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East Asia and Pacific

Is less more?

I’m out of practice blogging these days, but couldn’t help but notice the Financial Times line from a short while back on efforts to expand the remit of the aid industry:      

While development is a grand and multi-faceted affair, aid cannot afford to be. Modesty, focus and a willingness to make mistakes in public are assets. Simple projects have worked wonders: benchmarking exercises of red tape that have shamed politicians into action, or randomised controlled trials to show what really improves attendance and results in schools.

Alan Beattie on development

Anyone who follows the development debate should check out Alan Beattie’s masterly review essay – unusually for the FT, no subscription seems to be required. He begins with a cornucopia of possibilities:


Next up for eBay: water rights?

Okay, maybe not quite yet. But in an article on TCS Daily, AEI's Roger Bate argues that trading water rights would be much more effective than the bureaucracies who now decide who gets water and at what price.

Are microfinance interest rates too high?

Why do microfinance institutions (MFIs) charge such high interest rates? Nimal Fernando tackles the problem in a new ADB paper targeting policymakers in Asia. From MicroCapital blog:

Indonesia’s defense minister is blogging

I was shocked to find out through Shel Israel that Indonesia’s Minister of Defense, Juwono Sudarsono, is blogging*. His latest post discusses the challenge of governance:

Lessons from investment climate reform

Presentations and background papers are now available online for the recent World Bank seminar on Reforming the Investment Climate: What are we Learning?

This half day seminar…focused on the political and institutional aspects of reform, including triggers for reform, packaging and sequencing issues, building public support, creation of institutional arrangements to implement and sustain reform, and monitoring and evaluation.