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Private Sector Development

The Legacy of Saman Kelegama

Sanjay Kathuria's picture
Saman Kelegama, a Sri Lankan economist and the Executive Director of the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS Sri Lanka) died prematurely in June 2017. He was a champion of deeper South Asian cooperation.
Saman Kelegama, a Sri Lankan economist and the Executive Director of the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS Sri Lanka) died prematurely in June 2017. He was a champion of deeper South Asian cooperation. Credit:  Institute of Policy Studies

I first met Saman in the early 1990s in Delhi.  Over the years, our paths diverged.  When I re-engaged on South Asia, I ran into Saman again. We re-connected instantly, despite the long intervening period.  This was easy to do with Saman—soft-spoken, affable, a gentleman to the core.  He bore his considerable knowledge lightly.  

Despite his premature passing away in June 2017, he left a rich and varied legacy behind him. I will confine myself to discussing his insights on regional cooperation in South Asia, based on his public writings and my interactions with him.

Saman was a champion of deeper economic linkages within South Asia. He was also pragmatic. 

Along with a few other regional champions, Saman, as the head of the Institute of Policy Studies in Colombo, helped to kick-start the “South Asian Economic Summit”, or SAES, in Colombo in 2008, to provide a high-profile forum for dialogue on topical issues, especially South Asian regional integration. It is remarkable that the SAES has endured, without any gap. The fact that the policy and academic fraternity meet with unfailing regularity, despite on-and-off political tensions in the region, is testimony to its value.

Saman repeatedly stressed that Sri Lanka has been able to reap benefits from the India-Sri Lanka FTA (ISFTA), contrary to the general belief. His arguments were powerful: the import-export ratio for Sri Lanka improved from 10.3 in 2000 (the start of the ISFTA) to 6.6 in 2015; about 70 percent of Sri Lanka’s exports to India get duty-free access under the FTA, but less than 10 percent of Sri Lanka’s imports from India come under the FTA (since India provided “special and differential treatment” to Sri Lanka).

Chocolate innovation: Sweet tooth hackers solve cocoa farmers’ challenges

Katie Nunner's picture

While chocolate is a sweet treat for consumers around the world, its producers face many challenges. Every year, more than five million family farmers in countries like Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Indonesia and Brazil produce about four and a half million tons of cocoa beans, according to the World Cocoa Foundation. Farm-level input providers, financial institutions, chocolate manufacturers, development organizations and more are coming together to create digital solutions to improve access to finance and boost agricultural productivity for a sustainable and climate smart cocoa supply chain. 

Last week, the World Cocoa Foundation’s partnership meeting brought together key stakeholders from small scale farmers to large multinationals including Cargill, Nestle, and Mars, under the theme “Accelerating Sustainability Through Technology and Innovation.”

To spark the industry into further innovation and collaboration, infoDev partnered with the WCF to sponsor the second annual Chocothon, a two-day hackathon where three teams came together to “hack” the cocoa supply chain and generate new creative solutions to the common challenges cocoa farmers and suppliers face. The Future Food Institute, the International Trade Center, and Valrhona, a premium chocolate manufacturer, were all heavily involved in the Chocothon as mentors and a number of us from infoDev joined in the excitement. Given their experience with cocoa supply chain partners, Valrhona’s co-sponsorship and engagement provided valuable insights to guide the ‘choco-hackers.’  
 

The Geo Cocoa, Kejetia, and Cocoa Run teams pose together with some of the Chocothon mentors.
Photo Credit: World Cocoa Foundation

Chart: It's Never Been Faster to Start A Business

Tariq Khokhar's picture

Over the last 15 years, the Doing Business project has recorded nearly 3,200 reforms in 186 economies around the world. The area that's seen the greatest number of reforms is starting a business. Today, the time taken to start a new small or medium business has less than halved to an average of 20 days worldwide, compared with 52 in 2003. Read more in Doing Business 2018

Effective monitoring and evaluation practices for competitions and crowdsourcing: Lessons from India

Natalia Agapitova's picture

What’s the key ingredient for successful innovations? I often hear people answer creativity, collaboration, open mindset, leadership. For me, it is the ability to learn and adapt.

But learning is meaningful only if it’s based on reliable data, and adaptation leads to the expected results if the data is timely and feeds into the decision-making process.

For example, take GNRC Medical (formerly known as Guwahati Neurological Research Centre), a hospital in North Guwahati, India that aims to provide quality healthcare service at an affordable cost to underprivileged populations. GNRC has an inclusive multi-specialty facility, provides ambulance services, and offers customized healthcare packages to the poor, promoting preventive healthcare and early intervention. Despite its unique service offer, GNRC faced major challenges, including the lack of awareness among local communities on medical conditions and available treatments.

