From the Editor's desk (October 2011)

Tony Addison

As autumn moves into winter in Helsinki, it is time to bring you the October edition of UNU-WIDER’s newsletter, WIDER Angle. Regular readers of Angle will have noted the increase in the number of feature articles over the past months. We are stepping up our communication of research findings, notably from our ‘Foreign Aid: Research and Communication’ (ReCom) programme, launched this year in partnership with the governments of Denmark and Sweden. 

The development community is preparing itself for next month’s High-Level Forum on Aid, which meets in Busan. In the lead up to the forum there will certainly be a lot of discussion and in this, and the next two issues of Angle, we will be reflecting on the aid debate around Busan. UNU-WIDER’s director, Finn Tarp, starts us off by highlighting some of the links between foreign aid and economic growth, including recent UNU-WIDER working papers (do also check out Finn’s recent paper with coauthors in the Journal of Globalization and Development).

ReCom also investigates the governance dimensions to aid. In this Angle, Danielle Resnick discusses what role aid has played, and could play, in the democratization process in sub-Saharan Africa. We also have a piece by Lucy Scott, Annett Victorero, and myself on what perspectives came out of our October ReCom conference here in Helsinki. Check out our working paper series over the remainder of 2011 for outputs by Channing Arndt, Christian Friis Bach, Paul Collier, and Peter Heller, under the ReCom project. The next ReCom conference takes place in Nairobi on the macroeconomic management of aid, and we are very pleased to be holding this jointly with the Africa Economics Research Consortium (AERC).

We also have a bunch of new publications out this month. Our highlight is Urbanization and Development: Multidisciplinary Perspectives, edited by Jo Beall, Basudeb Guha-Khasnobis, and Ravi Kanbur, published in the UNU-WIDER series with Oxford University Press. This team discussed some of the projects findings in the September Angle, and in this issue Lorraine Telfer-Taivainen reports back from the book’s London launch. New UNU-WIDER working papers also cover issues of democratization in Africa, poverty in South Africa, and land inheritance (to highlight just three topics).

Meanwhile, the global economy continues on its unsteady path. Although the developing world has done better than expected, it has still taken a hit from the financial crisis, with the poor being the most vulnerable. This is explored in the case of Vietnam in the Journal of Globalization and Development in a new paper by Finn Tarp, James Thurlow, and co-authors.

Global trade collapsed after the start of the financial crisis in 2008, and then staged a somewhat shaky recovery over the last few years. This added to tensions in the global governance of trade. December sees WTO’s 8th ministerial conference. In advance of the meeting, we are running a two-part article by Alisa DiCaprio on the Doha negotiations. In part 1, this month, Alisa focuses on issues of rules, and in part 2, in November, she discusses engagement.

Trade and exchange rate policy are two sides of the same global coin. To round off this Angle I reflect on the so-called currency wars. The article discusses some historical parallels, and examines the heightened tensions. I return to this theme in November’s Angle, with a focus on China. By that time we can expect (or hope for) the first snow in Helsinki.

Tony Addison is the editor of WIDER Angle. He is Chief Economist/Deputy Director of UNU-WIDER.

WIDER Angle newsletter
October 2011
ISSN 1238-9544