About 200 million people in Africa live in informal settlements. As the continent’s cities face rapid growth, governments are facing the challenge of how to ensure adequate housing. Astrid R.N. Haas, who recently published a paper for the Pathfinders Grand Challenge on Inequality and Exclusion on how to make informal housing better talked with Voice of America about how to make informal housing better.

Jan 12, 2022
Astrid R.N. Haas
2030 Agenda

State capture is a type of systematic corruption whereby narrow interest groups take control of the institutions and processes that make public policy, excluding other parts of the public whose interests those institutions are supposed to serve. State capture is often associated with the first decade of transition in the former Soviet Union (FSU) and Eastern Europe. State capture has also spread to many countries that had once seemed to be resilient democracies or, in the case of transition countries, on a secure path toward democratization. This research paper goes in-depth on the mechanisms and impacts of state capture, impact on inequalities, and lessons learned from two case studies (Brazil and South Africa).

Dec 17, 2021
Elizabeth David-Barrett
Brazil, South Africa

Across the globe, particularly in urban areas, the gap between the demand and supply of affordable and adequate housing is growing rapidly. This is particularly the case on the African continent, which is currently undergoing the most rapid urban transition recorded in our history. Housing, particularly when it constitutes a home, is the cornerstone of our social, economic, and emotional lives. Having a roof over one’s head epitomizes stability and security for an individual as well as their family. The current COVID-19 pandemic gave housing a new level of importance and also exacerbated inequalities between those with and without adequate housing. In this context, access to affordable and adequate housing is increasingly being recognized not only as a necessity, but rather as a fundamental human right.

Dec 07, 2021
Astrid R.N. Haas

States and societies are in crisis around the world, as questions arise around the nature and quality of existing social contracts. COVID-19 has laid bare profound vulnerabilities within and across societies. The global pandemic is revealing deep failures in policy visions, institutional fragility, and incapacities of states to harness societal compliance where trust and a sense of national belonging is weak. At the same time, our interdependencies have never been so clear, as all countries, developed and underdeveloped alike, confront similar challenges. Crisis, however, offers opportunity to do things better, to build forward better – strengthening social contracts at all levels. How then, can social contracts, and compacting in times of crisis, offer pathways to address inequality and exclusion?

Aug 10, 2021
Erin McCandless

Pathfinders director Liv Tørres spoke to Business Insider about the volatile social and economic scenarios in South Africa over the past decade, which culminated in the arrest of former president Zuma.

Jul 14, 2021
Liv Tørres
South Africa

Si vis pacem, cole justitiam” – “If you desire peace, cultivate justice,” is the motto enshrined in the foundations of the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) building in Geneva, established in 1919. World War I, the Russian Revolution, and the fear of communism that followed, had convinced world leaders that, “universal and lasting peace can be established only if it is based upon social justice,” as they stated in the 1919 Versailles Treaty. Widespread injustice, inequalities, and exclusion were the enemies of peace. Many would argue they are no less relevant today.

Jul 06, 2021
Liv Tørres
South Africa

There is nothing equal about COVID-19. It is now well established that poor and underprivileged social groups have absorbed most of the pandemic’s negative impact. However, the connection between COVID-19 and inequality might run even deeper. During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, one additional point of the Gini coefficient correlated with a 1.34 percentage point higher rate of weekly new infections across countries. This difference in infection rates compounds like interest every week.

With each new year of data, and each new intergovernmental report, it becomes harder to deny the scale and urgency of the energy transition required to prevent catastrophic anthropogenic climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change urges countries to take action to prevent a rise in temperature by more than 1.5°C, and warns of catastrophic consequences of a rise above 2°C. Yet current policies and pledges fall far short of hitting these targets.

The Financial Mail cited the Congo Research Group's "I Need You, I Don’t Need You: South Africa and Inga III" report in this article on the hydroelectric project.

"Delays to the ambitious Inga 3 hydropower project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) could be aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic, but SA has vowed to honour its commitment to the project—for the sake of the continent," the article notes.

Apr 23, 2020
South Africa

This paper analyzes COVID-19 relief spending in ten countries to assess whether governments are investing resources in inclusive programs that will lead to the desired goal of ‘building back better.’ The results of this analysis indicate that current investments are likely to maintain the status quo, and potentially lead to a deepening of inequalities by overlooking urgent needs of marginalized groups affected by the social and economic effects of the pandemic. The countries analyzed are the following: Canada, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Mexico, Sierra Leone, South Korea, Sweden, Tunisia, and Uruguay.

Jul 07, 2021
Amanda Lenhardt

Related Publications

  • State capture is a type of systematic corruption whereby narrow interest groups take control of the institutions and processes that make public policy, excluding other parts of the public whose interests those institutions are supposed to serve. State capture is often associated with the first decade of transition in the former Soviet Union (FSU) and Eastern Europe. State capture has also spread to many countries that had once seemed to be resilient democracies or, in the case of transition countries, on a secure path toward democratization. This research paper goes in-depth on the mechanisms and impacts of state capture, impact on inequalities, and lessons learned from two case studies (Brazil and South Africa).

    Dec 17, 2021
    Elizabeth David-Barrett
    Brazil, South Africa
  • Across the globe, particularly in urban areas, the gap between the demand and supply of affordable and adequate housing is growing rapidly. This is particularly the case on the African continent, which is currently undergoing the most rapid urban transition recorded in our history. Housing, particularly when it constitutes a home, is the cornerstone of our social, economic, and emotional lives. Having a roof over one’s head epitomizes stability and security for an individual as well as their family. The current COVID-19 pandemic gave housing a new level of importance and also exacerbated inequalities between those with and without adequate housing. In this context, access to affordable and adequate housing is increasingly being recognized not only as a necessity, but rather as a fundamental human right.

    Dec 07, 2021
    Astrid R.N. Haas
  • States and societies are in crisis around the world, as questions arise around the nature and quality of existing social contracts. COVID-19 has laid bare profound vulnerabilities within and across societies. The global pandemic is revealing deep failures in policy visions, institutional fragility, and incapacities of states to harness societal compliance where trust and a sense of national belonging is weak. At the same time, our interdependencies have never been so clear, as all countries, developed and underdeveloped alike, confront similar challenges. Crisis, however, offers opportunity to do things better, to build forward better – strengthening social contracts at all levels. How then, can social contracts, and compacting in times of crisis, offer pathways to address inequality and exclusion?

    Aug 10, 2021
    Erin McCandless

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