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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

Poverty monitoring in the context of Covid-19

ODI - 15. Juni 2020 - 0:00
We discuss the key impacts of the virus, the adjustments needed to policy responses and how economic stimulus packages can be made pro-poor.
Kategorien: english

The future of finance and banking systems in Africa beyond Covid-19

ODI - 9. Juni 2020 - 0:00
This event explores the post-Covid-19 implications for Africa's financial sector and the trade-offs between financial stability and economic renewal.
Kategorien: english

Global crises, local action: a humanitarian reset in response to Covid 19

ODI - 3. Juni 2020 - 0:00
We discuss whether COVID-19 is unlocking the barriers to a more locally-led humanitarian system and what more is needed to accelerate reform.
Kategorien: english

ODI Bites: the impacts of Covid-19 on achieving the SDGs

ODI - 2. Juni 2020 - 0:00
ODI Bites are big ideas, easy to digest. We explore the impact of Covid-19 to achieving the SDGs and leaving no one behind.
Kategorien: english

Some 50 world leaders call for post-pandemic development cooperation - vor 4 Stunden 57 Minuten
World leaders on Thursday (29 May) called for resilience and cooperation after the pandemic recedes, during a UN videoconference in which the United States, China and Russia did not participate.
Kategorien: english

COVID-19: Act now or risk ‘unimaginable devastation’ globally, warns UN chief

UN #SDG News - 28. Mai 2020 - 19:46
Unless countries across the world act together now, the COVID-19 pandemic will cause “unimaginable devastation and suffering around the world”, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Thursday at a virtual high-level meeting on financing for development.
Kategorien: english

COVID-19: Act now or risk ‘unimaginable devastation’ globally, warns UN chief

UN ECOSOC - 28. Mai 2020 - 19:46
Unless countries across the world act together now, the COVID-19 pandemic will cause “unimaginable devastation and suffering around the world”, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Thursday at a virtual high-level meeting on financing for development.
Kategorien: english

COVID-19 and the future of work in Africa: How to shore up incomes for informal sector workers

INCLUDE Platform - 28. Mai 2020 - 16:25
As the COVID-19 global pandemic continues to disrupt the global economy, not only the health but the livelihoods of millions are at stake through reduced earnings and increased poverty.

In a previous blog, Brookings noted that during the 2008-2009 global recession, African economies performed better than other developing countries, because of (a) higher commodity prices, which supported export earnings; (b) lower debt, which provided needed fiscal space, avoiding public sector layoffs; and (c) the resiliency of the informal sector, which continued to supply the domestic economy, maintaining incomes and consumption for the majority of households.

Africa will not be able to count on these mitigating factors this time. Commodity prices are not favorable, fiscal space is extremely limited, and, as a result, the informal sector, where 60 to 80 percent of Africa’s labor force works, will struggle to earn a living. In this blog, they elaborate on the threats to informal employment and earnings, and what governments should consider as they strive to counter these threats and support the informal sector workers.

What are the threats to informal sector livelihoods?

Informal sector employment—both in family farms and non-farm businesses—accounts for over 70 percent of hours worked in Africa and is a main income source for at least 60 percent of African households and over 80 percent of rural households. As the International Labor Organization (ILO) wrote recently, “[t]o die from hunger or the virus is the all too real dilemma faced by many informal economy workers.” The ILO estimates that as of April 22, 68 percent of informal sector workers in Africa lived in countries that already had implemented full or partial lockdowns.

Own-farm agriculture accounts for about one-third of total hours worked in Africa—even more in rural areas. As African farmers face COVID-19, any income not already affected by natural disasters such as locusts, drought, and flooding will be reduced in the near term as shutdowns—which stop production from moving off the farm to wholesalers—and reduced income in urban areas deprive farmers of markets. Harvested food stuck in rural areas is already causing food shortages as well as inflation in urban food prices. Farmers will continue to work their fields and feed their families with their own harvest (mostly), but may not have the cash needed for next season’s inputs or to pay for health care or schooling for their children without help.

