While we frequently make mostly invisible tweaks to the blog, here are two new changes I'd like to share:
Casting a wide net, McKinsey estimates that the economic impact of wireless is up to 8% of a country's GDP. To unlock this value, they encourage wireless providers and/or regulators to lower the minimum (but not average) cost of owning a cell phone and push coverage into rural areas. This is from a recent whitepaper, Wireless Unbound, which they were kind enough to send me. Check here to find your way behind the firewall and read the whole thing.
Public-private partnerships (PPPs) have sprouted like mushrooms after a rain. The trend seems likely to accelerate, as PPPs are advocated in areas as diverse as education, prisons and infrastructure. Governments will ultimately be held accountable for delivery of public services, whatever the contract form. How are they managing these complicated and long-term contracts?
The impacts of climate change are not evenly distributed - the poorest countries and people will suffer earliest and most. And if and when the damages appear it will be too late to reverse the process. Thus we are forced to look a long way ahead.
Globalization, or trade liberalization more specifically, walks a fine line between improving our overall quality of life and costing large groups of people their jobs. Just ask the automakers in Detroit. We know that people who lose their jobs to trade pay a higher economic penalty than those who lose them for non-trade reasons.
Peter Haas and his nonprofit AIDG have an excellent idea to bring low-tech solutions to basic problems of energy, water and sanitation in developing countries. Their first project is a 10-man shop in Guatemala that will build a 40-home microhydroelectric system as part of a UNDP contract. Since the workers are locals, they'll be around to fix it later. Haas envisions a network of self-sustaining businesses that build and repair low-cost technologies. Hats off.