These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
“Ethical business practices are a critical aspect of sustainability, yet progress towards eliminating bribery and corruption appears to be elusive in the face of persistent headlines such as the recent forced resignation of Avon CEO Andrea Jung, the IKEA incident in Russia and the conviction of former French president Jacques Chirac.
Corruption continues to have a dire effect on the global economy. In fact, The World Bank and the World Economic Forum estimate that corruption costs more than 5% of global GDP ($2.6tn) annually, and estimate that more than $1tn is paid in bribes annually. These organisations suggest that corruption adds 10% to the total cost of doing business globally, and a staggering 25% to the cost of procurement contracts in developing countries.” READ MORE
A Transparency Hub in Washington
“I wanted to share some thinking we've been working on here at Global Integrity for several months: the idea of a shared, collaborative work space for transparency and accountability organizations based in the Washington, DC area.
Last summer, something obvious dawned on us: 1) there are lots of groups based in Washington, DC that work on transparency and accountability issues both domestically and internationally, 2) we seem to see each other far less often then we should, and 3) we all complain about our terrible office space.
Hmm. Maybe there's something to be done about that.
In September 2011, we circulated the note below to 15-20 friends & family organizations in the loosely defined "transparency and accountability" community in Washington.” READ MORE
Can Mobile Money Transform a Country?
“Two years after the earthquake, Haiti is rebuilding not just brick by brick, but click by click.
The earthquake left behind a government in rubble, an economy in shambles, and a people living in makeshift camps, coping with enormous loss. Against this backdrop, the possibility of progress lives not just in the resilient spirit of the Haitian people, but also in the simple power of their mobile phones.
In June 2010, USAID and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched the Haiti Mobile Money Initiative (HMMI). This program leveraged the private sector and the ubiquity of mobile phones to bring financial services to Haitians, 90 percent of whom didn’t have access to a bank account before the earthquake destroyed nearly one-third of the country’s bank branches, ATMs, and money transfer stations. Put simply, mobile money gives Haitians access to banking without building a single bank.” READ MORE
“Tomorrow (Jan. 14, 2012) marks the one-year anniversary of Tunisia's liberation from 23 years of oppression under dictator Ben Ali. It was a liberation sparked by one man's shocking public protest against injustice through self-immolation and fueled by the power of citizen journalism and social media. During the last months of 2010, Tunisians captured footage of protests and government oppression and shared them with thousands via Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Within weeks, similar protests sprang up in Egypt, Libya and other Arab countries, giving birth to the Arab Spring.
With the power of the media now in the hands of every citizen with a smartphone, questions about ethics and accuracy are working their way through the journalism industry -- how do we know what we see on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter is true? Who are the media watchdogs for a form of journalism rooted in unedited immediacy?” READ MORE
“With the explosion of open data, we’ve seen a proliferation of civic software aiming to get community information on everything from road closures to restaurant inspections into people’s hands.
The apps have great potential for engaging people in improving their communities. But often the people closest to the data -- city leaders and staffers -- have a difficult time finding and weeding through all the software to determine what’s right for both their needs and their community.” READ MORE