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December 2011

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.

Revenue Watch
2011 Corruption Index Links Graft and Public Protests

"In its new 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index, Transparency International makes a direct link between global corruption and increasing public protests demanding transparent and accountable governance, from European demonstrations over the debt crisis to the Arab Spring.

Compiled annually, the Index ranks perceived public sector corruption in 183 nations, based on indicators such as information access, bribery, kickbacks, embezzlement and government anti-corruption efforts.

'Public outcry at corruption, impunity and economic instability sent shockwaves around the world in 2011. Protests in many countries quickly spread to unite people from all parts of society,' wrote Transparency International. 'Their backgrounds may be diverse, but their message is the same: more transparency and accountability is needed from our leaders.'" READ MORE

South Africa's democracy: Complexity theory in action

Brian Levy's picture

“The edge of chaos is the balance point where the components of a system never quite lock into place, and yet never quite dissolve into turbulence, either…The edge of chaos is the constantly shifting battle zone between stagnation and anarchy, the one place where a complex system can be spontaneous, adaptive and alive...” - M. Mitchell Waldrop, Complexity.

Bangladesh Youth Take On Leadership Reflections

Tashmina Rahman's picture

It was a special day on Sunday, December 11, 2011 at the Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center (BYLC) as Special Advisor to the State for Global Youth Issues, Mr. Ronan Farrow and Ms. Lauren Lovelace, Director of the American Center, visited the institute in Baridhara. Mr. Farrow gave a lecture and engaged in discussions on global youth leadership issues with a classroom packed with enthusiastic BYLC graduates. In his address to the graduates, he expressed his strong belief that they are to play a key role in confronting challenges of the world. He shared that one of the greatest lessons in life that he received is “the realization that how powerful youth can be when given voice and equipped with tools.”

Why Students are Protesting all Over the World: Evidence From an RD in Chile: Guest post by Alex Solis

In the past year we have seen students in countries around the world protesting about the cost of higher education and lack of financial aid: Chilean students have been protesting for 7 months to change the overall educational financing system; Californians have occupied the UC Berkeley campus to protest fee hikes, and thousands of English students last year have taken part in protests against increases in tuition fees. Why is this happening all over the world?

Green growth under the desert sun: Solar energy from the Middle East & North Africa

Jonathan Walters's picture
In the 1930s, in the Great Depression, international oil companies were drawn to the newly-formed state of Saudi Arabia, where oil had been discovered.  At first, companies were reluctant to go to a faraway desert kingdom, with little infrastructure, no modern institutions, and few people with technical education.  But the resource looked rich, so importing equipment and engineers, the companies took the plunge.  The rest, as they say, is history.  Saudi Arabia, and much of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), became the preeminent global supplier of oil.

Egypt's elections: A would-be voter's trip to the polls

Khaled Sherif's picture
Yesterday was a special day for many Egyptians. In our district, it was the day you could vote for your district representative in Parliament, something you could never really do before. Well, that's not exactly true. Under the old regime you could vote for your district representative, but he would be from Mubarak's National Democratic Party (NDP) and win with 99 percent of the vote. At least, that's what would happen in our district, exactly the same way the President would win with 99 percent of the vote.

Out-of-pocket in the Caucasus

Owen Smith's picture

I am partway through a trip to the countries of the South Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia), where winter is settling in—snow in Tbilisi and Yerevan, and a raw wind on Baku’s seafront.

It is a diverse region at the proverbial crossroads, but one common trait is a bleak health financing environment. All three countries rely on out-of-pocket (OOP) expenditures for about two-thirds of total health spending, well above their peer groups, including other countries of the former Soviet Union or middle-income countries around the world. As a result, the incidence of “impoverishing” and “catastrophic” health spending by households—both common indicators of financial protection—are among the highest in the world. Besides costing some households dearly, OOP expenditures also keep many others away from the hospital or clinic: Utilization rates are among the lowest in Europe and Central Asia.

How did the Caucasus become such OOP outliers? The proximate causes are clear enough: large formal or informal payments for health care and high prices and overconsumption of pharmaceuticals. Many of these issues, in turn, can be traced to low levels of government spending on health, around 1.8% of GDP in all three countries, roughly half the regional average. Health spending is low as a share of government budgets, as well. As a result, providers recover costs directly from patients, and can have more latitude to engage in rent-seeking in the absence of stronger pooling and purchasing mechanisms.

A little noticed but powerful ‘Agency’ for gender development

Louise Cord's picture

Ventanilla, Perú

Less than one hour from the burgeoning, cosmopolitan boutiques and coffee shops of Lima’s chic San Isidro district, Carmen shares a one-room, patched-up wooden shack with her in-laws and her three small children in the outskirts of Ventanilla, an impoverished area north of Lima.

She is distraught, one side of her face paralyzed from stress as she faces the unimaginable: eviction from her humble dwelling and the possibility of tuberculosis striking again her two year old, and herself too.

Closing the Gap Between Climate Change Science and Public Opinion

Anne-Katrin Arnold's picture

The global policy community seems unlikely to take drastic steps with regard to climate change any time soon. Politicians remain hesitant about taking action, although scientific consensus on climate change is overwhelming. It’s happening, it’s happening now, and it will cause massive damage. And it’s mostly caused by humans. Public opinion, on the other hand, is far behind the science. Are politicians unwilling to impose dramatic measures to slow down climate change because the public is unwilling to pay the cost – yet? Are they kicking the can down the road because the people are not yet willing to fully embrace the fact and the consequences of climate change?

Brazil and Africa: Bridging the Atlantic

Susana Carrillo's picture

Linked in the distant past through colonial-era trade enterprises, Brazil and Africa are becoming close partners again. More than two centuries after establishing a slave trade route across the Atlantic, both regions are again re-engaging, this time to exchange knowledge and further economic and social development.

Sub-Saharan African countries are looking to replicate Brazil’s successes in boosting agricultural production and exports, and private investments, which have made Brazil a key economic player in the international arena. This is no coincidence. The world is going though rapid changes, resulting in a new financial architecture, with emerging economies and countries in the South increasingly participating and influencing global decisions.


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