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The French response to the Corona Crisis: semi-presidentialism par excellence

GDI Briefing - 19. Januar 2038 - 4:14

This blog post analyses the response of the French government to the Coronavirus pandemic. The piece highlights how the semi-presidential system in France facilitates centralized decisions to manage the crisis. From a political-institutional perspective, it is considered that there were no major challenges to the use of unilateral powers by the Executive to address the health crisis, although the de-confinement phase and socio-economic consequences opens the possibility for more conflictual and opposing reactions. At first, approvals of the president and prime minister raised, but the strict confinement and the reopening measures can be challenging in one of the European countries with the highest number of deaths, where massive street protests, incarnated by the Yellow vests movement, have recently shaken the political scene.

Kategorien: english

How can the G20 support innovative: mechanisms to mobilise financial resources for LDCs in a post-pandemic world?

GDI Briefing - 26. Dezember 2022 - 14:05

Innovative financing for development can contribute to closing the financial gap by mobilising new funds for sustainable development and leveraging existing scarce public concessional resources (ODA). In addition to domestic resources and traditional external financial resources, innovative financing mechanisms can mobilise further financial resources for LDCs. In view of the LDCs’ enormous sustainable investment needs, mobilising private financial resources is both crucial and inescapable. Blended finance represents an important instrument to combine ODA with private finance, thereby leveraging scarce concessional public financial resources. The G20 should consider promoting the adoption and implementation of the OECD Blended Finance Principles in LICs to enhance blended finance in these countries. As many LDCs do not have sufficient institutional capacity. To adopt blended finance instruments the G20 should support LDC in developing institutional capacity to effectively implement blended finance tools and to lower risks associated with blended finance. An additional instrument to enhance external financial resources to LDCs is to allocate the recently approved new SDR allocation to LDCs exceeding LDCs quota. The G20 should take on a leading by example/frontrunner role and donate as well as lend a percentage of their allocations, discuss establishing a special purpose fund (i.e. a green or health fund), support allocating a large amount of SDRs to LDCs exceeding their quota and discuss proposals how to allocate them among LICs and discuss how these financial instruments can be used to ensure a sustainable and inclusive recovery from the covid-19 crisis. As the fragmented architecture of sustainable bond standards represent one main challenge in mobilising financial resources for attaining the SDGs by issuing sustainable bonds the G20 should discuss and promote harmonisation of sustainable bond standards. Moreover, the G20 countries should provide capacity building for LDCs for developing the sustainable bond market in these countries.

Kategorien: english

Financial development to formalize economies

Brookings - 30. September 2022 - 21:22

By Salvatore Capasso, Franziska Ohnsorge, Shu Yu

Informal economic activity is widespread around the world. On average, such activity accounts for about one-third of output, and informal employment captures almost one-third of total employment (Figure 1). It undermines revenue collections, stunts productivity, hinders investment, and traps some of the most vulnerable workers in low-paying, unproductive employment. For policymakers in countries with widespread informality, it is a formidable challenge.

Figure 1. Informality around the world

Sources: Elgin et al. (2021).

Note: Bars are simple averages. “EMDEs” stands for emerging marking and developing economies. Informal output is proxied by dynamic general equilibrium (DGE) model-based estimates in percent of official GDP. Self-employment, a common proxy for informal employment, is in percent of total employment. World averages between 1990-2018 are in orange.

Underdeveloped financial systems have often been identified as a potential cause of informality but the direction of causality has been difficult to pin down. Financial development can influence the benefits and costs of informal economic activity undertaken by firms and households. Firms in the informal sector are typically characterized by small scale, low capital-to-labor ratios, lack of investment, low productivity, a low propensity to implement new technologies, and unskilled managers. By influencing firms’ investment strategies, financial development promotes the transition of informal firms into the formal sector and, ultimately, encourages capital accumulation and productivity improvements.

Plenty of empirical evidence shows that financial development is correlated with lower informality. Many empirical studies have found a robust and significant result, for different sets of countries, time periods, and definitions of financial development and informality, and controlling for numerous factors: Greater financial development is associated with less informality (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Financial development and informality

Sources: Ohnsorge and Yu (2022).

