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Irrepressible entrepreneurship

The BBC reports (via Shashwati's Blog) that Indians with an embarrassingly small guest list can hire extra guests. The service sounds top-notch:

The Best Guests Agency has around 70 people on its books. They can turn up either traditionally dressed or in smart Western clothes, and are briefed on family history and pretend to be friends from the past...

2006 World Development Report: Equity and Development

The 2006 WDR: Equity and Development was released yesterday. As with all of WDRs it is jam-packed with information, anecdotes and analysis. We will be sure to pass along snippets as we work our way through it.

African economies can overtake Switzerland

When battling with jet-lag most people take sleeping pills, watch TV, or toss and turn in bed. Economists, however, put their sleepless nights to better use. The IFC’s Chief Economist, Michael Klein, tinkered with the Doing Business database in the middle of a sleepless night in Johannesburg and created a hypothetical African country which adopted the best African practice on each of the Doing Business indicators.

Grade inflation

Grade inflation is also the product of competition. Competition improves performance and mostly this is good: it leads to lower prices and shorter queues at the checkout. But the process has perverse results when the product is performance measurement, and the buyer is the person whose performance is being measured.

That's John Kay in the Financial Times, on why competition is not always good.

New SME newsletter

The new IFC e-newsletter “Outcomes” showcases IFC advisory work, and that of our partners, in promoting small business development in emerging markets. The focus will be on results sharing - both successes and failures. Subscribe now.

The debut September edition highlights new local banking markets in Bangladesh.

Private health insurance in Africa

The New York Times offers us 'Neglected poor in Africa make their own safety nets':

Plans in which neighbors come together and create their own makeshift health coverage are the rage in Africa, particularly in the continent's west. Here, the plans now have a significant presence in 11 countries and membership has grown beyond 200,000 people.

Updated Asian development outlook

The Asian Development Bank has released an updated version of their 2005 Asian Development Outlook - originally released last April. This new version projects regional GDP to grow by 6.6% this year, slightly up from their original 6.5% prognostication. The highlight is an entire new section dedicated to the challenge of higher oil prices in a region of both energy guzzlers and net exporters.

The irresistible case for corporate governance

This is from a new note on the 'irresistible case' from the IFC/World Bank Corporate Governance Department:

Investors say they value corporate governance. And they put their money where their mouths are... Well-governed firms in Korea traded at a premium of 160 percent to poorly governed firms... Brazil-based firms with the best corporate governance ratings garnered 2004 P/E rations that were 20% higher than firms with the worst governance ratings.


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