[weitzenegger.de] November 2007

Submitted by Karsten Weitzen... on November 25, 2007 - 3:03am.

This Newsletter is a summary and analysis of trends in economic development in international co-operation policy. This is a public version of the file sent to professionals of the German cooperative AGEG Consultants eG (www.ageg.de) by its Economic Development Department. Please circulate this newsletter to other interested people and encourage them to join our newsletter group by sending an email to: AGEG-WiRAM-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Current and back issues may be accessed at http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/AGEG-WiRAM/
Best regards from Sao Paulo, Karsten Weitzenegger, Editor


1. World Development Report 2008: Agriculture for Development
2. OECD: Migration can help fight global poverty
3. Worldwide Remittance Flows to Developing Countries
4. EC to reinforce development of micro-credit in Europe
5. Microfinance Profits: Yunus challenges Compartamos bank
6. World Bank calls for broader access to finance
7. The EC allocates € 97.4 million for Mediterranean area
8. Draft Practice Guidance for Development Agencies
9. Training and Events
10. Publications
11. Websites of the Month

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1. World Development Report 2008: Agriculture for Development

The WDR 2008 calls for placing the sector at the center of the development agenda if the goals of halving extreme poverty and hunger by 2015 are to be realized. The last time a WDR on agriculture was published was in 1982, making this a landmark report that comes when many are calling for an African agricultural revolution. While 75 percent of the world’s poor live in rural areas in developing countries, only 4 percent of official development assistance goes to agriculture. In Sub-Saharan Africa, a region heavily reliant on agriculture for overall growth, public spending for farming is also only 4 percent of total government spending and the sector is still taxed at relatively high levels. The report finds that for the, poorest people, GDP growth originating in agriculture is about four times more effective in raising incomes of extremely poor people than GDP growth originating outside the sector. The ,authors argue that a dynamic ‘agriculture-for-development’ agenda can benefit the estimated 900 million rural people in the developing world who live on less than $1 a day, most of whom rely on agriculture for a living. http://go.worldbank.org/ZJIAOSUFU0

2. Migration can help fight global poverty, according to new OECD report

Better and more coherent migration policies can contribute to the fight against global poverty. This is the main conclusion of ''Migration and Developing Countries'', a new report by the OECD Development Centre that was presented at the German Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development.

People, goods and capital move across international borders: this is what globalisation really means. The effects of trade and capital flows have been measured and quantified by the OECD and others and are widely known. Flows of people and their impact on development, however, are much less understood. By focussing on the costs and benefits of the movement of people Migration and Developing Countries shows how all parties can benefit from migration: migrants’ countries of destination, their home countries, and migrants themselves. Emigration, say the book’s authors, can reduce unemployment for low-skilled workers in migrant-sending countries, while remittances fuel consumption and investment, helping to reduce poverty.

While migration can contribute to development, development does not immediately halt international migration. International development assistance – aid – is not necessarily; therefore, a means of influencing migration flows. For this reason, Migration and Developing Countries calls for mutually reinforcing aid and migration policies. In this way, say the authors, developing countries can derive greater economic benefits from the mobility of their citizens. One example could be to link policies facilitating the recruitment of skilled workers to aid policies underpinning training and capacity building in the sending country. To unlock the development potential of international migration, policy makers in rich and poor countries must recognise that neither migration policies nor aid policies alone are enough in isolation to stimulate and maintain the momentum of development. OECD countries need to consider the development impact of their migration policies, while migrant-sending countries must rethink their development policies in the light of labour mobility. Moreover, migrants’ associations, enterprises and banks dealing with migrants and their families all play a role in increasing the development pay off of international migration.

3. Sending Money Home: Worldwide Remittance Flows to Developing Countries

Remittances, the portion of migrant workers' earnings sent back ome to their families, have been a critical means of financial support for generations. But, for the most part, these flows have historically been ''hidden in plain view'', often uncounted and even ignored. All that is now changing - as the scale of migration increases, the corresponding growth in remittances is gaining widespread attention. Today, the impact of remittances is recognized in all developing regions of the world, constituting an important flow of foreign currency to most countries and directly reaching millions of households, totalling approximately 10 per cent of the world's population. The importance of remittances to poverty alleviation is obvious, but the potential multiplier effect on economic growth and investment is also significant. The driving force behind this phenomenon is an estimated 150 million migrants worldwide who sent more than US$300 billion to their families in developing countries during 2006, typically US$100, US$200 or US$300 at a time, through more than 1.5 billion separate financial transactions. These funds are used primarily to meet immediate family needs (consumption) but a significant portion is also available for savings, credit mobilization and other forms of investment. In other words, the world's largest poverty alleviation programme could also become an effective grass roots economic development programme, particularly in the rural areas that present some of the greatest challenges to financial inclusion. http://www.ifad.org/events/remittances/maps

