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April 2010

India’s Vision for Technology and Financial Inclusion: Interview with Bindu Ananth of IFMR Trust

Jim Rosenberg's picture

Bindu Ananth is the President of IFMR Trust, which has a mission of ensuring that every individual and every enterprise in India has access to complete financial services. In pursuit of this, IFMR has made four key investments – IFMR Rural Finance (full service financial institutions for remote rural India), IFMR Capital (guarantee company for high-quality MFIs), IFMR Mezzanine (subordinated debt provider for emerging MFIs) and IFMR Ventures (debt access for rural enterprises).  Through these investments as well as other initiatives , IFMR Trust is advocating for an inclusive financial system in India. Recently I interviewed Bindu about how the financial system in India might be configured to deliver complete financial service access.

A Practical Guide in the Fight against Corruption

Johanna Martinsson's picture

In partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), CommGAP is launching a new publication entitled “Building Public Support for Anti-Corruption Efforts: Why Anti-Corruption Agencies Need to Communicate and How.”  The need for this guide became apparent at a learning event organized by CommGAP and UNODC in November 2008.  The workshop participants – anti-corruption agencies, government officials, senior practitioners and academics – agreed that the media plays a crucial part in their work by influencing public perception of corruption and building public support for their efforts. However, the question of how to establish good working relationships with the media was of deep concern.
 

No takers for H1-B Visas?

Sonia Plaza's picture

The slow recovery of the US economy is affecting the hiring of high-skilled immigrants.  This lower demand is reflected in fewer applications for H1-B visas.  The current annual cap is set at 65,000, with an additional 20,000 for holders of advanced degrees. The present crisis is exhibiting similar characteristics as the 1991 downturn:  1) Lower demand for new foreign high-skilled workers. US firms are not recruiting overseas; and 2) Lower demand for foreign high-skilled graduates of US universities.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) put out a statement on April 08, 2010 that “it has received approximately 13,500 H-1B petitions counting toward the Congressionally-mandated 65,000 cap during the first two weeks of April 2010.” (See USCIS - USCIS Continues to Accept FY 2011 H-1B Petitions). That’s far fewer than the 42,000 requests filed during the same period last year (See post). Unlike in previous years, foreign graduates of US universities are not finding jobs in US. The applications for foreign workers with advanced degrees have only reached 5,800 applications by April 15, 2010.

This is the second year that the annual quota for H1B visas has not been filled during the first week of April. Since the recession worsened in late 2008, the annual quota has remained open longer than in the previous years (see graph below). For the US 2010 fiscal year (the fiscal year begins on October 1 and ends on September 30), it took until December 21, 2009 to fill the quota (280 days). In 2009, it closed in one day and in 2008, it closed in two days. Only in 2004, when the quota was reduced from 195,000 to 65,000, there were still visa slots available as of October 1, 2003 (323 days). It seems that for the 2011 fiscal year, the annual quota will remain open longer than last year.

Source: USCIS

Exploiting the Poor Through the Images We Use? (PART 2)

Antonio Lambino's picture

Visual representations of the poor have the power to evoke visceral reactions which can be harnessed toward positive development outcomes.  At the same time, those who use these images run the risk of exploiting the very same people whom they seek to help. 

comment to a previous post on this topic captures the trade-off rather well:

"… human strife is whittled down to a spectacle that often furthers cultural and economic divides when they should be bridging them.  However, as visual representations can be an extremely effective way of communicating, we really cannot do away with them… one can only approximate the ideal of a just and compelling representation."

 

World Development Indicators 2010 launched on data.worldbank.org

Richard Fix's picture

World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings2010 - World Development Indicators 2010 Launch and Open Data Initiative announced. Justin Lin, World Bank Chief Economist talks about free data.

We launched the 2010 World Development Indicators today, except this year we launched it on data.worldbank.orgthe Bank’s new open data site that frees up more than 2,000 indicators previously available only to paying subscribers. We’re pushing to share our data with the world, and the WDI is a wonderful platform for this. Year after year, we pull together data from many places—across international agencies and countries-- in one place to draw a statistical image of the world. This year, whole new audiences will be able to access our work.

Since I joined the Bank, I have worked with a team of economists, statisticians, and others to produce a new WDI each year. Every April, we unveiled a new edition that revealed new facts about development. It was our chance to describe development by the numbers. But the numbers were not enough. We needed to explain the numbers, make it easier for others to pull knowledge from all these facts. The essays, the detailed descriptions and definitions of the data were a step in the right direction, but we needed to do more.

Ushering in New Era of Openness and Transparency

Isabel Guerrero's picture

data.worldbank.org

The doors to the largest depository of development data in the world were just thrown open. Starting today, all our statistics are available online free of charge for all. The Open Data Access builds on the success of Data.Gov adopted by the US and UK and lets the global community create new applications and solutions to help poor people in the developing world.

Data, until now available through subscriptions only, is now accessible at data.worldbank.org. This is an important milestone for the World Bank, which complements the Access to Information reform. For many data is power. It is more than just numbers as it creates the space for dialogue based on facts and helps to foster new ideas.

Re-thinking Fiscal Multipliers

Raj Nallari's picture

Keynes is best known for suggesting fiscal stimulus policies and programs to increase aggregate demand to get out of a deep recession. Since the marginal propensity to consume is positive and less than one; the bigger it is, the larger the fiscal multipliers will be and the faster we will get out of a recession.

What Do We Know about the Consequences of Foreign Bank Participation in Developing Countries?

Maria Soledad Martinez Peria's picture

The process of financial globalization that accelerated in the 1990s has brought many changes to the financial sectors of developing countries.*  Countries have opened up their stock markets to foreign investors, allowed domestic firms to cross-list and issue debt overseas, and welcomed foreign direct investment into their local financial sectors.  When it comes to the banking sector, arguably no change has been as transformative as the increase in foreign bank participation in developing countries.  On average, across developing countries, the share of bank assets held by foreign banks has risen from 22 percent in 1996 to 39 in 2005.  At the same time, foreign bank claims on developing countries, which together with the loans extended by foreign bank branches and subsidiaries include cross-border loans, increased from 10 percent of GDP in 1996 to 26 percent in 2008 (see Figure 1).

Total foreign claims


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