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She keeps her ego in her handbag

Some of you may have missed a nice profile of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in the Guardian a couple of weeks back.

"When I see vested interests still try to undermine me, I know it means I'm successful. When I manage to convince one person to change, I think this is why I'm here. The ability to change things is a powerful incentive."

Interest Bearing Notes

The latest Interest Bearing Notes is out. This newsletter (published by the finance team of the World Bank’s research group, hence the witty pun) is always a good read. This edition covers everything from ‘the calm before a financial storm’, to family controlled companies, shorting Chinese stocks, and ‘all that math jazz.’

Buying a car in Afghanistan

Ann Paterson studies the market for second-hand cars in Afghanistan:

During the conflict period, vehicles became popular as a form of small-scale investment after other assets such as real estate and agricultural land became insecure. Vehicles are still used as a store of value in the absence of an effective banking system. There is some anecdotal evidence that the car and motorbike trade may be used as a means of laundering money.

More on The Economist's Microfinance survey

The Economist was on fire last week! Not only did they like my book, but the aforementioned survey on Microfinance is thoughtful stuff. One of the important issues they raised was the entry of credit rating agencies into the business. This is important because information is.

The most valuable land in the world (per square inch)

Owen County, Indiana, is trying to sell a one-square inch plot of land for $15,000. Needless to say – they haven’t been successful. Constricting tax codes, not a rich vein of diamonds, can be thanked for the ridiculous price: