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June 2016

Quote of the week: Cindy Gallop

Sina Odugbemi's picture

"Fear is the most paralyzing dynamic in both business and in life. You will never own the future if you care what other people think."

- Cindy Gallop, an English advertising consultant, founder and former chair of the US branch of advertising firm Bartle Bogle Hegarty, and founder of the IfWeRanTheWorld and MakeLoveNotPorn companies.

Steak, fries and air pollution

Garo Batmanian's picture
 Guangqing Liu
Photo © : Guangqing Liu

While most people link air pollution only to burning fossil fuels, other activities such as agriculture and biomass burning also contribute to it. The complexity of air pollution can be explained by analyzing the composition of the PM2.5, one the most important air pollution indicators. 

A worldwide effort to improve PPP practice

Jyoti Bisbey's picture

Although institutions and the private sector have devoted both money and time to capacity building in public-private partnerships (PPPs) for infrastructure, results have been mixed. A misalignment of expectations remains – and this manifests itself in too few deals reaching the market and the wrong projects being proposed as PPPs. But a group of multilateral development banks (MDBs) is committed to solving this problem with the new APMG PPP Certification Program. This innovative, collaborative approach to setting standards for PPP professionals will ultimately result in PPP projects that are appropriate solutions tailored to the needs of the people they serve. This is the first time the MDBs have come together to support a global curriculum on PPPs, which is accessible to anyone with an internet connection – and part of it is offered at no cost.

Globalization of Food Has a Long History

Maya Brahmam's picture

Our Green Competitiveness Launchpad team is looking at agriculture supply chains in Bangladesh and how they’re affected by climate change – as farmers change the crops they plant owing to drought or flooding. As a result, we’ve been exploring the supply chains of a number of crops from guavas to sunflower and mung beans.

There’s a fascinating infographic from CIAT (International Center for Tropical Agriculture) that illustrates the geographical diversity of the common foods we eat every day. It shows that the globalization of food began centuries ago. Many cultures incorporate foods that originated thousands of miles away. For example, sunflower originated in North America and is now widely produced in Eastern Europe, and guava originated in Central America and is now mainly produced in South Asia.

We know very little about what makes innovation policy work: Four areas for more learning

Xavier Cirera's picture

Photo Credit: Innovation Growth Lab.

Whether in Silicon Valley or Kenya’s furniture sector, innovation is a critical driver of job creation and economic growth. It could be a mobile app to connect farmers and buyers of agricultural products. Or perhaps an efficient and affordable solar roof tile. Innovation comes in many forms, from products and services to business models.

Yet despite the growing investment in policies to support innovation, we know surprisingly little about what makes these policies effective. To advance understanding of what works in innovation policy, Nesta, in collaboration with the Kauffman Foundation and the World Bank Group, organized the recent Innovation Growth Lab (IGL) Global Conference in London. The mission of IGL is to promote evidence-based innovation and entrepreneurship policies by funding randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and testing new policy approaches.
The conference was successful in discussing both research and policy challenges — a welcome change from typical innovation conferences, which often focus on either academia or policy.

This week in #SouthAsiaDev: June 17, 2016

Mary Ongwen's picture
Tras pasar varios años frente a una computadora todos los días, comencé a sentirme lejos de aquellas personas que constituían la verdadera razón de mi trabajo, que tiene el objetivo de construir un medio ambiente más seguro, sano y próspero. Hasta que un día, las personas que conocía fueron afectadas directamente por los problemas en los que estaba trabajando, y mi trabajo pasó a tener otro significado y otra urgencia.

Como especialista sénior en agua y saneamiento del Banco Mundial, he estado en ambos lados del mostrador: como alguien que trabaja en temas de gestión de inundaciones, y también como una persona cuya vida ha sido afectada por las repercusiones de las mismas.

How Poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa is Linked to China’s Transformation

Csilla Lakatos's picture
Students using new high-speed Internet in Tonga. Photo: World Bank Group

For private financiers, official government support to information and communications technology (ICT) projects might seem like trying to push water downhill. After all, isn’t ICT incredibly profitable? What’s the point of a public-private partnership (PPP) in this sector, anyway?

Here’s the rest of that familiar argument: Government should stay out of the way and let the private sector carry the communications sector; it is a waste of effort and inefficient to try to push forward something that has its own momentum. Like a rushing river, the naysayers conclude, ICT needs no help advancing down its inevitable course.

It sounds reasonable in theory, but in practice, that approach just doesn’t work. The government needs to guide the river down the best course for the citizens it serves, building a weir or mill to help the river provide maximum benefits to the people who need it. And, just as water is the foundation of life, communication technologies are necessary to prosper in today’s world. Knowledge is power. And specifically, access to markets is improved by mobile phones, as is access to banking services, finance, investment opportunities, and education.

Successful ICT strategies usher in jobs, empowerment and economic growth.

Weekly links June 17: evaluating industrial clusters, simulated patients, environmental research in development, and more…

David McKenzie's picture
Local communities in the Chittagong Hill Tracts have created awareness videos to encourage the consumption of nutritious foods, including indigenous foods, threatened by packaged food products with low nutritional value
Local communities in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh have created awareness videos to encourage the consumption of nutritious foods, including indigenous foods, threatened by packaged food products with low nutritional value.

In Bangladesh, chronic and acute malnutrition are higher than the World Health Organization’s (WHO) thresholds for public health emergencies—it is one of 14 countries where eighty percent of the world’s stunted children live.
Food insecurity remains a critical concern, especially in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT).
Located in the southeastern part of Bangladesh, CHT is home to 1.7 million people, of whom, about a third are indigenous communities living in the hills. The economy is heavily dependent on agriculture, but farming is difficult because of the steep and rugged terrain.
With support from the South Asia Food and Nutrition Security Initiative (SAFANSI), the Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) conducted a food and nutrition analysis which finds that more than 60% of the population in CHT migrates during April – July when food becomes harder to procure.
Based on these findings, MJF helped raise awareness through nutrition educational materials and training.  The foundation staff also formed courtyard theatres with local youth to deliver nutrition messages, expanded food banks with nutritious and dry food items, and popularized the concept of a “one dish nutritious meal” through focal persons or “nutrition agents” among these communities.

Supporting entrepreneurship and innovation in Africa

Gessye Ginelle Safou-Mat's picture
Trade & remittancesСогласно общепринятой точке зрения, при снижении цен на нефть под ударом оказываются только богатые страны-экспортеры нефти, а для бедных стран, импортирующих нефть, снижение цен - неожиданная удача. Но если говорить о Центральной Азии, то все не так просто, поскольку бедные страны этого региона – Таджикистан и Кыргызстан – в значительной мере зависят от торговли и денежных переводов из России.

Сокращение объема денежных переводов в результате ослабления российского рубля

В соответствии с недавно опубликованными Центробанком России данными, в первой половине года объем денежных переводов из России в долларовом выражении резко снизился. По отчетным данным, за первые шесть месяцев 2015 года (по сравнению с тем же периодом 2014 года) переводы, совершенные физическими лицами в Таджикистан и Кыргызстан из России, сократились на более чем 45% и 30%, соответственно. Еще более значительным оказалось снижение денежных переводов в Узбекистан – 48%, хотя зависимость этой страны от денежных переводов меньше.