Ghanaian economist George Ayittey unleashes a torrent of controlled anger toward corrupt leaders in Africa -- and calls on the “Cheetah generation” to take back the continent.
The “City Forum on Culture and Development,” a policy orientated venture held in Accra to openly strategize the African culture for African progress reveal the increasing attention being given to the African culture.. For almost 50 years, the African culture, either because of colonialism or bad intellectual savvy by African elites, has not been purposely appropriated for policy development and bureaucratization.
Overtime, it has made Africa shamefully the only region in the world where foreign development paradigms dominate its development process to the detriment of its tried-and-tested traditional values. This has had psychological implications on Africa’s progress. A situation that makes African elites, as the central directors of Africa’s progress, not only rationally fragile but morally flimsy. Continue reading “At last, African Culture in Mainstream Thinking” »
Dakar — Guyana, Thailand, Botswana, South Africa, Poland and Sudan share something in common: they all committed to the Horn of Africa drought appeal.
Higher up the scale, with multi-million dollar pledges, were China (US$63 million); Saudi Arabia ($60 million); Brazil ($32 million); United Arab Emirates ($17 million) and Qatar ($5.6 million).
Non-DAC donors – countries that are not members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee – reported $622 million worth of humanitarian assistance in 2010 and contributed 6 percent of total reported humanitarian aid between 2000 and 2008, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Financial Tracking Service.
When it comes to all types of foreign assistance, non-DAC donors are collectively estimated to have given $60 billion in 2010, according to aid watchdog Development Initiatives; and the UN estimates non-western donors provided almost 10 percent of overall aid in 2008. South-south trade meanwhile, accounted for more than a quarter of global trade in 2008.
Though many non-DAC donors’ aid pots are still relatively small (India reported just $36.5 million in humanitarian aid in 2010), amounts grow annually (in 2000 it gave $200,000); their economic clout is growing (India is tipped to be the third-largest global economy in 2020), and many are shunning the stigma of “recipient-only-status”, says Shoko Arakaki, chief of funding coordination at OCHA.
But the power of these new donors extends beyond money. As well as being a significant donor to Haiti in 2010, Brazil wielded influence by leading the UN Stabilization Mission for Haiti (MINUSTAH). The government plays an active role in global disaster preparedness, such as the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction and Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GRDRR), according to Germany-based Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi).
The influence of these donors is likely to grow further, says Claudia Meier, public research associate at GPPi, and could reshape coordination and accountability bodies, such as the DAC, which have to date remained relatively “closed”. Of the emerging donors only South Korea has joined DAC. It has also joined the Good Humanitarian Donorship Initiative alongside Poland, Brazil, Estonia and Lithuania – the GHD is reaching out to Turkey, Croatia, United Arab Emirates and Singapore to join.
Some emerging donors shun membership of these structures as they have not been part of their establishment, said Meier, who wrote Humanitarian Assistance: Truly Universal?, which analyzes entry points for collaboration with non-western humanitarian donors.
Brazil cited this as a reason for not joining the DAC. Many prefer regional coordination bodies, says GPPi, such as the Association of Southeast Asian nations (ASEAN), the Organisation of the Islamic Conference or the League of Arab States, which are “taking a more active role in [humanitarian] coordination”.
As Karin Christiansen, head of Publish What You Fund (PWYF), told IRIN: “Both the system and the donors need to change… Emerging donors might drive this reform… Ultimately, the more people in the tent, the language will have to change.”
Other likely changes are the growing influence of consortia and pooled funds, into which donors – both traditional and not – are putting increasingly large amounts, says deputy funding director at Oxfam, Suzi Faye.
Relief organizations from emerging economies are also likely to develop more of an international humanitarian role, said Meier. “Maybe an Indian NGO, the Chinese Red Cross, the Red Crescents of the Gulf States [will emerge]… they are not fully there yet, but there are lots of signs of their professionalization,” she said.
Opportunities arise with donor diversification, said Kerry Smith, researcher with aid watchdog Development Initiatives. Emerging donors often tend to be recipients and providers of aid, and thus have a better understanding of the needs and constraints facing developing countries in emergency response. India has sophisticated disaster management systems after decades of disaster response, and has helped shape those of Pakistan and Afghanistan – two of its largest aid recipients.
