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The 86% solution

[86%] is an estimate of people living in countries with per capita gross national product of less than $10,000. Of the world’s six billion-plus inhabitants, only 14 percent live in countries where this measure is over $10,000. … companies can no longer afford to not pay attention to emerging economies.

Mobilizing the private sector for public education

Harvard University recently put together an excellent conference on mobilizing the private sector for public education. The relevant papers and presentations, by both donors and academia, are now available online and provide a great summary of current trends and issues.

For example, Harry Patrinos points out that we still don’t know enough about the results of private contracting in developing countries.

Where is your accent from?

This George Mason online database of speech accents tells us that accents are systematic rather than merely mistaken speech. An interesting few minutes for those of you who speak English as a second language, travel extensively or work in an international environment.

China vs. India, a visual essay

Deutsche Bank Research has released a short visual essay comparing the two Asian economies. Includes comparative graphs and charts on everything from FDI and the business environment to infrastructure and the labor force. (HT to New Economist)

New privatization database launched

One of the most frequent requests we get is for privatization data. Accordingly, we have launched a new privatization database. Building upon the efforts of previous World Bank privatization databases -and with kind collaboration from colleagues at Privatization Barometer, OECD and the EBRD- the database provides information on more than 9,000 developing country privatization transactions from 1988 to 2003.

HSBC goes carbon neutral

And ahead of schedule, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development reports. HSBC did not actually go carbon neutral but paid for offsets at around $4.40 per tonne of CO2. I find this more helpful than trying to plant trees in the car parks of HSBC branches around the world... some businesses will inevitably emit carbon dioxide in an early 21st century economy, and the costs of try to eliminate emissions can be prohibitive. The trading approach is likely to be much more effective.

A bag to carry the future?

With the Little Big Bag, Mortemard de Boisse may have struck gold. If enough people share her view that her invention is an environmentally sound, healthful and inexpensive alternative, Mortemard de Boisse may prove to be the savior of an increasingly litter-ridden continent and a boon to overburdened shoppers, students, moms and athletes throughout the world.

Digital donations

In The Market for Aid Michael Klein and I write about the aid industry in 2020:

In 2020 citizens of rich countries could order a new well or power generator for delivery in Sudan as easily and with the same assurance as they could order flowers for delivery to their grandmother in 2005.

And by 2030: