Syndicate content

January 2012

Knowledge Gaps on Innovation for Green Growth

Mark Dutz's picture

Small but sometimes radical new steps toward greener energy and green growth are happening on our stressed planet, but we don’t hear enough about them, nor do we sufficiently explore and share policy lessons.

Examples include ‘smart grid’ R&D activities that deploy sensors to gather data on incoming electricity from wind, solar and other renewables with varying power outputs, better management of outages, factoring in the needs of electric vehicles, and installing more energy-efficient power meter usage in homes and offices. At the other end of the spectrum, Husk Power Systems, a company operating in Bihar, India has devised a novel single fuel gasifier for rural electrification based on discarded rice husks – one of India’s most common waste products. Thanks to the risk husks, 60 mini-power plants have now been installed. They  power about 25,000 households in more than 250 villages in rural India. 

The market score on Egypt's elections and revolution

Caroline Freund's picture
The Egyptian election brought a modest gain to the Stock Exchange.  The EGX30 is up 6 percent since before elections in November and the broader EGX100 is up 1 percent.  This suggests that the market is cautiously optimistic that the new parliament will be pro-business.  The biggest gainer is Telecom, up 16 percent , though this may be related to renewed trading of Orascom after the company split, and less to the election.  Still, other gainers are chemicals, construction and materials, financial services (excluding banks), and industrial goods and services (including automobiles), which are all up about 5 percent.  Importantly, none of the 12 sectors are down more than 2 percent since the beginning of the election cycle (see chart below).

January 25th, a day Egyptians will never forget

Khaled Sherif's picture
January 25th, 2011 began like any normal Tuesday in Egypt except that it was a national holiday (Police Day).  I had arrived three days earlier to the news of my mother being ill and in hospital.  Everything in Egypt was normal on January 23rd and 24th although we all expected demonstrations on Tuesday the 25th.  But, virtually everyone including the security services thought very little would come of it. On Tuesday January 25th the Imam in our mosque encouraged people to go to Tahrir and join other demonstrators.  I hadn’t gone to the prayers, and maybe because I was so preoccupied with family matters, I couldn’t sense the gravity of the situation. 

Colombia: sewing machines help the displaced weave brighter futures

Ana Revenga's picture

También disponible en español

Displaced woman in Colombia

Imagine that one day you are forced to leave your home with only the clothes on your back. You have no house, land, supplies, work or friends. You cannot return. The only thing you have left is your will to survive and to protect your family. You arrive in a new city to start from scratch. Everything seems overwhelming. You realize you have lost in two ways: as a woman and now as a displaced person.

This is the experience of millions of displaced women in Colombia, such as the ones we met at the Foundation for Development and Progress (FUNDESPRO) in Bogota.The Foundation works with the government to aid victims, especially women, of the Colombian civil conflict, as part of a World Bank initiative supported through the Peace and Development Program.

We Are All Copycats (and that includes you)

Sina Odugbemi's picture

In theory, we admire and aspire to originality. We claim to be different, in fact, singular in every way. Yet, according to the authors of an important new book on social behavior, we are far less original than we think. We don’t like to acknowledge it, but we borrow ideas and practices promiscuously and we imitate others with feverish abandon.

The book is titled I’ll Have What She’s Having: Mapping Social Behavior, and the authors are two leading anthropologists plus a marketing and communication consultant: Alex Bentley and Michael J. O’Brien are the anthropologists and Mark Earls the consultant on marketing and communication.

The impact of the Euro crisis on Kenya

Wolfgang Fengler's picture

Kenya exports flowers to EUA luxury liner, out on a peaceful vacation trip, encounters a small rock causing the huge vessel to sink. Chaos erupt and the captains abandon the ship, failing to manage the unfolding crisis and resulting in unnecessary deaths of passengers. One cannot help but compare this sad incident with the state of European economic affairs. As the ship sank on the coast of Italy’s shores, the credit rating of several EU-countries was being downgraded.

The events in Europe come as a reminder of the tremendous changes that have taken place worldwide over the past decade. Economic power is shifting from West to East, and from North to South. The big loser has been Europe, while emerging markets, especially in Asia, have reaped the lion’s share of the benefits. A decade ago, the possibility that China would come to the rescue of a bankrupt EU-country would have sounded outlandish-- no less inconceivable than saying that Nigeria could bail out China 20 years from today!

Some African countries may feel a sense of Schadenfreude as they witness the challenges faced by former colonial powers. European policy makers are no longer in any position to lecture their African counterparts. In fact, if you look at the quality of macroeconomic management over past years, many European countries could learn a lot from Africa, especially on how to handle fiscal deficits and debts. If Kenya was a member of the EU, its debt levels would be among the lowest in the union.

In reality though, Europe’s economic woes will create additional challenges for Kenya’s economy in 2012, a defining year for both this country and the Euro-zone

Notes from the field: Teaching impact evaluation to policymakers and other non-economists

Markus Goldstein's picture

Back in the tail end of last year, I did a post on using workshops with project teams to build impact evaluation design. My friend anonymous requested copies of the presentations.   Since I am in the midst of doing another one of these workshops here in Ghana, I thought it would be worth posting them now.    

The post-Arab Spring Islamists and Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party

Omer Karasapan's picture
In many respects the question of whether Turkey represents a model for kindred political movements in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has already been answered - with a clear, if not always resounding, yes. From the closeness of their names – at least in Egypt, Morocco, and Turkey – a variation on Justice, Development, and Freedom to strongly articulated support for political democracy and pluralism, the Islamist parties in Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia are sympathetic to and appear to be espousing positions broadly similar to Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP).

How Can Policy Makers Increase Women’s Labor Force Participation?

One of the most destructive effects of the global financial crisis on many countries has been a rise in unemployment. To address this, policy makers everywhere are putting a great deal of energy into devising policies that will increase the proportion of their adult population in jobs. With the publication of Women, Business and Law data, which was updated in 2011, we have fresh insight into one particular issue of employment: encouraging female labour force participation.