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July 2013

The Last Mile, at Last?

Onno Ruhl's picture

The blog below was originally posted in the "End Poverty in South Asia" blog.
Operation Asha was awarded a USD 50,000 grant in 2011 after competiting in the India Development Marketplace themed: "
Supporting Inclusive Business Models to Scale". For more information on that competition, click here.
 

Onno visiting a medical dispensary in Okhla, Delhi, IndiaIt looked like an ordinary little drugstore. A reasonable supply of medication on the right, and man behind a small desk in the middle.

But what was on the desk was not ordinary: a netbook laptop and a fingerprint scanner. And on the left were boxes, all the same medication, with names written on them. “Try it,” Neema said. “Scan your finger.” I did and the screen turned yellow. “You have never been here yet” said Neema, “I cannot give you any medication.”

Quote of the Week: Albert O. Hirschman

Sina Odugbemi's picture

"Instead of asking: what benefits [has] this project yielded, it would almost be more pertinent to ask: how many conflicts has it brought in its wake? How many crises has it occasioned and passed through?"

Albert O. Hirschman (1915 – 2012).  Mr. Hirschman was an economist who had a profound impact on economic thought and practice around the world. He authored several books on political economy and political ideology.

Does the introduction of movable collateral registries increase firms’ access to finance?

Maria Soledad Martinez Peria's picture

To reduce asymmetric information problems associated with extending credit and increase the chances of loan repayment, banks typically require collateral from their borrowers. 

Movable assets often account for most of the capital stock of private firms and comprise an especially large share for micro, small, and medium-size enterprises. Hence, movable assets are the main type of collateral that firms, especially those in developing countries, can pledge to obtain bank financing. While a sound legal and regulatory framework is essential to allow movable assets to be used as collateral, without a well-functioning registry for movable assets, even the best secured transactions laws could be ineffective or even useless.

Given the importance of collateral registries for moveable assets, 18 countries have established such registries in the past decade. However, to my knowledge there is no systematic empirical evidence on whether such reforms have been effective in fulfilling their primary goal: improving firms’ access to bank finance.

Through the smog, gently: Postcard from Malaysia

Kaushik Basu's picture

PREAMBLE

My travels in Malaysia begin at the distant eastern edge of the country, in Sabah's capital, Kota Kinabalu, the strange name a reminder of the distance I have traveled from home. Meeting local folks, regional politicians, and masters of local arts and crafts, it quickly becomes evident that this ancient island, Borneo, symbolizes all the mysteries and romance of human movement through history. The people who seem settled here forever arrived one day after traveling great distances, braving the wilds and the seas. They were then the modern people who had come to an ancient land. They would soon be absorbed and become the natives in the eyes of the next wave of arrival and modern-day visitors like us.

Frederico, Vivian, Kup (a senior officer of the Ministry of Finance) and I are received at the airport at Kota Kinabalu by a charming young woman, Intan. She is tall and has a head-scarf carefully draped around her head covering her hair. Intan explains she is part Arab, part Chinese, and part Bajau, an ancient tribal people. She smiles and adds that she considers herself Bajau.

Watch out for SIFIs - One size won't fit all

Ahmed Rostom's picture

 
The failure of SIFIs could set off a global financial disaster  (Credit: istock photo, BrianAJackson)

The Global Financial System can’t stand another systemic shock. Even as efforts are rallying to accelerate the recuperation of global financial systems, regulators should remain vigilant for possible deterioration. Restoring financial stability through recovery plans and extended interventions using public funds mandates closer monitoring of the financial markets as well as additional measures to minimize the likelihood and severity of potential outcomes if systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs) were to fail.

Putting Food on the Table

Naomi Ahmad's picture

Halima Khatun never had to worry about putting food on the table when her husband was alive. Her husband had a business which provided enough for their four children and they lived fairly contented till seven years ago, when her husband suddenly passed away.

As the years went by, one by one the children married, moved out and had their own family to take care of. Halima was left alone, fending for herself, and took up weaving mats and embroidery to help get by. But then her daughter, who used to work at a garments factory in the city after her divorce, suddenly fell sick and unable to work, she moved back in with her four-year old son. Halima was thrown into utter desperation and knew not how to make ends meet.

A silent data revolution in the Arab World

Paolo Verme's picture

        World Bank | Arne Hoel

Something new and important is happening in the Arab world, and it has so far gone largely unnoticed. Since the beginning of the 2011 revolutions, statistical agencies in the North Africa and the Middle East have started to open up access to their raw data and sharing it not only with selected individuals and institutions but also with the public at large. This amounts to a cultural revolution the implications of which are exciting and wide ranging.

Crafting Policies Where Informal is Normal – Part 2

Martha Chen's picture

At least half the workforce in the developing world is in the informal sector. Informal work is associated with low incomes, high risks, no benefits, and no representative voice. We recently spoke about the issue with Martha Chen, a Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and the International Coordinator of the WIEGO Network, which seeks to improve the status of the working poor in the informal economy, especially women.

Ideas for the #NextGENDERation

Olivier Puech's picture

board-next-genderation

“Death…" that is the first word that comes to mind to some young Jamaican women that participated  in a focus group on gender when they heard the word "man".

What makes a young woman attach such negative values to the other gender?

In Jamaica, where 20 % of the youth is considered unattached, excluded from the economic activity and society, violence among young people is a serious development issue. Last year, 218 young males, from 16-25 years old, were arrested for murder compared to only 3 females. Of the 4040 juveniles appearing before the local Courts, 75% were males. “Shifting norms and behavior on the issue of violence in Jamaica cannot successfully take place outside of the gender perspective”, said Senator Sandrea Falconer, Minister without portfolio, responsible for information, in the Office of the Prime Minister.


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