China looks set to see a boom in access to finance since the passage in 2007 of the Property Rights Law. Last week, the Financial Times reported on the newfound ability of farmers to monetise their land. Some farmers are selling to larger, more efficient companies, while others are taking advantage of the opportunity to use their land as collateral:
Has the regulatory burden for Belarusian businesses decreased? According to a new World Bank Country Note on Running a Business in Belarus, progress has indeed been made over time. For example, the number of visits or required meetings with tax officials has significantly decreased from 2005 to 2008: from 3.2 to just 1 visit per year. Also, the percentage of firms reporting incidence of bribes with these tax officials decreased as well.
Though "hackers" and "World Bank" in the same sentence might look like odd bedfellows, the term "hack" originally indicated a clever solution to a technical problem. Hackathons are becoming an increasingly popular way for organizations with a public remit to crowdsource the solution to technical problems that they might not be equipped to solve internally.
For those who are excited by new datasets (come on, I know you're out there...), these last few weeks have been a bonanza. One month ago, the World Bank Group released the Financial Infrastructure report, which provides cross-country measurements of core financial institutions such as credit bureaus and payment systems.
Editor’s Note: Murat Seker and Federica Saliola work in the World Bank's Financial and Private Sector Development Vice Presidency. This blog is a summary of the Country Note prepared for the World Bank's Enterprise Survey. The note for Turkey and several other ECA region countries can be seen at www.enterprisesurveys.org
While my vision about opening up development data has been limited to rants, the much more practical folks at the International Aid Transparency Initiative have come up with a set of hands-on recommendations to make aid information 1) legally open (e.g.
As I blogged about not too long ago, public universities around the world are facing serious pressures due to the financial crisis. Perhaps the moment is ripe for reform—when the fiscal situation gets tough, it can help make possible what only recently seemed unimaginable.