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East Asia and Pacific

Aceh Diary: Coordination

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.

Better regulation in the UK?

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.)

China vs. India

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.

Aceh Diary: First impressions

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.

Public-private rail in China?

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.

Via Knowledge@Wharton.

When too much aid is a problem

Aid agencies have pledged too many boats to victims of last year’s tsunami disaster in the Indonesian province of Aceh, threatening over-fishing in its waters, the Red Cross warned on Tuesday… The province now [faces] a situation where, if all the pledges were kept, it would have more boats than it had before the tsunami.

South-south trade and FDI

The Financial Time’s Quentin Peel after attending our recent Mumbai event:

The south is growing faster than the north. Southern companies are more competitive than their northern counterparts…

The private sector and disaster recovery

QuakedayBack in July we hosted this online discussion on the role of the private sector in disaster recovery and mitigation. Unfortunately, due to Katrina and the recent South Asia earthquake this archived discussion has been receiving considerable traffic.