Note: Bars show simple averages for EMDEs over the period 2010-18. “High informality” (“Low informality”) are emerging market and developing economies (EMDEs) with above-median (below-median) dynamic general equilibrium (DGE)-based informal output measures. “Bank branches” measures the number of commercial bank branches per 100,000 adults. “ATMs” measures the number of automated teller machines (ATMs) per 100,000 adults. “Private credit” measures domestic credit to private sector in percent of GDP. “Account ownership” is the percentage of survey respondents (aged 15 and above) who report having an account (by themselves or together with someone else) at a bank or other financial institution, or report personally using a mobile money service in the past 12 months. *** indicates group differences are not zero at 10 percent significance level.

From correlations to causality

But is it financial development that lowers informality or vice versa? The literature is divided on this question.

Several theoretical studies have identified the various channels that may give rise to a negative relationship between financial development and informality, with causality that may be running in either direction. These studies essentially compare the costs of operating informally, such as more costly access to external financing, with the benefits, such as avoiding regulatory and tax compliance burdens.

The main notion behind most of the studies arguing for a causal link from financial development to informality is that, in the presence of information asymmetries, informal firms and workers face a higher cost of credit since they are more opaque to external creditors. High financing cost, in turn, reduces the attractiveness of formal-sector activity. As financial markets develop, the cost of credit decreases, and formal-sector activity becomes more attractive. And yet, there are also arguments to support the idea that the causality runs from informality to lower financial development. Specifically, more pervasive informality lowers aggregate investment and this, in turn,  is accompanied by shallower capital markets.

This approach shows that greater financial development indeed lowers informal sector activity. This causal link is stronger in countries with greater trade openness and capital account openness.

In our new study, we employ an instrumental variable approach to show that the direction of causality runs from greater financial development to lower informal-sector activity. Specifically, the approach exploits one aspect of financial development that is likely to be most relevant for the vast majority of informal workers and firms: relationship banking. Relationship banking requires close interactions between the bank and the borrower and typically also requires the presence of bank branches where these relationships can be established and nurtured. Inspired by a large body of literature that documents the link between domestic and foreign banking sector development, we use the strength of branch networks in geographically close countries as an instrument for financial development.

This approach shows that greater financial development indeed lowers informal sector activity. This causal link is stronger in countries with greater trade openness and capital account openness (Figure 3). The findings are robust to the use of alternative indicators of informality and financial development.

Figure 3. The impact of bank sector development on informality

Sources: Capasso, Ohnsorge, and Yu (2022)

Note: Bars show estimated coefficients for commercial bank branches (used as a proxy for bank sector development) when regressing against DGE-based informal output as a share of official GDP. “High (low) trade openness” are countries where trade flow (i.e., imports plus exports) as a share of GDP is above (below) median. Commercial bank branches are per 100,000 adults and instrumented by the average number of bank branches in the region (excluding the country under consideration; discounted by distance). Data are between 2004 and 2018. *** indicates that the coefficients are significant at 10 percent significance level.

Policy promise

For policymakers, this is a promising finding. Our results suggest that efforts to strengthen financial development, which are typically undertaken for reasons unrelated to informality, may also be an effective tool to lower informality.

A wide range of policy tools has been identified to foster financial development and financial inclusion. Such policies have often aimed at increasing domestic savings and investment, reducing poverty, and reducing financial vulnerabilities. They have included, among many others, measures to strengthen credit registries; broaden mobile payment and banking systems; digitize transactions and records; and increase competition among financial service providers while strengthening regulation and supervision. Our results show that such policies can also increase the attractiveness of operating formally, in part by removing information asymmetries and reducing financing costs. Hence, financial development can be an effective part of a broader policy agenda to reduce informality.

      
Kategorien: english

Dr. Ahmed Ogwell Ouma on African health leadership

Devex - 30. September 2022 - 18:39
Kategorien: english

Tunisia: Next adventure – starting a business

GIZ Germany - 29. September 2022 - 19:43
: Tue, 27 Sep 2022 HH:mm:ss
A couple of entrepreneurs offer an alternative taste of Tunisia – combining profession with passion.
Kategorien: english

Building Bridges? PGII versus BRI

Brookings - 29. September 2022 - 19:03

By Elizabeth C. Losos, T. Robert Fetter

The recently launched Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII)—a G-7 initiative to mobilize $600 billion in loans and grants for sustainable, quality infrastructure projects in developing and emerging economies—aims to provide much-needed investment toward achieving global development goals. G-7 leaders are not hiding their secondary motivation: regaining some of the influence that advanced democracies have yielded to China over a decade of its infrastructure investment through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The level of funding pledged by PGII demonstrates a serious commitment to addressing the infrastructure needs of low- and middle-income countries, potentially on par to match that of BRI.