These donors often tend to stress a more equal, solidarity-based relationship, rather than the traditional top-down donor-recipient dynamic, said Smith. As Brazil said: “[The Brazilian government believes that] development cooperation is not limited to the interaction between donors and recipients [and] understand[s] it as an exchange between peers, with mutual benefits and responsibilities.”
Many non-western donors do not distinguish short-term humanitarian aid from longer-term “development aid” – perhaps because they know the distinction to be blurred – which could help plug the gaps in the usually under-funded relief-to-development continuum.
Further, tapping into aid from “new” sources can in some circumstances increase aid agencies’ access to those in need – most aid workers agree that humanitarian space has shrunk over the past two decades.
For example, India is one of the few humanitarian donors in Afghanistan that is not involved in the conflict; in Myanmar, many western-backed NGOs found it hard to respond to Cyclone Nargis but those working with ASEAN donors were able to intervene more quickly, partly because of its long-term relationship with the Burmese authorities.
Non-western donors may also take a more sensitive approach to respecting a country’s sovereignty, say analysts. India puts sovereignty at the heart of its humanitarian response policy, having refused an onslaught of aid after the 2004 tsunami. In future, aid agencies will need to pay greater attention to “non-intrusive support”, wrote Randolph Kent of the humanitarian futures project, in Death of Hegemony.
“When western agencies rolled up after the Sichuan earthquake in China, the Chinese told them flatly they were not needed. Generally, greater sensitivity to regional culture, gaining real knowledge of what is wanted by governments and communities in disaster-prone regions and building contacts in those regions well before another humanitarian disaster, is the way in which the west can continue to play an international humanitarian role – rather than the presumption that it is wanted and needed.”
As the donor picture shifts, aid agencies are starting to build new relationships, but too slowly, said Meier. “Not enough dialogue is going on yet.”
One exception at a policy level is the UN-based humanitarian dialogue platform, chaired by Sweden and Brazil, which tries to “bridge the artificial donor-affected population gap and to discuss humanitarian assistance among all states on a consistent basis”, said Meier.
Some UN agencies have also been fairly active at forging relationships with new donors, say analysts, including World Food Programme, the UN Children’s Fund, and the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which respectively received 2.5 percent, 1.7 percent and 3.6 percent of their humanitarian funding from non-DAC donors in 2008, after significant reach-out – particularly to Gulf donors.
OCHA, which coordinates the Emergency Response Fund, Country Humanitarian Fund and the Central Emergency Response Fund, has made a big effort to reach out to new donors, said Arakaki – and the results are starting to show.
The ERF and CHF have increased their donor bases in the past 15 years, with 40 donors, including Brazil, UAE and Mexico, Nigeria and Gabon among the top 10 contributors to the Haiti emergency Response Fund, she said.
The CERF is even more diverse, with 140 donors in 2010. Unique to the fund is that 40 of its donors are also recipients. “The more new members that come on board, the more of an example it sets… Donors also realized today’s donor can be tomorrow’s victim,” said Arakaki.
The draw of such pooled funds to some emerging donors is ease: they can write a cheque and OCHA does the rest. “Many of them want to identify the simplest mechanism to give money as quickly as possible,” said Arakaki.
This is particularly true for governments that do not have the legal set-up to administer and track foreign funding. The law in Poland, for instance, means it can take up to three months to disburse money to a national or international NGO; thus the government finds it much easier to give to pooled funds or UN agencies and the International Federation of the Red Cross, according to Development Initiatives’ Smith.
The amounts are still small, however: 90 percent of CERF funding in 2010 still came from the same “traditional” 10-12 donors.
NGOs catching up
Whether it is murky entry points for dialogue, emerging donors’ penchant for pooled funds, or a host of other reasons, NGOs appear to be behind UN agencies in reaching out to new donors. Most of the big international NGOs are building relationships: World Vision for instance, fund-raises in Thailand, the Philippines, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia and Chile through its country offices, according to spokesman Christopher Weeks, and the South Korea and Taiwan offices now donate funds, rather than receive funds, he said. But the numbers remain small.
