Monday, January 24, 2011

Bangladesh probes bank founded by microfinance icon

In the latest crisis to hit the global microcredit industry, the Bangladeshi government launched an investigation recently of Nobel Peace laureate Muhammad Yunus's Grameen Bank whose microfinance model was hailed revolutionary and replicated worldwide. The investigation comes as other governments are scrutinizing the microcredit industry following reports of wildcat loans, sky-high interest rates and coercive debt collection sinking borrowers - many of them women into financial debt. As criticsms arise, is microfinance a viable future model for sustainable development? View this story in detail.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Economics and Development

Microlenders, Honored With Nobel, Are Struggling

In 2006, Grameen Bank,  pioneered microcredit in India. Along with its founder Grameen Bank was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. However less than 5 years later there has been hostility toward microfinance-  a sharp reversal from the praise and good will that politicians, social workers and bankers showered on the sector in the last decade.In India- home to the world’s fastest-growing microcredit businesses, lending has slowed sharply since the state adopted a strict law restricting lending. View Story in Detail

Picture: Kainaz Amaria for The New York Times

Friday, January 7, 2011

Environment and Development/ Economics and Development

World Risks Food Riots as Grains Climb, Economist Chalmin Says

Crop damage caused by flooding in Australia and drought in Argentina is likely to boost grain prices in coming months, Chalmin, an economics professor at the University of Paris- Dauphine. According to the United Nation's Food and Agricultural Organization World food prices advanced to a record in December, partly driven by higher sugar prices. Combined with increase weather shocks around the world what will this mean for developing nations?
View story in detail.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Health and Development

Mexico's other enemy: Obesity rates triple in last 3 decades

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 69.5% of the Mexican population aged 15 and older is overweight or obese. This is the highest rate in the world, even higher than in the United States -- which historically had the highest rate -- and the United Kingdom, which has the highest in Europe. In the attempts to curb the cycle of obesity the government launched a nationwide campaign urging people to excersize. Nevertheless as increases in income occur throughout the country, the government has noticed the number of Mexican citizens overweight.  View this story in more detail.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Gender and Development

Family planning helps women … and slows climate change

Recent research suggests that simply meeting the existing "unmet need"of global family planning would deliver up to one-seventh of the carbon reductions essential to slow global warming at a low cost. With women empowered to plan their pregnancies, the world's population grows more slowly, as do carbon emissions.
Providing women with family planning services they want and need is deemed to be  benefitial for the health of families throughout the world.  In the country of Uganda  Family Health International (FHI), an NGO working with Uganda's ministry of health, began providing family planning services to help increase women's empowerment and provide essential services, however challenges still arise in meeting the existing unment need of global family planning.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Health and Development

Drug company's loss could be Africa's gain.

A decision by an Indian patent office to reject an application by one of the world's major drug companies could help save lives in Africa, by enabling the manufacture of cheap versions of a key Aids drug.The decision may have just been made in Mumbai's Abbott Laboratories- one of the largest research-based drug companies in the world. Yet the decision has recieved opposition from the company and they are now considering what to do. Nevertheless, HIV/AIDS campaigners are celebrating. The Mumbai patent office has rejected Abbott's application for a patent in India on its drug Kaletra - a combination of the two antiretroviral medicines lopinavir and ritonavir.Yet problems will loom as HIV becomes resistant to the cheap first-line drugs being rolled out, the cost of treating Africans will soar unless generic versions of the newer medicines that we use in Europe and the USA can be sourced. View this story

Story by: Sarah Bosely
Photo:  Krista Kennell/Krista Kennell/ZUMA/Corbis

Monday, January 3, 2011

Environment and Development

"Tea off: India's farmers say climate is changing brew"

Growers in the tropical Assam state, India's main tea growing region, say rising temperatures have led to a drop in production and subtle, unwelcome changes in the flavor of their brews.The area provides some of the finest black and British-style teas,notable for their heartiness, strength and body.
Assam produces nearly 55 percent of the tea crop in India- a nation that accounts for 31 percent of global tea production. But the region's tea production has dipped significantly, and plantation owners fear it will drop further as temperatures rise and rainfall patterns change. As a result India has proposed a system for sharing technologies between rich and poor countries designed to free up funding and technologies for poor nations that need help coping with a warmer world. Read More

 (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)