Warren Buffet once said “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” A positive international reputation, or the way I like to call it - “iReputation” - is something every person, company, organization, or country is looking for. Considerable amounts of money are being spent on building international reputation, especially by countries. Some are investing their resources in submitting competitive bids for hosting the Olympics, regional or world sports competitions, assuming that the successful organization of these events will strengthening and improve their iReputation and credibility. Others are trying to use costly and innovative marketing tools in order to give visibility to their countries and thus attract more tourists, investors and other categories of visitors. In this post I will address the case of some countries which have managed to gain iReputation because of successful implementation of eGovernment.
We tend to think of migration in the international context, but a greater scale of migration takes place within a country. China estimates that some 3.6 billion trips will be made during the 40-day period surrounding the Lunar New Year holiday this year. Some are on vacation and business, but most are to return home. Baidu even visualizes this massive internal migration from one place to another on a China map.
People cross provincial boundaries for many reasons – to find jobs, to earn higher incomes, to attain better/higher education or skills, to access hospital and other public services, to join family members, or to escape political instability or violence. Research has shown that, of all these, average wage differences are the most important factor to explain internal migration.
The successful WTO Ministerial at Bali has placed trade facilitation in the spotlight, but it is export promotion that takes pride of place in most national trade policy agendas. Sometimes export promotion seems a virtuous exercise, targeting small firms most in need of help. The US Government’s efforts through its Small Business Administration or under the National Export Initiative are an example. At other times, it seems cold-bloodedly pragmatic, geared towards large firms most able to use assistance. Examples are government support for national champions from Brazil to South Korea.
Financial Markets…Chinese stocks dropped the most in five months amid worries over property markets and the country’s currency weakened the most in more than three years. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index fell 2%, extending its four-day decline to 5.1%, led by a slump in property stocks on mounting funding concerns. China’s yuan depreciated 0.46% versus the dollar to 6.1266, the steepest drop since November 2010, spurred by signs Chinese economy is losing momentum.
Following on from last week’s food riots post, some wider context. The news is full of protests (Kiev, Caracas, Cairo), but to what extent is it really ‘all kicking off everywhere’ as Paul Mason claims? Just come across a pretty crude, but thought-provoking paper that tries to find out. For World Protests 2006-13, Isabel Ortiz, Sara Burke, Mohamed Berrada and Hernan Cortes scoured online media (international and national) to identify and analyse 843 protests over the period.
Among their findings are:
Protests have steadily increased in number, particularly after 2010 (see graph).
Protests were more prevalent in high income countries, but violent riots were mainly a low income country phenomenon (feel free to debate the arrow of causality on that one).
Co-authored by: Yvonne Nkrumah and Julia Mensah (WBIHS), and Lyudmila Bujoreanu (TWICT)
How satisfied are Uganda’s citizens with the services they receive in public health facilities? It’s a question that has important implications for Uganda’s efforts to improve service delivery and reform health systems, and one that was recently put directly to Ugandans, via crowdsourcing.
Last summer, the World Bank Group partnered with UNICEF and the Medicines Transparency Alliance (MeTA) to leverage two SMS-based platforms – U-report and mTrac – to generate real-time information from both citizens and health providers, providing critical evidence on health service delivery.
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received sounds pretty simple: Give it a shot.
Dr. Ted Alyea, a senior resident at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, gave me this advice in 1991 when I was the most junior of physicians, an intern.
We were standing outside a patient’s room in the Intensive Care Unit. Our team was discussing the plan for treating a very sick patient when Ted said to me, “Tell us what you think we should do next. Give it a shot.”
During patient rounds, interns take turns outside a hospital room presenting the patient’s background; reciting what is known about the patient and the disease or condition including careful recounting of symptoms, laboratory data, diagnostic studies and current treatment. Then the intern and senior resident go into the room to examine the patient and afterward the team decides on a plan for treatment.
Financial Markets…U.S. stocks rallied on Monday, with the S&P 500 index rising to a record high, as investors speculated the world biggest economy can withstand the normalization of Fed’s monetary policy. The U.S. stock rally shrugged off worries over a cooling property market in China. The S&P 500 gained as much as 0.9% to an all-time high of 1,852, surpassing a previous high of 1,848.38 reached on January 15, and the Dow Jones industrial average was also up 0.9% in morning trade. The S&P index has bounced back 5.4% from its low on February 3.
Remittances from migrant workers constitute a key source of finance for developing countries: in 2013, they stood at more than $ 410 billion, more than three times the size of official development assistance (World Bank, 2013). For many economies, remittance inflows exceed 10 percent of GDP. During the recent global financial crisis, remittances also proved much less volatile than other sources of finance, such as bank loans or portfolio investment. Remittances can therefore play an important role in pulling and keeping millions out of poverty.
But what precisely are they key factors driving remittances? For instance, how do they depend on macroeconomic and structural conditions in the migrants’ host country and country of origin? And what are the main barriers to remittances? There already exists a voluminous theoretical and empirical literature on these issues. However, it remains inconclusive, largely owing to limited data, as well as problems in establishing the direction of causality.