Households in rural areas and small towns tend to have a non-farm household business on the side to earn extra cash and reduce seasonal underemployment. The majority of these businesses involve retail trade (kiosks for household consumables or farm inputs); other popular sectors are informal agro-processing (milling grains, pressing oilseeds) or farm-based craft manufacturing (making and selling baked goods, beer, or, charcoal), and services such as hairdressing. These businesses depend on household incomes from agriculture for demand, so their short-term future is grim. To cope with immediate needs, households may sell business assets for cash, compromising their bounce-back potential; although these businesses are undercapitalized in general.

Informal retail traders and service business operators are even more common in urban areas, accounting for almost half of total hours worked. These livelihoods are particularly vulnerable to social distancing rules and have less access to clean water and sanitation, although they will try to work somehow. Already, global value chain disruptions have resulted in a shortage of products and the inability of small traders to do business and generate income. Workers in Africa’s large urban gig economy—contract truck, bus, and taxi drivers, and operators of motorcycles for delivery and taxi—also face high risks to their health, income, and savings (if they have them in the first place).

The projected loss of wage and salary incomes when private firms or the public sector lay off workers and/or cut or delay wages will have knock-on effects for informal urban businesses. About half of urban households in Africa have a wage income, and this income is often the anchor for the riskier, entrepreneurial activities of other members of the household. Additionally, wage workers are the main source of demand for the goods and services sold by the urban informal sector.

More than half of the owners of informal business in Africa are women. Women-owned businesses tend to be smaller and less productive in Africa, as elsewhere. Their income is often a source of empowerment for them, within their household and in the broader community. These women already report challenges in keeping their businesses going without schools or child care options. If they must reduce hours or close their business to look after their children, they will face a double threat—not only less income but possibly more domestic violence. Then again, premature school openings could expose them to increased health risks.

Youth face different outcomes in urban and rural areas

In sub-Saharan Africa, about 7 million to 8 million youth will enter the labor force this year, facing even more limited prospects than in normal times. Urban youth are mostly educated, with high aspirations that will be dashed as the urban economy collapses. Experience suggests that those who can afford it will delay entering the labor force and just stay home. Those who cannot will join previous cohorts in trying to find a hustle on the street, in the informal sector, where reduced demand and social distancing rules have already limited opportunities. Unlike in rich countries, however, there is no evidence that this experience results in long-term damage to income-earning prospects.

In rural areas, most youth will stay at home and work on family plots, possibly trying to get access to a plot of their own to work for the next harvest season in countries where land is abundant. Without savings (their own or from their friends and family), however, they will struggle to establish livelihoods.

What should governments do to support informal sector livelihoods?

Donors and international financial institutions have promised substantial funds to support public sector budgets and the health sector, but support for informal sector workers, so far, is scant. Governments cannot ignore the damage already occurring to the livelihoods of these millions of people. The policy response should:

  • Maintain household consumption among the bottom 75 to 80 percent of households, who have very limited savings. Limiting short-term household welfare damage, speeding up the overall economic recovery, and unlocking Africa’s business potential will depend on supporting demand in the economy. People need resources to buy needed consumption items. As in the U.S., cash transfers are the best option, and as Berk Ozler writes for the World Bank, experience shows that these programs are not hard for developing country governments to implement. Already, 22 sub-Saharan African countries have announced COVID-19 cash transfer programs, and an additional 13 are not providing cash but have announced in-kind transfers (e.g., food vouchers or food distribution, school feeding) instead.
  • Protect the incomes of urban wage and salary employees. Although wage and salary work accounts for a small share of total non-farm employment—and tends to be more remunerative than informal sector work—wage and salary earners use their incomes to buy from informal sellers of goods and services, thus supporting the sector.
  • Protect the health of urban informal sector workers by improving access to soap, water, and alcohol-based sanitizers for handwashing at urban markets and trading zones, and distributing masks and gloves to informal traders and service providers.
  • To reduce food spoilage and support incomes, declare transport of food from the farm gate to markets an essential service.
  • Ensure that police protect the livelihoods of informal vendors and service providers, especially in urban areas, rather than using the COVID-19 emergency to harass them.


This article is reposted from the Brookings blog Africa in Focus. Read the original blog here.

Het bericht COVID-19 and the future of work in Africa: How to shore up incomes for informal sector workers verscheen eerst op INCLUDE Platform.

