Looking back at early COVID-19 responses; reflections on the way ahead

First published on the IDS Alumni blog on 28th May 2020 *** As the world battles the Corona virus, it was clear what governments around the world needed to do to pause the global pandemic: Testing, Testing, Testing; and Lockdowns. The costs of testing were always known. Costs of lockdowns have become apparent in the …

Four key policy imperatives in Kenya’s fight against COVID-19

First published on the IDS Alumni blog on 17 April 2020 *** The rapid spread of COVID-19 has paralysed societies worldwide. With281 confirmed cases, densely populated informal settlements in urban centres such as Nairobi and Mombasa, combined with a public healthcare system that is already under pressure, Kenya might be staring at a looming disaster. There are …

Gita Gopinath on managing the economic fallout from coronavirus

Quite clear now in countries with sensible/compassionate governments what the public health response needs to be. 'Flatten the curve' is now a simple and effective mitigation measure. The economic impacts are only beginning to show, as the coronavirus impacts global supply chains, the inevitable demand and supply-side shocks start to show. Governments have to adopt …

Reclaiming ‘citizenship’ in 2020

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s latest strike (nothing surgical about it, by the way) against India is the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA). The government’s attempts to justify filtering ‘persecuted’ minorities based on religious identity need to be resisted as it signals a fundamental shift in the way we conceptualise citizenship in India. Union Home Minister, …

Caught between humanitarianism and geopolitics, both Rohingyas and Bangladesh are stranded

At a social gathering in Dhaka, I was at the receiving end of an impassioned argument about how the international community had done wrong by Bangladesh when it came to the Rohingya crisis. This was not an isolated instance. Since the heightened influx of the Rohingya people into Bangladesh started around August 2017, the refugee …

‘Rigorous evidence’​ has won the Nobel. How do we increase its role in policy?

The 2019 Nobel Prize for Economics was awarded to Professors Esther Duflo, Abhijit Banerjee and Michael Kremer for their work on experimental studies to evaluate social programmes. They are brilliant academics who developed and fine-tuned a research methodology — the Randomised Control Trial (RCT) — for application to social programmes. At its core, the RCT …