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South Asia

Banking at the base of the pyramid

USAID has released a primer for commercial banks on banking at the base of the pyramid. See also their guidelines for successful partnerships and a case study on the profitability of microfinance in commercial banks.

No school fees, but what about efficiency?

The President of Burundi, Pierre Nkurunziza, has taken the brave step of dropping fees for primary school, thereby making access to primary education easier for many children in the country. But what about the education sector's ability to cope with a sudden increase in demand for education? Are there enough teachers? Is there enough money? And, as the student to teacher ratio will inevitably increase, what happens to the quality of education these children will receive?

Private participation in healthcare events

Two events next week for those of you in DC:

On October 4 the Center for Global Development will be having an event on Private Sector Responses to HIV/AIDS: The Case of Debswana, Botswana’s Diamond Company.

On October 5 the USAID funded 'Banking on Health' project will be having a discussion on Strengthening Contracting Out in the Private Sector in Nicaragua.

How to understand

Write something to explain what you see in simple language, says Robert Frank:

Over the years, my students have posed and answered literally thousands of fascinating questions. My favorite was submitted by Jennifer Dulski, who asked, "Why do brides often spend thousands of dollars on wedding dresses they will never wear again, while grooms often rent cheap tuxedos, even though they will attend many formal social events in the future?"

How to spend billions of dollars?

That is the welcome burden facing Roman Abramovich, Britain’s richest man and owner of the Chelsea football club, who yesterday essentially doubled his fortune – making $13.1 billion when he sold his share in Sibneft. The Financial Times asks its readers for suggestions on how he should spend this new bounty.

Private pension systems

When you consider that trillions of dollars are now managed by the private pensions industry, it’s extremely important to know how well they have performed in providing high rates of return, secure and reliable benefits and constraining costs.  These continue to be among the most hotly debated pension policy questions in virtually all countries worldwide.