As the protesters among you certainly know, the IMF-World Bank Group annual meetings are underway in Singapore. Tomorrow, look for the release of the World Development Report: Development and the Next Generation.
East Asia and Pacific
If you don't have plans for the next 2 minutes and 42 seconds, please watch this video.
Thanks to the consistently entertaining AfriGadget for pointing me to it.
Jagdish Bhagwati held a Q&A on Daniel Altman's blog on globalization at International Herald Tribune. Altman has an impressive calendar ahead - look for opportunities to ask questions of Joseph Stiglitz and Jeffrey Sachs in coming months. To a question about the proliferation of regional trade agreements at the expense of multilateral improvements, Bhagwati writes:
Chile has half a million female entrepreneurs, a marked increase in just the last 3 years. If current trends continue, as many women as men will be starting new businesses in Chile in 2010. These figures are from the Report on Women and Entrepreneurship in Chile - 2005/2006 (overview in Word), prepared by Universidad del Desarrollo.
Today in Brussels, McDonalds Europe launched a new program that could bring tremendous labor flexibility to its 225,000 European employees. The McPassport (I'm not making this up) makes its easier for employees to move to another of the roughly 6,000 McDonalds locations in Europe. The document contains detailed information on the employee - such as positions held, dates and salary history - although he or she will still go through an interview before hiring.
The New York Times reported last week that the G8 would be discussing advance market commitments for vaccines. The meeting in Rome has come and gone, but I haven't been able to find any evidence that they came up with anything. A shame, as an ounce of prevention may be worth much more than a pound of cure.
The consultancy Celent predicts that the microfinance market will grow from $11 billion now to $20 billion in 2008. The study finds that commercial banks are best equipped to extend microfinance.
Several aid agencies and government efforts tried (and largely failed) to upgrade the fishing industry in Uganda. That is, until the European Union cut off all Ugandan fish imports in 1997 due to failings in sanitary and phytosanitary standards (SPS). The Ugandan fishing industry has modernized and now meets the EU's demanding standards. Exports rose to $88 million in 2002, from $39 million before the EU ban.
Recent reporting suggests that corporate environmental and social issues are increasingly debated in China. Government officials are showing growing interest in CSR, including initiatives by the State Environmental Protection Agency and the Ministry of Commerce. National CSR organizations are appearing with government support, such as the Chinese Enterprise Social Responsibility Research Institute. This in part reflects growing pressures resulting from fast growth.