PGII is distinctive not just for the quantity of pledged investment, but also the quality. In launching PGII, the G-7 leaders repeatedly stated their goal to support “quality infrastructure” projects, that is, economically viable projects with transparent disclosures and low environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risks. Implied—and at times overtly stated—in this PGII characterization is its sharp contrast to BRI projects. The G-7 is betting that such investments will be more attractive to host-country governments than what China has been offering. Some past BRI projects gained international attention for environmental hazards, labor violations, corruption scandals, public protests, and unsustainable debt burdens in recipient countries. By offering quality, transparent investment opportunities, G-7 nations hope to build soft power in low- and middle-income countries.

There is a second reason that quality infrastructure is a fundamental component of PGII: Quality projects with low ESG risks are needed to attract private sector investors, which are key to PGII’s financing model. G-7 governments are not in a position to compete with China’s BRI through public spending. Due to rapidly expanding ESG investment funds, private-sector institutional investors—such as pension and insurance funds—have literally hundreds of billions of dollars available that could be invested in sustainable, low-risk investments. Yet these institutional investors have difficulty identifying “bankable” sustainable infrastructure projects with acceptable levels of risk in developing countries.

To attract private sector investments, the governments of the United States, Australia, and Japan are creating a quality infrastructure certification initiative called the Blue Dot Network (BDN). A BDN certification aims to provide a globally recognized certification—akin to a “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval”—for infrastructure projects with low ESG risks, high debt transparency, and sustainable economic returns. The G-7 is banking on this certification of high-quality and low-ESG risks to provide the assurance that private investors need to attract them into PGII public-private partnerships.

It is not just governments that want to create global standards to attract private sector financing. A group of public- and private-sector financial institutions have joined forces to develop another initiative, FAST-Infra (Finance to Accelerate the Sustainable Transition-Infrastructure), which shares the goal of developing a global sustainable infrastructure label to de-risk private sector infrastructure investing. FAST-Infra’s Sustainable Infrastructure Label and BDN Certification standards can and should reinforce each other in the quest to crowd in more private sector investments to sustainable, quality infrastructure investments in developing and emerging economies.

So, what is the chance that PGII—with its high-quality standards and private sector investors—will draw developing and emerging economies into Western partnerships at the cost of their alliances with China? In other words, can PGII rebuild Western soft power by outcompeting BRI? Not likely. Several factors minimize the head-to-head competition.

First, while PGII’s pledged price tag is impressively large, there are no assurances that G7 governments will be able to make good on their commitments over five years, especially given current political volatility within most of the G-7 countries. Furthermore, these governments have no real control over whether the private sector will actually invest their share—which comprises the majority the PGII pledge—or that they will select sustainable projects. Additionally, the high-quality attributes that make the projects attractive also restrict the number and breadth of projects that can meet PGII’s requirements. Finding a sufficient supply of bankable projects without compromising standards will likely depend on substantial G-7 investments in technical assistance and capacity development—which is far from given.

Finally, even if the PGII initiative is able to mobilize the full $600 billion pledged, this sum is not likely to deter or displace Chinese investments. The infrastructure gap in developing countries is enormous, on the scale of tens of trillions of dollars. There is plenty of need and room for both. Most borrowing countries are eager to have multiple options. Thus, PGII versus BRI is a false dichotomy.

Ironically, if successful, PGII could achieve something potentially more meaningful than initially intended through its competition with BRI: a race to the top in quality infrastructure investments. While the Western narrative alleges that BRI investments are low quality and saddle countries with unsustainable debt, the reality is that China has already began evolving the quantity and quality of its infrastructure lending three years ago. In 2019, China dramatically diminished its overseas infrastructure investments, especially pulling back on the high-risk projects. That year at the BRI International Forum, President Xi Jinping emphasized his commitment to a “Green BRI.” The drivers of this change were manifold, including internal economic pressures, decreasing foreign currency reserves, and pressure from negative international publicity. The bottom line is that China could not continue to underwrite high-risk loans that were financially and politically costly.

China is still in the nascent stages of reimagining the Belt and Road version 2.0. The BRI International Green Coalition—a quasi-public entity that partners with international development and environmental organizations—issued a series of infrastructure investment guidelines starting in December 2020 known as the Green Development Guidance (GDG), including an environmental classification system (the “Traffic Light System”) that codes projects as green (beneficial), yellow (acceptable), or red (unacceptable) based on project characteristics and mitigation measures. These GDG standards fall far short of Western standards being pursued by BDN and FAST-Infra. Most significantly, GDG focuses solely on environmental impacts, leaving social and governance risks unaddressed. Their ultimate goals, however, are complementary and potentially compatible.

