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Can and Can’t Do in Ukraine

01.11.2006
In one of the more surprising developments yesterday, the Ukrainian Parliament (Verkhovna Rada) sacked the government.   But the vote of no confidence has caused a lot of confusion in the country, which is dealing with harsh economic and political realities following the euphoria of the Orange Re...

Demographics, Economic Growth, and China

01.10.2006
The Economist has an interesting article on declining populations.  Clearly, there is a demographic problem (and I was really surprised by some of the numbers), The shrinkage of Russia and eastern Europe is familiar, though not perhaps the scale of it: Russia's population is expected to fall by 22...

On Microfinance in Africa…And Elsewhere

01.09.2006
Many discussions on economic development today center on supporting the development of small and medium enterprises.  This is understandable, since small business constitutes a very significant share of economic activity in developed and successful transitioning economies.  “Think small...

To Eradicate or Not to Eradicate? That is the Question.

01.06.2006
There has been increased focus recently on the subject of the prevalence of opium production in Afghanistan and the commitment and effectiveness (or lack thereof) of efforts to combat it by both the Afghan government and coalition forces operating in that country.  Newsweek magazine recently publis...

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...
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