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Emerging Voices: Tae Yoo on Broadband Investment in Afghanistan

by Guest Blogger for Isobel Coleman
Afghan women work at Aghanistan's first all-female Internet cafe in Kabul on March 8, 2012 (Mohammad Ismail/Courtesy Reuters). Afghan women work at Aghanistan's first all-female Internet cafe in Kabul on March 8, 2012 (Mohammad Ismail/Courtesy Reuters).

Emerging Voices features contributions from scholars and practitioners highlighting new research, thinking, and approaches to development challenges. This article is from Tae Yoo, senior vice president of corporate affairs at Cisco. She discusses the importance of developing broadband infrastructure in Afghanistan and Cisco’s contributions to this effort.

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Democracy in Development: Bangladeshi Politics and the Grameen Bank’s Uncertain Future

by Isobel Coleman
Bangladeshi Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus arrives in court for a hearing in Dhaka, Bangladesh, March 7, 2011 (Andrew Biraj/Courtesy Reuters). Bangladeshi Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus arrives in court for a hearing in Dhaka, Bangladesh, March 7, 2011 (Andrew Biraj/Courtesy Reuters).

Microfinance undoubtedly figures among the most important development innovations in the past several decades. Beginning in the 1970s, microfinance pioneers promoted the radical idea that it was possible to unlock the talents and energies of the poor themselves by providing them with small loans without collateral – a concept dismissed by traditional financial institutions. Over the years, as the industry has grown and evolved,  it has also attracted substantial critical attention, including in books like David Roodman’s Due Diligence: An Impertinent Inquiry into Microfinance. Today, as debates over regulation and best practices continue, microfinance is regarded as one tool for poverty reduction, women’s empowerment, and financial inclusion, but far from a silver bullet for development. Read more »

Question of the Week: China in Africa Part III

by Development Channel Staff
South African President Jacob Zuma (L) shakes hands with his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao before a group photo session for the Fifth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Beijing on July 19, 2012 (Andy Wongl/Courtesy Reuters). South African President Jacob Zuma (L) shakes hands with his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao before a group photo session for the Fifth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Beijing on July 19, 2012 (Andy Wongl/Courtesy Reuters).

This is the third Question of the Week post about Chinese involvement in Africa. Last week, we focused on the debate of whether Africa or China itself benefits more from Chinese aid. The week before that, we discussed the challenges of measuring China’s aid to Africa and the country’s South-South aid philosophy. This week, we look at the benefits and drawbacks of Chinese health aid to Africa.  

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Question of the Week: China in Africa Part II

by Development Channel Staff
China's President Hu Jintao (L) and his Tanzanian counterpart Jakaya Kikwete wave to a crowd upon their arrival at the State House in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on February 15, 2009 (Courtesy Reuters). China's President Hu Jintao (L) and his Tanzanian counterpart Jakaya Kikwete wave to a crowd upon their arrival at the State House in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on February 15, 2009 (Courtesy Reuters).

Is Chinese aid and investment a positive force for development in Africa?

This is the second Question of the Week post about Chinese involvement in Africa. Last week, we focused on China’s South-South philosophy and issues involved in measuring its aid and investment. This week, we examine the contentious debate on whether China’s aid benefits Africa and its people—or simply China itself.

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Question of the Week: China in Africa

by Development Channel Staff
A Chinese engineer supervises work at a construction site in Khartoum, Sudan on February 16, 2009 (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallh/Courtesy Reuters). A Chinese engineer supervises work at a construction site in Khartoum, Sudan on February 16, 2009 (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallh/Courtesy Reuters).

The Development Channel is pleased to launch a new feature, Question of the Week. These posts will review important questions and controversies in global development by providing background information and links to a full spectrum of analysis and opinion. Today’s post is the first in a series on Chinese aid and investment in Africa. This week, we cover the South-South philosophy underlying Chinese involvement on the continent, as well as the measurement issues that make China’s activities difficult to gauge. Next week’s post will tackle the question of who benefits—China or Africa itself. Enjoy the posts and please give us your thoughts on this topic—and other potential Questions of the Week—in the Comments section below. Read more »

Property Rights, Growth, and Conflict

by Terra Lawson-Remer
The process plant of a gold mine on Lihir Island, Papua New Guinea (Courtesy Reuters). The process plant of a gold mine on Lihir Island, Papua New Guinea (Courtesy Reuters).

The conventional wisdom has long held secure private property rights to be a critical ingredient of economic growth. At a micro level, secure property rights generate growth by incentivizing efficient levels of investment and ensuring that land and other resources are neither over- nor under-utilized; reducing transaction costs and allowing the reallocation of resources to more efficient users; and facilitating access to credit and the conversion of dead assets into investment capital. At a macro level, secure private property rights—as an essential pillar of individual liberty—create political accountability, which in turn leads to economic policies that are broadly growth-enhancing rather than narrowly beneficial to powerful, rent-seeking elites.

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