The Colombian city of Bogota hosted one of the most prominent global convenings of development economists last week — the UN University World Institute for Development Economics Research (Unu-Wider) conference held in partnership with the Universidad de los Andes. The conference came at an interesting moment, not just for the world but also for emerging market economies such as Colombia and SA.

The conference happened in the same week that Opec production cuts were announced, which are set to trigger a deepening of the cost-of-living crisis for households, raise interest rates and make more likely the prospect of a global recession. The theme of the Unu-Wider conference was how the world can reduce inequality, but beyond the walls of the university lay the hairy and messy “real world”, where questions of land, justice, conflict, migration, hunger and inequitable access to power continue to drive inequality...

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