To date, the Green BRI remains mostly a paper concept, though the central government and many ministries are gradually incorporating voluntary guidance to Chinese lenders that promotes infrastructure projects that minimize climate, biodiversity, and pollution impacts. For China to credibly establish its newfound commitment to international environmental norms, it will need to proactively release information on which of its projects have sought GDG oversight and how they have scored. Currently, there is no way to track how many BRI projects seek classification according to the GDG, or how many BRI projects have been judged green, yellow or red. There is also no requirement in the Guidance for an independent auditor to verify BRI developers’ claims. Decision-making by the BRI remains opaque, and there are no real-time statistics available to measure the actual change in investment portfolio. (Of course government statistics would still need to be verified—perhaps by the organizations that currently compiles information on Chinese-funded projects such as AIDDATA or Boston University Global Development Policy Center.

If G-7 countries take serious action to fulfill their PGII commitments with its focus on high-quality, low-ESG risk infrastructure projects, China may respond by amplifying and improving its newly developed standards, as outlined in the GDG. As Guo Hai, a researcher at the Institute of Public Policy at the South China University of Technology, recently noted, “… China’s economy has a history of needing external forces to bring in reforms. Biden’s new plan might not be a bad thing for China’s [Belt and Road Initiative] or its domestic market.” This would be a race to the top that could benefit all parties.

      
Kategorien: english

Tackling data scarcity in developing countries through public-private partnerships

OECD - 29. September 2022 - 15:19

By Mustafizur Rahman, Distinguished Fellow at the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), Bangladesh

Government agencies are the custodians of official data. They are in charge of reporting on national performance in SDG-related and other areas. However, in developing countries, lack of human resources, financial constraints and also lack of access to modern data generation tools often prevent agencies from producing the data countries need. In turn, without access to reliable data, policy makers struggle to take appropriate decisions and to assess and monitor progress of policy implementation.

Non-state actors, including think tanks, NGOs and the private sector, gather and produce significant amounts of information.  This trove of rich and useful data could serve as a powerful tool for policymakers to identify challenges, assess key variables, and quantify progress.

Can public-private partnerships be an effective means of addressing data gaps in developing countries?

The post Tackling data scarcity in developing countries through public-private partnerships appeared first on Development Matters.

Kategorien: english

Our Monthly Reading List: September 2022

INCLUDE Platform - 29. September 2022 - 14:07

Every month we share with our readers a curated reading list on inclusive development. As we gear up for this year’s COP 27 in Egypt, we are zooming in on the Climate and Food Systems nexus. Unlike last year, the agenda of the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference dedicates a whole day to “adaptation and agriculture”.

According to new research by a team led by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, agriculture is responsible for about one-third of greenhouse gas emissions. While this highlights the importance of integrating food systems into the climate agenda, it’s missing an explicit mention of nutrition, which focuses on sufficient production and access to healthy and affordable food. However, as the food crisis tightens around the world,  the ‘Hunger Hotspots – FAO-WFP early warnings on acute food insecurity’ report calls for urgent humanitarian action to save lives and livelihoods and prevent famine in hotspot countries where acute food insecurity is expected to worsen from October 2022 to January 2023.  It also finds rising conflict, weather extremes, and economic instability aggravated by the impacts of COVID-19 and the ripple effects of the war in Ukraine (which are also the subject of a recent ASCL blog post) are among the key drivers of the negative developments.

Against this backdrop, 15 organisations will bring attention to the transformations needed in the food and agriculture system to effectively tackle the climate crisis at the Food4Climate Pavilion, among other events organised around the COP27. The Netherlands Food Partnership (NFP), for example, published an information page including a general overview of the programme, as well as an opportunity to preregister for the COP27 briefing sessions later this year. Furthermore, NFP is hosting a creative and thought-provoking event for food professionals to celebrate World Food Day 2022, Wednesday 12 October at the Pakhuis de Zwijger in Amsterdam, organised on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. It will set out the key priorities and urgent actions needed to address and mitigate the food and climate crises.

