Regulating Across the Digital Divide

(This blog was originally published at Project Syndicate)

By Shamel Azmeh

The increasing digitization of the global economy is changing how products and services are produced, distributed, and sold across borders. Technologies like cloud computing, artificial intelligence, autonomous systems, and “smart devices” are spawning new industries, and revolutionizing old ones.

But, while these changes could bring important benefits, the speed of digitization has also created daunting governance challenges, both within and across countries. Existing global rules – embedded in multilateral, regional, and bilateral trade and investment agreements – are being challenged by the new processes that digitization is enabling.

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Beyond ‘Send Money Home’: The Complex Gender Dynamics Behind Mobile Money Usage

(This blog was originally published at Next Billion)

By Susan Johnson

In spite of the rise of mobile money in sub-Saharan Africa, just 12 percent of people age 15 and older now have a mobile account, compared with 29 percent who have an account at a formal institution. But the gender gap for mobile money accounts is lower than that for formal accounts; women have 7.6 percent less access than men to formal accounts (32.7 percent vs. 25.1 percent) but just 2.5 percent less access to mobile money (12.8 percent vs. 10.3 percent). More detailed regression findings for Kenya in particular show that gender is not a significant variable in determining access to mobile money accounts in Kenya – though it is for formal financial institution accounts.

This is surprising. For information and communication technologies generally, the evidence suggests that gender gaps are significant, with the World Bank reporting that women are 50 percent less likely than men to use the internet in Africa and significantly less likely to use cell phones. So the question is: Why is mobile money different?

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Should Business Take the Lead in Promoting Wellbeing?

(This blog was originally published at Network of Wellbeing)

By Sarah White

In a world where many of the largest economies in the world are companies rather than countries, it is vital that businesses see social and environmental responsibility as core to their everyday practice.

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(This blog was originally published at Borderlands Asia)

By Oliver Walton

“It is true that Hambantota is the periphery and is in need of development. However, we should not blame people (from the centre). We must portray the periphery as a partner. Not as a hotbed of resistance”

The quotation comes from an interview with a prominent local businessman and political figure from Hambantota, a district in the deep south of Sri Lanka. Like many local leaders from marginal districts, this individual performs a complex role – balancing a concern with garnering support and resources from politicians and businesspeople at the centre, with a need to maintain the trust and confidence of his own constituency in the district. Continue reading

Giving a Voice to Local NGOs in a Flawed Global Aid Environment

(This piece was originally published in the Alternatives International Journal)

By Jeremy Wildeman and Matteo Mazzoleni

There is broad agreement at even the highest levels of the international donor community that the key to successful development lies with local ownership over aid projects, where people in affected regions play a leading role in setting the agenda and developing strategies to alleviate local poverty with external assistance. For some time now that consensus has been matched with the lofty rhetoric of “partnership” used to describe the relationship between donor and recipient. Ideally those partners work as equals with donors, together designing aid projects that effectively challenge poverty and enhance local capacities through institutional development. Continue reading

‘Temple Run’ or stay?

(This blog was originally published at Africa is a Country)

By Luisa Enria

“Back then, when the boats came, people used to run. Now we’d get on gladly, at least it would mean work.” Junior’s bleak jokes are not making anyone laugh. He takes another sip of his Sprite and kicks up the dust on the street where we are sitting in Freetown, Sierra Leone. “That’s why everyone wants to go on a Temple Run”, he adds – this time everyone nods knowingly. In the addictive mega-hit mobile phone game, Temple Run, “you have to run for your life to escape the Evil Demon Monkeys nipping at your heels.” This involves jumping walls of fire, swimming through treacherous waters and flying across collapsing bridges. For young people in Freetown, Temple Run has become code for the perilous journey that an increasing number of young Sierra Leoneans are making to Europe via Libya. Continue reading

Relational Wellbeing: Re-centring the Politics of Happiness, Policy and the Self


Sarah White, Professor of International Development and Wellbeing at the University of Bath, recently talked about her research, published in the journal Policy & Politics, on why all the interest in and talk of our wellbeing may reflect an anxiety that all may somehow not be well…

Watch the video, originally posted on the Policy & Politics blog.

Accessible, engaging textbooks could improve children’s learning

(This blog was originally posted at The Conversation)

By Lizzi Milligan

Textbooks are a crucial part of any child’s learning. A large body of research has proved this many times and in many very different contexts. Textbooks are a physical representation of the curriculum in a classroom setting. They are powerful in shaping the minds of children and young people.  Continue reading

The Centrality of the Margins: Brokering Borders and Borderlands in the age of Trump and Brexit

(This blog introduces a new literature review by Dr Sharri Plonski and Dr Patrick Meehan, which has been produced for the ESRC-funded ‘Borderlands, Brokers and Peacebuilding in Sri Lanka and Nepal: War to Peace Transitions Viewed from the Margins‘. The project is led by Jonathan Goodhand (SOAS). CDS member Oliver Walton is a co-investigator.)

by Dr Sharri Plonski

The subject of borders never seems far from the news these days, with a relentless media focus on Donald Trump’s new America and Theresa May’s ‘Hard Brexit’. Trump’s Mexico Wall epitomises this border neurosis and symbolises a wider trend towards protectionism that seeks to thwart the flow of people (into the country) and of capital, jobs and control over industries (out of the country).

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Women on the verge: the essence of feminist struggle

By Ana C. Dinerstein and Sarah Amsler

The women’s march against Trump is not an exception. It signals an evolving tendency in feminist struggle and hints at what will come in the following decades.

Read the full article at ROAR Magazine