October 6, 2017Doug Hadden
PFM and Country Development news summarized by the FreeBalance Strategy & Innovation Group.
AFRICAN GOVERNANCE IN THE NEWS: Ivan R. Mugisha reported on Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s assertion that Africans should decide what best for Africans in the East African. This comes at at time of increased tension with NGOs, like the Human Rights Watch, that Kagame characterized as “irrelevant and deceitful” organization that exploits situations in the country for financial gain.” Lack of apparent ethics from western companies was reported in Quartz by Lynsey Chutel, Abdi Latif Dahir, and Yomi Kazeem. Bell Pottinger and Cambridge Analytica work with African governments “stepped over the line of accepted ethical behavior.” The need to renegotiate mining contracts with western companies was under the spotlight in an article by Socrates Mbamalu in This is Africa. Unethical mining company activities in Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe was described.
MIDDLE INCOME COUNTRY TRAP: Barry Eichengreen, Donghyun Park, and Kwanho Shin explored the middle income trap in the Brooking Institution Blog. “Many countries made the jump from low income to middle income, but only a handful were able to make the final jump from middle income to high income. A number of structural factors, such as the shift from input-led growth to productivity- and innovation-led growth, make the middle-to-high transition more challenging. The idea of a middle-income trap resonates especially in Latin America, where many countries have been trapped at middle income for a long time.” The authors summarized their new working paper, titled The Landscape of Economic Growth: Do Middle-Income Countries Differ?
ECONOMIC FREEDOM INDEX: The latest annual report from the Fraser Institute found that “Hong Kong and Singapore, once again, occupy the top two positions” in economic freedom. “The other nations in the top 10 are New Zealand, Switzerland, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Mauritius, Georgia, Australia, and Estonia.”
CASE FOR EVIDENCE IN GOVERNMENT: Evidence-driven decisions in government are difficult to achieve. Douglas Criscitello described a Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking (CEP), report that found “the mere existence of data is a necessary but not sufficient condition for creating empirical evidence to inform decisions throughout the full lifecycle of public programs—enactment, funding, operation, reform, termination” in Government Executive. Evidence sometimes shows how public policy orthodoxy can prove incorrect, as explained by Aoife McCullough in the Oxfam Blog. McCullough takes on the assumption that “improved access to services will strengthen the state/society contract and, state legitimacy will follow.”
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