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  • Blog post

    What do we (not) know about the benefits of households' electrification?

    Household electrification has recently become a controversial topic. When The Economist declared that “electricity does not change poor lives as much as was thought,” a number of non-profits and industry representatives wrote indignant responses (CEO of SolarAid, CrossBoundary) arguing that electricity, including distributed solar power, can be a game-changer for rural...

    10 Apr 2019 | Johannes Urpelainen

  • Blog post

    Informal workers and taxation in Zambia: Who pays and does it make a difference?

    Taxation in Africa has been increasingly covered in the news, especially with controversial attempts in countries such as Benin, Tanzania, and Uganda to tax users of social media sites and phone texting services. While the true intentions of these efforts are debatable, raising sufficient domestic revenue has long been a challenge for many African governments. A long line...

    8 Apr 2019 | Danielle Resnick

  • Blog post

    The Chinese are here: An analysis of import penetration and firm performance in Sub-Saharan Africa

    In the early 1990s, most of the imports into Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) originated mainly from Western economies such as the US, UK, France, and Germany. 25 years later, the share of imports from the UK had decreased to 2.3% in 2015 from 13.9% in 1990, while that of the US to 4.6% in 2015 from 13% in 1992. On the other hand, China’s share of total imports in SSA rose to...

    3 Apr 2019 | Christian Darko , Giovanni Occhiali , Enrico Vanino

  • Blog post

    Understanding Third Tier Organisations (TTOs) in Pakistan and their role in filling public delivery gaps at the community level

    Research into Third Tier Organisations in Pakistan highlights the important work they carry out in spite of a lack of significant government funding. Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF), a not-for-profit, along with its partner organizations has been working on social mobilization and development of voluntary organizations at community level across Pakistan. A...

    1 Apr 2019 | Sharmin Arif, Hina Shaikh

  • Blog post

    Learning to teach by learning to learn: Measuring the effects of an innovative teacher training programme in Uganda

    In 2007, Uganda became the first African country to introduce free universal secondary education. Yet, in 2017, 79% of students who began primary school, which is also free, did not make it to secondary school at all.[1] How can the delivery of education be improved to address this issue?A unique teacher training programme in Uganda has begun and is providing significant...

    27 Mar 2019 | Nava Ashraf, Vesal Nourani

  • Blog post

    Improving Tanzania’s power quality: Can data help?

    For many Tanzanians, the sun sets and it’s pitch black – in fact, according to government data at least two-thirds of Tanzanians don’t have access to electricity. For those who do, many experience problems with reliability and quality of service – i.e. power cuts, and fluctuations in power supply that can damage equipment. This affects people’s daily lives and...

    25 Mar 2019 | Ben Garside, Davida Wood

  • Blog post

    Technology and the future of work in developing economies

    2018 has been a year for critical debates on the impact of emerging technology on jobs and the imminent threats and challenges of automation. Although the prospects of development and fast-approaching opportunities are advocated by many tech optimists, they have often been eclipsed by gloomier forecasts, such as “The robots are coming”, “Underestimating AI could be...

    20 Mar 2019 | Laura Sili

  • Blog post

    Public finance to improve outcomes

    Pakistan continues to face significant social and economic challenges. Provision of basic services such as health and education falls short of international standards, while women and the poor are often wholly excluded from accessing these services. At a time when the government is under pressure to demonstrate fiscal restraint, a strong public financial management system...

    15 Mar 2019 | Hina Shaikh

  • Blog post

    From transport to growth corridor: Do communities benefit from the Central Railway Transit Corridor in Tanzania?

    The government of Tanzania has embarked on a journey to revive the railways, through its investment in the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) on the central corridor. The 2,561 km Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) line will connect the port of Dar es Salaam to Tanzania's land-locked neighbours (Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, and Eastern DR Congo). The project is estimated to cost $14.2...

    12 Mar 2019 | Josaphat Kweka

  • Blog post

    Is the rule of law good for women? Evidence from micro-entrepreneurs in Lusaka, Zambia

    The rapidly growing cities of the developing world can be an engine for private sector growth (Krugman, 1991; Glaeser, 2011). However, the positive externalities of living in urban areas become lost opportunities when people cannot safely trade with each other. This can happen either because of lack of mutual confidence or weakness in the rule of law. Across countries,...

    11 Mar 2019 | Nava Ashraf, Edward Glaeser, Alexia Delfino