Gulf donors contributed just $1.5 million to Oxfam’s $473 million annual budget, according to Faye. But building relationships with these donors is still important. “Rather than just going after money, we are trying to build real partnerships, as well as seeing how Oxfam can influence them on a policy level.”
GPPi acknowledges the challenges involved in finding “entry points for dialogue”: many emerging donors – such as South Africa – do not have separate development ministries to administer aid; Brazil has a fragmented aid system, with no legal framework to regulate, monitor or evaluate aid, according to the Overseas Development Institute, while the aid motivations of India remain largely unknown.
There is “great variance” in donor transparency, according to PWYF’s Christiansen: Estonia is “extremely transparent” at one end of the scale, while China is “not as murky as everyone thinks”, she said. PWYF will be releasing a report on emerging donor transparency in November. For those donors still honing their humanitarian and development financing systems: “There are benefits to setting up good transparent systems from the beginning… If you have to retrofit, then it is much harder,” Christiansen says.
For relationships to work, emerging donors need more respect, a representative from one emerging donor’s foreign aid ministry told IRIN in Dakar: many of them have been giving aid for decades without being noticed, he said. Meier added: “They all of a sudden have been discovered as cash cows, while still not getting a say in international governance.”
The DAC still does not include China, Russia, Saudi Arabia or Brazil, and no meeting ground exists for all donors to discuss humanitarian assistance other than the annual UN General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). “This reinforces the idea of aid being part of the western agenda,” said Antonio Donini, researcher at Tufts University’s Feinstein institute.
An NGO, One.org, has called on emerging donors to join existing coordination structures. But Christiansen says these structures themselves need to change to be more welcoming to new members. She hopes forging a mutually respectful dialogue between aid agencies, new and established donors, will be on the agenda at the aid effectiveness conference in Busan, South Korea in November.
“Things may get messier before they become clearer, but it is already incredibly messy – we need a bit less hubris, and a bit more action,” she said.
This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations
Copyright © 2011 UN Integrated Regional Information Networks.
Dakar — “It’s taken the world a while to notice they exist – and now we’re obsessed with them,” is how Karin Christiansen, head of Publish What You Fund, characterizes the west’s relationship with what people call “new”, “emerging” or “non-traditional” donors.
Many are not new at all – India, Brazil and China have been giving aid for decades – but what is new is that a group of non-western donors is giving more humanitarian and development aid year on year, and reporting it more consistently to official trackers, such as the UN’s Financial Tracking System (127 donors reported aid in 2010).
As they “emerge”, the traditional hegemony held by western donors over how and where aid is dispersed is starting to be dismantled.
“A hegemony or sense of tradition has developed over decades in the western humanitarian movement, that it should spearhead response to disasters because it has special experience and ability,” says Randolph Kent head of the Humanitarian Futures programme at King’s College, London.
“But increasingly we are seeing more and more humanitarian players from the east responding to disasters – India, China, Vietnam and Bangladesh for example – are more than capable of responding and managing crises in their own countries.”
These donors do not necessarily want to join the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Aid Committee – they are forming their own localized coordination groups instead.
Brazil and Spain signed an agreement in 2011 to jointly implement aid projects; Russia recently partnered with Venezuela on Haiti earthquake response; Brazil, India and South Africa set up a Poverty and Hunger Alleviation Fund in 2011.
Many are the same governments that have argued for years for a less top-down, more partnership-oriented approach when receiving aid. India, after all, was both the eighth-largest receiver of official development assistance in 2008 and is expected to be the third-largest economy by 2020.
Some governments are growing increasingly frustrated with the western domination of inter-governmental bodies such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Brazil, Russia, India and China issued a communiqué in April 2011 stating: “The governing structure of the international financial institutions should reflect the changes in the world economy, increasing the voice and representation of emerging economies and developing countries.”
Western powers are not showing themselves keen to shift too much, yet. But in due course, all donors will be forced to shift at least a little, say analysts. In light of these changes, IRIN discusses just how transparent is China’s aid programme; analyzes the rising influence of Muslim and Arab donors and aid agencies; and asks analysts whether aid agencies are preparing sufficiently for the future by reaching out to new donors such as Brazil and India.
