Global Ideas News Brief
April 22, 2014
A weekly roundup of mainstream news about the context in which Mercy Corps works.
Bowling in Kabul: Amid war, Afghan youth play music and sports, hunt for jobs and love
Amid the news of bombings, political rivalries and Afghanistan’s uncertain future as U.S. troops depart, the daily life of the nation’s young people is hardly noticed by the outside world.
Young people led Egypt’s revolution, but the old guard still rules
At a modest cafe in Cairo, 29-year-old Ali Mustafa and his friends had barely uttered a few sentences about how hopeless they feel under Egypt’s new political order when a group of older men sitting nearby scolded them angrily.
The countries where youth are doing the best and the worst
Half of the world’s population is now under the age of 25, and 1.8 billion people are between the ages of 10 and 25. This is the largest youth generation ever to exist. Yet few well-being measures and metrics focus specifically on how this age group--the one that has fueled societal and governmental change around the globe in recent years--is faring and feeling about their lives.
This Time, Get Global Trade Right
NYT editorial board
Over the last 20 years, the United States has lost nearly five million manufacturing jobs. In that same time, however, the prices that Americans pay for basic goods like T-shirts and televisions have fallen. What the Administration should do next.
Revising Nigeria's Economy
Nigeria has been one of the world’s fastest-growing economies of late, with growth driven primarily by oil and gas production. This has generated billions of dollars and created many jobs. But corruption and mismanagement have kept the benefits from trickling down.
World Bank says growth alone can't end poverty
Bank urges developing countries to 'enhance growth with policies that allocate more resources to the extreme poor.'
Remaking the Middle Kingdom
An interactive map: China is becoming wealthy and urban, but with people left behind.
Brazil: a role model for development?
What can the rest of the developing world learn from Brazil's economic development and narrowing inequality gap? Researchers explain the three elements of sustained growth.
Afghan election love fest is officially over
When the Independent Election Commission released partial voting results to a waiting press corps last Sunday, they were greeted with sharp questions and skepticism. Delays in reporting, news of violence and fraud had all contributed to a more critical assessment of the process than the general euphoria that followed the vote.
Have Higher Food Prices Actually Helped the World's Poor?
Bloomberg Business Week
Surprisingly, it turns out a lot of poor people seem to have benefited from higher prices; hunger appears to be no worse. In the long term, high food prices probably hurt efforts to reduce global poverty, but it’s good news that poor people haven’t suffered over the short term nearly as much as we feared.
Climate Efforts Falling Short, U.N. Panel Says
Delivering the latest stark news about climate change on Sunday, a United Nations panel warned that governments are not doing enough to avert profound risks in coming decades. But the experts found a silver lining: Not only is there still time to head off the worst, but the political will to do so seems to be rising around the world.
Africa’s Tech Edge
How the continent's many obstacles, from widespread poverty to failed states, allowed African entrepreneurs to beat the West at reinventing money for the mobile age.
M-Shwari in Kenya: How is it really being used?
In recent years, Safaricom has launched a number of value-added services through its M-PESA product in Kenya, aiming to move its customer base beyond basic money transfers. But how are customers using it, and how do they perceive its uses and benefits? A recent nationally representative survey that InterMedia conducted in Kenya reveals some unexpected results.
A Platform for the Poor: CGAP's Digital Finance Plus explores how mobile money links the BoP to essential services
With its ability to reach people with financial services where physical bank branches can’t, the mobile phone is a powerful weapon against financial exclusion. In February, GSMA reported that there are now 203 million registered mobile money accounts worldwide, with services available in most emerging markets.
Business and charity
Indian Companies and Charities Aren’t Ready for New Giving Law
Wall Street Journal
While India’s largest companies are now required by law to hand out 2% of their profits to charity, few companies know how to give and fewer charities know how to handle the kind of cash that will now be coming their way. “The new law could crush or catalyze social innovation in India."
Slavery experts meet big business to tackle exploitation
It's almost a year since 1,200 people died when a garment factory collapsed in Bangladesh. The Rana Plaza disaster brought the issue of global supply chains to the world's attention but there is still no consensus on the best way to drive exploitation out of supply chains.
Ambition to Audacity: Takeaways from the 2014 Skoll World Forum
Stanford Social Innovation Review
Each year, Skoll World Forum serves as a leitmotif for the field of social entrepreneurship. This year, the theme portrayed a newfound maturity and confidence about social entrepreneurship that wasn’t present in past years: “Ambition.” Here are five takeaways.
Telling our story
Why there are no heroes or villains in development
It is time for the media and news-consuming public to demand the same level of complexity from real life as they do from fiction. NGO communicators can lead this charge by being more honest about the challenges they face and the successes they achieve, and more optimistic about the public's receptiveness to these multi-faceted accounts.
8 Maps That Will Change the Way You Look at Africa
Spare the Advice
Review of ‘The Tyranny of Experts,’ by William Easterly.