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February 2012

Africa: In search of the Brazilian economic miracle

Susana Carrillo's picture

También disponible en español
 

África: en busca del milagro económico brasileño

 
During the second half of 2011, relations between Africa and Brazil continued to flourish as part of the historic trade, cultural and economic rapprochement of the two economic juggernauts. Specifically, African governments asked for more financing from the South American country to implement development projects, according to Brazil’s National Bank of Economic and Social Development (BNDES).

Key reasons for intensifying this relationship include the fact that Brazil is now the world’s sixth-largest economy (after China, the United States, France, Germany and Japan) and that it has become a major player in South-South cooperation.

More Foreign Direct Investment in Retail for India?

Bingjie Hu's picture

Recently, India has seen a heated debate on the entry of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country’s $400 billion retail market. In November 2011, the government proposed a policy change to open up the country’s multi-brand retail segment -- for retailers such as Wal-Mart and Carrefour. Foreign investors were to be allowed to own up to 51 percent of a multi-brand retailer if they invested at least $100 mn, with half spent on infrastructure development in India. Within weeks of the announcement, the government suspended the decision amid protests from opposition parties and small shopkeepers citing concerns over large scale job losses, especially in the small, unorganized retail sector.

What is FDI?

Foreign direct investment (FDI) refers to the net inflows of foreign investment to acquire a lasting management interest (more than 10 percent of voting stock) in a domestic company. In 1997, the government permitted 100 percent FDI in the wholesale cash and carry trade, in which customers arranged the transport of goods from wholesalers and paid for goods in cash (not credit), on a case-by-case basis.

The Future of Education: What Happens to Accreditation Under an Open Education Model?

Tanya Gupta's picture

In our last blog The Future of Education: Amazon or an eBay Model? "Anonymous" posted an excellent question:

"Very insightful, and I agree with most of the premises. The only one that stands out is the accreditation/social validation angle. IIT or Harvard graduate has a validation angle to employers, which will not go away for top institutions".

We had the exact same comment from a colleague on the blog recently and this blog summarizes some views on the subject:

Capital Account Liberalization: Are there Lessons to be Learned?

Otaviano Canuto's picture

Photo: WikiCommons User, CopyLeftAfter the Second World War, advanced economies began an ambitious process toward capital account liberalization, which prioritized the liberalization of trade, the maintenance of fixed exchange rates, and a commitment to current account convertibility.

Beyond transparency: What’s next?

Michael Jarvis's picture

Does transparency lead to development? Not necessarily. At least not when it comes to the oil, gas, and mining sectors. Transparency is important but far from sufficient to improve livelihoods. An ongoing discussion among practitioners on the Governance of Extractive Industries (GOXI) platform reveals a lack of clear answers to this question.

Do Informed Citizens Receive More, or Pay More?

Philip Keefer's picture

One widely-accepted political economy research finding is that informed citizens receive greater benefits from government transfer programs. The evidence for the impact of information comes from particular contexts—disaster relief in India and welfare payments in the USA during the Great Depression.  Do other contexts yield similar results?  New research on the distribution of anti-malaria bed nets in Benin suggests:  “No.”  Instead, local health officials charged more informed households for bed nets that they could have given them for free.

The Benin context differs in three ways.  First, the policy is not the distribution of cash, but of health benefits.  Households’ access to information then influences not only their knowledge of government programs to distribute such benefits, but also the value they place on them. 

Second, the political context also differs.  In younger democracies, like Benin’s, citizens are more likely to confront additional obstacles, besides a lack of information, in their efforts to extract promised benefits from government.

Are the Danes the happiest people in the world? Using vignettes to anchor subjective responses

Jed Friedman's picture

Quite often the popular press carries stories that compare happiness or life satisfaction across nations (for example see last October’s story: Denmark is Happiest Country). Regular readers of this blog will recognize these reports as summaries of research on subjective well-being (SWB) and would be somewhat skeptical of SWB comparisons across populations with very different characteristics and cultures. Why?

New benchmarking tool helps universities grade themselves

Adriana Jaramillo's picture
World Bank | Arne Hoel | 2011Arab World Higher Education Ministers have endorsed a screening card tool to benchmark university governance across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Developed by a higher education program at the World Bank supported  Marseille Center for Mediterranean Integration, it is aimed at benchmarking university governance and identifying different patterns and “fitness for purpose” to help higher education institutions understand how they can improve performance.

How Should the World Bank Support Social Accountability: Share Your Views!

John Garrison's picture

This is a question many World Bank stakeholders – civil society, government, private sector representatives – have been debating in recent years.  The questions is even more timely now that the Bank is considering establishing a new global Partnership for Social Accountability geared to supporting civil society capacity to engage with governments to improve development effectiveness.  It comes in response to a speech Mr. Zoellick gave in April 2011 on the need to scale up relations with civil society in the wake of the Arab Spring and growth of civil society worldwide. 

Shifting Gears: Capitalism and the Logic of 'Competitive Industries'

Christopher Colford's picture

The genius of capitalism is also its peril: Adaptable and self-correcting over time, capitalism’s wealth-generating machinery constantly adjusts to meet the changing demands of the marketplace and the law. Yet society can pay a drastic price for that adaptability: Wrenching change occurs at history’s critical transition-points, as the machinery abruptly shifts gears. Wrenching change occurs when the economy suddenly shifts gears. (Photo Credit: Ralph Bijker, Flickr Creative Commons)

As the economy struggles to recover after its latest trauma, 2008’s bursting of the credit bubble, a timely and incisive new book – “Power Inc.: The Epic Rivalry Between Big Business and Government, and the Reckoning That Lies Ahead” – offers a deep historical perspective on today’s transition toward some new, still-evolving variant of capitalism. Author David Rothkopf, the Editor-at-Large of Foreign Policy magazine, explored capitalism’s dynamism and dangers as a panel of scholars helped launch the book last week at a Washington think tank.


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