10 February 2010

Building a constituency for Africa

Owen says that there are unfair global rules which are creating a poverty trap for Africa, and that these rules won’t be changed because Africans are not a constituency to which Western leaders are accountable.
“Africa seems to be likely to be caught in the jaws of this trap for as long as there is no political process that allows African countries to obtain more power and influence within these international institutions than their relative economic weaknesses entails.”
I have less faith in international institutions. How about building a constituency for Africa in the West by:

1. Campaigning to influence voter’s and decision-makers

2. Allowing some more Africans to move to the West

I don’t know if these would work, but I do know that lobbying by the private sector does. Nathan points to a study which found a 22,000% return on lobbying by firms for tax cuts. Can lobbyists for development achieve those kind of returns?


c-sez said...

In a word, yes.

And in four words: been there, done that.

(in the UK at least)

Here are the numbers:

ODA in 2008: £6300m (0.43%GNI)
ODA if 0.7%GNI commitment met: £10256m

Assume that UK development NGOs have spent upto £20m on this lobbying effort over the last few years. Probably on the high side.

+£3956m increase, div by £20m, that is a 19779% return.

c-sez said...

... and that 19779% figure is on the low side. that +£3956m is a perannum figure, and there's no way UKNGOs are spending £20m perannum between them on lobbying.

Lee said...

Cool, that is a good return!

Now what about the return to changes in trade policy? Bit harder to calculate but you could still come up with some estimates, and I reckon they would be even higher.

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