The INCLUDE team’s reading list: January 2021
One of INCLUDE’s core beliefs is that so much knowledge already exists, it just needs guiding to the right places and the right people in order to reach its full impact for policy and, ultimately, for development.
The last year has brought an unprecented rise in the volume of information being produced and published in almost every field in order to keep up with rapidly changing landscapes and adjust to new realities. We recognise that it has been difficult to stay on top of it all. Which sources can we trust? Which papers tell us something new or just repeat the same findings and perspectives? In the past month alone, many new reports and articles have come past our screens containing observations, analyses and recommendations that we deem worthy of sharing.
In light of this, INCLUDE has decided to launch a monthly list of what our secretariat members have been reading in their various areas of expertise, which will complement and add to our own work in these areas. This list aims to provides a more thorough and balanced scope of the latest evidence than piecemeal/separate republications. Whether you are seeking information to guide policymaking, embarking upon a piece of research, or simply interested in broadening your knowledge and staying updated on inclusive development in Africa, we hope this source can be a good starting point.
Employment for youth and women
- What is the future of work in agri-food? Although digitisation and deglobalisation are decreasing agricultural employment in the developing world, there are opportunities to boost agricultural productivity and off-farm employment, and enable the agri-food system to continue creating good jobs and reducing poverty.
- The ILO global employment policy review. The first edition of this bi-annual report looks at industrial policies for structural transformation; the role of skills policies; and the transition to formality, amongst other topics.
- Youth unemployment in Uganda has been misdiagnosed. Despite job creation efforts, young Ugandans are highly likely to be underemployed, in precarious and non-rewarding work, or in jobs that cannot offer decent incomes. It’s time to reassess the program and try something new.
- A game changer for social protection? Six reflections on COVID-19 and the future of cash transfer. COVID-19 has shed light on pre-existing holes in social protection systems, related to mindsets, sectoral priorities, institutions, delivery, financing, and politics. Could the pandemic offer an opportunity to scale-up social protection more permanently?
- The power of data and evidence in delivering effective social assistance. The ability to rely on existing data and in-place platforms has made a huge difference in the COVID-19 responses of many governments. Equally, building social registries that allow systems to reach the newly vulnerable in times of crisis is key to being prepared for future shocks.
- The social contract and the role of universal social security in building trust in government. Programmes targeting the poorest members of society have contributed to the undermining of trust in governments in the global south. High quality universal social security schemes could create a virtuous circle, with higher revenues and investment in good quality public services, particularly in fragile states.
Education and skills training
- Teach a man to fish and maybe he’ll catch something, show him where the fish shop is located and he can eat fish as often as he likes. Business training programmes are often constrained in delivering multiple important yet complex skills in a short space of time. An alternative approach is to help entrepreneurs use markets to outsource to someone who already is a specialist in these practices.
- Higher education and inequality in Ethiopia an ASC blog supporting the Africa Knows! conference. How are the principles of expansion and equity balanced in Ethiopian higher education policy and practice, and who has decision-making power?
- The Young lives Ethiopia policy brief series, based on a longitudinal survey investigating many aspects of childhood development, looks at educational trajectories, disruptions and transitions to work for young men and women in Ethiopia.
- Lockdown politics: reflections from Zimbabwe. Are widespread, national lockdowns justified? Without dismissing extreme hardships, adaptations and innovations over the past 9-10 months have been impressive. Moreover, it would be foolhardy to end lockdowns to boost the economy if it resulted in a massive transmission of disease during a second wave.
- Rising to the challenge – Nigeria’s COVID response. Nigeria’s economy is expected to experience its deepest recession since the 1980s due to the COVID-19-related disruptions. Managing the current crisis while strengthening the institutional and policy framework will require carefully sequenced reforms based on five pillars.
- Pandemic responses in Africa, a report by Schmidt Futures, pinpoints key variables to determine why some nations’ COVID-19 responses succeeded while others struggled, with specific focus given to multilateral coordination, leadership, trust, and testing.
- The COVID gender research initiative by the Centre for Global Development aims to promote gender equality and long-term prosperity in low- and middle-income countries by informing global and national decision makers’ policy responses to the current pandemic and future crises in 3 areas: health policy, social protection and economic development policy.
- Ag-platforms as disrupters in value chains: evidence from Uganda. The 4th report in a series of working papers exploring AgriTech in East African value chains discusses the links with market access, productivity, value addition and capture, service access, diversification, women’s empowerment, youth inclusion and regional trade facilitation in Uganda.
- The dangers of emerging-market competition: Evidence from Rwanda’s coffee supply chain. In settings with limited competition, but also weak contract enforcement, the effects of increased competition on firm performance are ambiguous. This generates an important role for relational contracts (informal agreements) in increasing firm performance and management.
- Foresight Africa 2021 considers the sharp contrast with previous years in the realities of, and opportunities for, African development. Emphasis is placed on relaunching economies, building more resilient public health systems, supporting women and girls, private sector leadership, regional integration, and strengthening trust and governance.
- Poverty and shared prosperity 2020: Reversals of fortune. COVID-19 has changed not only the scale, but also the composition, of global poverty. This year’s World Bank report looks at the implications of the ‘new poor’ for global inequality, and assesses how armed conflict and climate change will exacerbate the impacts of COVID-19 and extend them into the future.
- The Human Development Report 2020 drives home the message that people’s agency and empowerment can bring about the action we need to transform the way we live, work and cooperate in order to restore balance with the planet and create a fairer world.
- The State of Economic Inclusion Report 2021 provides a detailed analysis of programs targeting the extreme poor and vulnerable, now underway in 75 countries. A multi-country costing study shows the potential to increase cost efficiency by integrating programs into national systems, while 4 case studies highlight the programmatic and institutional adaptations required to scale in diverse contexts.