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August 2009

Farewell to Ironwood Forests: The end of an ecosystem in central Sumatra, Indonesia

Tony Whitten's picture
Photo: Sarah Farhat/World Bank.

Ugandan’s access to financial services has improved dramatically in recent years. More than half of Uganda’s adult population now has access to an account at a formal financial institution. This is almost twice as many as in 2009. The entry and fast penetration of mobile money is the main reason for the increase, having allowed 8 million Ugandans to conduct financial transactions.

A global climate change venture capital fund would be useful but not a panacea

Jean-Louis Racine's picture

This past spring, UNESCO published its 2010 Education for All Global Monitoring Report, which offered an in-depth look at the pressing need for countries and donors to focus on Reaching the Marginalized. 

Every year, millions of children are shut out of the classroom. Overwhelmingly, those left on the side lines are among society's most marginalized populations -- and in numbers, are disproportionately female.

Can Zimbabwe Turn the Corner?

Praveen Kumar's picture

Much has changed in Zimbabwe since last November. There are signs of recovery following the return of price stability after full dollarization in January. However doubts about the political situation continue to obstruct further recovery.

The most visible sign of improvement is the demise of surreal hyperinflation which according to one estimate peaked at about 80 billion percent. Interestingly, full dollarization initially occurred not because the government chose it as a deliberate stabilization measure.  Exasperated residents simply abandoned the Zimbabwean dollar and moved on to using multiple hard currencies.  In January, the Government too abandoned the Zimbabwean dollar and started using the US Dollar and the South African Rand for both collecting taxes and spending.  Hyperinflation died a natural death in Zimbabwe, it was not tamed.

Quote of the Week

Antonio Lambino's picture

"When real people argue about politics with friends and associates, they probably will not formulate new arguments or articulate reasons entirely by themselves as deliberative theory advocates.  After all, even those pundits who argue as 'professionals' are mostly rehashing preexisting political arguments.  But citizens do need to be skilled at picking among these competing arguments, and at circulating them among themselves, trying them out in informal conversation and discarding those that do not ring true.  The marketplace of ideas will not work properly if political elites are the only ones involved."

                  - Diana C. Mutz (2006, pp. 149-150)
                    Hearing the Other Side:
                    Deliberative versus Participatory Democracy   

 

Photo credit: The Brookings Institution

Access to credit and employment protection legislation

Might access to credit have anything to do with support for employment protection legislation (EPL)? Felipe Balmaceda and Ronald Fischer propose a connection. Workers in firms with easy access to credit EPL. Workers in firms with shaky access to credit oppose EPL.

Private Companies’ Response to the Crisis

Raj Nallari's picture

Ernst & Young interviewed a large of number of managers and owners of companies around the world, first in January 2009 and again in June 2009 [1]. Companies were surprised by the speed and severity of downturn and the impact was more than expected in January 2009. Many respondents feel that the crisis has permanently changed their operating model (43%), the regulatory framework for their sector (45%) and risk management (56%). The compilation of their responses on the impact of and responses to the crisis is quite revealing.

Citizen Inspectors General to the Rescue

Fumiko Nagano's picture

According to The Financial Times, the U.S. government’s Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board plans to launch in October what the FT calls “the most complex government website in history." The Recovery Board, an independent body headed by Chairman Earl Devaney, is tasked to oversee the outflow of the US $787 billion stimulus package to jumpstart the ailing economy, and the state-of the-art website is intended to engage citizens in tracking the use of taxpayer money.

What caught my attention is the premise behind this initiative—that citizens know best what is happening in their own communities. In an effort to rein in waste, fraud, and abuse of stimulus funds, the Recovery Board is putting into practice the principles of accountability and transparency through partnership with citizens. The Board understands that to carry out its mandate successfully, it needs to equip citizens with information so that they can help the Board do its job. As Mr. Devaney explains, “The website will unleash a million citizen IGs [inspectors-general].”

How Web design can show the forward march of gender in project design

Molly Norris's picture

Fighting poverty means helping women not as an afterthought, but as forethought. Women’s disproportionate share of the poor makes them a special demographic. And we’re targeting them more and more.

Last year, 45 percent of lending operations looked through a gender lens when planning their projects -- up 10 percent from the year before. Project planners ran gender assessments, set aside resources for gender initiatives and broadly incorporated gender into project components.

Enter the Web. Mouse over the infographic below to take a look region-by-region.

Weekly news update on climate change: Aug 27

Swati Mishra's picture

Earlier this month, the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program (WSP), Nordic Human Rights Trust Fund, and the World Bank’s Sanitation Thematic Group hosted Catarina de Albuquerque, the first UN Special Rapporteur on the human right to sanitation and safe drinking water. She discussed the human right to sanitation with sector and human rights experts, and what it means in practice. One of the most notable questions she addressed was--- if something is a human right, does that mean it has to be free? 



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