Greedy speculators in housing and private bankers, financial innovation and failure of risk models, regulators and credit rating agencies were all deservedly blamed for the recent financial crisis. Behind this all is public policy that worsened the problems.
Law and Regulation
Last month’s post on the exchange between Helen Epstein and Ken Ohashi on Ethiopia generated a large number of comments (and rejoinders), a response from Helen herself, and references in the Addis press.
One set of comments were about the facts. Many commentators questioned whether human development indicators were actually improving in Ethiopia, while others questioned whether the political situation was as repressive as described by Helen in her original piece in the New York Review of Books. Some asked whether the facts coming out of Ethiopia (on agricultural productivity for example) were reliable. Since these are questions of fact, they can and should be verified.
Another group of comments questioned my interpretation of the facts,
An important book has just been released by the World Bank: Demanding Good Governance: Lessons from Social Accountability Initiatives in Africa (edited by Mary McNeil and Carmen Malena). The book is important because the content is provided by practitioners in the field, who share real life examples from their firsthand knowledge and experiences. This is likely to further South to South learning, and, therefore, a departure from the standard literature in the field.
The book describes and analyzes the work of seven countries in Sub-Saharan Africa: Benin, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. The case studies were identified from multi-country social accountability stocktaking exercises commissioned by the World Bank Institute in view of representing a variety of approaches, strategies and objectives within a range of political, social, cultural and institutional context. The analysis and descriptions of these seven initiatives are intended to serve as a resource for government and civil society representatives who are interested in exploring similar possibilities for their countries and for research communities and donors to promote and support enhanced social accountability and demand for good governance in Africa. The following are some questions that the book attempts to answer:
I am not sure if I stumbled upon a tool for fighting corruption or a conspiracy theorist’s dream. Either way, I will report and leave the judgments and interpretations to you, the reader. Before you begin reading this particular blog post, I would recommend that you close your door, pull down the shades and close all other browser windows; after all, you never know who could be watching.
WikiLeaks says they have a “history of breaking major stories in every major media outlet and robustly protecting sources and press freedoms.” They claim that “no source has ever been exposed and no material has ever been censored since their formation in 2007.” WikiLeaks claims they have been “victorious over every legal (and illegal) attack, including those from the Pentagon, the Chinese Public Security Bureau, the Former president of Kenya, the Premier of Bermuda, Scientology, the Catholic & Mormon Church, the largest Swiss private bank, and Russian companies.” And, as if that is not enough of a soap box on which to stand, WikiLeaks claims to have “released more classified intelligence documents than the rest of the world press combined.” If you do not believe WikiLeaks, perhaps you might trust another source, Time Magazine who suggests that WikiLeaks “...could become as important a journalistic tool as the Freedom of Information Act.”
- Russian Federation
- Urban Development
- Labor and Social Protection
- Social Development
- Science and Technology Development
- Public Sector and Governance
- Private Sector Development
- Macroeconomics and Economic Growth
- Law and Regulation
- Information and Communication Technologies
- Time Magazine
- leaking information
- Catholic Church
- Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc
This week, the World Bank launched its second Kenya Economic Update. We have been positively surprised to see such a strong uptake of our previous report and were pleased to have a full house at the launch and informal briefings we have in the run-up of the launch. These Economic Updates aim to replicate a model of shorter, crisper and more frequent country economic reports, which have become a trademark of the World Bank’s analytical presence in other countries, in particular China and Russia.
Barbara Stocking, the Chief Executive of Oxfam GB, sent me a letter about the Africa Development Indicators essay on “Quiet Corruption.”
The current budget (FY10) expects a significant increase in revenue collection, a perennial problem in the country. The target revenue was set at 610.00 billion taka ($8.8 billion) with 261.10 billion collected in the first half and the remaining 348.90 billion in the second. The realization of this target requires a year on-y growth of 16.15%, which, being a notable departure from the trend growth rates was received with sheer skepticism from the economic observers of the country. However, about 33.67% more revenue has to be collected in the second half of the fiscal year as compared to the first half which seems realistic in the light of the fiscal performances of the last 5 fiscal years.
Photo: Arne Hoel
In Uganda, teachers in public primary schools are absent 27 percent of the time. In Chad, less than one percent of the non-wage recurrent expenditures reaches primary health clinics. In West Africa, about half the fertilizer is diluted before it reaches the farmer.
Imagine you are crossing the street in any major city. The light turns red and you're instructed by a flashing light, perhaps a police officer, to halt and allow for the flow of car traffic. Perhaps you look both ways, see nothing coming, and decide to walk anyway. Your actions are acceptable in most areas of the world but the public response to your seemingly acceptable behavior is unique. After landing on the other side of the road you are chased down by mimes, mocked mercilessly, people around you join in the mocking and hold up thumbs down signs while pointing out stars on the ground where pedestrians, like you, have died. No this is not a nightmare or a flash mob, this is just one technique in your communication tool kit that can be used to engage the larger public in community behavior adjustments. This particular public mocking/service campaign was the brainchild of the former Mayor of Bogotá, Colombia.