The $500 billion Islamic finance sector is large enough to attract serious attention from the UK government, which recently made changes to its tax law to enable Muslims who object to the payment or receipt of interest to access Islamic personal financial services such as mortgages and savings accounts.
Although conditional cash transfer programs have shown positive effects in many areas, including school enrollment and child health, households' compliance with program conditions is costly for both the households and the programs, which have to monitor their compliance.
During a three-year period, over 20 million plots in Ethiopia, covering the majority of rural lands, received land certificates. The benefits included an increase in bargaining power for women, stronger incentives for investment and more efficient transfer of land through decentralization of rental and sale transactions.
When Huda Janahi first applied for a business license in Bahrain, she was turned down. Not because she didn't have the right paperwork, nor because she didn't go through the required procedures, but because a woman had never previously applied. Not to be deterred, Huda registered as a family owned business and got on with the business of making money. She later re-applied successfully in her own name. Now her business, Global Freight & Passenger Services is a multimillion dollar company.
In the July issue of Vanity Fair Jeffrey Sachs calls for more aid money. This time it's $200 billion a year – about twice the current spending: "it's much cheaper than giving food aid, it's much cheaper than having wars, and it's much cheaper than having mass migration" he says.
The adverse health effects of smoking are old news. Michael Lokshin and Zurab Sajaia (on page 18) examine the habit's less obvious effect on your paycheck.