4. EC proposes new options to reinforce development of micro-credit in Europe

Regional Policy Commissioner Danuta Hübner presented an initiative which seeks to improve access to finance for small businesses and for socially excluded people, also ethnic minorities, who want to become self-employed. This initiative, in line with the Lisbon Strategy for growth and jobs, aims to make small loans, or micro-credit, more widely available in Europe to satisfy unmet demand. Micro-credit has been used very successfully in less developed countries, and there has already been some action in this field in the EU, both at Community and at national level. In the EU, demand for this type of finance – typically, loans averaging around €7,700 – is overwhelmingly from people setting up small companies in the service sector. Be it services to businesses, individuals or households, they range from personal computer wizards to window cleaners, gardeners, or carers for people or pets – micro-credit can help make a business of an individual's skills and abilities.

5. Microfinance Profits: Muhammad Yunus challenges Compartamos bank

Is it ok to make a big profit from lending to the poor? Where does microcredit end and loan sharking begin? Carlos Danel and Carlos Labarthe, the CEOs of Compartamos, a nonprofit-cum-commercial bank which charges an annual interest rate of nearly 100 percent, believe that only the lure of profits will motivate people to lend to the poor. Today Compartamos reaches 700,000 borrowers and 88 percent of its clients come back for more loans. In 2006, it was rated as Mexico's most profitable bank. Muhammad Yunus, the Nobel laureate who pioneered the movement three decades ago and has made loans to some 7 million borrowers in Bangladesh, disagrees. Poor people's willingness to pay high interest is not a justification for charging it, he says. Compartamos is not microcredit, it's ''raking in money off poor people desperate for cash.'' http://psdblog.worldbank.org/psdblog/2007/10/muhammad-yunus-.html

6. World Bank calls for broader access to finance

Between 50 and 80 percent of adults in many developing countries have inadequate access to financial services, finds a new World Bank policy research report entitled ''Finance for All? Policies and Pitfalls in Expanding Access”. According to the report, failure to provide more households and small and medium enterprises with the financial services they need acts as a brake on development. While noting the microfinance industry’s progress in delivering credit to poor people, the report calls for a broader financial strategy that delivers services to all excluded people and firms. Inclusive financial systems ultimately benefit the poorest people and the smallest firms the most, by creating more jobs, raising incomes, and generating more opportunities for small businesses. The report says that governments should strengthen institutions and adopt new technologies to bring down transaction costs. Research suggests that governments should also encourage competition—including foreign bank entry—and provide the right regulatory incentives. In contrast, direct interventions by governments, such as through credit subsidies or government-owned financial institutions, can be counter-productive, reducing incentives for the private sector to deliver services to the poor.

7. The EC allocates € 97.4 million for its neighbours from the Mediterranean area

€ 97.4 million have been allocated to the Mediterranean region under the 2007 ENPI Regional Action Programme for the South adopted by the European Commission (EC) on 24 October. Eight regional projects and programmes will be financed in a wide range of domains such as peace, disaster prevention, investment promotion, support to the private sector, intercultural dialogue, gender equality and information and communication. This Regional Action Programme for the Southern partners is a key document which describes the regional programmes and projects financed by the EU under the 2007 budget. It covers the Southern countries of the European Neighbourhood Policy namely Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestinian Territories, Syria and Tunisia.

8. Comment now on the Draft Practice Guidance for Development Agencies

Comments are invited on the current draft, by 21st December. After that date, the document will be finalised, and published in February 2008. While it may be further revised in due course, the current opportunity to provide feedback is clearly important. As indicated on the cover of the document, you can provide feedback to Simon White at simon@blueprintgoup.co.za and Andrei Mikhnev at amikhnev@worldbank.org. Alternatively, or in addition, you can post comments on the dedicated blog at http://DonorGuidance.blogspot.com.

