I was in Vienna last week to attend an impressive event called the Public-Private Partnership on Remittances, organized by my colleagues Massimo Cirasino and Peer Stein. Amid the technocratic, technical, and tactical treatise on payment systems, a high point for me was the launch of Remittance Prices Worldwide, a new World Bank remittance price database.
As part of the effort to improve estimates of remittance flows within the framework of Balance of Payments statistics, the IMF's Statistics Department, together with the "Luxembourg Group," has completed a draft of the new International Transactions in Remittances: Guide for Compilers and Users (RCG). The chapters and appendices are presented at the IMF's website.
Three DM2008 jurors who are past grant winners are sharing their well-learned lessons with the hundred finalists.
Take 2006 winner Florence Cassassuce (in photo at right), who brought her water-purifying UV-light bucket to 900 villagers on the rural outskirts of La Paz in Baja California, Mexcio. Cassassuce, implementing her project with the advice of World Bank Senior Environmental Specialist Ricardo Hernandez Murillo, installed 3,500 buckets toward the goal of 6,00, ahead of schedule. But the original buckets didn't always work well, especially in the field, and improvements had to be made with better, and faster, plastic-injection manufacturing.
If you haven't seen it, you should check out the newest addition to the World Bank Group family of blogs: Africa Can End Poverty. Spearheaded by Shanta Devarajan, the blog promises to introduce some debate on the pressing issues of development in Africa. Want to know how to promote exports or whether Africa is growing too fast?
As the recently named Director of the Agriculture and Rural Development Department -- one of DM2008's funders --Juergen Voegele is leading a vigorous effort to re-energize and broaden the World Bank's commitment to agricultural development. During his peripatetic rounds of the competition, Voegele sat down for this mini-interview:
Q. What are your impressions of what you see on the floor of the exhibition?
Among the 36 jurors for the DM2008 grant competition was Thomas Pomeroy, a former USDA bilateral trade director in key regions of the world who now consults in Sub-Saharan Africa. We did this mini-interview with Pomeroy:
Q. As part of Team 10, you looked at 12 agribusiness proposals. What was your major criterion in scoring them?
A $199,050 project that would produce sustainable charcoal from bamboo and benefit 250 women entrepreneurs in Mozambique is the winner of the Peer Choice Award by the 100 DM2008 finalists.
My attention has been tickled by the news that at the recent High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Accra, Ghana, donors apparently agreed to launch an initiative known as the International Aid Transparency Initiative. Under the initiative, according to the DFID press release on the subject, donors have agreed to give:
- Full and detailed information on all aid in each country affected
- Details and costs of individual projects and their aims
- Reliable information on future aid to improve planning by recipient governments.
I hope the initiative will be seriously implemented. But it will not be easy. And the main reason it will not be easy is that the instinct of the technocracy that dominates every aspect of international development is to be non-transparent.
Oscar Chemerinski, Director of the Agribusiness Department at the International Finance Corp. -- the commercial development arm of the World Bank Group -- gave this mini-interview at DM2008:
Q. What's your reaction to what you see on the floor among the booths of the hundred finalists?
Turkey is making big strides in building relations with Africa. The Jamestown Foundation reports that: