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August 2012

Weekly Wire: the Global Forum

Kalliope Kokolis's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

NPR
Saving Lives In Africa With The Humble Sweet Potato

“A regular old orange-colored sweet potato might not seem too exciting to many of us.

But in parts of Africa, that sweet potato is very exciting to public health experts who see it as a living vitamin A supplement. A campaign to promote orange varieties of sweet potatoes in Mozambique and Uganda (instead of the white or yellow ones that are more commonly grown there) now seems to be succeeding. (Check out this cool infographic on the campaign.) It's a sign that a new approach to improving nutrition among the world's poor might actually work.

That approach is called biofortification: adding crucial nutrients to food biologically, by breeding better varieties of crops that poor people already eat.”  READ MORE

Can Direct Democracy Work in Rural Afghanistan?

Andrew Beath's picture

The paradigm of community-driven development (CDD) aims to increase program impact by involving communities in the selection, design, and implementation of local development projects. However, its effectiveness can be undermined when local elites capture or otherwise exploit the paradigm’s prescribed participatory processes. In such cases, the type of projects implemented, as well as the benefits they provide, may end up serve the interests of elites, rather than the targeted communities. Large local landholders, for instance, may be more interested in funding irrigation projects than digging deep wells, building schools, or funding local clinics that benefit the community at large.

Keeping the Wonder in the Pacific

Aleta Moriarty's picture
The ocean represents transport, food, culture and livelihoods for people of the Pacific.

A few years ago in Papua New Guinea on a holiday I was lucky enough to spend a day with a fisherman who took me out on his dugout canoe. For hours we slowly skimmed along the surface of the ocean, the clear water providing a wonderful lens to the world below teeming with life. Fish, starfish, coral, eels, plants—a world beyond my wildest imagination.

He pointed out the plants he ate and others he used as traditional medicine. He showed me innocuous-looking creatures that would spell certain death. He showed me the craggy hiding hole of the tail-less crocodile that was the lead character in village folklore. He showed me the fish he caught that fed his family and provided him with an income and how his father had taught him to catch them, like he too had taught his children.

Why jobless? Privilege not competition in the Private Sector

Simon Bell's picture
Several years ago, when I first came into the region, my department produced a Private Sector Flagship report titled, “From Privilege to Competition:  Unlocking Private-Led Growth in the Middle East and North Africa”.  This report gradually became known simply as “From Privilege to Competition” and more recently truncated even further to “P2C”. When this report was first launched in Egypt, in the year before the Arab Spring first began to take hold, the region planned a large event in Cairo with Ministers and press.  Interestingly, no ministers turned up to the launch event.

Managing Oil Price Volatility: Bringing Latin America’s Lessons to the Pacific

Nicholas Keyes's picture

Pacific IslandsIt is well understood that climate change poses specific dangers for small island developing states. Less commented on is another threat: the vulnerability of these states to the repercussions of energy insecurity.  

Pacific islands are some of the most vulnerable.  Spread out over a huge expanse of ocean, pooling power among countries is not the option that it is for other regions.  Lacking fossil fuel resources, many of these states are forced to import oil products over long distances.  When prices spike, these countries are among the hardest hit.  

Global oil prices have now been volatile for ten years, compared with historical trends, with sharp volatility characterizing the markets since late 2007.  During this period, the World Bank has been engaged with developing countries to help them manage and mitigate this volatility so that it does not hamper the development or extension of energy services to poor communities.

Voices of Youth: What Does India Need to Get Back to a High Growth Trajectory?

Amrita Chowdhury's picture

India today is the fourth largest economy in the world. But for the country to sustain a growth rate of close to 6%, it remains vulnerable to the vicissitudes of global investors. It’s time to ponder: why it is not the other way round? How can India reach a position where we not only follow the rise and fall of global economic forces but also lead the way in sustaining the global economy? This is my dream.

Improving Ongoing Flagship Programs:
-The monitoring of all flagship projects should be improved right from the Gram Panchayat level to the state and central level.
-Models need to be developed for every flagship program, success factors studied, and implementation aligned with the specific needs of each state.
-All program implementation officers should be trained by those who have worked in successful programs. Pay should be linked with performance.
-Resource reallocation should depend on progress and work load.
-All unsuccessful programs should be analyzed to understand the main causes for failure and alternatives planned.
-Benchmark studies should be conducted to identify critical indicators for development in education, health and infrastructure and year on year progress checked.

Certifying Skills in Chile

Hernan Araneda's picture

For workers trying to get better jobs, skill certification systems offer a way to upgrade their skills to meet what the labor market is demanding and then get those skills recognized formally. That is why from 1999-2009, Chile undertook a series of pilot projects to develop a national certification system. We recently spoke with Hernán Araneda, head of the Center for Innovation in Human Capital in Fundación Chile, about pilot projects to develop a national certification system that he designed, oversaw, and scaled up.

Wayward Bankers: An Epic Accountability Challenge

Sina Odugbemi's picture

The global community faces an epic governance and accountability challenge: the big banks that we all use either directly or indirectly are out of control and nobody seems to know what to do about them. As we mark the fifth anniversary of the global financial crisis this month, it appears as if every new week brings news of a fresh banking scandal. The recent list:


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