9. Training and Events

Accra Conference: Business environment reform: Syntheses, Conferences papers
Most of the Papers and Presentations from the Conference have now been posted to the Business Environment Working Group of the Donor Committee for Enterprise Development. Of particular importance is the draft BE Donor Guidance, under b); your comments are invited at the dedicated blog at http://donorguidance.blogspot.com. In due course, the remaining Papers and presentations from the Conference (including more documents in French) will also be posted.

ICEG's Annual Conference on Factor Flows in the World Economy
Budapest, 29-30 November 2007
The purpose of the conference is to discuss the key factors shaping capital flows and labour migration. The conference makes a comparative assessment of the current developments in factor movements – relocation, outsourcing, offshoring services, migration, labour mobility, etc. - in Europe in comparison with other regions, especially Latin America and Asia. The language of the conference is English.

Community-Managed Microfinance: Sustainable Financial Services Beyond the Frontier
Zanzibar, Tanzania, 3 Dec 2007
The community-managed microfinance course deals with providing sustainable financial services for the very poor. Although MFIs are well-established, they have mostly failed to penetrate remote rural areas because the costs are too high and the demand for credit too small. Meanwhile, over the last 15 years, massive, sustainable programmes have emerged that reach this target group at very low cost, based on autonomous, small-scale savings and loan associations. Course Fee: US $1,500.

Interdisciplinary Perspectives on China’s Involvement in Africa
Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 14-15 Dec. 2007, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University
China’s growing involvement on the African continent evokes both contentment and apprehension. While the benefits for the Chinese side seem to be obvious, the impact of China’s African engagement on the continent’s development prospects is less clear. The upcoming conference is aimed at fostering the interdisciplinary dialogue with regard to current developments and possible ways of approaching these analytically. Special attention will be given to speakers from Africa and China.

MDF & HPC jointly offer the course Value Chain Concepts for the sixth time
The Netherlands, 21-25 January 2008, Five Day Course
The training approach will be experience-based with emphasis on practical examples. MDF/HPC staff and external resource persons will facilitate, deliver lectures, exercises and discussions, complemented by exploring real-life cases chosen from cases proposed by the participants. The course fee includes a DVD with a large number of policy and research papers with respect to sectoral approaches. Given the innovative stage Value Chain Development is in, much attention will be given to presenting and discussing recent trends, cases and developments in the field of Value Chain Development. The course fee is 1800 EURO excluding lodging, which can be arranged at discounted and reasonable rates. You are kindly invited to register as soon as possible at Registration@mdf.nl to enable logistical preparations. Info: hans@hposthumus.nl.

SDC Conference and Workshop on Working with the Private Sector
Switzerland, 9-11 January 2008
Public Private Partnerships for Development. The deadline for registrations is 30th November 2007.

12th EADI General Conference
Geneva, 24-28 June 2008,
The conference deals with the overarching theme: ''Global Governance for Sustainable Development: The Need for Policy Coherence and New Partnerships'' and will be hosted by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) in Geneva. The deadline for abstract submission is 28 November 2007.

Studying-Development.org is a voluntary initiative.
Find study and training courses in International Development and Humanitarian Aid. The site aims to help orientate those wishing to enter, or already active in Development and Humanitarian Aid. This course directory is international in scope and covers professional training, as well as university degree courses in the UK. Studying-Development.org is an initiative set up by a small group of former LSE development students.

Clear, concise writing for development professionals
Writing clearly is important to ensure that your reader understands and is convinced by your ideas. This practical guide is laid out as a learning module. It provides tools for measuring readability, exercises on how to identify writing that will confuse and slow readers down and techniques for tackling the elements of writing which cause this.

USAID Value Chain Training
The value chain training curriculum is designed to train USAID and project practitioners in the value chain approach and its applications. Following this training, participants are able to use the value chain approach as a tool for understanding trends in globalized markets and conditions under which micro- and small enterprises can contribute to and benefit from the increased systemic competitiveness that globalization requires.

10. Publications

Donor Interventions in Value Chain Development, SDC VCRD CoP 2007
These guidelines highlight the most important issues that development agencies need to consider when they engage in value chain development in rural areas. The paper offers guiding principles for development practitioners and policy makers, and points to further useful material. This paper is based on the insights gained during the online debate on the forum ''Value Chains in Rural Development” operated by SDC starting in December 2004, with its various and sometimes contradicting examples, cases, perceptions and discussions. Over 120 persons, from around 35 countries joined and discussed practically relevant topics during 9 debate cycles. In this paper the main highlights of the work so far are pulled together and presented for discussion.Individual syntheses from each of the 9 debate cycles are available. The most recent addition is the Info Flash from November 2007.