Copyright © 2011 UN Integrated Regional Information Networks.
The 2010 Global Go To Think Tank Rankings marks the fourth edition of what has now become an annual report. The Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program at the International Relations Program, University of Pennsylvania has created a process for ranking think tanks around the world. It is the first comprehensive ranking of the world’s top think tanks, based on a worldwide survey of close to 1500 scholars, policy makers, journalists and regional and subject area experts. The think tank index has been described as the insider’s guide to the global marketplace of ideas. All 6480 think tanks in the world were contacted and encouraged to participate in this year’s nominations process. For this ambitious global project, I have assembled a panel of over 250 experts from around the world, across the political spectrum and from every discipline and sector to help nominate and select public policy research centers of excellence for 2010. This group of peers and experts were asked to nominate and then rank regional or global centers of excellence that they felt should be recognized for producing rigorous and relevant research, publications and programs in one or more substantive areas of research.
The Global Go To Think Tank Rankings was launched in 2006 in response to the never-ending requests that I received from journalists, scholars and government officials to provide a list of the leading think tanks in a particular country or region of the world. When I first designed the project it was intended to identify some of the leading think tanks in the world in an attempt to answer these inquiries in a more systematic fashion. Over the last years the process has been refined and the number of institutions and individuals involved in the project has grown steadily.
The primary objective of the rankings is to recognize some of the leading public policy think tanks in the world and highlight the important contributions these organizations are making to governments and civil societies around the world. In five short years the Global Go To Index has become an authoritative source for the top public policy research institutes in the world. Last year’s Report was launched at a briefing at the United Nations University in New York and at the Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington DC. Over 225 diplomats, foundations and think tanks attended the meeting at the UN and over 100 print and electronic media outlets featured the findings of the study.
Contained in this Report are the results of the 2010 Global Go To Think Tank Rankings. Also included in this report is a summary of the major trends and issues that think tanks face across the globe. These trends were identified through our annual survey of think tanks and interviews with the staff of think tanks and civil society organizations in every region of the world.
Every year we try to respond systematically to comments and suggestions for how we might improve the nomination and rankings process but this year we devoted considerable time and energy to evaluating the entire process. Based on the findings of the evaluation and the other input we received for how to improve the quality and representativeness of the rankings we instituted several changes. Specifically, we made some minor changes to the wording of the nomination and rankings criteria so the meaning was clearer, launched an aggressive outreach effort in Asia, Latin America, Africa and MENA and proposed a set of options for changing the process for the Expert Panel to consider. After careful consideration of how to organize the nominations and rankings process we settled on a mixed approach that was explained in the letter I sent out to every institution in August 2010. This change resulted in turning the process on its head by having an open nominations process in which all 6480 think tanks were invited to submit nominations, rather than having the Expert Panel develop the initial slate of institutions to be ranked as we had done in previous years. The changes dramatically increased the levels of participation from the regions listed above and greatly improved the quality and representativeness of the universe of institutions that were nominated this year. The fact that individuals and organizations from 120 countries participated in this year’s nominations and rankings process is a clear testament to the success of these efforts.
While this year’s selection process is greatly improved, a number of qualifications are still in order. First and foremost, the significant differences between the levels of development and resources in the world continue to contribute to certain regions being underrepresented on the top 50 think tanks in the world list. We suspect that this has to do with the relatively small number of think tanks in developing countries, their underdeveloped capacity and the limited resources available to these organizations. The unfortunate reality is that there are simply more and better-funded think tanks in the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) countries. In addition, the dominant role these countries play in world politics and the influence they exert over political, economic and social thinking is reflected in the global prominence of their think tanks. That being said, the real story is not what organizations make it on the list of the Top 50 think tanks in the world but the ones who make it on the list for the top think tanks in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Eastern and Central Europe.
Despite our best efforts to consult widely and create a rigorous and inclusive process, we cannot eliminate all bias from the selection of the top think tanks in the world. We fully recognize that personal, regional, ideological, and disciplinary biases may have been introduced into the nomination and selection process by some of those consulted for this study. We are confident, however, that our efforts to create a detailed set of selection criteria, an open and transparent
process, and an increase in the participation from underrepresented regions of the world has
served to insulate the nomination and selection process from serious problems of bias and underrepresentation.
