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- The recently negotiated World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement will simplify customs procedures. A key outcome of these changes is less opportunity for corruption related to the import and export of goods.
- This article discusses key Articles of the Agreement and how each one reduces corruption risk.
- The long phase-in approach provided for in the Agreement, the flexibility afforded to developing countries, and the opportunity for technical assistance during implementation are additional factors that encourage adoption of the Agreement.
Chronicle of a Bust Foretold: Latin America cannot achieve sustainable development without recognizing that wealth is made, not found
Setting aside the headlines from Bolivia and Ecuador for the moment, these appear to be good times for Latin America and the Caribbean. GDP in the region is expected to grow 4% for the fourth year in a row and current account surpluses are rising. However, these positive indicators may be transitory — the very trends that are lending prosperity to the region are driving policies and perspectives down the same “boom and bust” trajectory of the past century.
The high price of commodities is the main source of Latin America’s impressive growth, but that cannot last forever. Unfortunately, today’s moment of prosperity may be enticing policymakers to defer needed reforms, and it may also lull businesses into deferring the arduous climb up the value ladder now being scaled by Asian rivals. Worst of all, it may foment a return to the mistaken economic thinking of the 1960s and 1970s and usher in an era of expropriations, lack of respect for the rule of law, and investment flight.Read more...
A quarter century ago, Mancur Olson published The Rise and Decline of Nations, one of the modern era’s most influential studies on the institutional determinants of economic growth. In it, he linked development patterns in industrial democracies to the entrenchment of organized interests, including those in the business community. Strong business associations, he theorized, actually harm national economies through their efforts to undermine competitive markets.
However, Mancur Olson’s vision of associations as organizations that assist firms primarily through services that redistribute wealth, rather than generate new wealth, does not fare well in the face of the evidence from Russia. Judged on the basis members’ behaviors, the associations that have emerged in Russia do not closely resemble the organizations that Olson described.Read more...
Although the macroeconomic situation throughout Latin America has been continuously improving, the citizens of many countries are turning toward radical leftist leaders. It is apparent that while statistics show growth and increasing prosperity, the average citizen has not reaped any of the benefits. Voters are expressing their frustration with their current socioeconomic status, their lack of options, and their exclusion from the economic system by choosing presidents like Hugo Chávez and Evo Morales.
To address the problems Latin America faces, the institutional environment must be reformed. Without institutional reforms that facilitate wealth creation, entrepreneurship, and enfranchisement, people will remain angry, and their anger will be perfectly justified. If Latin American leaders have the courage to address these issues in a fundamental way, there will not be a future for demagogues and populists.Read more...
Business is under increased pressure to invest and re-invest its resources and profits to meet the social needs and wants of the communities in which it operates. Although these pressures are not new, they have been rising with the spread of globalization and the growing gap between the world’s rich and the world’s poor. The corporate social responsibility debate has taken on a distinct meaning in developing countries, and in many cases the problems arise from the mistaken perceptions of and difficult experiences with market reforms. The result has been reversals from the course of democratic and free market reform as skeptics began to point their fingers at business and blame capitalism for corruption scandals, financial collapses, disastrous privatizations, and similar events.Read more...
The Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) entered the new millennium saddled with a number of intricate challenges. The most thorny of these is how to register high enough economic growth rates in the coming years in order to absorb the nearly 25 million unemployed in the region, as well as generate an additional five million new jobs annually for the new entrants to the labor market. Failing to do so, the region is likely to find itself facing tens of millions of disgruntled workers and the ensuing social and political unrest. In order to avert this unenviable situation, it is imperative that the region encourages investment.Read more...
- Democratic Governance
- Access to Information
- Combating Corruption
- Business Association Development
- Corporate Governance
- Legal & Regulatory Reform
- Informal Sector & Property Rights
- Corporate Citizenship (CSR)
- South Asia
- Middle East & North Africa
- Latin America & the Caribbean
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