News weekly service: EPA negotiations: Where do we stand?
At a time when the pace of the EPA negotiations has increased in all regions, and the state of play is ever changing, accessing the latest information available on these wide-ranging agreements is of essence. Pursuing its efforts to increase the transparency of the highly sensitive EPA negotiations, ECDPM has decided to set up dedicated pages for each ACP region negotiating an EPA with the EU at www.acp-eu-trade.org/epa . (The same content is also accessible at www.ecdpm.org/epa .) French versions of the updates are available for Central Africa, West Africa and ESA .

Addressing the Meta-Level: New Approaches to Private Sector Development
This GTZ/BMZ Discussion Paper aims to deliver concrete concepts and models for development practitioners to address the meta-level within private sector development initiatives. The ultimate objective is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of development work.

Entrepreneurship: New Data on Business Creation and How to Promote It
The World Bank Group Entrepreneurship Survey continues to extend our knowledge of the importance of entrepreneurship for a dynamic economy. In its second year, with more countries participating, the survey again shows a strong relationship between entrepreneurship, the business environment, and governance. New data shed light on how the distribution of businesses among sectors varies by level of development. And analysis of new data on business registration suggests that automation can greatly reduce the barriers to starting a business. This finding makes a strong case for pursuing e-government initiatives to spur entrepreneurship.

Guidelines to Evaluate Social Performance
This ACCION InSight describes a framework that microfinance institutions can use to assess and report on their social performance. ACCION has applied this framework to analyze how six leading microfinance institutions adhere to these social performance criteria. The results of this application inform this InSight.

Developing Economies Locally Through Action and Alliance (DELTA)
The World Bank's DELTA program (Developing Enterprises Locally through Alliance and Action) focuses on building institutions within municipal governments and exploiting private sector resources that can foster and support policy reform for private sector development. The World Bank Group Small and Medium Enterprise Department, together with Open Society Institute Local Government and Public Sector Reform Initiative (OSI/LGI), has piloted this program with the goal of addressing institutional and policy reforms at the local level. The program was developed in great part using the best practices of the OECD from countries in which OECD had engaged in Strategic Planning for Local Economic Development. It was also based partially on several World Bank LED projects across Eastern Europe.

Tools for Economic Recovery in Post-Conflict Situations: A Brief Literature Review
This USAID microNote is intended for practitioners, donors, governments,and business representatives working on economic recovery in conflict-affected countries. It serves as a reference for guidance and best practices on pro-gramming for conflict-affected countries. First it outlines the definitions and methodology used in the literature review then provides a brief summary of each tool and an index of the tools reviewed. The 25 tools reviewed come from a wide variety of sources including the ILO, International Alert, USAID, DFID, World Bank, CARE, IDRC, OECD and ARC.

Promoting Pro-Poor growth: A Practical Guide to ex-ante Poverty Impact Assessment
Enabling poor women and men to participate in, contribute to and benefit from growth is critical to creating a path out of poverty and meeting the Millennium Development Goals. Yet without ex ante assessment of likely impacts, policies and programmes often fail to achieve the desired pro-poor impacts. To help donors and partner countries identify the consequences of their interventions, the DAC Network on Poverty Reduction (POVNET) has developed a modular, ex ante Poverty Impact Assessment (PIA) approach. This practical guide will help staff in development agencies and their partners to plan and execute PIA, and to interpret the findings it produces. OECD DAC Guidelines and Reference Series.

Innovation clusters: A statistical analysis and overview of current policy support
Clusters can be powerful engines of regional economic development and drivers of innovation. They enable companies to integrate in clusters where they can collaborate with and learn from research institutions, suppliers, customers and competitors. The Cluster Report published by Directorate General Enterprise and Industry offers an overview of the main statistical findings obtained so far by the European Cluster Observatory. The Report also describes the main Community instruments in support of cluster development giving particular emphasis on the aspects of trans-national cooperation.

ETF Yearbook 2007: Quality in Vocational Education and Training and Modern Learning Processes
The ETF Yearbook 2007 identifies qualification as the pivot connecting national qualification frameworks, schools, headmasters, teachers and trainers, and learning processes. Different components of quality development are analysed in six chapters that assess how they contribute to increased quality learning.

