Hello everyone and welcome to another Africa-themed review of progress articles, reports and initiatives. Among this week’s highlights:
- Securing Africa's Land for Shared Prosperity. This World Bank publication on land administration and reform in Sub-Saharan Africa provides simple practical steps to turn the hugely controversial subject of "land grabs” into a development opportunity. Poor land governance perpetuates and traps people into poverty, according to the report, which stipulates a ten point program to scale up policy reforms and investments in a way mutually beneficial to land owners and investors.
- Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: A statistical overview and exploration of the dynamics of change by UNICEF shows that female genital mutilation/cutting is a declining phenomenon globally. Teenage girls are less likely to have been cut than older women in more than half of the 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East where it is concentrated. The paper identifies intriguing trends in who is performing the cutting, the severity of it and people’s attitudes toward it. Extracting data from the report, the Guardian produced aninteractive map of female genital mutilation/cutting, showing where in the world it is most prevalent and what the main variations are between countries.
- UN 2013 MDG Report: despite major progress, greater efforts are needed, a blog post by Pauline Rose, Director of the Education for All Global Monitoring Report synthetizes the main point of the UN 2013 Millennium Development Goal report. The publication shows that the world is not on track to reach the goal of universal primary education by 2015. Despite a significant reduction in the number of out-of-school children – from 102 million in 2000 to 57 million in 2011 – progress has slowed in the last few years and inequalities remain high.
- Why neglected tropical diseases matter in reducing poverty. This working paper of the Overseas Development Institute aims to establish the links between neglected tropical diseases and poverty rates. The paper defines what Non-Tropical Diseases (NTDs) are and how they are treated, explores why they are important for progress in health and broader well-being, using the MDG framework as a structure for analysis, and reveals some of the factors that they see as critical to controlling and eventually eliminating NTDs before discussing some of the challenges going forward.
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- The Skoll World Forum asked a handful of speakers their reflections about the timely issues in international development and how they can be addressed. Among them, Mthuli Ncube, Chief Economist of the AfDB, states in this post how governance and country ownership are important for development progress. He argues that there is consensus that good governance should build on effective states, mobilising civil society and efficient private sectors – three factors which are critical for sustained development.
- How Africa's natural resources can lift millions out of poverty. In this article, Caroline Kende-Robb, Executive Director of the Africa Progress Panel report, bases her points on the recently released Africa Progress Report 2013: Equity in Extractives. She states that natural resources can lift millions of African out of poverty through transparency in the concession deals, tackling tax avoidance and evasion, and inclusion of citizens in the decision-making process. The revenues of these natural resources when spent on education, health and job-creating policies can sensibly improve the quality of life of individuals, as was the case with Botswana, which passed from a poor to stable, democratic and upper middle-income country in 40 years.