From the Editor's Desk (April 2012)

Tony Addison

With our temperatures now well above zero, we head for the official end of the Finnish winter on 1st May (the ‘Vappu’ holiday). As reported last month, the annual bird migration is well under way. Arriving too, are UNU-WIDER’s many visitors on our PhD internship and visiting scholar programmes, including this year researchers from India, South Africa, Ghana, the USA, and many other countries. They find a welcoming nest at UNU-WIDER for the spring and summer months.

Living in the calm and safety of Helsinki should not lead us to forget the violence and conflict that are still to be found in Africa and elsewhere in the fragile states of the developing world. This month’s Angle begins with the tragedy of the continuing sexual violence against women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Joelle Malokele Nanivazo, herself a DRC national, sets out the issues and discusses how to move forward. Joelle, a research fellow at UNU-WIDER, is leading our new programme of work on gender equality and aid under the ReCom programme, supported by Danida and Sida. This is one of the five themes of ReCom, and one that we at UNU-WIDER attach a great deal of importance to, given the urgent need to accelerate progress on women’s livelihoods and empowerment.

Also in this month’s Angle is Danielle Resnick on Africa’s current democratic trajectory. Danielle, a UNU-WIDER research fellow, compares and discusses recent political events in Mali, Malawi, and Senegal. Danielle will be presenting on the Governance & Fragility theme of ReCom, in Stockholm on 10 May, 2012. Danielle will also be giving a presentation at the Overseas Development Institute in London on 17 May, 2012 (further details will be given on our website in due course).

Angle continues on the democratization theme with three reports on recent work: the politics of redistribution in Latin America under the continent’s transitions from authoritarianism to democracy over the last two decades (from our project on Latin America’s new development models, led for us by Giovanni Andrea Cornia); Zambia’s democratization experience and the role of foreign aid (under ReCom); and the impact of development assistance on Africa’s democratic transitions (also under ReCom). You will see many more of these research reports under RESEARCHAngle section appearing over the course of the year. With more than 1,200 working papers published during the last ten years, and 40 since the start of 2012, RESEARCHAngles should help you keep on top of our latest research findings.

In this issue, we provide a brief from a recent workshop 'Employment in Tunisia: What Do We Know? What is the Way Forward?' in Tunis organized by UNU-WIDER and the African Development Bank on employment in Tunisia. We will be doing much more on the employment issue over the coming year.

This month’s Angle includes a link to a video interview by Annett Victorero of the World Bank’s Michael Woolcock. Michael, a comrade in arms from my Manchester University days, provides a fascinating set of insights into development practice and scholarship, in his usual engaging and vigorous way.

Intellectual vigour and engagement is a hallmark of our international development conferences. On 28-29 September UNU-WIDER will be holding a conference on ‘Climate Change and Development Policy’, here in Helsinki. Our work on climate change continues to build up, including the role of aid and other climate change finance under the ReCom programme. If you are heading to Rio+20 in June, then you should try and catch up with our climate change research before you go.

As regards to my own travels, I am presently in Doha, Qatar, for UNCTAD XIII on trade and development. The conference provides a fascinating insight into the debate around global development, and the distribution of the benefits from trade, finance, and investment. Yesterday I participated in a panel aptly named ‘The World Turned Upside Down: the Rise of the South’ (organized by UNCTAD’s Richard Kozul-Wright), and before that on a panel on ‘Trade and Poverty’ (organized by former UNU-WIDER research fellow Amelia U. Santos-Paulino, now at UNCTAD, and an editor of a book on southern engines of growth in UNU-WIDER’s series with Oxford University Press). One key message from the conference is the importance of designing industrial policy in ways that promote better integration for the South into the global economy. UNU-WIDER’s ‘Learning to Compete’ project should be of help here, as no country can leave development entirely alone to the market if it is to maximize growth, reduce poverty, and adapt to climate change.

I return from the heat of Doha to the cool of Helsinki towards the end of the week. Angle too is back in May, when spring and then summer will have commenced, irrespective of any further rain or even snow showers.

Tony Addison is Chief Economist-Deputy Director, and Editor of WIDERAngle newsletter.

WIDERAngle newsletter
April 2012
ISSN 1238-9544