Mobilizing Development Via Mobile Phones

I’m sure I’m not the only one who uses my mobile phone for almost everything but to make a call. Thanks to technological advances and the explosion of social media, we text, tweet or do Facebook posts on our devices. But beyond mere communications tools, mobile phones are also crucial for fostering economic activity and […]

The East Asian Miracle 2.0

Almost 20 years ago, the World Bank released a groundbreaking report – The East Asian Miracle – that called worldwide attention to the economic success of eight economies in the region, leading to a discussion on the extent to which policies followed by them could be replicated. In a recent Economic Premise – “Avoiding Middle-Income […]

It’s Jobs, Stupid!

The World Bank has been tracking the world’s progress against poverty since the late eighties, but the release of 2008 data was the first time in which all regions of the developing world showed a decline in the number of people living below poverty lines! Furthermore, that phenomenon was seen in the vast majority of […]

Connecting Wagons: Why and How to Help Lagging Regions Catch Up

If it weren’t for the economic performance of China, Brazil and other emerging markets, the global economic slump following the 2008 financial crisis would have been much worse. Not by chance, prospects for the global economy became gloomier this year when those economies showed signs of decreasing resilience against the downward pull from advanced countries. […]

Paul Collier and His Plundering Planet: When Both Economists and Environmentalists Don’t Get It Right

Do you remember The Bottom Billion, Paul Collier’s 2007 book which became a classic? If you do, you will certainly like his latest work, The Plundered Planet. He came to launch his new book to the Bank, and I found it both fascinating and provocative. Let me give some examples of why.Professor Collier, now the Director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies at Oxford University, declares a two-front war on economists and environmentalists at the same time. He is against what he calls “utilitarian economists,” because if left on their own, they would end up plundering the planet. But Collier also takes on “romantic environmentalists,” who would be unable to eradicate hunger in case they’re given the chance to rule the world. So as you can see, the book’s premises don’t really fit into the script of the blockbuster, Oscar-winning movie Avatar.

Microfinance: Profiting from Poor

The massive investments by private equity firms coupled with an initial public offer (IPO) by SKS Microfinance has ignited a debate about the ethics and objectives of microfinance institutions (MFIs) in India.

The SKS Microfinance, the largest MFI in India with substantial investments by private equity firms and hedge funds, is planning to raise Rs.11,000 million ($250 million) through an IPO.

Some Thoughts on Haiti’s Suffering and Courage

Most of us have seen the heart-wrenching images of indescribable suffering, some of which has sadly affected people I knew and that are now gone.  One can only pray that God receive them in His glory and give strength to their families and friends.  At the same time you marvel at the courage, resilience and solidarity shown by the Haitian people, and also by many foreigners affected by the disaster that were working in the country.  The support from a lot of people outside and inside Haiti to the victims of the tragedy has been very generous, and we all should be thankful for this display of human kindness.

Half-Truths, Lies and Poverty

Since the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) were first set by the United Nations in the year 2000, much attention has been given to those pursuing the issue of poverty. Mohammed Yunis was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his novel work through Grameen Bank, and Jeffrey Sachs, an influential academic at the Earth Institute in Columbia University, New York, appeared on the cover pages of major magazines describing what he considers as an effective strategy to end poverty.  Even Bono, a highly acclaimed pop artist, entered the scene along with former president Bill Clinton to raise substantial money from governments for poverty programs.