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Building a Private Sector-based Economy in Iraq

01.06.2006
Just came across this brief update on USAID’s activities in Iraq.  My impression – they are addressing both short-term, immediate needs of the Iraqi community (water program, for example) and long-term institutional objectives (providing training to business leaders). “We are wor...

The Lebanese Transformation

01.05.2006
The Washington Post has recently added a section to their sidebars on Lebanon and the changes that have occurred within the country since Syria's departure in March 2005.  The materials on that page paint a picture of a slow, gradual movement towards Lebanese freedom and economic development.  How...

Good News for Economic Freedom

01.05.2006
During the past year economies around the world became more open - according to the newly released Index of Economic Freedom published by the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal.  Who holds the number 1 spot? Hong Kong (again). "The countries with the most economic freedom also have h...

Some hope in the middle of chaos in Gaza?

01.05.2006
Even the most cynical of observers might not have imagined the situation in Gaza could have deteriorated as quickly and as badly as it has.  After the initial euphoria over the removal of the settlements and the handing over of control to the Palestinian Authority (PA), we then had the (seemingly)...

Private Sector as a Political Force in the Gulf

01.05.2006
Despite a ban on political parties in the Gulf region, in some countries, such as Kuwait and Bahrain, they are accepted and openly active, though legal restrictions force them to function as NGOs rather than political parties. For example, it is well known that the Association for National Democrati...

Debt Free?

01.04.2006
Argentina repaid its IMF debt today, digging into its Central Bank reserves to come up with the money.  A good review of news stories on this is available on the World Bank's website. There are conflicting opinions out there.  Some say this move is a signal that things are improving in Latin Amer...

On Nation-Building

01.03.2006
A new book on nation-building edited by Francis Fukuyama is coming out later this month.  This volume includes essays by Larry Diamond and Minxin Pei, among others.  A lot of work in post-conflict reconstruction concentrates on immediate physical rebuilding of countries (roads, buildings, etc.) ...

Oil Revenues and Economic Growth

01.03.2006
High oil prices (read high oil revenues) do not always mean economic growth.  Just look at the oil-rich Azerbaijan.  Some 40 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. Teachers in the country earn only about $50 per month. And while the impact of the oil money can be seen in Baku - w...

Notes from the Field: Uzbekistan (Part 3 of 3)

12.30.2005
Part of the reason that small and medium enterprise is suffering so badly is the lack of clear channels of communication between businesspeople and the government. Uzbekistan's treatment of civil society groups makes it nearly impossible for NGOs and business associations to operate without official...

Combating Corruption: China’s Latest Initiative

12.29.2005
It seems that executions of public officials for taking bribes in China are doing little to deter corruption there.  As corruption remains rampant, the country continues to search for ways to get it under control.  The latest initiative - a public website, where citizens can expose corrupt gove...
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