Agriculture and rural development

Promoting the sustainable development goals with “win–win” regulations in food and agricultural trade

Promoting the Sustainable Development Goals with “win–win” regulations in food and agricultural trade
While the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) do not explicitly mention trade, freer trade does support at least two of them: SDG 8 (Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment, and decent work for all) and SDG 12 (Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns) are possible through the benefits of the movement of goods and services globally. Dating back to the work of Adam Smith and David Ricardo, evidence suggests that trade is beneficial and that different types of countries can gain from trade. The gains come from efficient production and expansion of consumption opportunities. Read more.

Water

The water challenge: international trade to the rescue

The Water Challenge: International Trade to the Rescue
In many parts of the world, water availability is in decline and its quality is deteriorating. According to the World Bank, water scarcity, intensified by climate change, could come at a high price for some regions, costing as much as 6 percent of their gross domestic product. Tackling the water challenge is crucial to unlocking poverty eradication, prosperity, ecosystems preservation, and gender equality. As such, water security is a fundamental element of a sustainable development agenda. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals recognized this by introducing a dedicated water goal (“SDG 6”) that seeks to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.” Read more.

Urban

Overcoming Asia’s housing challenge

Overcoming Asia’s housing challenge
Asia is urbanizing rapidly. Currently, about half of all of its residents live in urban areas, and the number of urban residents in Asia is expected to reach 3.3 billion by 2050. The Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) estimated that at the current urbanization rate, 127,000 people are added to urban centers every day in Asia. Read more.

Finance

Bridging the “missing middle” between microfinance and SME finance in South Asia

Bridging the “missing middle” between microfinance and SME finance in South Asia
With financial inclusion finding a place in the international policy agenda, many developing countries are facilitating the development of their microfinance sectors. However, not enough attention has been paid to carving out a route for microfinance borrowers who outgrow microfinance, requiring loan sizes higher than the upper threshold of microcredit, still too small to avail of small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) credit from commercial banks. Other small enterprises that are unbanked also have needs unmet by microfinance institutions (MFIs) or commercial banks. Read more.

Trade

Exploring the trade–urbanization nexus in developing economies: evidence and implications

Exploring the Trade–Urbanization Nexus in Developing Economies: Evidence and Implications
Modern humans have been increasingly concentrated in cities. The United Nations forecasts that 60% of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2030. Regional multilateral institutions such as the Development Bank of Latin America and the Asian Development Bank have stepped up their efforts to support the urban sector and to collaborate on comparative studies of urbanization. Read more.

Health

The cost of being obese

The cost of being obese
When we talk about the cost of being obese, many people will imagine the personal spending due to obesity, e.g. special clothing, housing, and transportation that may be different from the requirements of non-obese people, or even the medical expenses arising from obesity-related illnesses. Some people may also consider the cost of becoming obese, such as excessive consumption of high-calorie foods and sweetened beverages. Read more.

Finance

Assessing policies to promote financial inclusion, regulation, and education in emerging Asia

Assessing policies to promote financial inclusion, regulation, and education in emerging Asia
Financial inclusion has been receiving increasing attention for its potential to contribute to economic and financial development while fostering more inclusive growth and greater income equality. There are numerous arguments in favor of increasing financial inclusion, and a large body of evidence shows that increased financial inclusion can significantly reduce poverty and boost shared prosperity. Greater access to financial services by households can help smooth consumption, ease cash shortages, and increase savings for retirement and other needs, although the evidence on microfinance is less positive. Read more.

Economics

Are financial statements effective in evaluating the creditworthiness of small and medium-sized enterprises?

Are Financial Statements Effective in Evaluating the Creditworthiness of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises?
The credit risk database (CRD) was established in March 2001 as a membership organization to collect financial statements, some nonfinancial information, and default information of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Japan. CRD members are composed of all credit guarantee corporations (CGCs) in Japan, government-affiliated or private financial institutions, and so on. Read more.

Economics

Rethinking the small and medium-sized enterprise financing model and the role of commercial banks

Rethinking the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise Financing Model and the Role of Commercial Banks
At a time of much global uncertainty and economic slowdown, building internal resiliency is becoming increasingly important. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a central part in this, via its role in enhancing economic dynamism and creating employment opportunities in a country. SMEs usually make up a huge proportion of all businesses around the world. In Thailand, they account for as much as 99.7% of all enterprises, hire 80.3% of total labor force, and contribute 26.3% of export value. Read more.

Information and Communications Technology

Going digital in the Pacific: lessons from Samoa’s online firms

Going Digital in the Pacific Lessons from Samoa’s Online Firms
More than ever before, Pacific firms are moving online. Will this increase e-commerce? This online activity is particularly good news in 2016, as the Pacific has witnessed an 8.2% jump in tourism arrivals. According to Pacific niche exporters, tourists constitute the majority of their overseas customers, often by visiting the seller’s website after they return home to seek out more information or re-order souvenirs. Read more.