. Yet, because of this duality, they are not suitable in every context or for every organization. Because of the wide variety of inclusive business partnerships, in scope (see figure) and form, parties should explore what suits them best.
  2. Finding the right partner: Who should an NGO choose as a partner? Which companies should they rule out? NGOs tend to look for perfect partners, but in fact there are just good matches. It all starts with knowing yourself as an organization – what you can really offer and what you need – in order to find a partner that is complementary and fits your values. Building a trust-based relationship with a company requires moving out of your comfort zone and respecting other realities and values.
  3. Creating opportunities and managing risks: To realize the full potential of inclusive business partnerships, partners need to successfully build on each other’s strengths and be aligned. It is important they do not jump into implementing ‘yet another project’ and remain critical about whether or not they can play all the roles required. The guide also breaks through the myth that either the NGO or the company has easy money at its disposal. NGOs are called upon to use innovative methods to ensure that social impact and the related key performance indicators (KPIs) are an integral part of the business model.
  4. Changing internally: What are the implications of partnering for inclusive business for your own organization? Inclusive business partnerships diverge from ‘business as usual’ – from managing your development projects or from doing regular business. Hence, both NGOs and companies have to deal with internal critics, develop other competencies and performance criteria, and adapt existing structures. The NGO’s ‘theory of change’, for example, has to incorporate market-based approaches and private sector actors. In short, going for inclusive business partnerships has organizational implications and both partners need to be willing to change internally.
  5. Moving on or scaling up: Successful partnerships can increase their impact through replication or scaling up. Ideally, the NGO partner moves out after a couple of years, the partnership ends, and the inclusive business model sustains itself. Depending on the scope of the partnership, this can be a long-term process, although there are hard realities on both sides

Relevance for different stakeholders

The guide primarily offers practical guidance to NGOs, but is also relevant to companies. Firstly, because it helps them understand their NGO partner better and, secondly, because if can offer inspiration for the inclusive business agenda of their own company. Interestingly, companies and NGOs often have similar questions and challenges, especially those that refer to internal processes. Their issues and realities tend to mirror each other.

For other key stakeholders such as donors, the guide offers insights into the dilemmas and challenges that NGOs – and for that matter, companies – face, e.g. related to the promise of inclusiveness, NGO-company relations and funding. Despite their immense potential, inclusive business partnerships are not the new ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to achieve the SDGs; other approaches remain essential. They are also a practice that cannot emerge without internal changes in and investments by NGOs. NGOs would, thus, also benefit from adequate support to realize the promise of inclusive business partnerships.


 

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Kategorien: english

Note conceptuelle 2019–2022 (Fr.)

5. August 2019 - 12:21

Plateforme de connaissances sur les politiques dedéveloppement inclusif (INCLUDE) note conceptuelle pour la phase II (2019–2022).

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Kategorien: english

Concept note 2019-2022 (Eng)

5. August 2019 - 12:16

Building on our cumulative learning and a consultative process with our platform members and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, platform members Nicholas Awortwi and Ton Dietz developed a new concept note that is available in both English and French. This concept note refines our knowledge agenda and will form the cornerstone of INCLUDE’s work in the next four years (2019–2022).

 

 

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Kategorien: english

Moving forward in debates on inclusive development policies: INCLUDE’s renewed knowledge agenda

5. August 2019 - 10:34

2018 was a stocktaking year for INCLUDE. With our members and network and at the Secretariat, we reflected on five years of knowledge brokering on inclusive development. This included 14 flagship international meetings, support to 17 projects in the Research on Inclusive Development in Sub-Saharan Africa Programme (RIDSSA)7 African Policy Dialogues and more. What have we learnt? Are we closer to understanding what is needed to make development in Africa more inclusive? How can we best promote policy relevant research and knowledge brokering to better inform policy makers and practitioners? And what does that mean for our knowledge and activity agenda moving forward?

The INCLUDE Knowledge Platform was established by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2012 to promote better research-policy linkages on development processes in Africa. The core of this work focuses on inclusive development – which is development that goes beyond economic growth and is not just concerned with poverty reduction, but also aims to reduce inequality. In 2014, INCLUDE defined its knowledge agenda, with six key policy domains that were commonly perceived as drivers of inequality, but that could, through strategic action, be transformed into triggers of inclusive development. These six policy areas are: economic growth with structural transformation, productive employment, social protection, access to basic services, territorial development, and inclusive governance.

