|A slowdown in global industrial production is becoming evident, as the inventory cycle is drawing to a|
close, notably in the United States, and as fiscal support measures in key economies are being withdrawn.
Important developments today:
1. Chile returns to international bond market after six-year absence
2. S&P upgrades Ukraine’s credit ratings
3. Unemployment in the Euro Area holds steady at 10%; inflation rises
- Prospects Daily
An important book has just been released by the World Bank: Demanding Good Governance: Lessons from Social Accountability Initiatives in Africa (edited by Mary McNeil and Carmen Malena). The book is important because the content is provided by practitioners in the field, who share real life examples from their firsthand knowledge and experiences. This is likely to further South to South learning, and, therefore, a departure from the standard literature in the field.
The book describes and analyzes the work of seven countries in Sub-Saharan Africa: Benin, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. The case studies were identified from multi-country social accountability stocktaking exercises commissioned by the World Bank Institute in view of representing a variety of approaches, strategies and objectives within a range of political, social, cultural and institutional context. The analysis and descriptions of these seven initiatives are intended to serve as a resource for government and civil society representatives who are interested in exploring similar possibilities for their countries and for research communities and donors to promote and support enhanced social accountability and demand for good governance in Africa. The following are some questions that the book attempts to answer:
The WSJ reports that UK's Prime Minister David Cameron is pushing for India to lower its barriers to investment:
Is Africa the next hotspot for international investment? That's one of the contentions of the McKinsey Global Institute in a recent report entitled Lions on the Move: The progress and potential of African economies. Collectively, African economies saw a significant uptick in growth over the last decade, with GDP growing at a 4.9 percent annual rate from 2000 through 2008.
As part of Asli's FPD Chief Economist Talk series, Susan Lund, the principal author of the report, came to the World Bank last week to discuss her findings. A video of her talk appears below the jump. The talk itself runs to the 29-minute mark, and the Q&A that follows runs another 52 minutes. Clearly, this presentation captured the attention of World Bank staff.
Humanitarian aid is not a standard topic for the PSD Blog, but I ran across a post recently on the disaster in Haiti that cuts across a lot of themes. Over at iRevolution, Patrick Philip Meier discusses the tension between those who helped crowdsource information related to the disaster -- what he calls the crowd-sorcerers -- and the formal humanitarian aid organizations -- playfully called "muggles".
In my last blog, I wrote about the potential of social media in promoting good governance, specifically participatory governance. The example I talked about – participatory processes used in President Obama’s “Race to the Top” - was in the context of a mature democracy, with enabling institutions, infrastructure and an engaged civil society, all of which contributed to the success of “Race to the Top”. However, even in an environment where these elements are not present, social media can still contribute to improved governance, although in a different and perhaps more limited way. Despite the lack of strong institutions, rampant poverty, limited infrastructure, and the ever-present threat of censorship, social media (often fuelled by mobile technology) has played a role in countries such as Bangladesh and Iran.
Editor's Note: The following post was submitted jointly by Roberto Rocha, Senior Adviser, MENA, Rania Khouri, Director, Union of Arab Banks, Subika Farazi, Consultant, MENA, and Douglas Pearce, Senior Private Sector Development Specialist, MENA.
Small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) are increasingly a priority for policymakers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, who see SMEs as key to solving the challenge of improving competitiveness, raising incomes, and generating employment. Data from the World Bank’s Enterprise Surveys suggest that access to finance for SMEs is more constrained in MENA than in other emerging regions, with only one in 5 SMEs having a loan or line of credit. Yet until recently there has been no comprehensive survey of the supply of SME finance in MENA. SME policymakers may therefore lack comprehensive information to design reforms, while SME finance providers may not have access to valuable market information to inform design of SME financial services and delivery channels.
To fill this knowledge gap, the Bank recently carried out a survey in cooperation with the Union of Arab Banks of SME lending in the region. We were fortunate to receive a very high response rate – we have data from 139 banks, which account for about half of MENA banks and almost two thirds of the banking system loans in 16 countries. The survey covered the following themes: i) strategic approach to SME lending, ii) main products offered to SMEs, iii) risk management techniques employed, and iv) SME lending data. This is the first dataset of its kind for this region, and builds on similar efforts in the Latin America and Caribbean region.
How many of us succeed the first time we try something? I would venture to guess not many. But how often do we talk about what we learn from failure, how we would do things differently, and what others could do to avoid making the same mistakes as us? I would guess not often. But in dealing with technology, it's vitally important to do it, and do it quickly.
Convergence is radically changing the possibilities for broadband