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Supporting “Cyber-Dissidents”

02.20.2006
To continue on the topic of the previous post, Reporters Without Borders published a handbook for bloggers and cyber-dissidents.  The handbook, for example, has a story from Nepal to illustrate the challenges and the success story of getting Radio Free Nepal off the ground.  I have to admit, I li...

Congressional Middle East Economic Partnership Caucus Announced

02.17.2006
On Wednesday afternoon, February 15th, a bipartisan group of Members of the U.S. House of Representatives announced the formation of the Congressional Middle East Economic Partnership Caucus.  In the House of Representatives, caucuses are important organizations that allow Members to work together...

Russian Parliament Ratifies the U.N. Convention Against Corruption

02.17.2006
Today, the Russian parliament – the State Duma – ratified the U.N. Convention Against Corruption.  It took just over 2 years for Russia to ratify the Convention, which the country signed in December of 2003, and the ratification did not go easy: The voting was preceded by emotional s...

New President for Haiti

02.17.2006
After much fanfare that a clean election had taken place in Haiti last weekend, social turmoil ensued as presidential aspirant, Rene Preval, appeared unable to win the election in the first round. Yesterday, the Haitian electoral council voted 7 to 2 to disqualify more than 80,000 blank ballots that...

On Corruption in Africa

02.16.2006
The Institute of Public Policy Analysis in Nigeria is soon to release a report on corruption (in its February Newsletter), which suggests that foreign aid contributes to the problem as elites skim off their portion at every level. Dr. Kasper, the author of the report, argues that 'corruption is a bl...

Revising the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention

02.15.2006
When the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention was drafted in 1997 and entered into force in 1999, it was a significant step forward, to say the least, for efforts to combat bribery in international business transactions.  Yet, more needs to be done, says a new report released by the Center for Global Devel...

Update on the Russian NGO Law

02.15.2006
The passing of the Russian law on NGOs [see my earlier post on this] has stirred up a lot of controversy over the past several months.  But, did the international development community and Russian NGOs worry too much too soon?  Or not?  Here is what the Moscow Times has to say: Despite sizzlin...

Overcoming obstacles to information

02.15.2006
Language is the most fundamental unit in information gathering. Without it, human beings would have a limited capacity to communicate. Language has often been the cause of miscommunication and misunderstanding, a problem that is exacerbated by the lack of precision in translation. Sometimes, ther...

Coming to Market

02.14.2006
Even during the Soviet occupation, Ayamuddin's father was a businessman. He started out by selling small articles of clothing by the side of the road. Then the Soviets left Afghanistan and civil war ravaged Kabul. The opportunities to conduct business were scarce and Ayamuddin's father continued to ...

Development Banks and Anti-Corruption

02.13.2006
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is taking the necessary steps to hold companies accountable for corrupt behavior. [ADB] last year banned 40 firms and 22 individuals from working for the multilateral agency due to corruption, the Manila-based bank said today. Since the bank began investigating corr...

Salwa’s Story

02.13.2006
I remember the day that Salwa’s father came to see me.  He was dressed impeccably and his demeanor was refined.  He came to our office in Kabul at Salwa’s request in order to talk to me about her possible employment with CIPE.  Salwa desperately wanted the job.  As a top student at t...

Help Africa Help Itself

02.13.2006
Is "doubling aid and forgiving debt" a good strategy for eliminating poverty in Africa?  Bill Easterly certainly doesn't think so.  He argues that such a strategy is not enough for getting the continent on the path of economic growth and prosperity in his op-ed in the Washington Post.  The title ...

Vision for the Future

02.10.2006
In Kabul, schools take a three-month break in the winter, due to scarce heating. When school got out this year, 17 year old Muslim was determined to do something productive over the vacation. He went to his father with ideas for improving the family business, which sells prescription glasses and con...

Hope Grows in the Killing Fields

02.09.2006
Jan Mohammad, Governor of Uruzgan Province, has known little but war throughout his life.  A man with one eye, uneducated, yet wise from years of conflict against the Russians and the Taliban.  His militia is everywhere, and when we arrive in a military convoy from the U.S. military base in Tarin ...

The Baker’s Son

02.08.2006
Nineteen year old Sadaar's father started a bakery several years ago, shortly after his family returned to Kabul. They lived in Peshawar, Pakistan for years as refugees, waiting for a time when they could return to their native Kabul, surrounded by the towering Parwan mountains. As we walked up to t...

Debates on Free Markets in Afghanistan

02.07.2006
Afghanistan is not interested in having a free market economy, because...its too poor to have it?  This is the message relayed by some economists in the country: Independent economists, referring to the country's horrible economic indices over the last two years, argue the free market system is not...

Starting a Business in Africa

02.07.2006
African entrepreneurs share their stories on starting a business on the BBC website.   There are some very interesting on-the-ground experiences, from good I think Ethiopia must be the best and the easiest place to start a business today. Yes it used to be very hard to start a business in Ethiopia...

Brazil and Argentina Regulate Trade

02.06.2006
Last week, two members of Mercosur, Brazil and Argentina, reached a landmark trade agreement, hailed by the governments of both countries.  But if you think the agreement is supporting free trade between the two countries - afterall, free trade is what Mercosur is all about - think again.  How ab...

Demographic Crisis in Russia

02.03.2006
Someone, hit the panic button!  Russian population shrunk by nearly 700,000 people in 2005, according to official Russian government statistics, and the life expectancy of a Russian male is now a meager 58 years.  In all, since the early 1990s, the Russian population has been declining at a r...

The Afghanistan Compact – Good for Business?

02.03.2006
This week Afghanistan’s political leadership met with international donors to hammer out a five year strategy for the countries economic, political and social development.  Christened “The Afghanistan Compact” the document establishes a set of development priorities and benchmarks...
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