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Land conflicts in the country of safaris April 19, 2009

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by Vera Quina

p10302671Violent land disputes and forceful evictions of pastoralists have become commonplace in the once calm district of Kilosa, southern Tanzania. Since last January, clashes between pastoralists and peasants have left six people dead, a large amount of properties and houses destroyed and led to the displacement of more than 2,000 persons. The land question is central to the ongoing disputes in this area, but for some reason these events go unnoticed in Tanzania, one of the last peaceful countries in Eastern Africa.

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Which Priority for Development? Growth vs. Redistribution November 16, 2008

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by Diego Zamuner

When thinking of poverty and its consequences on the lives of those affected by it, one question appears to be unavoidable: how to tackle this problem? This is one of the major concerns of development economics. Two main groups of answers are widely accepted: some think that priority should be given to economic growth, the others believe that human development should be the central concern. Thus, the former think of the spill-over effects of growth, and argue that sustained growth is the only means of reducing poverty in a definitive manner. On the other hand, the latter focus on what Amartya Sen calls the “capability approach”, which implies that poverty is not only a matter of income, and argue that society’s wealth should be redistributed in order to ensure a minimum level of welfare to everyone. This is the traditional debate between the Income-centred approach promoted by international financial institutions (World Bank, International Monetary Fund) and the Human Development approach championed by the United Nations. So, what can the observation of the real world teach us on this matter? Let us concentrate on one particular case study: India…

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Bridging the Informational Divide: Technology cannot do it alone October 21, 2008

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by Emmanuel Neisa

Over the past years, politicians, development agencies and international relations scholars have become aware of the the role that ICT’s (Information and Communication Technologies) can play achieving the Millennium Development Goals. In fact, poverty is often linked to extreme isolation in developing countries, and ICT’s will be essential in the following years to convey services and information to these zones, but also to empower local communities, bringing them new opportunities and pushing up their development. (more…)