“Are You Kidding Me?“ Surprises on my Return Visit to Gujarat After Six Years A few weeks ago, I travelled to Gujarat to attend the project launch workshop for the second Gujarat State Highway Project (GSHP-II). It is a return visit to Gujarat after my last visit in 2008. I was the task team leader for the first Gujarat State Highway Project (GSHP) during 2005-2008, so I knew the state quite well and ...

Ideashop – Codes for Jobs and Opportunities Let me tell you when magic happens. It transpires when few brilliant minds, optimistic hearts, energetic young people, and a fantastic facilitator meet. The Ideashop: Coding your way to opportunity organized by the World Bank in partnership with the Bangladesh StartUp Cup on June 14th at its Dhaka Office showed us glimpses of such magic. And it is only ...

Maldives: Promoting Climate Compatible Development The name Maldives brings up visions of blue seas, turquoise reefs, white sandy beaches, palm trees and people enjoying a tranquil life. But there are lengthening shadows under the Maldivian sun, as it struggles with several climate change and environmental threats. Maldives is the planet’s lowest-lying nation with 80 percent located less than one meter above sea level. The ...

Idea Shop: Connecting Coders and NGOs for Social Good When it comes to using information technology to solve problems of communities, Non-governmental Government Orgnizations (NGOs) need to play a leading role. So why is it that NGO’s with great networks, human resources and know how, fail to create a larger impact in societies? Limited usage of information technology is one reason. NGO’s are not in a great position ...

Can political stability hurt economic growth? The standard definition of political instability is the propensity of a government collapse either because of conflicts or rampant competition between various political parties. Also, the occurrence of a government change increases the likelihood of subsequent changes. Political instability tends to be persistent.   Economic growth and political stability are deeply interconnected. On the one hand, the uncertainty associated ...

Maafushi Island Shows the Way for Inclusive Wealth Creation through Tourism The success story of Maafushi, an island in the Kaafu Atoll in the Maldives, dates back to 2009 when the government liberalized its policy on local tourism. A visionary entrepreneur, Ahmed Naseer, lost no time in starting a four roomed guest house in 2010, to kick start the concept of local tourism in his home island Maafushi. And the ...

Image: Author's Illustration Freakonomics Radio recently aired a podcast entitled “If Mayors Ruled the World”, based on Benjamin Barber’s new book of the same title, which contends that cities are a good template for governments to rule by, largely due to their mayors who are often uniquely positioned and focused on solving actual city problems. So much so, that ...

Research to Turn Fallow Land into Rice Farms in Bangladesh Fallow lands in the coastal areas during the dry season Such large areas of fertile lands are left fallow in spite of ample water available right there in the channels near the farms,” exclaimed Prof. M. Abdul Halim Khan in disbelief during our journey in mid-April to Patuakhali and Barguna. We were taking a trip to his agricultural research ...

Digital Libraries for the Poor Facilitating Bottom-Up Innovation through Video-based Learning Platform Local villagers being trained to shoot videos American Idol, a television show in the United States, has inspired thousands of people to make videos for stardom in music, dance, cooking and more. Can this phenomenon be applied in development? Digital Green, a non-profit, is doing exactly that by using a similar approach ...

Are Consumer Rights Well Protected in Pakistan's Financial Sector? Last month, the World Bank released Pakistan’s first ever Consumer Protection and Financial Literacy (CPFL) Diagnostic Review along with convening a workshop where 200 financial sector professionals discussed the recommendations, a first such deliberation on consumer protection and financial literacy in the country. The assessment compares Pakistan’s performance standards, covering four segments of the financial sector - banking, microfinance, ...

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