infoDev, a team within FPD, is committed to supporting promising entrepreneurs.
At infoDev, we’re fortunate to work with exciting technology startups in emerging and frontier markets every day. One of the questions we ask ourselves frequently is whether a startup team could achieve high-growth if it weren’t for the barriers they face that are specific to their local environments. These could include anything from a lack of experienced role-models and mentors, to inadequate early-stage financing, to challenging regulatory environments and the lack of an interconnected innovation ecosystem.
In May this year, I joined World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on their historic visit to Africa’s Great Lakes region.
As we travelled this war-weary region, at every stop, whether in towns or the countryside, we saw families involved in an epic effort to keep the peace, find jobs, feed and educate their children, and make their lives more prosperous.
Leading newspapers in Bangladesh on July 10, 2013 sensationally headlined the survey findings from Transparency International (TI)'s Global Corruption Barometer 2013. Approximately 1,000 people from each of 107 countries were surveyed between September 2012 and March 2013. In Bangladesh, 1822 people participated in the survey conducted from February 10 - March 15, 2013. Of the total sample, 61 % were from rural and 39 % from urban areas. Based on Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) presentation of the TI report to the media on July 9, the media coverage gave the clear impression that most of the important institutional pillars of Bangladesh are perceived to be extremely corrupt. Corruption undoubtedly is a major problem here. However, the way TIB constructed the survey results led to predictably excessive perception bias in favor of corruption.
In Kisii County, Kenya, village youth and women receive a hen and a cage. In Minas Gerais, Brazil, prisoners receive job training, sometimes leaving for work during the day and coming back at night. In Dendjola, Mali, masons are taught a 3,000 year-old building technique. And globally, thousands of employers and workers are offered an online workplace to connect without geographic limits. These are the novel approaches that some winners of the JKP's Experiences from the Field (EFF) contest, concluded in spring 2013, are taking to create jobs and improve employment opportunities.
Energy is essential to heat homes and cook meals. It is needed to deliver proper health care in hospitals and to teach children. It is essential for economic growth and development and for powering industries, farms and businesses. It is at the heart of any effort to make a better life possible for people all over the world, in particular for the world’s poorest.
Raghuram Rajan is appointed as India’s next RBI Governor. His appointment comes as the country faces critical challenges in stabilizing its plunging currency and narrowing its current account deficit. Read the Financial Times article here to know more.
After six months as the World Bank's Senior Adviser for Indigenous Peoples, I have found that we have a golden opportunity to strengthen our commitment to Indigenous Peoples and bring them in as partners as we work to fulfill the World Bank’s mission of eradicating extreme poverty, achieving shared prosperity, and fostering sustainable development.
I have had the opportunity over the past several months to launch a conversation with Indigenous Peoples around the world. It began as a preliminary discussion of how best to consult around our safeguards policies, but it has become much more, in large part due to the tremendous energy and enthusiasm of indigenous groups.
In our first meeting in Guatemala this spring, we were talking with Mesoamerican representatives about the outreach we would be starting soon around safeguards policies. They listened and then said: Well, what we think you’re trying to do is actually to have a dialogue with us. Through dialogue, you do not just ask us what we think of a finished or semi-finished product, but rather you listen to our points of view, and we have a conversation about it, a discussion, to reach an agreement. And that’s what we’ve done, and we’ve received expressions of approval, enthusiasm and hope from Indigenous Peoples in many parts of the world – Russia to Thailand to Peru.
The growing militancy of middle class citizens in developing countries is very much in the news these days; and there is a corresponding attempt to understand why so many protest movements in developing countries are now being led by hitherto quiescent middle classes. I have particularly enjoyed analyses by Francis Fukuyama in the Wall Street Journal, President Lula of Brazil in the New York Times and James Surowiecki in the New Yorker. The humble contribution I’d like to make (from my personal experience) is this. To understand the growing anger of middle class citizens in developing countries you have to understand two aspects of the conditions under which they live: the merely bit and the barely bit.
Let’s begin with the merely bit; that is, why in many of these countries when you are merely middle-class you have a problem. To grasp why being merely middle class is a tough situation to be in you have to understand what those they aspire to be like (the well to do in their societies) are able to provide for themselves. Before I left Nigeria in the middle 1990s, the wife of one of our leading politicians came up with the following insight: that to be comfortable you had to become your own local government. And she was right. Here are the things that your local government should provide and it did not and so you had to provide these things for yourself:
The economic liberalization during the last couple of decades led to impressive economic growth and poverty reduction in many developing countries. This period has also witnessed worsening of income inequality and widening of spatial disparity (World Development Report (2009); Kanbur and Venables (2005); Kim (2008)). There is considerable worry among policy makers about the extent to which this rise in spatial inequality is due to increasing disparity in opportunities in terms of provision of basic infrastructure and services. The recent growth and poverty reduction experience places Bangladesh as an exception to this trend of increasing spatial inequality. Bangladesh made significant strides in poverty reduction between 2000 and 2010 with incidence of poverty falling from 48.9 percent to 31.5 percent. During the same period, the incidence of poverty declined more than proportionately in traditionally poorer regions, reducing welfare gaps across regions. There is also no evidence of significant change in overall inequality over the same period. What made spatial disparity in Bangladesh to decline while its economic growth accelerated substantially? What were the sources of decline in spatial disparity in welfare?
These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
Mediatwits #89: Google Glass: Revolutionizing News or Public Annoyance?
“Google Glass could have a transformative effect on journalism, especially as we watch Tim Pool from VICE use Google Glass to report on Turkish protests. But it’s important to examine the shortfalls as well as all the great new advancements, both real and prophesied. Special guests Rackspace’s Robert Scoble, Veterans United’s Sarah Hill, CUNY’s Jeff Jarvis and USC Annenberg’s Robert Hernandez, all early adopters of Google Glass as well as social media and journalism experts, will talk about their experiences with the device and what they see as its strengths and weaknesses for its potential future in journalism. MediaShift’s Mark Glaser hosts, along with Ana Marie Cox from the Guardian and Andrew Lih from American University.” READ MORE