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April 2010

Raising the Volume on 'Quiet Corruption'

Shanta Devarajan's picture

 
Photo: Arne Hoel

In Uganda, teachers in public primary schools are absent 27 percent of the time. In Chad, less than one percent of the non-wage recurrent expenditures reaches primary health clinics.  In West Africa, about half the fertilizer is diluted before it reaches the farmer. 

Madagascar - What's Going On?

Jacques Morisset's picture

After one year (still counting) of political crisis, uncertainty remains the key word in Madagascar.

Private activities have rebounded compared to the first quarter 2009 but remain below pre-crisis levels. Fiscal policy, globally cautious, went through several “stop and go” episodes, sending mixed messages to financial markets, especially visible through the recent variations in the exchange and interest rates.

This uncertainty is exacerbated by the lack of consistency in policy decisions.

More cell phones than toilets

Shanta Devarajan's picture

An article in yesterday’s New York Times observes that, with the number of mobile subscriptions exceeding five billion, more people today have access to a cell phone than to a clean toilet.  Leaving aside the relative value of these two appliances, the surge in cell phones in Africa—some 94 percent of urban Africans are near a GSM signal—is transforming the continent.  Farmers in Niger use cell phones to find out which market is giving the best price; people in Kenya pay their bills and send money home using M-Pesa.