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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.
 
The Economist
STOKE-ON-TRENT in northern England is home to the world’s second-oldest professional football club, Stoke City FC. Founded in 1863, it enjoyed its heyday in the mid-1970s, when the club came close to winning the top division. The playing style was described by its manager, Tony Waddington, as “the working man’s ballet”. These days the flair is often provided by players from far afield. More than half the first-team squad comes from outside Britain, mostly from other parts of Europe. But that is about as far as Europhilia in Stoke goes. In June’s referendum on Britain’s European Union membership, the city voted strongly for Brexit.
 
Stanford Social Innovation Review
Today, examples of rapid, non-linear progress—sometimes called leapfrogging—are evident in a number of sectors. Often, these instances are most obvious in the developing world, where in telecommunications or banking, for example, whole phases of infrastructure and institution-building that other countries had to go through have been by-passed by nations that got a later start down that road. Many African countries never systematically invested in laying phone lines, yet today access to cell phone service on the continent has grown so rapidly that in many cases communities are more likely to be connected to the outside world via cell phone service than to have access to electricity or running water. Likewise for banking: Instead of focusing on expanding physical branches to reach the many communities and families who lack access, people across the developing world are relying on mobile money—transfers and payments via text message—which grew out of innovations in Kenya. Could this type of non-linear progress happen in education?
 
ONE
In less than a generation the Internet has revolutionised the lives of billions of people. It has changed the way we communicate, work, learn and engage with the world around us. Thanks to the Internet some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people now have access to information and networks that help them communicate, set up businesses, and access services, helping them and their families lead healthier, safer and more prosperous lives. But this digital utopia is not available to everyone. More than half of the world is still unconnected and where someone lives makes a huge difference. Almost 75% of Africa’s population is offline compared with 19% of people in developed countries. Poverty is sexist: girls and women are hit harder and have fewer opportunities than men, and access to the Internet is no different. Women living in LDCs are a third less likely than their male counterparts to be connected and the gap is increasing. By 2020 over 75% of women in the least developed countries will be unconnected. In this report ONE calls for an action plan to connect those 350 million women and girls which would have spin off benefits for everyone.
 
UNCTAD
Industrialization has historically been synonymous with development, while deindustrialization is a well-established trend in mature developed economies as they move towards services-based economies. Yet recent trends show that many developing countries – especially in Africa and Latin America – have witnessed their shares of manufacturing employment and output shrinking long before they have attained income levels comparable to those in the developed world. Such premature deindustrialization began during the adjustment programmes in the 1980s and 1990s, yet has continued, as commodity booms and speculative financial inflows have led to currency appreciation and a loss of manufacturing competitiveness, compounded by the rise of China’s manufacturing exports. The current question is therefore: now that the commodity bonanza is over, capital flows are reversing and China is turning towards a more balanced growth path driven more by domestic demand than exports, how can Africa and Latin America reignite industrialization? Whatever the chosen strategy, it will have to account for the rapidly increasing spread of new automation  technologies and artificial intelligence in the form of robots.
 
Engadget
Facebook has launched a new Snapchat-like app less than a year after it killed its old Snapchat-like app Slingshot, according to Recode. What's special about this one is that it was built specifically with emerging markets in mind. The new application called Flash was reportedly created by a team within the social network in charge of building apps for developing nations. They also could've been the ones behind Facebook and Messenger Lite. Flash is less than 25MB in size, which is much smaller than Snapchat for Android that's roughly 70MB. It was also built to work even in areas with limited connectivity.
 
OECD Social Indicators
his is the eighth edition of Society at a Glance, the biennial OECD overview of social indicators. This report addresses the growing demand for quantitative evidence on social well-being and its trends. It updates some indicators included in the previous editions published since 2001 and introduces several new ones, with 25 indicators in total. It includes data for the 35 OECD member countries and where available data for key partners (Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Russia and South Africa); other G20 countries (Argentina and Saudi Arabia) are also included. The report features a special chapter on the NEET challenge and what can be done for jobless and disengaged youth. It also provides a guide to help readers in understanding the structure of OECD social indicators.

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