Regional development banks need to give up vested interests and coordinate their efforts more if they want to truly fulfil their mission of helping developing countries.
This was the essence of a speech by the president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Sir Suma Chakrabarti, at the Washington-based Peterson Institute ahead of the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
“My dear gentlepeople!” I do hope this is the way in which Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi starts his address to our American friends, during his upcoming visit to the USA. The quirky title is intentional — replacing “ladies and gentlemen” with “gentlepeople” just like the term Chairperson has increasingly replaced Chairman. The aim is to show a deviation from the traditional, to prove that one has changed with the changing times.
Private and foreign interest in India’s higher-education sector is way below the potential. This interest is largely restricted to the more unregulated segments like technical, professional and vocational education. The school and university segments (which form the larger chunk of the sector) are not on the radar due to archaic regulations.
It is fashionable to say that the government has no business to be in business. But this is easier said than done, as governments bearing the liabilities of ailing Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) – essentially state-owned companies — may vouch.
State-owned companies have played a critical role in initiating their nations’ commercial capabilities post-independence, given the absence of private capital. But government patronage through bailouts, job-secured inefficient management and gaps between strategies and realities on the ground spelt doom.
An advance in annual gross domestic product of around 3% in recent years does not reflect the true potential of Pakistan, a country of 180 million. While recent positives highlighted in the second review of the IMF during its assistance programme for the country suggest the economy is taking constructive shape, a lot is still needed to sustain and enhance that momentum.