Isobel Coleman

Democracy in Development

Coleman maps the intersections between political reform, economic growth, and U.S. policy in the developing world.

Missing Pieces: Uncertain India, Aid Transparency, and More

by Isobel Coleman Friday, October 5, 2012
Rickshaw pullers wait for customers outside the Sahara Mall, a shopping center built by Sahara group, in Gurgaon on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, September 20, 2012 (Mansi Thapliyal/Courtesy Reuters).
In this installment of Missing Pieces, Charles Landow highlights news and analysis on India, Georgia, foreign assistance, and Asia’s economic growth. Enjoy!
  • Uncertain India: India, long seen as a vibrant democracy headed for prosperity, has lately become known for sagging growth and political paralysis. An Economist special report surveys the scene. Though global weakness has harmed India’s economy, it says, “the greatest pains are self-inflicted.” Troubles include a large deficit, an unfriendly investment climate, high inflation, and inadequate infrastructure. Both elected politicians and bureaucrats stymie needed reforms and efficiencies. Literacy has risen from 52 to 74 percent since 1991, and “some 97 percent of school-age children enroll.” India also has the world’s largest number of higher education institutions (26,500). However, the quality of instruction ranges from “variable” to “often wretched,” producing a shortage of skilled professionals. Meanwhile, government welfare spending to combat poverty is up, but many view it as inefficient and prone to corruption. Still, the report foresees a brighter future for India—“eventually.” Read more »

Meeting Salafists in Tunisia

by Guest Blogger for Isobel Coleman Thursday, October 4, 2012
Tunisian Salafists put on a martial arts display at the start of a rally in the central town of Kairouan, May 20, 2012 (Anis Mili/Courtesy Reuters).

In this guest post, my colleague Ed Husain, senior fellow for Middle East Studies at CFR, writes about our discussion with Salafists in Tunisia during our visit there this week.
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Women’s Rugby in Tunisia

by Isobel Coleman Tuesday, October 2, 2012
The Tunisian women's rugby team on October 1, 2012 (Isobel Coleman).

Yesterday, flying between Casablanca and Tunis, I found myself sitting amidst the Tunisian women’s national rugby team. (Who knew Tunisia has a women’s rugby team? To my surprise, apparently Morocco and Egypt also have women’s teams.) The Tunisian women competed over the weekend in Rabat to successfully qualify for the 2013 Rugby World Cup in Moscow. One young player told me that it was her goal to compete in the World Cup in 2013 and go on to represent Tunisia at the 2016 Olympics – the first time rugby will be played at the games since 1924 and the first time ever for women’s rugby. Read more »