During the ongoing analysis of the condition of countries with or without a free press, a very interesting and encouraging fact came to the forefront. While taking a close look at Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), we found that between 2002 and 2008, the SSA countries with a Free Press (a classification based on Freedom House’s yardstick) have been successful in attracting a sharply increasing inflow of FDI. Infact in these countries the gap between the share of foreign aid to GDP and the share of FDI inflows to GDP seem to be closing down – an indication of investors gaining confidence in these economies.

This is in sharp contrast to the SSA countries with a Not Free Press where the share of FDI inflows to GDP has not seen much change over time and the gap between aid and FDI is actually widening (implying a marginal increase in aid dependence).

This observation is worth a discussion – is free press responsible for the extent of FDI inflow in to economies or is it just a co-existing factor?

FDI vs. Aid

Sanjukta Roy is a Research Analyst for The Media Map Project.


Here is one example of a listening project, a small-scale, homegrown version of the one Susan Abbott wrote about a few weeks ago.  It’s called “Changing the System, From the Ground Up,” by Jennifer Lentfer.  She asked about 150 people on the front lines of development assistance what they would do to change the system of foreign aid.  Responses and comments left about them are interesting, many emphasizing the importance of listening itself, and of strengthening relationships among various aid stakeholders, particularly recipients on the ground.

How can we transform what we get out of listening into aid policy?  What would happen if listening itself were part of aid policy?

Tara Susman-Peña is the Director of Research of The Media Map Project.


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