The focus on inequality has proven to be essential and is gaining more and more attention in national and international policy debates. This is supported by increasing evidence on the detrimental effects of inequality – not only in terms of threatening social cohesion and political stability, but also in reducing prospects for future economic growth. INCLUDE is, thus, staying true to the vision advanced in 2012 and emphasizing even more than before the need for development, and not just economic growth, to be more inclusive. This makes the question ‘what works in promoting more inclusive development’ even more pertinent.

Here, our 2012–2018 findings provide important insights. At the risk of losing important nuances, we summarize our insights into inclusive development in one key principle: Development is not automatically inclusive and inclusive development requires additional and different investments. This principle emphasizes the importance of going beyond the assumption that all good things will automatically trickle down and echoes an important observation from the 2016 World Bank Shared Prosperity report: “a road in itself does not reduce inequality”. We know by now that wealth does not automatically trickle down and that more inclusive development requires an inclusive development lens. What this lens entails is further explained in the Inclusive Development synthesis.

A new knowledge agenda

These advances, as well as ongoing developments in the national and international policy environment, required us to take a fresh look at our original knowledge agenda. Building on our cumulative learning and a consultative process with our platform members and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, platform members Nicholas Awortwi and Ton Dietz developed a new concept note that is available in both English and French. This concept note refines our knowledge agenda and will form the cornerstone of INCLUDE’s work in the next four years (2019–2022). The six policy domains have been sharped into four themes and four lenses. The four themes are: economic growth with transformation, work and income for women and youth, access to and use of basic services (especially education and cash transfers), and political empowerment. The four lenses are: social equity, spatial equity, inclusive governance, and political economy. These themes and lenses will guide us in further shaping our research and dialogue activities. The image below outlines the shift from the old to the new knowledge agenda.

In doing so, we also build on the lessons learnt on ‘how’ to promote evidence-informed policy making. From 2016, INCLUDE launched the African Policy Dialogues (APDs), which are initiated by its platform members. The aim of the APDs is to encourage the use of existing knowledge in policy making in selected African countries. With their alignment to national development processes and policy questions and their visible policy impact, these dialogue activities have developed into a flagship knowledge brokering activity for INCLUDE that will become more prominent in the coming year.

These cumulative lessons are also visible in the development of two new research programmes:

  • First, the INCLUDE Secretariat played a crucial role in the establishment of the NWO/WOTRO Assumptions Programme, which tests the assumptions underlying the Dialogue & Dissent policy framework, with an explicit policy goal (informing the new policy framework). Importantly, this programme emphasized short-term deliverables to kick start the dialogue between researchers and policy stakeholders (including a review of the relevant existing literature) and promoted the strong participation of both policymakers and researchers in these exchanges.
  • Second, the importance of such a committed cohort of researchers, including to short-term deliverables and dialogues with national and international stakeholders, is also central to our international collaboration with IDRC and ILO on youth employment in Africa. This programme combines detailed case studies on clustered youth employment interventions with evidence reviews that link the individual projects to the broader youth employment debate and learning.

We will keep you up to date on these new initiatives, findings and results!

Het bericht Moving forward in debates on inclusive development policies: INCLUDE’s renewed knowledge agenda verscheen eerst op INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

Seven principles for inclusive development policy-making

5. August 2019 - 10:11
‘Development is not automatically inclusive, but requires additional and different investments’

At risk of losing important nuances, we summarize INCLUDE’s insights into inclusive development over 2012-2018 in this one key principle. This principle emphasizes the importance of going beyond the assumption that all good things will automatically trickle down, and overarches the 7 principles for inclusive policy-making presented in this factsheet.

Read more about INCLUDE’s insights and knowledge agenda over 2012-2018 and 2019-2022 in this blog post by Marleen Dekker.