It is also important to note that US think tanks (see the list of the top 50 Think Tanks in the US) were not included in the universe of institutions considered for the Top Think Tanks Worldwide list because we felt their inclusion would have a distorting effect on the global rankings. By organizing the process in this way, we were able to further highlight the lesser-known think tanks in other regions of the world.
Finally, we should point out that the data collection and research for this project was conducted without the benefit of field research, a budget or a staff.
Despite these limitations, I am confident that the international experts group and peer nomination and selection process that was constituted for this study has enabled us to create the most authoritative list of high performance think tanks in the world.
The entire report is available here
Categories: Uncategorized Tags: african development, african economic growth, Global Go To Think Tank Rankings, global marketplace, Think Tank, Think Tank Rankings, Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program
In the article, the author argues that Policy makers of developing nations must acknowledge that workable solutions to the challenges facing their regions must best be sourced 'locally' vis-à-vis globalizing the local, and localizing the global
Categories: Uncategorized Tags: african development, african economy, concept of GLOCALISATION, developing world, Global community, global village, Globalization, growth and development, Information and Communication Technologies
The Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary 6th Edition defines the word global as a phenomenon that includes many parts. Moving a step further from this definition, globalization could be described as a concept or phenomenon that includes all parts of the world and also operates around the world; hence the whole world is looked upon as a single community that is connected by electronic communication systems to form a global village.
Globalization goes a step further from these concepts; it also implies and provides the building blocks for the emergence of a homogenous world culture. It is often referred to as the new world order.
It must, however, be argued that globalization as a concept originated from the more developed western countries, as they argued that the economic backwardness of the world in general and the developing countries in particular was a product of the isolation of the developing countries from the world economy. This ” backwardness” it was argued could easily be remedied by greater global economic and cultural integration.
The motives for global integration [globalization] includes
- The enhanced efficiency in production made possible by increased specialization in accordance with the law of comparative advantage.
- Increased production levels due to better exploitation of economies of scale made possible by the increased size of the market.
- An improved international bargaining position made possible by the larger size, leading to better terms of trade
- Enforced changes in economic efficiency brought about by enhanced competition.
- Changes affecting both the amount and quality of the factors of production due to technological advances.
Whatever its political connotations, globalization, fundamentally, is an economic phenomenon. Desire becomes demand only with the addition of purchasing power; this is true of countries as well as individuals. These economic realities enable countries to pursue their political policies of self interest with varying degrees of success.
Hence, in this discourse, I shall consider the economic and political dimensions of globalization with all other considerations indirect or subordinate to these dimensions.
Globalization and the development of Africa:
The inequality of nations challenges the theory of globalization as a world system; it is common knowledge that African countries fall within the category of countries regarded as underdeveloped. If we examine the structure of an underdeveloped economy, typically such an economy is an importer of capital and technology as well as consumer goods from the developed world. These imported capital and technology play a crucial role in its development.
Domestic substitution for foreign capital and foreign technical know-how is a very costly affair often indeed impossible. This is true whether we think of replication or genuine substitution allowing for the different needs of a poorer country. For most African countries, the export sector is the leading sector which sets the pace for development and shapes the rest of the economy, both the pattern and pace of growth. Typically, size by size, the poorer a country, the more dependent it is on foreign markets, and foreign sources of supply. If the export sector stagnates, so that the inflow of resources from abroad is constrained, the pace of growth and rate of structural change respond accordingly. These factors are highly sensitive to such decline in the availability of foreign resources.
The terms on which the developing countries can obtain foreign exchange, capital and technology reflect the relationship between the rich and poor countries in the world economy.
In the face of the existing distribution of economic power, it is the rich countries who determine the terms, because in the short run, the developing countries in Africa need the products and services of the developed countries much more than the latter needs the output of the former.
Recent statistics obtained have in fact confirmed that Africa’s share in the total world trade is just about 1%. This can be appreciated if we take a look at the international commodity and markets factors, African countries are mainly price takers until very recent trade negotiations and trade policy formulations .This dependence of African countries on developed countries/western countries has far reaching consequences for the development prospects of the former. The existence of such great disparities and one-sided dependence has placed a moral question on the concept of globalization.
