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Weekly wire: The global forum

Roxanne Bauer's picture
World of NewsThese are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
 

Technology for Transparency: Cases from Sub-Saharan Africa
Harvard Political Review
Over the last decade, Africa has experienced previously unseen levels of economic growth and market vibrancy. Developing countries can only achieve equitable growth and reduce poverty rates, however, if they are able to make the most of their available resources. To do this, they must maximize the impact of aid from donor governments and NGOs and ensure that domestic markets continue to diversify, add jobs, and generate tax revenues. Yet, in most developing countries, there is a dearth of information available about industry profits, government spending, and policy outcomes that prevents efficient action.

Popular Uprising against Democratically Elected Leaders. What Makes it Legitimate?
Huffington Post
In the last five years, democratically elected governments in countries as diverse as Guatemala, Bulgaria, Venezuela, Ukraine, Thailand, Macedonia, South Africa, Spain, Iceland, Hungary and presently governments in Moldova, Brazil and Poland were all challenged and some of them forced to step down by mass-based popular uprisings. If it had not been for the strategic weakness of the Occupy movement, the United States might have also seen toppling of its own democratically elected leaders closely tied to business elites. This might still happen. If Donald Trump wins the presidential election and attempts to implement some of his most outrageous campaign promises popular uprising may be in the making sooner than we think.  When is people rising against their own government legitimate? A number of Western philosophical treaties, historical practice and agreements, including declarations of people’s self-determination rights stressed the moral and legal permissibility, and even necessity, to rise up against abusive regimes.

Editorial analytics - how news media are developing and using audience data and metrics
Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism
News organisations are increasingly embracing the use of analytics and metrics as part of editorial decision making, but what constitutes a sophisticated analytics strategy? And why are so many media organisations still using such a rudimentary approach to analytics? A new report by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism looks at which organisations are building a competitive advantage over less advanced competitors through a better understanding of their audience, and what lessons others can take from their approaches. Based on over 30 interviews with senior figures involved in developing analytics in news organisations, the report, authored by Federica Cherubini and Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, examines analytics at leading organisations, provides a review of current trends – and looks at where others are falling behind.

Shaping the Future of Urban Development & Services Initiative
World Economic Forum
Cities are growing at a rapid rate, with the global urban population set to increase by 2.5 billion by 2050. People continue to migrate to cities for better economic, social and creative opportunities. Growing cities are dense in terms of land use and, at the same time, are difficult to govern because of their diverse social and economic fabric. While cities battle issues such as climate change, social segregation and economic development, they increasingly have to do so with fewer resources as they face budgetary constraints and battle with suboptimal devolution of funds and functions. City administrations are using emerging business models and technologies to deliver services. The use of technology and changing ownership models have disrupted the way excess capacities within cities are efficiently utilized. However, technology is not a silver-bullet solution to urban problems. To holistically address such problems cities need to transform planning, governance and regulatory aspects.

Global Internet Connection Speeds Rose 23% In 2015
ARC
The Internet is getting faster. According to content delivery network Akamai’s Fourth Quarter 2015 State of the Internet Report, the average global connection speed is now 5.6 Mbps—an increase of 8.6% from Q3 2015 and a 23% increase year-on-year. The average peak time connection speed is now 32.5 Mbps which demonstrates a 1% increase from the previous quarter and 21% year-on-year growth.

Learning Without Theory
Project Syndicate
How can we improve the state of the world? How can we make countries more competitive, growth more sustainable and inclusive, and genders more equal? One way is to have a correct theory of the relationship between actions and outcomes and then to implement actions that achieve our goals. But, in most of the situations we face, we lack such a theory, or if we have one, we are not sure that it is correct. So what can we do? Should we postpone action until we learn about what works? But how will we learn if we do not act? And if we act, how can we learn whether we did the right thing?New advances in machine learning and biological anthropology are shedding light on how learning happens and what makes a learning process successful. But, while theories are important, most of what we learn does not depend on them.




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