Jobs are development.

Author:Linden, Carl-Gustav

One important part of ReCom-Research and Communication on Foreign Aid is the sharing of results. October saw the largest effort so far to bring attention to ReCom results by arranging a meeting for the theme aid and employment entitled 'Jobs-Aid at Work' in Copenhagen, Denmark. The setting, the impressive Black Diamond conference hall at the Royal Library, provided an excellent venue for this event. Hilary Bowker, former CNN Senior European Anchor, was moderator and top academic experts were invited for a discussion on how aid donors can help to create better jobs in the South.


More than two hundred people--from students to policy makers, private sector experts, and academics--actively participated in the event that was also followed by an international audience via real time video webcast and on Twitter. The video links to the event can be found here.

What did we learn? Development without jobs is not development

The key message from the meeting was that jobs drive development and not the other way around. For the World Development Report 2013 director Martin Rama at the World Bank, this insight should be built into how we think about human progress. He led the research team that during the last year visited two dozen countries, analysed thousands of household surveys and consulted panels of experts, policy makers, including advisers from developing countries and from academia, to find the answers to the question: what do jobs do for development? That intellectual journey took the World Bank team from labour economics to development economics. 'Gradually a clear picture emerged, and that picture is that much of what we care about in development actually happens through jobs, jobs should not be an afterthought. Development is what happens when the right jobs appear', said Rama.

AfDB projects have created employment through micro finance

Still, the link between aid and employment is far from clear and is actually quite difficult to pin down, pointed out Abebe Shimeles, contributor to the day's events and manager of the Development Research Division at the African Development Bank (AfDB). According to a large survey of AfDB's own project portfolio the highest impact on job creation is from micro-finance projects. Shimeles adds that in aid sectors such as education and health the link to employment seems to be weak.


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