Browsed by
Month: January 2011

Why China’s Model of Development in Africa is Working

Why China’s Model of Development in Africa is Working

The answer to the title of this post is that China is using the same model of development to develop other countries that it used to develop itself.  And China is a shining example of why its own model works.  China has lifted hundreds of millions of its own people out of poverty and grown to be the second-largest economy in the world.  Its growth in GDP is only matched by its increasing global influence around the world – an…

Read More Read More

The Next Non-Story About Big Aid

The Next Non-Story About Big Aid

This isn’t surprising: A $21.7 billion health fund championed by the rich and famous has come under harsh scrutiny amid revelations it’s bleeding money to corruption. But fund officials and outside experts in the field have a stark message for global development: other aid agencies are in much worse shape. Investigations led by Robert Appleton, a veteran former U.S. federal prosecutor whom Parsons hired last fall to root out corruption, are showing that up to two-thirds of some grants provided…

Read More Read More

Impact Investing: Venture Capital for Do-Gooders Takes Off

Impact Investing: Venture Capital for Do-Gooders Takes Off

The other day a friend put me in touch with a friend of his who had just moved to Accra.  She works the Acumen Fund, a social venture capital fund that invests in promising  entrepreneurs in developing countries.  The use of the adjective “social” is a bit misleading, in the sense that the companies are purely for-profit and do not need to have an explicit social motive guiding the business strategy.  What distinguishes them is the market they serve, termed…

Read More Read More

Invisible Barriers: Land Tenure for Women in Ghana

Invisible Barriers: Land Tenure for Women in Ghana

I attended a gender sensitivity training put on by a partner of ADVANCE. The training was given to two offices with whom I’m trying to work, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to meet and get to know everyone at the training. I had a lot of pre-conceived notions about what a gender sensitivity training would entail, and thought it might be good fodder for some jokes. As it turns out, how the program impacts men and…

Read More Read More

Small-Scale Pineapple Processors Discover Ruthless Capitalism

Small-Scale Pineapple Processors Discover Ruthless Capitalism

I have spent the last week in the region around Accra meeting with small-scale pineapple processors.  ADVANCE has six offices, each with about six field business facilitators (FBF).  I have been working with Collins, the pineapple FBF out of the office in Tema, the main port town a half hour outside of Accra, the capital city.  He put together an association of pineapple juice manufacturers who are all buying fresh pineapple directly from farmers in the area, processing them in…

Read More Read More

The Anthropology of Food: Adobo in the Philippines

The Anthropology of Food: Adobo in the Philippines

The Philippines has a rich and complex history that is colored by practically as many different cultures as there are islands.  A guy I used to work with used to love telling me about his favorite professor in college, who gave a final exam with only one task: de-colonize colonialism.  In other words, deconstruct the culture, the traditions, the idiosyncracies that make the country what it is.  Remove all of the external influences that have resulted from the different occupations…

Read More Read More

Next Billion Post: Energy to the BOP Made “Simple”

Next Billion Post: Energy to the BOP Made “Simple”

For my second post at Next Billion, I wrote about a company called Simpa Networks.  Simpa was founded by Jacob Winiecki and Mike MacHarg, two people I have known since I started out in the development game.  Here is a tangential story about the smallness of the world. I used to work for a consulting firm in Boston.  I wanted to work in development but wasn’t sure how to get in the door.  I knew I was interested in solar…

Read More Read More

Are Conditional Cash Transfers Really the Answer?

Are Conditional Cash Transfers Really the Answer?

A while back I wrote about conditional cash transfers, which are the next biggest thing in development, in a post called “Where’s My Money, Fool,” titled so as an homage to the curler-wearing drug dealer Big Worm in the movie “Friday.” The most successful example of a good CCT program is Bolsa Familia, a government program in Brazil which has helped to increase incomes for poor families by 7 times as much as incomes for the rich (albeit, off a…

Read More Read More

The Road to Agricultural Self-Sufficiency in Africa

The Road to Agricultural Self-Sufficiency in Africa

In a new book, Calestous Juma makes the case that Africa can ‘feed itself in a generation.’  Self-sufficiency is ideal, but there are some major roadblocks.  Here is the problem: Global food production has rocketed in recent decades but has stagnated in many parts of Africa, despite the continent having “abundant” arable land and labour, says Professor Juma. He estimates that while food production has grown globally by 145% over the past 40 years, African food production has fallen by…

Read More Read More