AfDB and Gates’ Delivering on the promise: Leveraging natural resources to accelerate human development in Africa is a good read. It basically looks at how revenues from oil, minerals and gas could contribute to education, health and social protection in Ghana, Liberia, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Uganda. With no surprise, estimates are high, e.g., they could cover half of the health and education needs of Ghana for the next decade. The paper does not just look at how to get cash from extractives but also at how to get the industry invest more in human capital, e.g., developing local skillsets. What struck me then was the absence of discussion on safeguards and rights (the words are not even used). Shouldn’t the first investment in human capital be to-do-no-harm? This was all the more striking as the paper came on my radar, today, at the same time as the UNICEF-sponsored Guardian post on Identifying the impacts of the extractives industry on children.
NYU David Steven’s Time to Deliver the Post-2015 Agenda’s Promises to Children presents a short and powerful story around 4 core promises for children. It caught my attention because I am returning from a short stint with UNICEF Indonesia to work on a short narrative on children that connects to, but trims the fat of the SDG agenda. What struck me in David’s piece was the omission of “ending child poverty” in the list of promises. We did put it in our Indonesian list. I asked him why. He replied that the multidimensional poverty measure would be partially captured in his four promises. Fair. He also felt that the income poverty measure (which is what I was hinting at) would get “mixed up in the broader challenge of ensuring all ages are above this threshold” and would prefer to leave it out. I really like his commitment to keeping things lean and on par, but I would keep poverty in.
My graph of the week is from The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015 because of the online argument it started between Yale University Thomas Pogge and FAO quants, the former accusing the latter of a flawed methodology that underestimates the magnitude of undernourishment. A solid disagreement is always a good place to learn. This one illustrates the power of data from the decision to what gets collected, to what gets estimated, to how it gets used.
My quote of the week is from Madeleine Albright at the Chicago Forum on Global Cities [10’45’’]: “People talk to their government on 21st century technology, the government hears them on 20th century technology and is giving 19th century responses”.