I was recently in an informal discussion with development colleagues regarding the governance of extractive industries in a fragile state, which shall remain unnamed for various reasons. One of them had been working in development for more than three decades and in country X for five years. In terms of governance, he didn't think any of the usual solutions to the widespread and deeply embedded culture of rampant corruption and excessive rent-seeking would work in the country. Things are just that bad. He intimated that the only thing he could think of was to build the capacity of the country’s fractious civil society so that they could become credible interlocutors to government actors, and demand accountability from their elected and appointed leaders. It was quite distressing when he said, “I don’t know what else to do.”
The World Region
Yesterday, I attended a session of the World Bank Institute’s Flagship Course on Health, attended by health specialists from various countries. An expert panel shared experiences of using communication and persuasion toward bringing about pro health outcomes. Several success stories were shared on applying behavior change communication in areas such as hygiene and sanitation, nutrition and education, and immunization in Africa and Asia. Complementary to this focus on individual and social change was a presentation by Patricia Sosa, Esq. on experiences of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. The organization advocates for policy change in various countries and the core of their strategy is changing the rules of the game to reduce tobacco use.
Paul Krugman’s September 6 article in the New York Times (How Did Economists Get It So Wrong?) is a humbling warning to the economics profession against the pitfalls of intellectual complacence. It challenges the profession to re-examine the validity of its existing knowledge particularly in relation to globalization and the workings of local and global financial markets.
Granted that economists have to face up to the unpalatable fact that our theoretical apparatus falls far short both as descriptions of how economies function and as prescriptions of how they can be made to function better. The crisis has exposed the limits of economic knowledge. According to Krugman: “The vision that emerge as the profession rethinks its foundations may not be all that clear; it certainly won’t be neat; but one can hope that it will have the virtue of being at least partly right.”
In this process of reappraising existing economic knowledge, there is a real risk of going overboard and wrong the right knowledge. Using the global economic crisis as an excuse, there are emerging tendencies to reject tested economic wisdoms in areas such as the role of foreign capital and trade policy in economic development.
One school of thought that is attempting to rise from the ashes is known as (old) Structural Economics.
We get quite a few questions about how the World Bank manages to coordinate its web presence in a multitude of languages and still keep most of the multilingual content up-to-date and relevant.
I'm back from Istanbul today, looking back at some of the important events and messages that came out of the 2009 Annual Meetings. Before we all left Istanbul, however, Alison caught up with World Bank Managing Director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and asked her to provide a short recap of the Meetings.
The 2009 Annual Meetings are wrapping up. Before packing up here in Istanbul, I caught up with Marwan Muasher, World Bank Senior Vice President for External Affairs, and asked him to provide me with his own one-minute recap of the Meetings.
The 2009 Annual Meetings are wrapping up. Before packing up here in Istanbul, I caught up with Edith Grace Ssempala, World Bank Director for the Civil Society Program, and asked her to provide me with her own one-minute recap of the Meetings.
This past Sunday, at an event co-hosted by the Hüsnü M. Özyegin Foundation, global business leaders came together to discuss the impacts of the ongoing economic crisis on women. The event culminated in the announcement of several new partnerships to support women around the world.
Highlights of the new partnerships and initiatives announced at the event include:
- The Özyegin Foundation and Goldman Sachs will expand the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women program to Turkey.
- Boeing announced Forum member efforts to track and spend $2 billion over the next three years on goods and services from women-owned businesses in supply chains.
- Belcorp announced a partnership with the World Bank to train 50,000 women in financial literacy in Latin America.
- McKinsey presented their new research, “The Business of Empowering Women,” which maps out potential business sector contributions across women’s life cycles.