The post Seven principles for inclusive development policy-making appeared first on INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

Moving forward in debates on inclusive development policies: INCLUDE’s renewed knowledge agenda

5. August 2019 - 9:36

2018 was a stocktaking year for INCLUDE. With our members and network and at the Secretariat, we reflected on five years of knowledge brokering on inclusive development. This included 14 flagship international meetings, support to 17 projects in the Research on Inclusive Development in Sub-Saharan Africa Programme (RIDSSA), 7 African Policy Dialogues and more. What have we learnt? Are we closer to understanding what is needed to make development in Africa more inclusive? How can we best promote policy relevant research and knowledge brokering to better inform policy makers and practitioners? And what does that mean for our knowledge and activity agenda moving forward?

The INCLUDE Knowledge Platform was established by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2012 to promote better research-policy linkages on development processes in Africa. The core of this work focuses on inclusive development – which is development that goes beyond economic growth and is not just concerned with poverty reduction, but also aims to reduce inequality. In 2014, INCLUDE defined its knowledge agenda, with six key policy domains that were commonly perceived as drivers of inequality, but that could, through strategic action, be transformed into triggers of inclusive development. These six policy areas are: economic growth with structural transformation, productive employment, social protection, access to basic services, territorial development, and inclusive governance.

The focus on inequality has proven to be essential and is gaining more and more attention in national and international policy debates. This is supported by increasing evidence on the detrimental effects of inequality – not only in terms of threatening social cohesion and political stability, but also in reducing prospects for future economic growth. INCLUDE is, thus, staying true to the vision advanced in 2012 and emphasizing even more than before the need for development, and not just economic growth, to be more inclusive. This makes the question ‘what works in promoting more inclusive development’ even more pertinent.

Here, our 2012–2018 findings provide important insights. At the risk of losing important nuances, we summarize our insights into inclusive development in one key principle: Development is not automatically inclusive and inclusive development requires additional and different investments. This principle emphasizes the importance of going beyond the assumption that all good things will automatically trickle down and echoes an important observation from the 2016 World Bank Shared Prosperity report: “a road in itself does not reduce inequality”. We know by now that wealth does not automatically trickle down and that more inclusive development requires an inclusive development lens. What this lens entails is further explained in the Inclusive Development synthesis.

A new knowledge agenda

These advances, as well as ongoing developments in the national and international policy environment, required us to take a fresh look at our original knowledge agenda. Building on our cumulative learning and a consultative process with our platform members and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, platform members Nicholas Awortwi and Ton Dietz developed a new concept note that is available in both English and French. This concept note refines our knowledge agenda and will form the cornerstone of INCLUDE’s work in the next four years (2019–2022). The six policy domains have been sharped into four themes and four lenses. The four themes are: economic growth with transformation, work and income for women and youth, access to and use of basic services (especially education and cash transfers), and political empowerment. The four lenses are: social equity, spatial equity, inclusive governance, and political economy. These themes and lenses will guide us in further shaping our research and dialogue activities. The image below outlines the shift from the old to the new knowledge agenda.

In doing so, we also build on the lessons learnt on ‘how’ to promote evidence-informed policy making. From 2016, INCLUDE launched the African Policy Dialogues (APDs), which are initiated by its platform members. The aim of the APDs is to encourage the use of existing knowledge in policy making in selected African countries. With their alignment to national development processes and policy questions and their visible policy impact, these dialogue activities have developed into a flagship knowledge brokering activity for INCLUDE that will become more prominent in the coming year.

These cumulative lessons are also visible in the development of two new research programmes:

  • First, the INCLUDE Secretariat played a crucial role in the establishment of the NWO/WOTRO Assumptions Programme, which tests the assumptions underlying the Dialogue & Dissent policy framework, with an explicit policy goal (informing the new policy framework). Importantly, this programme emphasized short-term deliverables to kick start the dialogue between researchers and policy stakeholders (including a review of the relevant existing literature) and promoted the strong participation of both policymakers and researchers in these exchanges.
  • Second, the importance of such a committed cohort of researchers, including to short-term deliverables and dialogues with national and international stakeholders, is also central to our international collaboration with IDRC and ILO on youth employment in Africa. This programme combines detailed case studies on clustered youth employment interventions with evidence reviews that link the individual projects to the broader youth employment debate and learning.

We will keep you up to date on these new initiatives, findings and results!

The post Moving forward in debates on inclusive development policies: INCLUDE’s renewed knowledge agenda appeared first on INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english