Poverty in African countries also reflects essentially the technological gap between them and the rich countries. Even the oil-rich countries are no exceptions in this regard. This results in the developing countries inability to produce by themselves goods which require modern technical know-how and even less to develop an alternative technology substitute.
The trade patterns of African countries show that they usually export crude or processed agriculture or mineral based products. These countries have not succeeded in adapting or replicating for their own countries the technological development that have occurred in the rich countries. This is another fact that we are confronted with that has tended to negate the principle of globalization vis a vis the development of Africa. Although ,the division of the world into developed and underdeveloped countries is an oversimplification ,vast differences in natural endowment ,economic conditions, cultural heritage, social organizations and political traditions are factors that have also tended to broaden the inequalities that exist between the developed countries and Africa in particular ,hence globalization has exacerbated “global poverty” particularly in these African countries
The difference in the material conditions of people living in various parts of the world is reflected graphically in two socio-economic indicators the rate of national literacy and the per capita energy consumption rate. Together these two indices provide a telling measure of sophistication of the production structure of a nation, and they are much significant than indicators based on the sectoral origin of gross domestic product [GDP}.
Literacy in African countries is considerably lower than that in developed/western societies as is per capita energy consumption. This structural characteristic of the economy reflects the inability of African countries to exploit their economic potential and also to enjoy the so called "benefits of globalization"
In fact, about 40 African countries fall within the purview of the poorest countries in the world. The global economic turmoil of recent years has affected developing countries with particular severity. In Africa, the free working of market forces in no way enables countries to counterview the constraints of globalization and multinational capital. The proponents of globalization must recognize that only global redistribution can ensure the development of Africa and that the developing world’s primary needs are far more social rather than private capital accumulation, which globalization entails.
Another dimension to the issue of globalization vis a vis the development of Africa is the activities[s] of multinational companies [MNCs]. These MNCs are agents of developed nations who are advocating a greater role for the free play of market forces without due regard to social factors within these African nations. As a result of these factors, Africa stands the risk of distorted development.
The calamities which this “new world order” is visiting on billions of people around the globe, particularly African nations cannot be quantified. As a matter of fact, globalization has led to a situation whereby the top 20% of humanity now controls 84% of the world’s wealth, while the bottom 20% makes do with a shade of over 1% of the world’s wealth.
The danger in which “wholesale” globalization portends for African countries and their development has been elucidated by Susan George, a Harvard trained economist, in the Lugarno Report . By the way, Lugano is a town located in Switzerland and sometime in 2003, a group of intellectuals [drawn from all continents in the world] gathered in the resort town to brainstorm about the world’s problems. They came out with what is now referred to as the Lugano report in which they documented the “evils” of globalization vis a vis the developing nations and particularly Africa in which they summarized that the main beneficiaries of globalization are its proponents and the more developed capitalist /Western nations, and that in order to sustain it through the next century and beyond, a sustained strategy needs to be vigorously pursued and implemented.
These has already started: it includes the reduction of population in African countries through the Population Reduction Strategy[PRS], which includes the promotion of genocidal conflicts, and wars, the curtailment of humanitarian assistance to victims of hunger, famine, epidemics and other natural and unnatural tragedies. The purging of the UN of notions like human rights, and equality of nations, the systematic degradation of the quality of foods and medicine sent to 3rd world countries, etc.
In conclusion, it is imperative to remind those who control and direct the free market globalization, that what Africa really needs for development is GLOBAL REDISTRIBUTION, and not this presently skewed globalization. It is this global redistribution that can bring about greater global peace and security. To African nations, I recommend to them a renaissance or better still African Renaissance as the development of Africa does not lie in the hands of anybody but Africans themselves
Categories: Issues Tags: africa development, Africa development and new world order, african development, development of africa, effects of globalization, effects of globalization on africa, global village, Lugano report, new new world order, new world order, poverty in africa, redistribution of wealth
The African growth model based solely on foreign aid has so far not delivered the promises it was hoped to deliver. Actually, it has done more harm than good.