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July 2012

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.

Mashable
Gmail Downgrades, Launches SMS Version for African Countries

“While we’re used to seeing upgrades from our favorite tech products, Gmail has made an important step in the opposite direction.

Google launched Gmail SMS Wednesday, offering a mobile-based email solution for people in Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana. Gmail SMS is a tech downgrade, but it’s a lifestyle upgrade for email users without consistent Internet access.

“There’s so much you do with it: apply for a job, make an inquiry, get notifications from your social network, receive photos or an invitation that makes you smile, and just communicate back and forth with your friends,” said a post on Google’s Africa blog.”  READ MORE

AIDS 2012: In a watershed year, breakthroughs await

David Wilson's picture

When the International AIDS Conference was last held in Washington, D.C. in 1987, Ronald Reagan was U.S. president, the Soviet Union stood, a wall scarred a divided Berlin and China’s economy was roughly the size of Spain’s. The wider world – and the AIDS epidemic – has changed more than anyone foresaw.

 

The conference returns to Washington in a watershed year. AIDS remains the greatest infectious disease challenge of our age: more than 65 million people infected and 30 million deaths since the epidemic began, and roughly 3 million new infections and 2 million deaths a year.

 

These are grim statistics, but they belie the incredible progress made. When we met at the 1987 AIDS conference, the world had few tools to prevent deadly infections and no drugs to commute slow, agonizing, wasting death. Today, there is an expanding armory of proven prevention tools; new HIV infections have been reduced in more than 33 countries; and there are more drugs to treat HIV than for every retrovirus in history combined.  Annual treatment costs have been reduced 100-fold and AIDS treatment has been expanded 60-fold to reach 8 million people worldwide in the largest-ever expansion of lifesaving treatment.

 

As the pace of scientific progress accelerates, even greater breakthroughs await us.

 

Nowhere is this amazing progress more evident than in Africa. At its peak in Eastern and Southern Africa, AIDS was responsible for 50-70% of bed occupancy and two-thirds of all adult deaths. Let each of us simply try to imagine experiencing this in our own neighborhoods. In my country, Zimbabwe, hospitals overflowed with emaciated, dying people, nurses and doctors were undertakers, hospitals were hospices, and an entire society’s social life rotated from hospital beds to funeral gravesides. Coffin-making was the fastest growing business, lining miles of roads to overcrowded cemeteries.

The World Bank Published Report on “The Journey of Open Government and Open Data Moldova”

The Republic of Moldova is one of the first countries in the region and among the top 16 countries in the world to launch an open data platform. The initiatives of the Republic of Moldova to open its government and public data by capitalizing on Informational Technologies will lead to the improvement of public services, an increase in transparency and the promotion of innovation.

Jobs, Wages, and Exports Post-MFA Phase-out

Gladys Lopez-Acevedo's picture

At the end of 2004, the Multifibre Arrangement (MFA) was finally phased out, and with it, 30 years of quota restrictions by industrial countries on textile and apparel imports from developing countries. As expected, this phase-out led to a substantial reallocation of production and employment worldwide. In 2008, 70 percent of global apparel exports came from developing countries, making the sector a critical engine of growth. It often provides entry into formal employment for the unskilled, the poor, and women, owing to the relatively low technology and the labor-intensive nature of the work.

Guest Post by Winston Lin - Regression adjustment in randomized experiments: Is the cure really worse than the disease? (Part I)

Random assignment is intended to create comparable treatment and control groups, reducing the need for dubious statistical models. Nevertheless, researchers often use linear regression models to "adjust" for random treatment-control differences in baseline characteristics.

Facilitating Trade, Facilitating Development

Otaviano Canuto's picture

In 2001, trade representatives from around the world first arrived in Doha, the capital of tiny Qatar, for the latest round of World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations. The goal was ambitious: work to reduce trade barriers, while ensuring that developing countries secure their fair share of global trade growth.

Need to buy Treasury Bills and Bonds? There's an app for that!

OK, not exactly an App, but investors in Kenya will soon be able to buy T-bills and bonds offered by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), as agents of the Treasury, through their mobile phones (with or without a bank account)!

Buying T-bills and bonds through your mobile phone? It's possible! (Credit: kiwanja, Flickr Creative Commons)

This innovative project, led by CBK, with the support of the World Bank, is known as Treasury Mobile Direct. It will aim to extend the use of mobile technology beyond money transfers and broaden the choice of savings products for retail investors. Potential investors will only need a mobile phone line and a subscription to a mobile money service, which will enable telecoms operators open an electronic account with the Central Securities Depository (CDSC) or CBK on their behalf. These accounts are a requirement if you wish to invest in Government debt. The service will include purchase, interest payment and redemption of securities (short-term paper and bonds) through the mobile platform.


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