Commentary

Plugging the Leaks in Africa’s Economies

DAKAR – Africa is usually perceived as a net beneficiary of the global financial system, with aid and investment flowing to the continent from richer parts of the world. This is simply not true.

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Educating Syria’s Refugee Children

BEIRUT – When I took charge of Lebanon’s Ministry of Education and Higher Education in February 2014, I was presented with two huge challenges.

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Knowledge for Progress

LONDON – Some 236 years ago,a young governor from the Americanstate of Virginia broke the mold on education reform. In hisBill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge, ThomasJefferson called for “a system of general instruction” that wouldreach all citizens, “from the richest to poorest.” It was the first step in the creation of the American system of public education – an institution that helped to propel the country’s rise to global prominence.

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The Escalating Arab Wars

BEIRUT – The violence unleashed in Arab countries in the last four years may turn out to be just a first taste of what is to come. Escalating brutality and the actions of governments have put Arab citizens under immense pressure. Without a change of course, the outcome could easily be further conflict and a new wave of uprisings – this time not peaceful.

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Renovating the World Order

WARSAW – Russia-instigated violence has returned to Ukraine. The Islamic State continues its bloodstained territorial conquests. As violent conflicts and crises intensify worldwide, from Africa to Asia, it is becoming abundantly clear that there is no longer a guarantor of order – not international law or even a global hegemon – that countries (and would-be state-builders) view as legitimate and credible.

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Africa’s Low-Carbon Revolution

LONDON – Imagine you woke up tomorrow without access to modern energy. You have no fridge, cooking stove, or air conditioning. Your kids can’t do homework after sundown. You can’t charge your mobile phone. Welcome to the world of Africa’s unconnected – and to a market failure that is destroying opportunities for development on an epic scale.

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A New Mission for the World Bank

WASHINGTON, DC – The Green Revolution is considered one of the great successes in the history of economic development. In the 1960s and 1970s, the creation and adoption of high-yielding cereal varieties transformed the Indian economy and saved billions of people from starvation throughout much of the developing world.

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Getting the Trans-Pacific Partnership Right

WASHINGTON, DC – The United States Congress has now given President Barack Obama so-called fast-track negotiating authority to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the proposed mega-regional free-trade agreement among the US and 11 other countries. But Obama’s victory was not an easy one: Members of his own Democratic Party overwhelmingly opposed fast-track authority, which limits Congress to a single up-or-down vote on finished trade agreements, thereby ruling out amendments. The fast-track measure, officially known as Trade Promotion Authority, passed only because Obama was able to rely on rare backing from the Republican majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

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The QE Placebo

BRUSSELS – It has now been nearly half a year since the European Central Bank declared its intention to buy some €1.1 trillion ($1.3 trillion) worth of eurozone bonds. When it first announced the so-called “extended asset-purchase program” in January, the ECB emphasized that it was only expanding an existing program, under which it had been buying modest quantities of private-sector bonds, to cover government paper. But this pretense of continuity was just that: a pretense.

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The Good-Governance Trap

ROME – Development and improved governance have tended to go hand in hand. But, contrary to popular belief, there is little evidence that success in implementing governance reforms leads to more rapid and inclusive economic and social development. In fact, it may be the other way around.

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