HBS recently hosted the ‘Global Poverty: Business Solutions and Approaches’ conference. Nothing groundbreaking, but an interesting group of speakers and papers. Its great that the event happened, but I would have liked to have seen more private sector people and less academics presenting. Thanks to NextBillion for pulling the material together.
East Asia and Pacific
Audio and video from the recent United Nations and Sun Microsystems sponsored Pop!Tech event is now available online (Part 1 & 2). This excellent event brought together young African thought leaders to discuss the role of technology in changing communities and fighting poverty and disease. Several of those in attendance were also blogging from the event.
Long-term reconstruction differs significantly from the provision of immediate postdisaster rescue and relief. While speed remains important, proper planning becomes even more crucial. Putting up temporary housing is relatively fast and easy, but rebuilding a viable and vibrant community is not.
Coordination is the biggest buzzword within the donor community in Banda Aceh. Everybody’s heard of it, everybody’s talking about it, everybody thinks it’s a great thing, everybody wants to be a part of it; so is everybody doing it? No, not really.
The U.K. Better Regulation Task Force has released its annual report. They find that 30% of the U.K.’s regulations should be trimmed – at an estimated annual savings of 1% of GDP. To the Economist this sounds like an old record; they argue for action beyond annual reports and podium statements. (They of course also cite Doing Business.)
Johan Norberg, everyone's favourite Swedish libertarian, is just back from the Asian giants and writes:
India's hidden strength is that the country is already extremely entrepreneurial - but in the informal sector. An Indian friend mentions that most of the cars we see on the roads, and many computers in the offices, are assembled in small, informal factories, outside the law, to avoid the many regulations and taxes that still curbs the Indian economy.
The drive from the airport to the city of Banda Aceh is a picturesque one. It is only once you near the city center marked by the main mosque that signs of the devastation wreaked by the tsunami become apparent, among them the mangled metal frames of bridges, several crumbling buildings –some of them popular hotels once upon a time – and large gaping holes in the concrete base of a lone massive water tower which once supplied much of the city.
Two businessmen from Philadelphia, Pa., have launched a bold project to develop and run a mass transit system with the local Chinese government in Fuzhou… If successful, it would be the country's first public-private railway system. Yet the road from idea to implementation can be especially challenging, say a number of observers, especially when dealing with Chinese officials on a transaction that involves buying real estate alongside transit lines.