Commitment to Development Index 2010

Center for Global Development’s Commitment to Development Index 2010

This is a neat interactive display that compares/analyzes developed countries based on their impact on the developing world.

I need to spend more time playing around with the page because I’m interested to learn more about what effect agricultural subsidies and trade barriers from developed countries have on developing countries.

….. Subsidies that lower the market price of agricultural products to developing countries kill opportunities for developing countries to develop their own agricultural base. The EU in particular is notorious for its subsidization of agricultural goods – in 2006 approximately 48% of the EU’s budget went to the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, which is system of agricultural subsidies and programs (Financial Management in the EU). An example of the detrimental effect of this program is that for EU sugar worth 3.30 euros, the price is lowered to 1 euro for the export market (Oxfam “A Sweeter Future?” 2004).

…. Way to complement your international development budgets with industry killing subsidies.

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Kosovo Wind Gardens

I haven’t posted anything about the company I am starting – Kosovo Wind Gardens

Here is my/our business abstract:

Kosovo is the youngest and poorest country in Europe. Our multinational, multi-institutional student project has the potential to employee hundreds Kosovo’s people and power the country with carbon free energy. The project is to sell household wind-turbines; the wind-turbines will provide not only energy during blackouts, but also provide Kosovars a method of self-employment. After purchasing the wind-turbines, people will have the option to either consume the electricity or sell whatever they do not use to the public utility company at a premium rate. In the spring of 2011 we will begin a pilot project at the American University of Kosovo. We have established a formal, business relationship with a US manufacturer, Balanced Wind, who will be opening a turbine factory in Kosovo, this summer. We have established a relationship with the Kosovo’s Energy Regulator’s Office and Ministry of Energy. And we are also in contact with potential funders including the Rockefeller Brothers, US Agency for International Development, the World Bank and lastly the European Commission Liaison Office to Kosovo. We are taking an innovative approach to the distribution of an income generating and capacity building technology. Our hope is that our method of decentralized electrification in Kosovo will serve as a model to other countries in the region and potentially to the rest of the world.

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Q&A: Calestous Juma and African innovation

Calestous JumaSciDev article – Professor Juma describes the need for government policies to support Africa’s unique sci/tech capabilities.

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WBCSD ‘Inclusive Business’ Pitch

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development made a video pitching the idea of ‘Inclusive Business’

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Africa’s informal economy can boost innovation

Electronics shop in Nairobi, Kenya

A Science for Development article about the importance of connecting the formal and informal economies of Africa

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Smart Grids for the Developing World

Recently, I spoke to an employee from the US Office of Science and Technology Policy about my research in Kosovo, and he suggested I look into the applications of smart grid technologies in the developing world.

These are two interesting articles I dug up:

5 Reasons Why Developing Countries Need Smart Grids, Too

Why the Power Buildout Will Mirror Cell Phones in Developing Countries

The first article cites energy thievery as one of the motivations for smart grids in the developing world. I learned about this problem while I was in Kosovo – during a meeting I had with one of Kosovo’s advisors to the minister of energy, he explained to me how only about 50% of Kosovo’s consumed energy is actually paid for!

The second article is expressing the idea that developing countries will make the same sort of ‘leap-frogging’  jump that was made to cell phones, over landlines,  only this time to decentralized smart grids, over current centralized power grids.

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In RIT’s News

1. http://www.rit.edu/news/athenaeum_story.php?id=48005

2. http://www.rit.edu/news/photoarchive.php?view=photo&datePhoto=2010-12-17

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