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Aid and development links: M-Pesa in Kenya, Blockchain, Paul Romer and more

Is World Bank chief economist Dr Paul Romer being sidelined? This is one of the topics covered in this week's links.

Kenyan commerce (Photo: Flickr/ Martin Alvarez Espinar)
Kenyan commerce (Photo: Flickr/ Martin Alvarez Espinar)
Published 29 May 2017   Follow @jonathan_pryke

  • The New York Times discusses the success of M-Pesa leapfrogging conventional banking in Kenya and how it is continuing to innovate.
  • 'Blockchain' is getting thrown around a lot in development circles this year. Duncan Green provides a handy primer of what it actually means.
  • As the Trump administration threatens dramatic cuts to the US aid program, Steve Radelet once again addresses the age-old question of whether foreign aid actually works. NPR also tackles the subject.
  • Reports have emerged that the World Bank’s new chief economist Dr Paul Romer is being sidelined from his management duties as he tries to force them to communicate more clearly. Romer has responded to the reports on his personal blog.
  • According to a World Bank survey of more than 10,000 ‘influencers’ in more than 40 countries, concern about governance has increased rapidly in recent years and reform in this area is now regarded as the most important development priority. 
  • Branko Milanovic talks about why focusing on inequality is important for The Guardian.
  • Scientists have mapped the changes in night time lighting between 2012 and 2016, teasing out some interesting conclusions that are discussed in this National Geographic article.
  • Terence Wood has written on the rise and fall of the New Zealand aid program following the recent budget. He has also tracked how the Pacific fared during the McCully era.

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