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July 2009

Thirsting for Social Change: Women, Agriculture, and a Stream of Opportunity

Brittney Davidson's picture

The cows were judging me. The unforgiving Indian summer sun was beating down on the crop field where I stood, and though I desperately wanted to listen the soft-spoken villager who was explaining the trials and accomplishments of his agriculturally centered village, my attention was pulled to the cattle several meters away. Perhaps I was dehydrated, perhaps a little woozy, but I am not proud to say that I could have sworn those grazing beasts were eyeing me, watching me wither under the intense gaze of the mid-afternoon sun. “Weakling,” They seemed to say.

And perhaps I was.

From my brief time spent in this rural, South Indian village, I had seen people deal with far more than the uncomfortable heat. These villagers like many throughout the rural areas of South Asia, worked long and tedious hours in their fields. Heat was not simply a discomfort, but could mean less water, less grass to feed the cattle, fewer crops, and, as a result, the inability to sustain spending on education, healthcare, and sanitation.

Nepal announces a diaspora bond

Dilip Ratha's picture

Excerpt from the budget speech (July 13, 2009, para 139) by the Nepal finance minister for the new fiscal year beginning this month:

"An arrangement has been made to issue "Infrastructure Development Bond" of an amount of Rs. 7 billion by Nepal Rastra Bank fixing pegged exchange rates targeting the Nepalese working abroad through Nepalese Embassies in South Korea, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as a part of domestic borrowing for the coming fiscal year. Such Bonds can be purchased only from workers working abroad. From this arrangement, the remittance can be used for infrastructure development and the remittance itself remains free of additional charges while transmitting to Nepal. In addition to it, I am confident that such workers employed abroad will receive interest from the day of bond purchase and be benefitted."

A Gecko Challenging A Crocodile: Anti-Corruption Agency vs. Vested Interests

Fumiko Nagano's picture

The New York Times recently published an article about the experience of Indonesia’s anti-corruption commission, whose existence is being threatened precisely because it is so very good at doing its job of fighting corruption. Sound like a conundrum? Hardly.

White on White

Céline Ferré's picture

I love travelling to Afghanistan: friends and colleagues stare at me with puzzled, frightened looks. For Afghanistan is invariably associated with the Taliban, poppy fields, Sharia and women covered in blue chadri (burqa). The azure blue chadri has been displayed as the epitome of women's subordination to men and their lack of rights. In Andrei Konchalovsky's film, the First Teacher (1965), the schoolmaster strips off a black niqab from a young Kirghiz girl, his gesture liberates women from backward traditions and brings them a promising future. Twentieth century Kirghiz girls, twenty-first century Afghan women... same struggle?

The first time I set a foot in Afghanistan, women were not compelled to wear the fully covering chadri. But I saw no bare-headed woman. Wandering around Shahr-e Nau park, striding along the winding streets of Shor Bazaar, feeding doves at the crack of dawn in Mazar-e Sharif, picnicking on Friday afternoon in Babur gardens, I saw Afghan women in all shapes and shades of head covers.

Showing vs. Telling: map shows half the world represented by 5 percent GDP

James I Davison's picture

It always seems to be the case that by simply writing or saying something, you can hardly get the same point across as by presenting it in a visual way. For example, it’s one thing to say, “three billion people (a little less than half the world’s population) comprise the bottom 5 percent of global GDP contributors.” But as the Strange Maps blog points out, it’s a little more eye-opening to show a map with those countries completely missing.

I’m not sure this map accomplishes much more than to illustrate a single interesting point – unlike the SHOW World animated maps we wrote about earlier this year or the popular WorldMapper Collection, both of which put several data sets in a visual format.

The map does, however, highlight the interesting fact that most of the countries represented are either in Southeast Asia or Africa. Check it out here.

Tendencias de las remesas en 2009

Dilip Ratha's picture

Como mencioné en mi anterior post, nuestra Nota Informativa No 10, la cual presenta una revisión de las perspectivas de las remesas, ha generado un gran interés en el mercado financiero, entre los analistas, investigadores, y en los medios de comunicación. El Financial Times escribió un editorial basado en nuestra nota. Aun una pequeña disminución del 7.3% en los flujos de remesas, según nuestras estimaciones, puede ocasionar un impacto a los países que enfrentan déficits de financiación externa. Ahora sabemos que la resistencia a la disminución de las remesas en el futuro fue un factor importante detrás del éxito del lanzamiento de los US $ 750 millones mega-bono de Filipinas.

El video adjunto es una versión muy corta de nuestras estimaciones sobre las tendencias de las remesas en el 2009.

Dilip Ratha, economista principal y experto en remesas, Banco Mundial from World Bank on Vimeo.

Conferencia sobre la diáspora: ¡Fue un éxito!

Sonia Plaza's picture

A pesar que fue un poco de trabajo, valió la pena organizar la conferencia. Nuestro objetivo era ir más allá de discutir los temas sobre las remesas. Queríamos discutir iniciativas concretas para aprovechar los recursos de la diaspora sea en la forma de transferir recursos tangibles (contribución monetaria, inversiones, etc.) e intangibles (conocimiento, tecnología, contactos, etc.). Quisiéramos dar las gracias a todos los presentadores y a los participantes por contribuir al éxito de la conferencia. Recibimos cerca de 200 trabajos, de los que al final sólo 35 fueron seleccionados para ser presentados en las sesiones. El debate fue enriquecedor dado el intercambio de ideas. El programa y las presentaciones de la conferencia están están disponibles en inglés aquí.

Permítanme destacar brevemente en el video adjunto algunas de las ideas y los próximos pasos que han surgido como resultado del intercambio de ideas durante esta conferencia.

Sonia Plaza from World Bank on Vimeo.

Is protectionism on the rise?

Mohammad Amin's picture

The World Trade Organization (WTO) released its flagship Annual Report (2009) on the 22nd of July. Each year, the annual report focuses on a topic of special interest to the global trading community. It didn’t require much guessing to figure out that this year’s report would have something to do with the ongoing financial crisis and its impact on trade. But precisely which aspect of the financial crisis is most important for trade policy today?

Where Are We Driving this Truck?

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

The Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) is one of our valued partners in the work on communication for governance and accountability. Very relevant to our own work on media development, CIMA just published a report on "Monitoring and Evaluation of Media Assistance Projects." Author Andy Mosher, formerly of the Washington Post, interviewed Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) practioners in major US donor and implementation agencies to find out what is being done - and what is being done successfully - to assess the impact of media development projects. Representative of his question is a quote from one of his interviewees: "Where are we driving this truck?" According to what I read in the report and what I heard at its launch this week in Washington, I'm not sure we even know how to start the truck.