THE BEGINNING OF HISTORY AND THE FIRST MAN

The Bretton Woods architecture consists of four key institutions that were created in the 1940s: The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade that subsequently became the World Trade Organization. The Bretton Woods summit was the successful beginning of a phenomenal creation process that designed […]

Words Apart

On Sunday night I had dinner with World Bank economist Branko Milanovic, one of the leading experts in income inequality. Branko authored a book in 2005 called “Worlds Apart”. It is after Branko’s inspiring book that this article is entitled. Branko’s book describes the immense income gap between Hemispheres. This article describes the immense opinion […]

THE REALITY OF AID (II)

Today only a handful of countries have reached the magic number. Percentage wise the United States is the country in the OECD that devotes less public money to development aid. As Robert Calderisi points out: Only five countries (Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden) have met the United Nations’ target of providing 0.7 percent […]

THE REALITY OF AID (I)

In their paper Ghost of 0.7%: Origins and Relevance of the International Aid Target, Michael A. Clemens and Todd J. Moss of the Center for Global Development review the rationale behind the determination of the percentage and its significance in today’s environment. Clemens and Moss also provide evidence that “no government ever agreed in a […]

SACHSTERLY

The world of the twenty-first century is a world of feasible priorities. The world of the twenty-first century is the world of cornucopia and eutopia, the world where the History of Tomorrow has to be explored, the world of creative construction. For years I read the work of the best development economists of our time. […]

The Millenium’s Challenge

The Millenium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is a United States Agency created in 2005 by President George W. Bush. The MCC was headed by Ambassador John Danilovich between 2005 and 2008, a businessman, diplomat and former Ambassador of the United States to Costa Rica and Brazil. In its first fours years of operation since 2005, the […]

Avoiding the curse

Revenues from the oil and mining activity should feed a government’s budget and help finance education, healthcare and infrastructure. When revenues are not spent directly, they should be accumulated in a wealth fund that becomes an endowment to be spent by future generations.

Revenue management is successful if the revenue allocation process fulfills the citizen’s basic needs via the provision of public goods such as education or healthcare. In order to succeed, revenue management should be administered by an administration that shows high levels of transparency and public governance. Transparency is necessary to make sure that each dollar of revenue is monitored and is not lost on its way from the mine to the government via corruption or bribery either at the governmental or the corporate level. Public governance guarantees the appropriate use of the available revenues.

Water and sanitation for all

Water and sanitation are part of the basic needs every human being should have access to. Only between 1990 and 2004 1.2 billion people worldwide gained access to improved sanitation (Black, 2008). As of 2008 41% of the world population, including almost one billion children, lacked access to appropriate sanitation facilities (Black, 2008).

A total of 341 million Africans did not have access to drinking water as of 2006, up by 61 million from 280 million in 1990 (UN Water, 2008a). In nine countries of Africa less than half the population has access to improved drinking water sources (UN Water, 2008a).

Social Business

The French dairy company Danone and the Grameen Group signed a joint venture in 2006 whereby a social business was created with an initial capital of $1 million. The business would manufacture and distribute fortified dairy products in Bangladesh without incurring losses and maximizing the benefits of the clients served. What are these benefits? According to Danone’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Franck Riboud the benefit is “To bring health through food to the largest number of people in Bangladesh” (Financial Express, 2006).

The initial factory was set up in Bogra, 230 kilometers north of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. The business plan targets the construction of 50 plants over the course of a 10 year period. Riboud confirmed on 29 April 2008 that Danone and Grameen would seek to build a second factory in 2009. The new facility would generate 3,000 tons of dairy products every year (France-Press, 2008).

Microsavings Insurance

I recently spent a week in Bangladesh, the country pioneer in microfinance. I had the opportunity of meeting with the senior management of BRAC and Grameen. BRAC is the world’s largest NGO and the third microfinance institutions in Bangladesh. Grameen is the world’s largest microfinance institution. I had the opportunity to see on the field the challenges microentrepreneurs face in their daily activity. It is time to propose new financial instruments allowing the extreme poor to have access to basic financial services, including microinsurance and microsavings insurance.