On a more practical note, agroecology is heralded as one of the solutions to adapt the agricultural system to the demand of a changing climate. The YALTA Agroecology Production Handbook is designed to share knowledge with young agriprenuers facilitating or training in agroecology farming. It provides information on the 10 elements of agroecology and includes links to detailed information produced by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). On the topic of improving programming for youth agripreneurs in Africa, the INCLUDE knowledge platform together with The Broker and the NFP has recently started an exciting new project. Youth agripreneurship is increasingly put forward as a solution not only to the innovative transformation of the African agriculture and agro-processing sectors, but also to spur the creation of youth employment opportunities. Policy dialogues organised by Utafiti Sera and the Centre for African Bio-Entrepreneurs (CABE) have worked to make research evidence more accessible to policymakers and relevant actors to catalyse policy interventions regarding the generation of youth employment in agriculture. Along the same lines, the EPRC-African Policy Dialogues (APD) under the Inclusive Development (INCLUDE) Platform project discussed how to create productive and decent work for youth and women in Uganda through Agro Industrialisation.

Het bericht Our Monthly Reading List: September 2022 verscheen eerst op INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

Re-discovering assessed contributions in the UN system: Underexploited, yet full of potential

GDI Briefing - 29. September 2022 - 13:41

In May 2022, the World Health Organization Member States took the historic decision to increase the share of assessed contributions in the organisation’s regular budget. There are good reasons to assume the increase during the COVID-19 pandemic is a singular measure. On the road to the United Nations (UN) Summit of the Future, however, assessed contributions – which remain an underexploited instrument for collectively funding global tasks – should not be discarded prematurely. Given current global instability and crises, expanding and reforming their usage could help make UN organisations and multilateral action more effective. Equally important in times of geopolitical upheaval, assessed contributions symbolise a commitment to collectively shared responsibility and a belief in multilateral priority setting, as cumbersome as this may be. This contribution discusses the up- and downsides of assessed contributions and formulates recommendations regarding their future usage and operationalisation.

Kategorien: english

Africa is Rolling Out a New Plan for Pandemic Preparedness and Health Emergencies

UN Dispatch - 29. September 2022 - 4:00

In late August, health ministers from across Africa held a meeting in Togo in which they adopted a common strategy to confront health emergencies.

The so called “Regional Strategy for Health Security and Emergencies” commits African countries to concrete steps to strengthen disease surveillance, response and preparedness.

There are over 100 health emergencies in Africa each year — including outbreaks of infectious and deadly diseases like Yellow Fever, meningitis, and ebola. And it is sometimes the case that diseases endemic only in parts of Africa, like MonkeyPox, can spread globally precisely because of limited local capacity to contain an outbreak. This new strategy seeks to change that dynamic.

In this episode, we speak with Dr. Abdou Salam Gaye, WHO Regional Emergency Director for Africa to discuss this new African health security plan and Africa’s role in global pandemic preparedness and response.

We kick off by discussing what COVID revealed about African health systems’ ability to respond to a massive emergency. Dr. Salam then explains some key elements of this new regional strategy on health emergencies and how the successsful implementation of this plan will have a global impact.

Apple Podcasts  | Google PodcastsSpotify  | Podcast Addict  |  Stitcher  | Radio Public 

 

The post Africa is Rolling Out a New Plan for Pandemic Preparedness and Health Emergencies appeared first on UN Dispatch.

Kategorien: english

Gerda Verburg on building a nutrition movement

Devex - 28. September 2022 - 10:56
Kategorien: english

Marx and Colonialism

EADI Debating Development Research - 28. September 2022 - 10:49
By Lucia Pradella It is widely believed that Marx did not systematically consider the role of colonialism within the process of capital accumulation. According to David Harvey, Marx concentrated on a self-closed national economy in his main work. Although he did mention colonialism in Part 8 of Capital Volume 1 on the so-called primitive accumulation, …
Kategorien: english, Ticker

Firm dynamics in times of COVID: evidence from Egyptian firms

GDI Briefing - 28. September 2022 - 8:57

 The COVID-19 outbreak has had severe economic consequences across the globe. The crisis emanating from the pandemic has caused demand and supply side shocks, which are more far reaching than any crisis in living memory. We use a new data set from the 2020/21 Egyptian Industrial Firm Behavior Survey (EIFBS) to examine determinants of firms’ resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic. Crisis present the opportunity for what Schumpeter (1934) called creative destruction. Have manufacturing firms been all hit by the crisis equally, or were less efficient firms more likely to exit or downsize their activities thereby ‘cleansing’ the market? Two sets of factors affect firm dynamics and survival: 1) firms’ innate characteristics, such as formality and export status, sector, ownership, age, size and location and; 2) firm behavior which captures the extent to which good managerial practices, innovation, the adoption of advanced technologies and worker training have provided an opportunity for firms to adapt their business models and show greater resilience in coping with the crisis. Our main findings illustrate the vulnerability of private, smaller, informal firms and those that are not located in industrial zones. Also, as expected, pre-COVID behavioural characteristics matter for firm dynamics. The food sector and sectors identified as ‘COVID sectors’ show more resilience. More nuanced results show that the effect of some behavioral traits vary by sector and are more influential depending on firm size.

