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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.

The Atlantic
How Social Media Could Revolutionize Third-World Cities

“When a housewife in a working-class district of Mexico City gets fed up with the lack of working lights in her local park, she logs on to Twitter and complains directly to the city's mayor.

In an age of incessant digital chatter -- and in a city of 22 million -- this might seem futile. But the mayor, who has more than 600,000 Twitter followers, replies to her complaint within hours. He orders the city's public works department to take action. Several weeks later, he posts photos of new lights being installed in the park and thanks the woman for bringing the problem to his attention.

In fact, the mayor's Twitter feed reads like a gritty chronicle of life in a megacity. Potholes, of course, but also complaints and announcements about garbage collection, crime, traffic lights, construction delays, power outages, water supplies, bike lanes, flooded sewers, corruption, air quality, and the proverbial rude bureaucrat.”  READ MORE

Interview: Extractive industry transparency movement at crossroads – expert

“The movement to bring greater transparency to the oil, gas and mining industries is facing a crucial time in its development and needs to overcome three significant challenges to continue to be successful, Daniel Kaufmann, head of the international transparency watchdog Revenue Watch Institute told TrustLaw.

The transparency movement must become more global, the data produced by the extractive industries must be clear and comparable across countries, and the movement must work to build up expertise within resource-rich countries so that local transparency watchdogs, governments and media can interpret the data, Kaufmann, a former World Bank economist, said.”  READ MORE

Wired UK
Technology can only help citizen engagement if it's done right

“Many development projects offer no evidence for being successes, says Rakesh Rajani, founder of Twaweza.

Rajani, speaking at the Open Up! conference, said: "If we are honest with ourselves and look at projects that use technology, and if we're interested in outcomes, the key metric is the improvement in people's lives backed by evidence. There isn't much out there."

He lists examples of projects which seem like they improve citizen engagement in developing countries, but which actually have very low participation rates. In Kenya, a project called Aloha works in a similar way to the UK's Fix My Street, where people can submit local problems they need help with and others can help. "Only one problem," says Rajani. ‘It's been there for a year, it has a total of four or five hundred points of data on it. How many have been responded to and resolved in the first year? Two.’” READ MORE

Informa Telecoms & Media
Press release: Africa mobile subscriptions count to cross 750 million mark in fourth quarter of 2012

“Number of mobile subscriptions in Africa to reach one billion in 2015

The number of mobile subscriptions in Africa will cross the 750 million mark during the fourth quarter of 2012 and reach one billion before the end of 2015, according to forecasts by Informa Telecoms & Media.

Africa has the highest rate of growth in mobile subscriptions among major world regions, with the number of mobile subscriptions in Africa forecasted to grow by 17.5% over the year to end-2012, a higher rate than in any other major world region and above the world average of 10.75% over the same period.”  READ MORE

Global Integrity
Corruption Perception: Experts vs. The Wisdom of the Crowd

“Transparency International famously publishes a Corruption Perceptions Index(CPI) every year, which ranks countries by perceived corruption levels, gleaned from an amalgamation of ‘expert’ surveys and country assessments produced by around a dozen institutions (e.g., the Bertelsmann Foundation; the Economist Intelligence Unit; Freedom House; Political Risk Services International; the World Economic Forum’s “Executive Opinion Surveys”).

But, instead of relying on the perceptions of experts, what would a publicly crowdsourced corruption perception index look like? How much, and in what ways, might it differ from the index the surveyed experts produce each year? Well, thanks to sociologist Matthew Salganik at Princeton University, we can find out —with your help, of course.”  READ MORE

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Photo credit: Flickr user fdecomite


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