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Criticism of 'The Market for Aid'

Leah Pinto blogs at NextBillion.net to say that she doesn't believe that increased competition between aid agencies will make them more efficient. Well, that's true, but I think she's missed the point - competition may not increase efficiency, but if aid agencies are properly evaluated, with the best ones expanded and the worst shut down, that would be another matter.

Leah also proposes that the private sector be strengthened and that sustainable microfinance institutions be established.

Developing SEZs in India

In an effort to tame its red-tape jungle and lure foreign investors, new legislation in India looks to special economic zones (SEZs). So far 11 have been set-up, offering investor’s secure walled off facilities, tax breaks and beneficial custom laws. However, more important than tax breaks is the red-tape:

The socio-economic impact of mobile phones

As an update to a previous post, the World Bank has made the video and materials from their recent event on “The Socio-Economic Impact of Mobile Phones in Africa” available on-line. This event occurred the day after the AEI event previously discussed. Judge for yourselves which one was better. It would be interesting to see if the presentations changed much in light of the different audiences?

New SME database released

The IFC has released a new collection of country level SME data. The data covers 76 countries and presents information regarding the size and contribution of the SME sector and how the sector is broken down into micro, small and medium firms. The effort to bring this data together should be commended, especially since every country and organization appears to be using a different SME definition. I was shocked to see that so little information is readily available, very few countries having post-2002 data.

'Only the private sector will make Africa rich'

Moletsi Mbeki, the brother of South Africa’s President, believes that the private sector is key to Africa’s future development. In a recent paper of his he argues that the international donor community needs to concentrate on lending their expertise (especially regarding increasing access to finance) as apposed to their funds. He also believes that the power and voice of the private sector needs to be increased:

Should the World Bank become an ATM?

World20bank202 In today’s WSJ Peter Schaefer makes the argument that key to future poverty alleviation is unlocking the “dead capital” or “illiquid savings” of the poor – the capital which is sunk in informal homes and businesses.

On the tube: "The Business of Development"

If you are reading from Europe, tune in to CNBC Europe during Sunday evenings in June and July to see the second version of the award-wining UNDP sponsored TV series: The Business of Development.

This four part mini-documentary series looks at how sustainable development and corporate social responsibility have become core concerns of international business. The documentary profiles sustainable development projects, best company practices and innovative development partnerships.

New reading list on private participation in education

The World Bank’s reading list on private participation in education has just been updated. The private provision of education services remains an extremely contentious issue in both developed and developing countries. Being that there is great hope that private education can compensate for the perceived inadequacies of current systems, most of the current debate focuses on how this involvement should occur: grants, vouchers, charter schools or something else?

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