Kategorien: english

Civil20 to Visit Grassroot Communities and Handover Communique to President Joko Widodo in Bali Summit

#C20 18 - 27. September 2022 - 19:29

Being connected to the grassroots communities and hearing the voice of youth is once in a blue moon. Therefore, C20 realized it into C20 Summit People Caravan, where young activists, influencers, media, and representatives from seven Working Groups will visit, dialogue, and engage with the local CSOs on C20 priority issues. It kicked off from Jakarta on September 27, 2022 to visit Cirebon, Yogyakarta, Banyuwangi, and will end in C20 Bali Summit on October 3, 2022 to share their aspirations in front of the G20 leaders.

“The caravan aims to recognize the role of local CSOs so that their voices can be heard before the C20 Summit on October 5-7, 2022. We will also schedule a handover to the C20 India Presidency to maintain continuity and sustainability of the advocacy work to the G20, “said Ah Maftuchan, C20 Sherpa, at the C20 Pre-Summit Media Briefing on September 26, 2022.

All civil society organizations and grassroots communities worldwide will witness the key political event, which is handing over the Policy Pack (policy recommendations) and Communique (political statement) to the President Joko Widodo of the Republic of Indonesia at the C20 Summit. Around 300 participants representing Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) across the world have registered and are expected to participate in several parallel side events and plenary sessions during the meeting. With a message of ‘Voicing and Realizing a Just Recovery for All’, C20 calls G20 to realize recovery in a just manner throughout the world.

A number of high-ranking officials are scheduled to attend the meeting, namely the Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, Airlangga Hartarto, Minister of Finance, Sri Mulyani, Minister of Health of the Republic Indonesia, Budi Gunadi Sadikin, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, Retno Marsudi, Minister of Energy, Natural Resource, and Mineral, Arifin Tasrif, as well as next year’s G20 leading country representative, Minister of Finance of the Republic of India, Smt Nirmala Sitharaman.

“C20 has been working for more than eight months in formulating recommendations at the Indonesian and international levels. In the final round, we will present the work results at the C20 Summit in solutions, accountability, and new demands that have not been adopted. The Summit will become a forum for the C20 to unite amid diversity which resulted in many recommendations before the G20 summit in November,” said Sugeng Bahagijo, C20 Chair, in his welcoming remarks.

Maftuchan also stressed that C20 facilitates G20 countries and non-G20 countries to speak up about what is most important to the G20. No one should be left behind, for example, don’t let digital technology advances only favor the rich. “If the problem is not resolved, then the G20 should form a new Working Group. If the issue is considered important, the G20 needs to create one new facility funded by them. If we need one policy change, the G20 leaders should agree to it,”

A brief testimony for the G20 Indonesia Presidency, he opined that the G20 has relatively maintained inclusivity for all engagement groups. “We have the opportunity to speak out and G20 also attended the C20 Policy Dialogue Meeting. The finance track process in Indonesia’s presidency is quite open. C20 requested that FIF governance be more inclusive and reflective of a multi-stakeholder approach so that C20 representatives could be in the FIF governing body. We proposed periodic monitoring of the G20 to be carried out annually, but it resulted that it will be carried out every four years. We have made efforts to influence the work of the G20,”

Finally, C20 asks the G20 to stop the political contestation. Otherwise, society will be disappointed.

Writer: Sita Mellia
Contact: sitamellia01@gmail.com

Kategorien: english, Ticker

Rise at UNGA 2022

Devex - 27. September 2022 - 18:44
Kategorien: english

Peace requires strategy

D+C - 27. September 2022 - 13:52
Researchers advise Germany's Federal Government to draft coherent strategies crisis and conflict countries

In 2017, Germany’s Federal Government adopted ambitious guidelines on “Preventing crisis, resolving conflicts, building peace”. The idea was that all efforts concerning crisis and conflict countries should take a whole-of-government approach. Four principles were explicitly endorsed: namely to

  1. respect, protect and safeguard human rights,   
  2. act in a context-specific, inclusive and long-term perspective
  3. identify risks, make coherent efforts and fulfil demands of diligence, and
  4. prioritise prevention and politics.