Practitioner’s guide: business consultancy fund
This manual outlines a process for the establishment of a Business Consultancy Fund (BCF) in order to improve access to the resources and services offered by business development centres (BDCs). The manual also provides a number of templates that could be used in the establishment of a BCF.

Policy Coherence for Development - Migration and Developing Countries
What are the costs and benefits of migration for developing countries? How can migration flows be better organised to yield greater benefits for all parties concerned—migrant-sending countries, migrant-receiving countries, and the migrants themselves? This OECD book seeks to answer these questions, taking stock of what we know about the effects of migration on development, and distilling from that knowledge a set of policy recommendations for sending and receiving countries. It draws on a large number of country and regional case studies co-ordinated by the OECD Development Centre to illustrate the mechanisms that link migration and development: labour-market effects, the brain drain, remittances, diaspora networks and return migration. Migrant-receiving countries are encouraged to look at their migration policies through a development lens; migrant-sending countries, conversely, should look at their national development policies through a migration lens. Interlinking migration and development policies promises a more effective pursuit of the objectives of both sets of policies. This volume provides the basis for a productive debate surrounding policy innovations maximising the overall benefits of international migration.

Rural Credit and Microenterprise Development
This is a descriptive report by Bandeth Rosdrawn from various literature to indicate the roles of microcredit and microfinance in rural development. This is an assignment to fulfill one of my paper (International Rural Development Paper)

Monitoring Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs)
By Sanoussi Bilal, Franziska Jerosch, Niels Keijzer, Christiane Loquai and Francesco Rampa, ECDPM Discussion Paper 79, October, Maastricht: European Centre for Development Policy Management

Linking social protection and the productive sectors
This ODI Briefing Paper, based on a collaboration between the ODI and the UK Department for International Development’s Renewable Natural Resources and Agriculture Team, sets out current practice and future prospects in respect of how social protection and agriculture (broadly defined to include crops and livestock) relate to each other.

Rural employment and migration: In search of decent work
This ODI Briefing Paper by Steve Wiggins and Priya Deshingkar looks at new thinking on rural employment which is needed to create more and better rural jobs. Growth in agriculture is essential, and growth in the rural non-farm economy is especially important. Job prospects improve as education, skills, health and early nutrition levels rise. Rural-urban migration (whether temporary or permanent) opens new opportunities and also helps tighten rural labour markets. With rising productivity and wages, it becomes easier to push for better labour standards, to reduce child labour and correct gender inequalities.

Determinants of Corruption in Developing Countries
This HWWI study concludes that government should focus the economic factors to curb the level of corruption.

Financing small businesses: recommendations for action
What are the best ways of improving the flow of finance to small firms? The European Commission, the Member States and finance professionals have recently looked at ways that promise to improve the situation of many SMEs. This summary presents the key conclusions of five reports that have reviewed both loan and equity finance and complements the conclusions on seed investment.

Public-Private Dialogue in Developing Countries - Opportunities and Risks
Putting aside the euphoria of supporters of public-private dialogue and the doom prophecies of its detractors, this analysis identifies the advantages that it can bring, while cautioning against the very real dangers it can present to fragile states and relatively recent democracies. The type of state involved, the level of organisation within the national private sector and the kind of support offered by donors all have an influence on the potential and real success of PPD.

Impact Analysis on the Application of the Nucleus Approach in Sri Lanka
This GTZ document by Rainer Mueller-Glodde and Simone Lehmann presents the results of the application of the Nucleus Approach 5 years after its introduction. The Nucleus Approach interlinks capacity building in business associations and chambers with the promotion of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and lobbying aiming at improving the business environment. It was first developed in Brazil and is currently applied in Sri Lanka, Uruguay and Algeria. The Nucleus impact analysis is based on interviews of 852 entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka. The impact caused by the introduction of the Nucleus Approach in business chambers clearly led to significant changes in the Nucleus enterprises and the chambers. Broad effects have been reached: At the end of 2006, the participating chambers had organized about 180 Nuclei with 2,700 entrepreneurs. The introduction of the approach in Sri Lanka started 2002.