Steps to increase cooperation between national development banks, the private sector and multilateral banks

Ceyla Pazarbasioglu's picture



The program of events at the just concluded 2017 World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings was rich, and covered a range of topics instrumental to the World Bank Group’s work.

However, the event closest to my heart was on the role national development banks (NDBs) can play to close the staggering financing gap needed to reach the Sustainable Development Goals, nicknamed going “from billions to trillions” of dollars.

Since the SDGs were announced, the international development community has been looking at ways to tap into new funding venues, attract the private sector and build relevant private-public sector partnerships.

National development banks are important: they are key in attracting and mobilizing private sector funding.

A decade of PPPs in Latin America and the Caribbean: What have we learned?

Roland Michelitsch's picture

Also available in: EspañolPortuguês


Photo (right): Mr. Amarin Jitnathum | Shutterstock

The Latin America and Caribbean region (LAC) has an infrastructure gap: the region needs to invest at least 5% of GDP to cover its infrastructure needs, but is currently investing only half that. To put it mildly, there is still a lot of room for improvement for both the public and private sectors, and also for multilaterals working in the region.

In a combined effort to reduce infrastructure gaps, Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) have become, again, a popular tool since 2005. LAC was the predominant region for PPPs until the late 1990s, when investments plummeted due in part to a backlash of poorly-implemented PPPs.

Triggered by low commodity prices and rising fiscal deficits, as well as by improvements in PPP readiness, many countries established dedicated agencies and strengthened regulations leading to increases in PPP investments from $8 billion in 2005 to $39 billion in 2015. In total, LAC has seen investments of $361.3 billion in around 1,000 PPP infrastructure projects in just one decade, mostly in energy and transport.

Uma década de PPPs na América Latina e Caribe: O que aprendemos?

Roland Michelitsch's picture

Also available in: Español | English


Foto (direita): Amarin Jitnathum | Shutterstock

A região da América Latina e Caribe (ALC) apresenta uma lacuna em termos de infraestrutura: a região precisa investir no mínimo 5% do PIB para atender suas necessidades neste setor, mas atualmente investe apenas metade desse percentual.  Explicando de uma forma suave, há ainda muito espaço para melhorias por parte do setor público, do setor privado, bem como das organizações multilaterais que trabalham na região.

Em um esforço combinado de reduzir as lacunas de infraestrutura, as Parcerias Público-Privadas voltaram a ser uma ferramenta popular a partir de 2005. A ALC era a região com maior predominância de PPPs até o fim dos 1990s, quando os investimentos despencaram em parte como reação adversas provocadas por PPPs mal implementadas.

Incentivados pelos preços baixos dos produtos primários e déficits fiscais crescentes, assim como pelo aprimoramento da capacidade de preparação de PPPs, muitos países criaram agências específicas e fortaleceram regulamentações que levaram ao aumento de investimentos em PPPs de US$ 8 bilhões em 2005 para US$ 39 bilhões em 2015. No total, em apenas uma década, a ALC teve investimentos de US$ 361,3 bilhões referentes a aproximadamente 1000 PPPs de projetos de infraestrutura, principalmente nos setores de energia e transportes.

Global Investment Competitiveness: New Insights on FDI

Anabel Gonzalez's picture

It is easy enough to find data on flows of foreign direct investment (FDI). There are also plenty of anecdotes out there that purportedly encapsulate what businesses worldwide are thinking. It is far more difficult, however, to establish rigorous connections between global investment trends and individual investment decisions by international companies. In the World Bank Group’s newly published Global Investment Competitiveness Report 2017–2018, our team does just this, combining new survey data, rigorous econometric analysis, and extensive literature reviews to reveal what is going on behind the headline numbers.



Here are some of the key takeaways:
 

A new generation of CEOs: Running a business in West Africa as a woman

Alexandre Laure's picture

Also available in: Français

What is it like to set up and run an incubator as a woman? The answer, much like anywhere else in the world for working women, is that it’s complicated.

In many countries, it’s still unusual to see women working in certain sectors. Regina Mbodj, CTIC Dakar CEO, knows very few women in Senegal who studied ICT. “When I came home and told people about my studies, a lot of people responded, 'I thought only men did that!'"

Mariem Kane, an engineer by training and now president of Mauritania’s incubator Hadina RIMTIC, said that career development can be difficult for women who have been trained in hard skills. “It’s tough for women to find opportunities in these sectors and, because we’re considered more suited to softer skills, we aren’t given the opportunity to prove ourselves.”

World Bank partners with LinkedIn for innovative data and insights on South Africa's most in-demand skills

Alan Fritzler's picture
When policymakers understand what’s happening in the economy—in real time and with real clarity—they can create better solutions to improve productivity, performance, and innovation.
 

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