Kategorien: english

Are the US and China “Destined for War?”

UN Dispatch - 28. Mai 2020 - 16:08

One of the original insights that drives our understanding of international relations was made about 2,500 years ago by the historian Thucydides. In examining the causes of the Peloponnesian War, Thucydides wrote that “It was the rise of Athens and the fear that this instilled in Sparta that made war inevitable.”

In other words, when a rising power threatens to displace an established power, the most likely outcome is war.

Modern scholars call this dynamic Thucydides’s Trap.

We are living in a moment when this theory will be tested.

Tensions between the United States and China are escalating by the day. This includes, most recently, a dispute over the status of Hong Kong. But there are also other numerous points of contention, many of which stem from the fact that the United States is the status quo power while China is on the ascent.

My guest today, Graham Allison, is a legendary scholar of international relations. The last time we spoke was just after the release of his 2017 book Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap? The book examined over a dozen historic cases in which global power shifts resulted in wars, and a few cases in which it did not.  The book makes a compelling case, that war between the US as established power and China as the rising power –while not inevitable –  is far more likely than we might think. 

I wanted to re-connect with Graham Allison to see if he thinks world events are confirming or refuting his thesis.  This includes the role of this pandemic in shaping trends that might lead to war.  

If you have 25 minutes and want to learn what history and international relations theory can teach us about the likelihood of conflict between the United States and China in the near future, have a listen.

Get the podcast to listen later Apple Podcasts  | Google PodcastsSpotify  |  Stitcher  | Radio Public

The post Are the US and China “Destined for War?” appeared first on UN Dispatch.

Kategorien: english

COVID-19: Forging a new social contract in the Middle East and North Africa

OECD - 28. Mai 2020 - 11:14
 By Rabah Arezki, Chief Economist for Middle East and North Africa Region at the World Bank and Mahmoud Mohieldin, United Nations Special Envoy for the 2030 Agenda This blog is part of a series on tackling COVID-19 in developing countries. Visit the OECD dedicated page to access the OECD’s data, analysis and recommendations on the health, economic, financial and societal impacts of … Continue reading COVID-19: Forging a new social contract in the Middle East and North Africa
Kategorien: english

Water Security Assessment and SDG’s

Postgraduates - 28. Mai 2020 - 10:20

This interactive session looks at linkages between Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and water security, particularly SDG 6 „Clean Water and Sanitation“. Thelecturers will discuss the representativeness of SDG 6 to achieve water security based on several case studies in Iran.
Via Zoom:
Meeting ID: 986130680322
Password: 2747677
Lecturer: Dr. Sudeh Dehnavi & Neda Abbasi, Institute for Technology andResources Management in the Tropics and Subtropics, THKöln

Kategorien: english, Jobs, Ticker

UNRISD Survey on Responses to Covid-19 and Vulnerable Communities

UNSDN - 27. Mai 2020 - 18:13

The Covid-19 pandemic is hitting vulnerable people the hardest. This is already devastating in high-income countries with comprehensive and effective health and welfare systems, but it may well be catastrophic in those without, and especially in low-income and least developed countries. At the same time, these are areas where typically infection rates are currently lower and policies are still taking shape, creating a window of opportunity for informed analysis to provide added value.

This is where the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) survey comes in. With the help of its global network of experts, UNRISD hopes to gather and quickly analyse how well current government policies on Covid-19 in all countries and regions are responding to the needs of vulnerable people. The result will be evidence-based recommendations on how governments can make sure their Covid-19 response policies leave no one behind, while at the same time bearing in mind that there can be no one-size-fits all answers; national and local government policy making in different regions must also respond to different social, economic, political and cultural contexts.

UNRISD is asking all readers to donate 15 minutes of their time to respond to our 12-question survey. Click here to make your contribution.

UNRISD is able to make the survey in EnglishFrench and Spanish.

Covid-19 blog series which draws on the Institute’s social development research to suggest evidence-based responses to the current crisis.

