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Business for governance and MDGs

On October 9 and 10, the 12th International Business Forum in Washington, DC will reflect on the role that businesses can and should play in shaping the regulation in the global business arena.

This year's focus is on two main issues: business action on climate change, and private sector's role in curbing corruption.

Best targets for bribe-seekers

Two out of five firms in Africa and Latin America report having to make unofficial payments to "get things done." One in six is expected to present "a gift" when meeting with tax inspectors. The "Graft Index of Firm Transactions" (below) shows that African firms are three times more likely to be asked for money than their Latin American counterparts.

Measuring bank regulation and supervision

After the release of the third round of the Bank Regulation and Supervision Database in July, on October 26 a workshop will take place where academics, bank supervisors, and market participants can discuss the strengths and shortcomings of this data, and the resulting policy implications.

Credit growth in emerging Europe: a cause for stability concern?

Asked about the location of the next financial crisis, many economists and analysts point to emerging Europe, i.e. the countries east of Germany that have experienced rapid credit growth and increasing macroeconomic imbalances.

A recent paper suggests that risks are more likely to arise from macroeconomic imbalances rather than from bank fragility. But supervisors, do not relax and better be ready!

Aid the precarious

Aid is proven to be more volatile than fiscal revenues, particularly in highly aid-dependent countries; shortfalls in aid and domestic revenue tend to coincide. Pierre-Richard Agénor and Joshua Aizenman in a highly theoretical paper analyze the impact of this unpredictability:

Reform yourself and the equity returns will follow

How did Eastern Europe overtake East Asia? In a four-minute video interview, Michael Klein, World Bank-IFC Vice President for Financial and Private Sector Development, explains why countries that didn't make it to the top of the Doing Business 2008 report don't have to despair.

By the way, did you know that Estonia and Poland have as many registered businesses per capital as Hong Kong? The same holds for Georgia and Malaysia.

In good taste: ethical fashion

Ahead of Paris Fashion Week, Washington, DC will have its own ethical fashion show this Thursday. The organizers hope to draw public attention to the final product but also to those who made it and the raw materials used.

But why does fashion matter? The textile and apparel industries represent 10 percent of global trade with the developing world, and clothing imports to the U.S. account for 90 percent of the its $60 billion market.