Integrated Financial Supervision: An Institutional Perspective for the Philippines
This ADB paper looks at the issue of reforming financial regulatory structures from the New Institutional Economics perspective. In particular, it examines how the broader institutional environment in developing countries like the Philippines may affect the institutional arrangements for financial regulation, and how these might be taken into consideration when designing or reforming financial regulatory structures.
The paper argues that the state of financial conglomerates in the Philippines does not warrant a shift toward integrated financial supervision. Instead, any effort to reform the financial supervisory structure must explicitly address the country’s most fundamental need: to strengthen institutions and governance structures.

Microfinance in Mozambique: Achievements, Prospects & Challenges
This report by Fion de Vletter traces the development of microfinance activity in Mozambique. It also assesses the current status of microfinance sector in Mozambique.

11. Websites of the Month

International Development Knowledge Platform
The CI has recently launched its new digital knowledge sharing, networking and interaction platform. It includes over 35,000 knowledge summaries of programme action, strategic thinking, planning models, evaluation/research results, change theories etc across the full range of DEVELOPMENT ISSUES including Children, Conflict, Democracy and Governance, Economic Development, Education, Environment, Gender, HIV/AIDS, Health, Natural Resource Management, New Technologies Rights and others.

The Trade Knowledge Network
The Trade Knowledge Network (TKN) is the collaboration of research institutions in developed and developing countries located in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. The Trade Knowledge Network is aimed at building long-term capacity to address issues of trade and sustainable development in developing country research institutions, non-governmental organizations and governments through increased awareness, knowledge and understanding of the issues. The TKN links network members and consolidates new and existing research on trade and sustainable development.

BetterAid on Aid Effectiveness
This is a campaign website that aims to provide information and updates on aid effectiveness issues, framing in the basic development issues; provide support for advocacy purposes; and provide opportunities to conduct web-based advocacy/campaigning. The network is keen to develop awareness of the aid effectiveness agenda at the local and national level and sees the Ghana HLF as an important opportunity for bringing about discussion and debate and the engagement of CSOs on the said agenda. Published by the CSO Parallel Process to the Ghana High Level Forum Network, involving many international partners.

BiD Network's Links to websites on business in development
The link database is worth a new visit. It has 400 entries in a searchable database. The BiD Network and the BiD Challenge are growing into a movement. Since January 2007 they are joined into a new entity, the BiD Network Foundation.

KIT's Information portal on Value Chains for Development
This VC4D portal and provides access to free, full-text electronic documents on the VC4D approach, both as an analytical concept and a development tool. The target audience is formed by professionals, researchers, policy-makers and students, who are active in the field of pro-poor value chain development. Furthermore, the portal provides access to newsletters, discussion groups, websites, bibliographic databases, and directories of organizations and projects. Subtopics include business development services, finance, governance, learning & innovation, public-private partnerships, standards & regulations, and sustainable procurement.

EcoFair Trade Dialogue
This Dialogue is a project carried out by the Heinrich Böll Foundation and Misereor in cooperation with the Wuppertal Institute. The overall aim of the project is to enrich and influence the debate on the reform of the current multilateral regime of international agricultural trade through the development and advancement of forward looking guidelines and instruments which respond to the 21st century’s social and ecological challenges to global agriculture.

IFC SME Entrepreneurship Database
The 2007 World Bank Group Entrepreneurship Survey measures entrepreneurial activity in 84 developing and industrial countries over the period 2003-2005. The database includes cross-country, time-series data on the number of total and newly registered businesses, collected directly from Registrar of Companies around the world. In its second year, this survey incorporates improvements in methodology, and expanded participation from countries covered, allowing for greater cross-border compatibility of data compared with the 2006 survey. This joint effort by the IFC SME Department and the World Bank Developing Research Group is the most comprehensive dataset on cross-country firm entry data available today.

Making Cents International
Making Cents International is committed to creating a legacy of improved skills and economic opportunities at the individual, community and global levels. It is a specialized consulting and training firm based in Washington, D.C. that equips youth and adults with the vision, confidence, and skills to create and grow their own businesses. Making Cents is also a leader in building the youth microenterprise sector. Through the organization of learning opportunities and networks, Making Cents inspires youth, practitioners, policy makers, and funders to more effectively share and develop partnerships, programs and policies that support youth entrepreneurs.

