Sentados em uma casa segura, a quilômetros de distância, três antigos piratas refletem sobre suas vidas passadas como ”soldados rasos” a bordo de esquifes, preparando-se para atacar navios de carga desavisados nas costas do Chifre da África. Nossa equipe de pesquisa ficou pasma com suas histórias.
Ouvimos a descrição de como eles se envolveram na pirataria, quanto ganharam, como gastaram seu dinheiro e, talvez o mais interessante, o que eles sabem sobre seus "chefes", os financistas, investidores e negociadores da pirataria.
Esses soldados rasos eram apenas peixes pequenos em um imenso oceano. Eram mandados para sequestrar navios, que só eram devolvidos em troca de resgates pesados.
De acordo com as pesquisas do nosso relatório Pirate Trails, que estuda os atos de pirataria nas costas do Chifre da África, estimamos que entre US$ 339 milhões e US$ 413 milhões foram negociados em pagamentos de resgates entre abril de 2005 e dezembro de 2012. O valor exato é muito difícil de determinar, devido à relutância das companhias de navegação e dos piratas de revelar o custo e as recompensas da pirataria.
Recently, some news outlets in the Gulf region have hinted at the possibility of the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) government imposing a tax on remittances. In the GCC countries foreign workers constitute a large portion of the total population (an average of 60 percent in 2010 with almost 90 percent in the UAE). Expatriates in the Gulf cannot obtain local citizenship nor invest in real estate, and those with low skills cannot sponsor their immediate family members to join them. Remittance outflows from the GCC countries have surpassed 70 billion USD in 2011 making the region rank as the largest remitter in the world. With such significant remittance outflows, the rationale behind imposing a tax is to keep a portion of the money leakages as potential investments in the domestic economy.
I recently had an opportunity to listen to retired army Colonel, Casey Haskins talk about what he learned about winning hearts and minds. Our conversation crossed strategy, history and eventually physics as he explained how states of matter relate to systems change. Understanding whether matter is solid, liquid, gas, or plasma greatly affects how you interact with it and ultimately how you can change it.
So what does this have to do with scale, global development and solving the world’s hardest problems? Quite a lot, I think. The four states of matter correspond to complex social systems.
Dave Snowden’s research describes problems or systems as either (i) simple - in which the relationship between cause and effect is obvious and we can generate best practice; (ii) complicated – in which the relationship between cause and effect requires expert knowledge and good practice; (iii) complex – in which the relationship between cause and effect can only be perceived in retrospect and we use emergent practice; and (iv) chaotic – in which there is no relationship between cause and effect.
Physical interconnection of the Central African countries’ fiber optic networks is a key objective of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community’s (CEMAC) Regional Economic Program. By facilitating high-speed communications, these regional networks will make a critical contribution to growth, job creation, and improvement of the sub region’s standard of living.
If you were asked to describe culture, what would come to mind? —The magnificent Roman Catholic Church of Sagrada Família, the must-reads by Charles Dickens, or perhaps your grandma’s savory borsht? Well, these are all good thoughts. But think harder. At a societal level, culture is indeed reflected through art, literature, religion, and what’s on your dinner table. But at an individual level, it boils down to how we think—how individuals process information and form perceptions.
Whether or not you believe it, those tiny machines in our mind might operate differently in different cultures (e.g. read this New York Times story). Understanding these differences is valuable to campaigners, opinion researchers, and almost everyone who cares about engaging the public in the field of international development.
Over the past decades researchers found several differences in the way Westerners and East Asians process information and form views. Some of the differences might possibly influence public opinion. These differences include what I call in plain language “adopting a side or seeking a middle path,” “blaming me or blaming the situation,” and “logic versus experience.”
Monetary policy is widely considered as an effective tool for short-term stabilization. However, in recent decades, evidence suggests that its effectiveness in the US has been somewhat dampened. What is the reason behind this trend? Can it inform us about the relationship between monetary policy transmission and the complexity of the financial system?
In a recent paper, Alessandro Barattieri, Dalibor Stevanovic, and I document a rising trend in the fraction of financial claims which have direct counterparts in the financial sector (rather than the non-financial sector, which includes traditional borrowers such as firms, households and governments). We estimate that, up until the 1970s, close to 100% of financial assets had direct non-financial counterparts; today these traditional claims represent a mere 70% of financial assets, while the rest represent loans between financial institutions. We point out that this trend roughly coincides with the declining impact of monetary policy shocks, and propose a model that links these two trends.
- monetary policy
Are citizens receiving the greatest development impact for their development dollar? This is the basic principle at the heart of International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), a voluntary, multi-stakeholder initiative that seeks to improve the transparency of aid, giving citizens in developing and donor countries the information they need to hold their governments to account for use of those resources.
Last week, as Publish What You Fund (PWYF) released their second Aid Transparency Index (ATI), which assesses adherence of the world’s major donors to their IATI commitments, the question turned from one of how institutions performed on the index to one of how aid transparency enables effectiveness, accountability and social change in real terms.
Kicking off the conversation, Duncan Edwards of the Institute of Development Studies challenged the basic assumption that because better data/information is accessible, citizens, governments and institutions will use it in their decision making processes. The common narrative in open development projects is flawed, Edwards claims, it simply cannot be proven that to “provide access to data/information –> some magic occurs –> we see positive change.”
AidData, along with several other voices, countered that while open data is certainly not sufficient to provoke positive change it is a necessary baseline to catalyze better development outcomes.
Transparency can only lead to greater social accountability if citizens understand what data means and if there is genuine public debate about a country’s development spending. The panelists at the October 24th Brookings Institution launch of the 2013 ATI report suggested how transparency can catalyze positive change:
On the outskirts of Marrakesh’s historic medina, amid bustling construction and new housing developments, the Partnership for Market Readiness’ governing group gathered this month for its final meeting of 2013.
After nearly three years of operation, this group of 30 countries has much to be proud of.
So far, nearly $30 million in grant funding has been allocated to 16 nations to support the design and development of market approaches to greenhouse gas emission reductions. A one-of-a-kind platform to exchange ideas and lessons on market approaches to mitigation has been created. And a technical work program has been launched to support country implementation of critical tools such as data management systems, offset standards, and policy mapping exercises.
These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
'Many vested interests benefit from a lack of open government'
Public Leaders Network
“In the first of a series of interviews with speakers and attendees at the Open Government Partnership (OGP) summit 2013, we talk to Professor Jonathan Fox, of the school of international service, American University, Washington.
He will moderate a session in which the founding eight OGP countries will present their two-year national action plans as well as reflect on their first progress report from the OGP's independent reporting mechanism. The OGP was launched in 2011, and is aimed at making governments more transparent and accountable.” READ MORE