The recent anti-corruption summit in London highlighted a much-publicized issue in development--transparency is crucial in the minerals sector. However, an event at UNU-WIDER made it clear that this is only one of many key issues related to the extractive industries, government revenues, and development.
It's traditional in Greek island restaurants to go into the kitchen and see what is cooking before choosing your meal. Similarly, I am reminded of the Japanese CEO who was an early advocate of 'management by walking around'. He explained why he spent so much time down on the assembly line, 'Last time I looked, no one was building a car in my office'.
At UNU-WIDER's headquarters, a visiting researcher can inspire (or intimidate) themselves by looking at the impressive range of research from the early work of Amartya Sen and others to the present day.
How do you get from an important research issue to an impressive and well-produced volume published by Oxford University Press? In line with UNU-WIDER's open access policy, the Working Papers and the OUP book envisaged for the project will be available free on line. I now have a pretty good idea how UNU-WIDER works. But I had never before attended a project meeting where authors 'test drive' their papers before the other specialists writing for the project. So I jumped at the chance to chair a good part of two days of intensive discussion on managing extractives for development, much of which is covered in Neil McCulloch's blog on the subject.
Supercycles, fridges, and infrastructure
The subject could not be more timely. The resource supercycle (if there is one and it's not just 'voodoo') is now over. The Sustainable Development Goals commit the world community to guarantee access to modern energy by 2030, even if the level established is alarmingly low. One US fridge uses as much electricity as nine Ethiopians. Africa's development requires access to modern energy, and necessitates huge infrastructure investment--ideally US$93 billion per annum for the next 10 years, according the African Development Bank.
However, the global climate change goals agreed in Paris means that a good percentage of traditional energy reserves (e.g., oil and coal) are 'unburnable carbon'--or at least they should be if we want to prevent global warming from getting completely out of control.
UNU-WIDER and natural resource wealth
UNU-WIDER has visited resource issues before. But...