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July 2006

No jobs, no peace?

Last week the Jordan Times reported that the government has put in place a task force to simplify business regulations, to help stimulate entrepreneurship and jobs. The IFC is supporting this effort, as well as similar exercises in Lebanon - although I guess that one will be on hold for a while.

St Helena musings: about flax

St Helena was always as aid-dependent as it is today. Between the early 1900s and the mid-1960s the island's major industry was growing flax, or hemp, which was used to make ropes. Although there were ups and downs in the industry as world prices changed, it was the island's largest employer, apart from the government. In 1966 the whole industry suddenly closed down.

A randomized experiment with cash transfers

One of the debates surrounding cash transfers is the importance of “conditionality” clauses. For example, see this new paper by Norbert Schady and Maria Caridad Araujo on “Cash Transfers, Conditions, School Enrollment, and Child Work: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in Ecuador.”

Afghanistan’s banking laws lack teeth

Afghanistan’s banking laws are investor-friendly as long as contracts are followed, but there are scant provisions for enforcement in case of any default. Afghanistan lacks special courts for banking matters, and there is no recognition of foreign judgments. That was the main message at a presentation here Monday from attorney Mehmood Mandviwalla, whose Pakistani law firm has an office in Kabul.

Public-private dialogue on African diamonds

Astronomers, perhaps inspired by the Beatles, have actually found a diamond in the sky - with plenty of bling at 10 billion trillion trillion carats. Here on Earth, you probably know that most diamonds are produced in Africa, and that the sector does not have a great track record in corporate social responsibility.

$100,000 award for ICT and youth

Nominations for the third annual Development Gateway Award are due August 11. This year's $100,000 award recognizes outstanding achievement in the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) to improve the lives of people in developing countries.

Doing Business in 13 Brazilian cities

My colleagues down the hall inform me that Doing Business in Brazil was released today. Like last year's Mexico report, the Brazil report uses the Doing Business methodology to compare the ease of doing business in different parts of the country. The capital city of Brasilia takes top honors, while Fortaleza from the state of Ceara ranks last.


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