Source: UNRISD

Kategorien: english

‘Lockdown generation’ of young workers will need extra help after COVID-19, urges UN labour chief

UN ECOSOC - 27. Mai 2020 - 17:53
Further evidence of the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 on the global job market has emerged in a new study by the UN labour agency, which on Wednesday said that more than one in six young people have stopped working since the onset of the pandemic.
Kategorien: english

How COVID-19 can change incentives for development co-operation

OECD - 27. Mai 2020 - 17:16
By Nilima Gulrajani, Senior Research Fellow, ODI This blog* is part of a series on tackling COVID-19 in developing countries. Visit the OECD dedicated page to access the OECD’s data, analysis and recommendations on the health, economic, financial and societal impacts of COVID-19 worldwide. There is nothing new in accusing bilateral donors of repurposing foreign aid to serve their domestic national interests. … Continue reading How COVID-19 can change incentives for development co-operation
Kategorien: english

Resilience tested once again

D+C - 27. Mai 2020 - 14:12
Nepal's government may need to reconsider its development strategy due to Covid-19 crisis

Masses of informal daily labourers have lost their jobs. Their families now have little to eat. It is estimated that about 60 % of the jobs have disappeared. The tourism sector has collapsed. It had accounted for eight percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018 and supported more than 1 million jobs. Hopes of recovery are distant.

Nepalis are resilient people. In past decades, they had to cope with a Maoist insurgency, the long-lasting debate of a new constitution and the devastating earthquake of 2015. There have been encouraging developments too: a progressive new constitution is now in place, and elections were held at municipal, state and federal levels. Government capacities are limited however, and the Covid-19 challenge is huge. Families and communities are tightly knit, but the situation is becoming increasingly desperate.

At first, it looked like Nepal could get away with just a few isolated Covid-19 cases, but lately infection numbers have begun to rise. There still are only a few hundred, most of which can be traced to labour migrants returning from India. In response, the government has kept prolonging the lockdown from week to week.

Unfortunately, the initial isolation strategy did not stop the virus from spreading. Closure of the Indian border made the situation worse. The country depends on imports from India, ranging from petrol to lentils. India is struggling with Covid-19 too, of course, and has stopped rice exports. Food prices have risen considerably in Nepal. In view of the hardship people suffer, the big question is how long the blunt lockdown can be sustained.

There are huge practical challenges – from the lack of personal protective equipment for medical staff to rotting vegetables in the fields. However, the biggest challenge still lies ahead: up to 4 million Nepalese work abroad – mostly in India, Malaysia and the Gulf countries. Their remittances contribute about a third to Nepal’s GDP. In April, however, remittances fell by more than 50  %.

It adds to the problems that the migrants typically live in very harsh conditions and are thus exposed to the novel coronavirus. More than 12,000 Covid-19 infections of non-resident Nepalese citizens have been confirmed abroad. Tens of thousands have lost their jobs and desperately want to return home. However, the country cannot run a repatriation operation of that scale. The economy was already struggling to create enough employment before the pandemic, and returning migrants will cause additional stress in the labour market. The outlook for investment, trade and domestic consumption is bleak.

Though Nepal does not have large infection numbers so far, the country is hard hit. It may need a completely new development strategy. Currently, policy debate in Nepal is focused on a renewed role for agriculture. Investments in this sector might indeed be a good start, boosting food security and reducing the dependence on imports. On the other hand, farming alone cannot create the opportunities needed to satisfy a population of 30 million mostly young and aspiring people. The government will need to come up with fresh ideas. Nepalis will need all the support they can get. The decision of Germany’s Federal Government to terminate its bilateral cooperation with Nepal in context of a new global development strategy therefore comes at a bad time. To many Nepalis it feels like a friend is turning away in a time of need.

Jonathan Menge heads the office of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung in Nepal.


Kategorien: english

Remittances during COVID-19: Reduce costs to save livelihoods

OECD - 27. Mai 2020 - 10:31
By Paul Horrocks, Manager, Private Finance for Sustainable Development; Friederike Rühmann, Policy Analyst; and Sai Aashirvad Konda, Consultant at the OECD Development Co-operation Directorate This blog is part of a series on tackling COVID-19 in developing countries. Visit the OECD dedicated page to access the OECD’s data, analysis and recommendations on the health, economic, financial and societal impacts of COVID-19 worldwide. The … Continue reading Remittances during COVID-19: Reduce costs to save livelihoods
Kategorien: english


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