03 May 2008

Paul Collier on How to Tackle Africa's Challenges

I just found this 2006 Royal Economic Society lecture by Oxford's Paul Collier on the top problems Africa faces and what the most effective solutions might be (strictly speaking, Collier "argues that the key distinction is not Africa/non-Africa, but between around 60 fragile, low-income countries and the rest")... Collier, who is the director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies at Oxford, subsequently published his book, The Bottom Billion, which he discusses in further lectures, for instance... The Bottom Billion has won several awards and was especially spotlighted by the FT's Economist Martin Wolf in a review entitled How the bottom billion are trapped. Collier covers four less well-appreciated traps:
  • the Conflict Trap
  • the Natural Resources Trap
  • the Landlocked Country with Bad Neighbors Trap, and
  • the Bad Governance in a Small Country Trap
Finally, Collier argues for three top recommendations for how to tackle these traps:
  • Security Assistance through Military Intervention
  • Improved Governance through Transparency Laws and Standards & Codes
  • Economic Recovery through Trade Preferences
(Btw, not everyone's a fan of Collier's analysis, for instance, see William Easterly's review in The Lancet). Just this past week Collier also makes some excellent comments on Martin Wolf's recent FT article entitled Food crisis is a chance to reform global agriculture.

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