The world has achieved numerous developmental successes. Poverty has been eradicated in some parts of the world and drastically reduced in others (e.g. China and India). Impressive results have also been achieved in global health and disease prevention as well as in many other areas of development which I have discussed in this column. However,…

T he average world life expectancy at birth is now over 70 years. We are all living longer, and while this is good news, it is also creating enormous pressures on existing, and often fragile, health care services in many parts of the world. There is considerable focus in the international development discourse on the…

The first Russia-Africa Summit held in Sochi last week has generated renewed interest in better understanding the growing competition among major world powers in Africa. While there has been considerable attention on Beijing’s and New Delhi’s motives and interests, Russia’s footprint on the continent has received less attention. During its Cold War rivalry with the…

Rwanda has been making news headlines in recent weeks. Despite being a small and landlocked country, with a brutal history of genocide, it is often viewed as a success story that others could emulate. For many years, Kigali has been praised for being one of the cleanest cities in the world, and many Africans increasingly…

Having uninterrupted access to electricity is taken for granted in many parts of the world. In Norway, we rely on an abundance of hydroelectric power to warm our homes and offices and to light up our cold and dark winters. Our lives are almost never disrupted by a power cut unless something extraordinary happens. The…

Addressing the challenges of climate disruption, international migration, pandemics, violent conflicts and poverty eradication require increased collaboration across national borders. The growth of nationalism and protectionist policies are, however, forcing many to rethink well-established understandings of the benefits of globalisation. Will the traditionally powerful actors of the Global North will be able to reassert their…

The role and impact of civil society organisations (CSOs) in voicing public demands has dominated recent headlines in many parts of the world. This has resulted in a renewed discussion on how such groups are able to influence public behaviour as well as highlight government failure. Many are also questioning whether CSOs should be involved…

Development is not only about income. The Nobel laureate Professor Amartya Sen has argued that human beings constitute the ‘ends’ of economic activity, rather than its means. In Development As Freedom, Sen writes: “Development is not about raising GNP. No one wants money for its own sake. One wants money for something else, including good…

The growing environmental risks posed by worsening air pollution has generated considerable media attention and resulting citizen anger in recent years, particularly in some of the world’s biggest economies. It is estimated that polluted air contributes to 7 million premature deaths every year. According to IQAir, a leading provider of pollution data, the ten most…

Access to, and the affordability of, medicines is now attracting increased global attention. There are several issues at stake – the actual costs of the research and development process, production costs, pricing policies and the bargaining power of individual countries to negotiate good deals. The rising cost of medicines is the primary complaint of most…

Over the past 10 days, I have been traveling across India giving a set of public lectures on sustainable development. During this visit I have had the privilege of interacting with a wide range of individuals— politicians, civil servants, fellow academics and the common man on the street. We have discussed and debated the numerous…

 If you have not heard about it already, here is some good news. Africa will soon be officially declared to be free of polio – a highly infectious viral disease. At the global level, there was an estimated 350,000 annual cases of polio in 125 countries in 1998. Since then, and following a major worldwide…

Over the past 10 days, I have been traveling across India giving a set of public lectures on sustainable development. During this visit I have had the privilege of interacting with a wide range of individuals— politicians, civil servants, fellow academics and the common man on the street. We have discussed and debated the numerous…

In order to function well, societies rely on trust between citizens and the state as well as among citizens themselves. We must be able to trust the government with our taxes as well as feel confident that our elected leaders will act in the best interest of the nation. This entails having faith in public…

While the phenomenal growth and influence of the internet enables individuals and groups to easily access information on any topic, the credibility of such information has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years with the growth of so-called “fake news” – information that may be biased and is often factually incorrect. One of the many…

T here are numerous organisational models that have been adopted by individuals and businesses to address social problems. There are non-profit social enterprises (that address market or government failures but may be dependent on outside philanthropic funding). For-profit social enterprises (where profits arise by solving social problems, which in turn attracts more investors) and hybrid…

This summer, I spent several weeks in the United States —travelling between New York, Washington DC and Princeton University. During many visits to the country, including the years I lived in California, I have constantly marvelled at America’s impressive road network. According to the Federal Highway Administration, more than 4.1 million miles of roads and…

A few days ago, I attended the launch of the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019 (SOFI) report in New York. The report does not make for pleasant reading. More than 820 million people in our world suffer from daily hunger and this number has been slowly increasing in the past…

The world has achieved numerous developmental successes in the past few decades. Poverty has been eradicated in some parts of the world and drastically reduced in others (e.g. China and India). Impressive results have also been achieved in global health and disease prevention as well as in many other areas of development. However, in a…

Large parts of the African continent continue to face an acute shortage of energy. Hundreds of millions of people do not have any access to electricity. And the few that do enjoy access to the grid, are often not guaranteed continued power supply throughout the day. As governments struggle to boost power generation, they are…