Why is private sector development such a low priority in Sub-Saharan Africa?

I will start my post by linking to another blog from Kenya. The blogger makes reference to a report by Robert Wade, professor of political economy and development at the London School of Economics, which discusses the role of industrial policy in Asia and how donors completely neglected it in Africa. In essence, Prof Wade… Continue reading Why is private sector development such a low priority in Sub-Saharan Africa?

Complexity and international development

A while ago I posted an article about the exciting developments in the various fields around complexity science and development (actually there are several earlier articles making reference to this topic). Recently Marcus Jenal wrote a great review of the work of Ben Ramalingam (author of the blog Aid on the Edge of Chaos) and… Continue reading Complexity and international development

The benefits of being aware of how a system works

For those that have participated in any of the training events that I have contributed to in the last years would hopefully recall my favorite energizer called the Systems Game. In this game we simulate a complex system, with all the participants moving around trying to position themselves between two targets in the group, without… Continue reading The benefits of being aware of how a system works

My dictionary for economic development practitioners

At any point in time I am coaching several development experts and learners around the world. I have a short list of words that when I see them in any document I see red flags. However, there are also several words that when I see them I know we are on the right track. I… Continue reading My dictionary for economic development practitioners

Job creation for electronics contract manufacturing

I know some readers are waiting for the continuation of the series on the services sector. Apologies for the delay. In the meantime, here is a link to a lead editorial that I wrote for the EngineerIT Journal in Southern Africa. The article is informed by my ongoing work in the electronics sector in South… Continue reading Job creation for electronics contract manufacturing

Hypothesis, questions and the underlying knowledge bases

I will assume that all my readers do actually formulate hypothesis very early on in every project, assignment or investigation that they undertake. We all know that hypothesis is important for us to capture our own bias, beliefs and assumptions. But the formulation of a hypothesis also allows us to involve our colleagues, counterparts and… Continue reading Hypothesis, questions and the underlying knowledge bases

Connecting innovation systems with local and regional economies

Many of you have asked me how I connect my current focus on innovation systems and technological upgrading with industries with my past experiences of local and regional economic development. I thank you for repeatedly asking this question, and apologise for not providing you with an answer. The reason for my silence was that I… Continue reading Connecting innovation systems with local and regional economies

Open data from Worldbank enables development

I know you will immediately point out that the Worldbank already announced on the 20th of April that they will open up access to it developmental data. But then I know that many development practitioners are working so close to the ground that data from the Worldbank may seem to be very far from the… Continue reading Open data from Worldbank enables development

Two attitudinal trends about human mobility in Southern Africa

There are two attitudinal trends that emerge when you work with government officials responsible for economic development in many Southern African countries. The first, is that foreigners with skills pose a threat to locals, and that they should be kept out of the country to protect local jobs. Despite popular belief, this is not a… Continue reading Two attitudinal trends about human mobility in Southern Africa

Innovative firms

Have you ever wondered why not all firms are innovative? If you are a development practitioner like I am, then you must have come across hundreds if not thousands of small and large firms that are not very innovative. This results in these firms also not being very competitive. There could be many reasons why… Continue reading Innovative firms

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