A recent study has assessed to what extent these principles have shaped Germany’s engagement in Mali and Niger. It also looked into how German policies are being perceived by local-civil society actors. The study was commissioned by the Advisory Board to the Federal Government for Civilian Crisis Prevention and Peacebuilding. The Board has 20 members who are professionals in international cooperation, social sciences, foundations and civil society.

The study clearly shows that the Federal Government is only insufficiently pursuing the goals defined in its own guidelines. There are several tools and mechanisms for coordinating different ministries. It is a problem, however, that they do not cover all ministries running efforts in Mali and Niger. Also, the ministries concerned neither share a vision of how lasting peace can be achieved nor an understanding of what Germany’s role should be in making it happen.

French policies have failed

Contrary to the guidelines, the Federal Government so far has failed to draft an overarching country-specific policy for either Mali or Niger. It has thus not defined what Germany’s contribution to establishing peace should be. This strategic gap is striking, especially given Germany's massively expanded engagement in both countries since 2012. It now includes, among other things, the largest military deployment abroad, training programmes for the police, humanitarian relief as well as development cooperation. Lacking a strategy of its own, Germany largely depends on France – but French policies have failed in both political and military terms in the entire Sahel region (see Lori-Anne Théroux-Bénoni on www.dandc.eu).

Moreover, Germany’s Federal Government would do well to pay more attention to its guidelines when it comes to the implementation of measures. For example, there is no systematic strategy for conflict prevention in Mali and Niger. Contrary to the guidelines, moreover, there is no focus on human rights. Local civil society complains about this, as impunity and the lack of a legitimate judiciary are considered a key cause of violent conflicts. Germany's long-term commitment to development, however, is expressly praised.

On this basis, we advise the ministries concerned to draft joint and coherent strategies for crisis and conflict countries. These strategies should spell out how lasting peace can be promoted in the respective country contexts. Moreover, we propose investing more in conflict prevention and giving German embassies a stronger role in strategic matters.

In Mali, the German government should lend more support to national and local structures for conflict resolution. For Niger, we recommend the German government to promote an institutionalised dialogue with civil society. This is indispensable, especially against the background of the currently discussed expansion of German (security) engagement in Niger. Otherwise, German efforts may become disconnected from society as they did in Mali.

 

Link

Policy Coherence for Peace in German Government’s action – Lessons from Mali and Niger

(Full study available in German, English and French versions will be published soon)

 

Antonia Witt heads the research group "African Intervention Politics" at the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF) and co-author of the study mentioned in the manuscript. witt@HSFK.de

Simone Schnabel is the second co-author and a doctoral researcher at PRIF. Baba Dakono and Abdoul Karim Saidou have contributed to the study as well. schnabel@HSFK.de

Kategorien: english

Fighting Coronavirus with a computer game

D+C - 27. September 2022 - 13:16
Ghanaian computer game developer Eyram Tawia on Covid-19 impacts on his business

Where are you working right now?

I am at my office in Accra. I work quite often at the office because we have very good conditions here. I have fast internet, a generator, all the stuff we need. But apart from me, almost nobody is here. All my staff works from home. Everybody is invited to come and work at the office, but it is not mandatory. If you are able to do your work remotely and deliver, then I am fine with wherever you work. But I do not want to hear that the power was off, or that there was no internet. If you cannot work properly from home, you have to come to the office.

Is this a new workflow or was it like this before the Covid pandemic?

No, before Corona everybody worked at the office though we worked remotely with our Kenyan teams. But a lot has changed. From one day to another, we were forced to work from home. So we set up the whole team in a virtual environment and we use collaborative and communication tools like Miroboard, Skype, Discord and Slack. Now all the work and communication goes on remotely and we have a perfect work environment. Actually, we even work more efficiently than before the pandemic. We had not been able to monitor people and it was harder to supervise them onsite in some cases. Now that is all possible. I do not know why we did not work like this earlier, it is perfect for us. I used to say, God made Covid happen for the gaming industry! For our industry, it is important that everybody knows how to operate a computer.  This happened due to Covid. Even my grandmother and my aunties now know about computers and Zoom. For the first time, I played online games with my mother in the village.

But was it all positive for you? Were there no setbacks in your business?

