Archive | March, 2015

Investor-state dispute settlement: Rule of law or law of the jungle?

Investor-state dispute settlement: Rule of law or law of the jungle?
It is sometimes said that in politics it is not the text that counts, but rather the context. Policies that are seen as benign or even ignored by the electorate in one political constellation can suddenly fuel intense debate when there is a shift in the alignment of external forces. Think of Chancellor Merkel’s sudden decision to abandon nuclear power in Germany after the Fukushima reactor meltdown caused by the March 2011 earthquake in Japan. Nothing had changed about the safety of the German reactors themselves, but everything had changed about the broader context. Read more.


Learning crisis in South Asia

Learning crisis in South Asia
South Asia is home to a growing youth population and widely considered to benefit from the “demographic dividend” in the coming decades. The United Nations Population Fund’s State of World Population 2014 report The Power of 1.8 Billion: Adolescents, Youth and the Transformation of the Future therefore calls for increased investment in youths and adolescents. Read more.


People’s Republic of China: The challenge of the middle-income transition

People’s Republic of China: The challenge of the middle-income transition
The Chinese economy grew by 7.4% in 2014 and is expected to expand by 7.0% this year. These are impressive growth rates for any country but lower than what has been achieved in the past. For 3 solid decades, since the beginning of market reforms in the late 1970s, the economy expanded by an annual average of almost 10%. Read more.


3 ways to serve Asia and the Pacific’s ‘unbanked’

Analyzing microfinance loans is one way to collect “alternative data” on consumer debt levels and ability to repay. An ADB-supported microfinance institution in Uzbekistan. Photo by Eric Sales
Every time I stop and withdraw cash from an ATM or use my credit card to buy something online, I wonder how many people in Asia have access to such services. In fact, these simple transactions are beyond the reach of 45% of adults in East Asia and the Pacific alone. They are excluded from the formal financial system and will remain so until they open a bank account. Read more.

Regional Cooperation

Potential gains from closer cooperation between South Asia and Southeast Asia

Potential Gains from Closer Cooperation between South Asia and Southeast Asia
South Asian and Southeast Asian economies have all embraced an outward-oriented development strategy, albeit to different degrees. The result has been an impressive increase in international trade, foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows, and significant productivity improvements, which in turn have contributed to important socio-economic gains. Indeed, some of these economies have delivered among the most striking economic performances in the world. Read more.