Kenya's open data initiative

By Johannes Zutt on Africa can…end poverty:

Kenya is in the midst of a quiet revolution—but many people, even in Kenya, seem to be unaware of it, or the enormous governance improvements that it is likely to bring.

We saw a new Kenya emerging last Friday when President Kibaki presided over an historic event that was hard to imagine in the old Kenya: the launch of a government website, , that makes enormous volumes of government data available to the public in user-friendly formats.

For the first time in Kenya’s history, core government data on population, the budget, education, health care and other public services are available to policy-makers, researchers, ICT developers, and citizens in an easily-accessible format. This portal is one of the first and largest government portals with reusable data in sub-Saharan Africa, making Kenya one of the world’s leading exemplars of open data (see Time magazine’s “Silicon Savanna”).


Middle-income fragile states

Andy Sumner asks whether there’s “a new kind of fragile state”:

What do Pakistan, Yemen, Nigeria, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Sudan and perhaps Libya, Egypt and Tunisia have in common? Fragility and middle-income status.
In short, there are only 35 low-income countries remaining out of around 200 countries that the World Bank tracks. And that’s down from 63 in 2000 and this is projected to fall to perhaps 20 or so low-income countries by 2025.
In between the two ways of looking at countries – income and fragility – there is a new kind of country – countries which are fragile and middle income. This isn’t supposed to happen though is it? Countries are poor, then they stabilise and then they get rich don’t they?

Maybe not any more. Look at the kind of countries that are both fragile and now middle income, taking the OECD’s combination of fragile states lists: Pakistan, Yemen, Nigeria, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Sudan (and perhaps now add Libya, Egypt and Tunisia).
Maybe being a poor and/or fragile state isn’t going to be the main international issue for peace and security in the future. Maybe instead it’s the fragile states who are not-so-poor?

Bond market armageddon in Greece…

Yields surge for Greece's 2year bonds

Things start to get ugly in peripheral Europe. These are the 2-years bonds.

Is another US recession just around the corner?

recession and growthrates

Dave Altig points out that:

[…] there has been a pretty reliable relationship between sustained bouts of sub-2 percent growth and U.S. recessions (indicated by the gray shaded areas). In fact, over the entire post-World War II era, periods in which year-over-year real GDP growth below 2 percent have been almost always associated with downturns in the economy.

Africa's new largest countries

Africa has a new largest country: Algeria.
And Sub-Saharan Africa (World Bank definition) also has a new largest country: DR Congo.

North Sudan lost about one third of its territory. There are about 1.6 million sq km left.
So now it seems to be number four in Africa and number two in Sub-Saharan Africa in terms of size of the territory.

here (of course, not updated yet)

Facts and figures – South Sudan

(Source BBC:)

* Population: 7.5-9.7 million
* Size: 619,745 sq km (239,285 sq miles), larger than Spain and Portugal combined
* Major languages: English, Arabic (both official), Juba Arabic, Dinka
* Religion: Traditional and a Christian minority
* Main export: Oil

Happy Birthday South Sudan!

Some media reactions:



daily nation kenya

"A Greek default could precipitate defaults in other euro-area countries"

EU banks

This is in line with previous observations.

Fitch downgrades Greece…

… and David Oakley and Neil Dennis from FT are very worried about it.
However, we have not yet reached the level of 10 year bond rate that we had in April. In April we had 16.18 percent. Now we have a little less.

Hopeful comments on economic development in Sub-Saharan Africa

Economist’s audio article:

A more hopeful continent

I believe this is mainly driven by high capital inflows and “good governance”.