Oh, yes – there were. In the beginning of Corona, the first six to seven months it was really tough. We generate 90% of our revenue from funding of non-governmental organisations (NGOs). We develop games for clients – serious games like health education (as I told you in a previous interview for www.dandc.eu). When Covid-19 started, all of our clients stopped their funding. They needed time to restructure. So that hit us hard. We had to let a lot of our employees go, we went through hard times of not having any revenue. So we had to beat ourselves up, finding new businesses. But our clients started to come back and our business normalised again. We were even asked to set up an educational game for Covid behaviour. It is a trivia game in the form of “Who wants to be a millionaire” that we launched on our trivia game platform The Hottseat. Players have to answer questions on Covid. Now, we are fully back at the same level as in pre-Corona times and we are growing. We have a core team of 15 to 20 workers for all the projects, full-timers are around 10. The rest are freelancer and interns who join us.

Did you get any Corona support from your government?

No, not at all. There were recovery programmes and the government said, that they allocated some funding for entrepreneurs. I didn't apply due to how complicated it was to get these funds. My wife, who runs a weaving factory for traditional kente cloth and employs 17 weavers, applied twice. She never got an answer.

What else changed in your company due to the pandemic?

We were not sure whether we should keep our office, because we have a lot of empty space including a big hall, that we did not use anymore. But it is still important to have a physical place for personal meetings. And we found a great new purpose for our hall. We are actually converting it into a training facility where we coach trainees in game development. That is starting to kick off. We have even completed our first training with women in animation. We got a small grant from an organisation called ScaleUp Africa with MasterCard Foundation. They wanted us to train women, because women lack job opportunities and there are very few women in game development and in the tech industry in general.

That sounds promising. Last time we spoke, you expressed your regret that there is not enough training for game developing and computer science in Africa. Is this a first step to change matters?

Yes, it is definitely. The course was going quite well. Our approach is that we want to add value to existing skills. For example, if you like to draw pictures, we try to teach you how to create a comic for a video game. If you like to programme computers, we show you how to do the coding for games. There are many different steps in the process of creating a game.

How did it work out with your female trainees?

We had 30 women who applied. 20 of them were active throughout the course and 15 graduated with certificate. Teaching women is the same as men; there is no difference. If a lady is interested in programming she is good in that, if she is interested in art, she does that. We plan to work together with three of the 15 graduates. That is perfect for us. The idea is that we eat from our own farm. The next course will start in October. So now we are setting up a team of instructors. I did the first course myself, but I do not have the time for it anymore.

Will it be a training for women only again?

I think it will be mixed. But I am tempted to make a next course again only with women. But there are so many more men interested than women. Let me tell you an example: When we advertised for the first course, we asked for women to apply – and yet, we had 90 % male registration. I think one of the reason is, that gaming started with masculine representation. Women often cannot identify with the characters. In most games, women are sexist projections of men. We are trying not to stereotype our characters. We have women of all different shapes in our game universe. But it will take some time to change matters. And positive affirmation may help. So we think about a scholarship for women.

Besides promoting women, what are your goals?

We want to train as many people as possible in video gaming. And we want to contribute to the challenge in Africa to create jobs for the youth. We want to expand the skills of young people and we try to get partners who can absorb the work force. We are also trying to establish a lot of different opportunities for gamers in Africa. We are joining together under a canopy named “Pan-African gaming group” which currently is made of 10 game studios across Africa with the same vision to transform the African gaming industry. We also want to connect entrepreneurs. We have just started the Gamer`s Association Ghana officially with around 250 participants in our WhatsApp group.

The main business of Leti Arts are educational games for NGOs. But you are also working on your own computer games like Africa’s Legends, where African superheroes are the main characters. What other games are you planning?

In the last months, we created a lot of new games, one game is called Puzzle Scout, that is going to be out soon. You are collecting writings across Africa, connect them to chapters and in the end of the game you have built a book. As with our Africa’s Legends we want to raise awareness for our history. We are teaching about Ghana, how the British invaded it and how it became independent. Everything we create has a connection with our initial idea to teach history. For that, we are partnering with one of the big museums in Africa, the Pan African Heritage Museum in Accra which is scheduled to be open in 2023. They will be responsible for the historic content. We also have a new game with one of our superheroes, it´s called Karmzah Run and we are upgrading our African Legends. But still, we are looking for a major investor who will fund a few of that projects.

Eyram Tawia is CEO and co-founder of Leti Arts.

info@letiarts.com

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