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Weekly Wire: The Global Forum

Roxanne Bauer's picture

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

Corruption 'impoverishes and kills millions'
An estimated $1tn (£600bn) a year is being taken out of poor countries and millions of lives are lost because of corruption, according to campaigners. A report by the anti-poverty organisation One says much of the progress made over the past two decades in tackling extreme poverty has been put at risk by corruption and crime. Corrupt activities include the use of phantom firms and money laundering. The report blames corruption for 3.6 million deaths every year. If action were taken to end secrecy that allows corruption to thrive - and if the recovered revenues were invested in health - the group calculates that many deaths could be prevented in low-income countries.
The Best and Worst Places to Build More Roads
Roads are taking over the planet. By the middle of this century, so many new roadways are expected to appear that their combined length would circle Earth more than 600 times. To build critical connections while preserving biodiversity, we need a global road map, scientists argue today in the journal Nature. And as a first step, the international team has identified areas where new roads would be most useful and those where such development would likely be in conflict with nature.

Africa’s Urban Revolution
Foreign Affairs
Sub-Saharan Africa boasts the fastest-growing urban population of any region in the world. With an annual rate of urbanization of 3.3 percent, the region can’t be viewed as primarily rural anymore. Indeed, the authors of this timely collection of essays estimate that if the region maintains its present rate of growth, a majority of Africans will live in cities by 2030. Already today, in absolute terms, there are more Africans living in cities than there are Americans or Europeans living in cities. The authors resist the common tendency to depict Africa’s cities as unfolding ecological and political disasters, instead recognizing that urban populations in sub-Saharan Africa have exhibited great resilience and ingenuity. 
Why globalisation may not reduce inequality in poor
The Economist
GLOBALISATION has made the planet more equal. As communication gets cheaper and transport gets faster, developing countries have closed the gap with their rich-world counterparts. But within many developing economies, the story is less rosy: inequality has worsened. The Gini index is one measure of inequality, based on a score between zero and one. A Gini index of one means a country’s entire income goes to one person; a score of zero means the spoils are equally divided. Sub-Saharan Africa saw its Gini index rise by 9% between 1993 and 2008. China’s score soared by 34% over twenty years. Only in a few places has it fallen. Does globalisation have anything to do with it?
5 reasons Apple's getting into mobile payments
Computer World
Bloomberg and others are once again reporting Apple intends launching a mobile payments system when it introduces iPhone 6, here's why doing so makes sense.  Apple is building business in emerging markets, including China, Brazil, India, Russia. The success of mobile fund transfer systems is apparent in Africa, in Kenya such services now account for around a quarter of Kenya's GDP. Meeting that need Apple's system will leapfrog existing carrier networks to provide payments as a service to millions, with the added advantage of multiple layers of security
10 Ideas Driving The Future Of Social Entrepreneurship
Fast Company
The 10th Annual Skoll World Forum, which brought together several hundred of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs to Oxford, has just wrapped for another year. The Forum serves as a useful barometer for how the climate of social enterprise is changing.  When it launched in 2004, it was all about celebrating the unknown social entrepreneurs, helping give them global recognition and credibility, and a platform to engage with policy leaders and large corporations.  In that task, it has succeeded brilliantly--over the past decade, social enterprise has become mainstream. Jeff Skoll picks out the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Muhammad Yunus in 2006 as a watershed moment, followed equally significantly in the following year by the award to Al Gore.  So 10 years in, what’s the current thinking? What new big idea now dominates the agenda and concerns of the Forum participants? And where do they think this field is going?

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