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East Asia and Pacific

Microfinance meets Islam

Mohammed Obaidullah, a senior economist at the Islamic Development Bank, argues for the compatibility of microfinance with Islam:

Contemporary mainstream Islamic finance has expended considerable effort in developing Shariah-compliant products and services for deposit mobilization, finance, remittance, […]. These products with minor modifications if required, can be used for microfinance as well.

Green computer returns

ZonbuZonbu is a new $99 Linux-based computer with a monthly subscription fee. Interesting about it is the absence of a disk drive and a fan inside. The result is a 15-watt PC, rather than standard 200-watt, and up to $10 in energy savings per month.

SMEs don't do homework?

Despite their efforts, two out of three SMEs fail to turn meetings with potential clients into real business – says a new UK survey. The majority of the 200 SMEs questioned admitted spending less than a day in preparation for a pitch meeting.

Two solutions come to mind: doing more legwork or finding more leads.

Asia & Africa do trade

Dani Rodrik compares the relationship between currency undervaluation and growth of economies in Asia and Africa:

In Asia, growth is typically engineered by increasing the profitability in manufacturing and other tradables. But in Africa the typical growth spurt is preceded by aid inflows and other transfers, which appreciate the exchange rate, and render future growth less sustainable. This is the so-called Dutch disease.