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Urban

Municipal bonds: Innovative mechanisms to finance smart cities in India

Municipal bonds: innovative mechanisms to finance smart cities in India
Reports from the United Nations estimate that India will add 404 million persons to its urban areas between 2014 and 2050 (UN DESA 2014) and that it will have seven cities with a population of more than 10 million by 2030 (UN DESA 2016). Currently, India is making an ambitious effort in its urban transformation under the “Smart Cities Mission” of the Union Government. With the guidance of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, India’s urban local bodies (ULBs) have been proactively working to achieve better efficiency and equity in the utilization of financial resources for developing municipal infrastructure. They have been augmenting their financial autonomy by developing data-driven and market-based financial instruments that attract investments to their projects.

Environment, Finance, Industry and Trade

Green finance for sustainable investment

Green finance for sustainable investment
To place the Asian economies onto a sustainable development pathway requires an unprecedented shift in investment away from industries relying intensively on greenhouse gases, fossil fuels, and natural resources toward more resource-efficient technologies and business models. The finance sector will have to play a central role in this green transformation. Important aspects of green finance are sustainable investment and banking, where investment and lending decisions are taken based on environmental screening and risk assessment to meet sustainability standards, as well as insurance services that cover environmental and climate risk.

Industry and Trade

Trust-by-Design Investment: A novel Blockchain-based approach to ease green energy investments

Trust-by-Design Investment: A novel Blockchain-based approach to ease green energy investments
To meet obligations under the Paris Agreement, major investments in renewable energy production and infrastructure are necessary. However, as public budgets are tight and because of Basel capital requirements, major public investments are unlikely to provide sufficient liquidity. Since most renewable energy projects are considered risky, many financiers are reluctant to lend to them or they lend at high interest rates. This lack of financing has to be overcome.

Governance, Public-Private Partnership

“Monsters” in the house? What to do about Malaysia’s government-linked companies

“Monsters” in the house? What to do about Malaysia’s government-linked companies
About a month before Malaysia’s parliamentary election in May 2018, then-opposition leader Mahathir Mohamad raised concerns over the role that government-linked companies (GLCs) were playing in the economy, being “huge and rich” enough to be considered “monsters”. Data support his description—GLCs account for about half of the benchmark Kuala Lumpur Composite Index, and they constitute seven out of the top-10 listed firms in 2018. They are present in almost every sector, sometimes in a towering way. Globally, Malaysia ranks fifth-highest in terms of GLC influence on the economy.

Finance, Governance

Japan’s Local Government Debt Control System

Japan's Local Government Debt Control System
Japanese local government bonds or loans are viewed as secure and almost the same as Japanese Government Bonds (JGBs). The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC), which is responsible for matters related to local government finance in Japan, states that even though decentralization reforms have been executed and are still in progress, there are three reasons that assure the financial security of local governments.

Economics, Energy

What are the reasons behind the decrease in solar module prices?

What are the reasons behind the decrease in solar module prices?
The solar photovoltaic energy market has seen huge growth in recent years. Unlike solar thermal energy, which harnesses heat from sunlight to generate electricity, solar photovoltaics or PV is a technology that converts sunlight directly into electricity. The annual worldwide solar PV electricity production increased from 4 terawatt hours (TWh) in 2005 to 247 TWh in 2015 (IEA 2017). In 2016, cumulative solar PV generated over 310 TWh, 26% higher than in 2015 and representing just over 1% of global power output.

Environment, Finance, Industry and Trade

Sustainable funding schemes for the development of waste management projects in Asia

Sustainable funding schemes for the development of waste management projects in Asia
For many years, cities have been the engines of economic growth in Asia. However, this growth has brought the immense challenge of the daily generation of millions of tons of solid waste, especially in mega cities. The amount of solid waste being generated in Asia is drastically increasing as 44 million people are being added to city populations every year, and many cities are placing burdens on municipal as well as central governments. By 2050, 50% of the world’s population will live in the Asia and Pacific region (ADB, 2011).

Industry and Trade, Urban

High-speed rail investment: A butterfly effect for urban chaos

High-speed rail investment: A butterfly effect for urban chaos
In 1969, Professor Edward Norton Lorenz coined the term “butterfly effect” to state that subtle changes in conditions can influence or cause seemingly unrelated results elsewhere. The flutter of a butterfly’s wings at place A can eventually develop into a hurricane at place B even though A and B are not related. Almost two decades after the term was coined, Japan National Railways (JNR) was privatized and split into several corporations, and now JR East manages the largest network of railway lines in Japan.

Economics, Industry and Trade

Volatility linkages between energy and food prices

Volatility linkages between energy and food prices
Energy, especially from oil and its derivatives, is a key factor of production in an economy and is widely used in different sectors—including transportation, agriculture, and industry—in households, and as a raw material in the production of petrochemical products. As such, energy has great value and affects other commodity prices. Since the first oil price shock of 1973, examining the effects of changes in energy prices, especially of oil, on macro and microeconomic levels has become one of the most fundamental issues of energy economics (Taghizadeh-Hesary et al. 2013).

Industry and Trade

Dismissal laws, innovation, and economic growth

Dismissal laws, innovation, and economic growth
The appropriate degree of government intervention in private contractual relationships, particularly in employment law, remains a fraught public policy issue. In arguing the detrimental effects of laws that prevent employers from terminating labor contracts with employees, flexible labor market conditions in the United States (US)—exemplified by the common-law “employment-at-will” doctrine—are often contrasted with the rigidities engendered by employment protection provisions in several European countries.