The World Bank mapped
Here you can click on a country, and you'll get access to World Bank facts and figures about that country, plus news and information about World Bank projects. You can either target a country on the map, or select it from the drop-down list. There are also links to other pages at the World Bank site, where you can browse a virtual library, create your own country report, and more. (Source: FITA)

Business Environment Snapshots
Another new World Bank site, Business Environment Snapshots present measurable indicators across a wide range of business environment issues and over time. This new web-enabled tool compiles many data, indicators, and project information on the business environment for each country in an easily accessible, consistent and usable format.

ACCION International announced the launch of its new website
ACCITION's new website offers major enhancements in functionality, appearance, resources and accessibility. The new site is a continuing expression of ACCION’s goal to bring the best possible tools to bear on the fight against global poverty. Its new features include ‘ACCIONconnect’, a new online community for users who want to engage with microfinance and ACCION on a deeper level; a Flash video library, and a more comprehensive ‘Products & Services’ section.

Global Compact Critics
This is an informal network of organizations and people with concerns about the UN Global Compact. On this blog we gather and share information about the Global Compact, partnerships between the United Nations and companies, and corporate accountability. It is not a database, but rather a collection of opinions, news items and background information. SOMO will keep this blog updated.

UN Human Security Gateway
The Human Security Unit at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is pleased to announce the launch of its new website, which serves as a platform for the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security (UNTFHS), the Advisory Board on Human Security (ABHS) and for the work of the Unit as focal point on human security within the UN system. The site has been entirely redesigned in order to enhance the user's experience, and includes new and upgraded features including a photo gallery, sitemap, as well as a worldwide overview of UNTFHS projects.

World Customs Journal
The World Customs Journal provides a forum for customs professionals, academics, industry researchers, and research students to contribute items of interest and share research and experiences to enhance its readers' understanding of all aspects of the roles and responsibilities of customs. The World Customs Journal is published electronically, free of charge, twice a year.

Small Biz Tools at Traderoots
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has branches in more than 91 countries, and it's an organization that has long been committed to international trade. Now the Chamber has come up with a great new Web site focused completely on trade. Click on ''Trade Toolbox'' and you'll find statistics, market reports, country profiles, contacts, business directories, exchange rates, conversion tables, an export glossary, and much more. (Source: FITA)

Governance & Anti-Corruption
This site summarizes the WorldBank Groups's governance and anti-corruption initiatives.

Skills Development Trust Fund, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
SDTF is an autonomous institution providing sustainable finance for community-based, short-term, income oriented and demand-driven skills training delivered by training providers. The SDTF encourages training providers already active in the field of non-formal skills training, as well as those wishing to become active in delivering approved training.

Red de Investigadores Latinoamericanos de Economía Social y Solidaria
RILESS es un proyecto conjunto de la Maestría en Economía Social (MAES/ICO-UNGS de Argentina), del Grupo de Investigación sobre Economía Solidaria de la Cátedra UNESCO / UNISINOS, de Río Grande do Sul (Brasil), del Colegio Mexiquense, y de FLACSO-Ecuador. Asimismo, con este proyecto colabora URBARED (ICO-UNGS/IISUNAM México). Objetivo es desarrollar una Red de Investigadores Latinoamericanos que trabaje dentro de un marco plural, contribuyendo a la elaboración de proyectos, intercambios y diversas formas de cooperación, facilitando y promoviendo trabajos multidisciplinarios, con el fin de fortalecer las iniciativas colectivas por otra economía, otra sociedad y otra política en América Latina.

OECD-MENA Initiative on Governance and Investment for Development
The Initiative on Governance and Investment for Development is a regional effort, initiated and led by countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). It promotes broad reforms to enhance the investment climate, modernise governance structures and operations, strengthen regional and international partnerships, and promote sustainable economic growth throughout the MENA region.

Downloadpedia points you to the best free software
Downloadpedia calls itself ''a Web-based, free content software encyclopedia'', along the lines of Wikipedia, and it's an all-volunteer effort. Just click on a category (''Best Free Software'', ''Best Freeware Utilities'', etc.), and you'll see scores of free software reviews, with links to the sites where you can download the programs. I was amazed at what was available -- just about any program you can run on your computer is available free somewhere. (Source: FITA)

Everything about flight at airtimetable.com
Airtimetable is a portal to a wide variety of this airline and travel information, where you can find everything in one place. You can check routes, compare fares, book a flight, scan airplane seat maps, locate an airport, find a discount airline, read reviews of airline food, track a flight in real time, get a weather report, look at a map, read a guide to your destination, and much more. (Source: FITA)