Dr. Joseph Atick, Executive Chairman of ID4Africa, and Alan Gelb, CGD Senior Fellow, join Gyude to discuss the evolution of ID systems across Africa, the benefits and risks of digital ID systems, and what African governments can learn from countries like India about what works and what doesn’t.
CGD Policy Blogs
Technology or Labor Costs? Why Has Africa Missed Out on a Manufacturing Takeoff? And Is Manufacturing Still a Viable Path to Development?
Debates on Sub-Saharan Africa’s development path and prospects often focus on two questions. Looking back, why have countries not experienced the structural transformation towards labor-intensive manufactures that has played such an important a role in the rapid development of Asian countries? And, looking forward, can poor countries still jump onto the escalator of manufactured exports development?
In 2017, Malawi was one of the only countries in the SADC and COMESA without a functioning national registry and identification system. Supported by the United Nations Development Programme together with several other donors, Malawi managed to achieve universal ID coverage in some 180 days, joining the small club of countries that have been able to effect a major leap in the registration of their peoples in a short time. Its experience offers many lessons of interest to other countries.
The COVID-19 response amounts to a significant expansion in the scale and scope of direct cash transfers as well as other social assistance—a huge increase in government-to-people (G2P) payments. As we explain in our new report, delivering on these programs will require an enormous increase in the capacity of states to implement them.
Last week we published a new paper, Can Africa Be A Manufacturing Destination?, that highlights the persistence of high labor costs in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa. This led to a lively debate on Twitter, initiated by Chris Blattman at the University of Chicago.
This week, I will be travelling to Beijing, China, with my CGD colleagues, Alan Gelb and Christian Meyer, to attend an authors’ workshop for the Oxford Handbook of Africa and Economics, at the National School of Development at Peking University. Alan, Christian, and I will discuss our new paper “Development as Diffusion: Manufacturing Productivity and Africa’s Missing Middle.”
In the wake of Zimbabwe’s disputed reelection of Robert Mugabe, it is alleged that dead voters accounted for one-third of the voter rolls, that 63 constituencies had more registered voters than actual inhabitants even though 2 million potential voters under 30 went unregistered. The elections have left many asking if biometrics are the future of voting.
A new report from the World Bank asks a key question--why does cargo spend weeks in Sub-Saharan African ports—and comes up with some very thought-provoking ideas. Authors Gael Raballand, Salim Refas, Monical Beuran and Gozde Isik, argue that the answer is NOT that the lack of port capacity.
First Edition of the Oxford Companion to the Economics of Africa Features Essays by CGD Staff and Board
This is a joint post with Julie Walz
Since the mid-nineties, many African nations have ushered in dramatic economic and political changes. But growth in other countries is stalled due conflict, repressive regimes, and lack of infrastructure. A new publication captures the diversity across Africa, using an economic lens to evaluate the key issues affecting Africa’s ability to grow and develop. The Oxford Companion to the Economics of Africa is a compilation of 100 essays on key issues and topics across the continent. It includes contributions from young African researchers, longtime researchers on Africa and four Nobel Laureates. Authors were given the freedom to write their own perspectives, thus the result is not a literature review but an engaging snapshot of concerns and possibilities across the continent. With 48 country perspectives (from Algeria to Zimbabwe) and 53 thematic essays, the book rejects a one-size-fits-all approach yet recognizes that there are continent-wide opportunities and challenges. As the first work of its kind, it is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the field, from graduate students to policymakers.
This post, co-authored with Alan Gelb, was originally published in Financial Times: This is Africa
On November 28 Anadarko Petroleum doubled the estimate of its massive Mozambique gas discovery. If this proves correct, Mozambique will become a major gas exporter and can expect a hefty windfall.
Mozambique is not alone. Per square mile, proven sub-soil assets in poor countries — notably in Africa — are only about one quarter of those in better-explored, rich countries. Not surprisingly, high prices and new technologies are driving new oil, gas, and mineral discoveries across the developing world. Billions of dollars will be pumped into countries like Uganda, Liberia, Papua New Guinea, Mongolia and Bolivia. While this should be good news, it also raises concerns.