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LIMA, the enchanted

Gonzalo Castro de la Mata's picture

Banco de la Nación, Lima, PeruLooking into the horizon from the 27th floor of the new tower of the National Bank while attending the World Bank’s Annual Meetings, the sight is partially clouded by a haze that typically lasts 9 months each year. I daydream and imagine I am still riding my bike somewhere down there, among farms and streams while exploring old Inca ruins.

As reality returns, all I can see are roads, buildings, and traffic congestion for miles without end. The Lima of my childhood is gone, having been replaced by a megalopolis of 12 million people, 5 times larger than in the 1960s. Its innocence is nowhere to be found, and today Lima is like any large city, overwhelmingly vast, contaminated, and chaotic. Yet at the same time it has retained the enchantment that made it the capital of the new world in the 1600s, earning it the name “the Pearl of the Pacific” as the seat of the rich Viceroyalty that made Spain the most powerful Empire in the world. Lima today is sophisticated and vibrant. The delegates attending the Bank meetings were treated to an amazing array of tradition and modernity, and enjoyed a delightful display of culture and gastronomy that keeps Lima as a destination in its own right. Lima boasts the best restaurant in the Americas, and 3 among the top 10 in the world. Its art and cultural scenes today are exceptional.

Back at the Banco de la Nación, it is hard to believe that this tower was not there just 18 months ago. It was built for the meetings using an ultra-modern “self-climbing” crane technology, together with the most technologically advanced Convention Center in Latin America. The impeccable organization of the Annual Meetings is a tribute to the capacity of this country to rise to the most difficult challenges, as well as to the hard work of our Bank colleagues that supported these efforts.

Weekly Wire: The Global Forum

Johanna Martinsson's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

Transparency International


"More than one person in two thinks corruption has worsened in the last two years, according to the world’s largest public opinion survey on corruption from Transparency International, but survey participants also firmly believe they can make a difference and have the will to take action against graft. The Global Corruption Barometer 2013 is a survey of 114,000 people in 107 countries and it shows corruption is widespread. 27 per cent of respondents have paid a bribe when accessing public services and institutions in the last 12 months, revealing no improvement from previous surveys." READ MORE

The Guardian

20 prerequisites for transparency

"What does transparency that leads to accountability look like? We summarise the key ideas from our live chat panel.

Paolo de Renzio, senior research fellow, International Budget Partnership, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil:

Transparency depends on both civil society and governments: Being, or becoming, transparent requires efforts and skills on the side of governments, and using available information requires efforts and skills on the side of civil society and citizens more generally. Both are equally important and deserve support.

Weekly Wire: the Global Forum

Kalliope Kokolis's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

10 African tech voices to follow on Twitter

“Africa is quietly undergoing a tech revolution that could transform the continent. CNN's African Voices has highlighted 10 leading tech voices from different African countries. Each one comments on the role technology plays in boosting entrepreneurship and empowering communities in Africa.”  READ MORE

Open Society Foundations
How Open Society Grantees Are Advancing Access to Public Information in Latin America

“Since the landmark legal decision Marcel Claude Reyes and Others v. Chile of the Inter-American Human Rights Court in 2006, the right to access public information has increasingly been recognized by Latin America’s governments as a human right.  Fourteen of the region’s nineteen countries have access to public information laws, more than any other developing region in the world.  Most of these have been passed in the past decade with the support of the Open Society Foundations' Latin America Program and partner civil society organizations.”  READ MORE

From Inertia to Participation: The Case of RECURSO in Peru

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

Imagine there are accountability mechanisms and no one knows how to use them. Development practitioners in Peru wrestled with exactly this problem in the early 2000s when transparency and accountability became integral parts of government agencies - but citizens had no way of knowing what made public service delivery good and what should be complained about.