Migrant remittances are even more amazing that we thought

January 30, 2015
At least in economic terms, migration appears to be some kind of developmental wonder-drug. Remittances from migrants to developing countries are now running at some three times the volume of aid, and barely faltered during the 2008-9 financial crisis (see graph). The World Bank’s latest Global Economic Prospects report looks at the impact of migrant remittances on developing countries and

Why ending poverty in India means tackling rural poverty and power

January 29, 2015
Vanita Suneja, Oxfam India’s Economic Justice Lead, argues that India can’t progress until it tackles rural poverty More than 800 million of India’s 1.25 billion people live in the countryside. One quarter of rural India’s population is below the official poverty line – 216 million people. A search for economic justice for a population of this magnitude is never going to be

What are governments doing on inequality? Great new cross-country data (and some important conclusions) from Nora Lustig

January 28, 2015
Oxfam and Oxford University held a big inequality conference last week, timed to coincide with Davos and the launch of our new pre Davosbriefing (massive media coverage – kudos to author Deborah Hardoon and Oxfam press team). I generally find conferences pretty disturbing. This one at least spared us the coma-inducing panels of nervous researchers reading out their papers. All the

When will we reach Peak Inequality?

January 27, 2015
Post Davos, Max Lawson, Oxfam’s Head of Global Policy and Campaigns, is still trying to get his head around the inequality stats Last year it was 85 people; this year it’s down to just 80 individuals who have the same wealth as the bottom 3.5 billion people. By next year the top 1% will own more wealth than the rest

Links I Liked

January 26, 2015
Kids in Nairobi’s Kibera slum take on the land grabbers to defend their playground against cops, dogs & tear gas. And win, at least for now. Last week was Davos week: Oxfam’s Winnie Byanyima starred in a truly brilliant BBC debate on inequality (Christine Lagarde was the other standout, other panellists were Robert Schiller, Mark Carney, Martin Sorrell and Klaus

Why Bill and Melinda’s Annual Letter is both exciting and disappointing

January 23, 2015
Judging by his latest annual letter, if you could bottle and sell Bill Gates’ optimism, you’d probably make even more money than he has from software. In what they call a ‘big bet’ (actually, more like a prediction), the letter sets out Bill and Melinda’s personal version of some post-MDG goals for 2030 (Charles Kenny sees it as an implicit

Why ‘what’s your endgame?’ is a better question for aid agencies than ‘how do we go to scale?’

January 22, 2015
Maybe it’s partly an age thing, but a lot of senior people in the aid business seem to obsess about scale. What’s the point of running a few projects, however successful? No, the only worthwhile end is ‘going to scale’, affecting the lives of millions of people, not a few hundred. It’s understandable and laudably ambitious, but it can have

14 ways for aid agencies to better promote active citizenship

January 21, 2015
As you may have noticed, I’ve been writing a series of 10 case studies of Oxfam’s work in promoting ‘active citizenship’, plus a synthesis paper. They cover everything from global campaigns to promoting women’s leadership to labour rights. They are now all finished and up on the website. Phew. Here’s the accompanying blog which summarizes the findings of the exercise

Links I Liked

January 20, 2015
America the Outlier. Belief in Evolution v national GDP per cap. Spot the odd one out. I’ve seen similar graphs on life expectancy v health spending. Any other candidates? The Napoleonic war, infant industry protection and herpes. Vintage Chris Blattman Then there’s some bad news Trade Bullies? EU holds Kenya’s big and job-creating flower industry hostage to force it to

Davos: new briefing on global wealth, inequality and an update of that 85 richest = 3.5 billion poorest killer fact

January 19, 2015
This is Davos week, and over on the Oxfam Research team’s excellent new Mind the Gap blog, Deborah Hardoon has an update on the mind-boggling maths of global inequality . Wealth data from Credit Suisse, finds that the 99% have been getting less and less of the economic pie over the past few years as the 1% get more. By next year,

Every key stat you could possibly want about humanitarianism, emergencies etc – please steal

January 16, 2015
Clearly you can’t use the term ‘killer facts’ when they concern actual deaths, so Oxfam has tweaked the name to Humanitarian Key Facts in a new compilation (to be updated on a regular basis). It’s a powerful collection that should provide lots of link-tastic, well referenced ammunition (sorry  – language problem again) for advocacy. The most striking one for me

Civil Society and the dangers of Monoculture: smart new primer from Mike Edwards

January 15, 2015
Mike Edwards has just written a 3rd edition of his book ‘Civil Society’. It’s a 130 page primer, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy reading. I found some of the conceptual stuff on different understandings of civil society pretty hard going, but was repaid with some really interesting and innovative systems thinking, leading to what I think are some novel