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Africa

How to defeat witchcraft

Ryan Hahn's picture

If you're a fan of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, you'll know how. Since a witch burns, she must be made of wood, and since wood floats and ducks also float, logically a witch will weigh the same as a duck (or something like that). And if you have no idea what I'm talking about, this video clip from the absurd 1975 film should clear it up:

Crunch time for microfinance - final thoughts

Ryan Hahn's picture

CGAP ran a virtual conference last week on microfinance and the financial crisis. (See their website for details and an earlier post on the first round of emails from the conference.) There was a ton of interest in this topic, reflected in the extraordinary volume of communication from all over the globe.

Vodafone: Keep It Simple, Stupid

Ryan Hahn's picture

Nick Hughes, the head of Vodafone's international mobile payment solutions, recently gave a talk at CGAP about the company's work in Kenya, Afghanistan, and Tanzania. If I might sum up the talk in just a few words: KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid).

A lesson in openness

I just stumbled upon the BBC's Common Platform blog. Here's how the blog's author describes the purpose of the website:

The BBC is opening up to the people and communities that fund it—sharing content, code, talent and resources. At Common Platform I'm documenting the changes as they take place, talking to the people making them happen and asking questions of those who'd rather they didn't.

What to watch for at the Annual Meetings

Ryan Hahn's picture

Robert Zoellick leads off with the opening press conference of the Annual Meetings of the Boards of Governors of the World Bank and IMF (video after the jump). Zoellick argues that developing countries now face a triple hit: "In July, at the G8 summit, I said that developing countries were facing a double jeopardy from the impact of high food and fuel prices.

Africa Can End Poverty - The Blog

Ryan Hahn's picture

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?

Not satisfied with your college? Just call the secret police...

Ryan Hahn's picture

Apparently, degree mills - unaccredited universities - are a national security concern in Nigeria. The authorities mean business:

[The National Council on Education] is partnered with the Department of State Services—Nigeria's secret service—in locating, arresting, and prosecuting operators of unapproved universities and satellite campuses.

Google as development agency

Ryan Hahn's picture

Google just released its own browser, Chrome, to compete with Internet Explorer. Daniel Altman on the International Herald Tribune blog argues that it may just turn out to be the developing world's browser. Now, Google has just announced it is supporting the development of a system of satellites to provide internet access to regions without fast fiber networks.

Text messaging - the real revolution in telecommunications?

Ryan Hahn's picture

While we may not be ready to announce victory in the digital war on poverty, there are definitely battles that are being won. And the most recent battle is that over text messaging. Cell phones have spread like wildfire across Africa and many other parts of the world. But these are basic handsets - no internet access, no videos, no maps. These phones do, however, have short message service (SMS), aka text messaging.

Alphabet soup - AED, AAP, PDA

Ryan Hahn's picture

Perhaps in contrast to my post on the digital war on poverty, I just noticed an interesting article on the website of AED - the Academy for Educational Development. They are using a technology called the African Access Point (AAP) in combination with personal digital assistants (PDAs). From the article:

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