Tag Archives: development

China doubles loans to Africa, now $20 billion, and agrees to operate responsibly

China said Thursday it would offer $20 billion in new loans to Africa, underscoring the relationship’s growing importance, as Chinese companies agreed to operate more responsibly on the resource-rich continent.

Beijing has poured money into Africa over the last 15 years, seeking to tap into its vast natural resources, and China became the continent’s largest trading partner in 2009.

But its aggressive move into the continent has at times caused friction with local people, with some complaining Chinese companies import their own workers, flout labour laws and mistreat local employees.

Addressing African leaders including South African President Jacob Zuma and Kenya Premier Raila Odinga, President Hu Jintao said the loans would focus on supporting infrastructure, manufacturing and the development of small businesses.

 

Source: Yahoo! News - China doubles loans to Africa to $20 billion

 

 

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The Millennium Development Goals – wiping out disease, famine, and poverty on Earth

By Bill Gates

People sometimes say that the United Nations doesn’t do enough to solve the big problems of the world. I’ve never really agreed with that point of view, but if anyone is looking for evidence of the UN’s impact, a good place to start is the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

They were agreed to in 2000 by all 193 UN member countries and 23 international organizations. Creating that kind of consensus is—by itself—a significant achievement.

The great thing about the MDGs is that they provide clear targets and indicators of progress in key areas, including:

  • Ending poverty and hunger
  • Universal education
  • Gender equality
  • Child and maternal health
  • Combatting HIV/AIDS
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Global development

Although a number of countries won’t be able to achieve all of the goals by the target date of 2015, the MDGs have been helpful in getting everyone to really think about their part, the progress they’re making, and what they can learn from others. The goals have focused political attention in developing countries, encouraged UN groups to work together, and inspired wealthy and fast-growing donor countries to coordinate their efforts.

In February, the World Bank announced that the MDG goal of cutting extreme poverty by half had been achieved five years early. A week later, UNICEF and the World Health Organization announced that the goal of halving the number of people without access to safer drinking water was also reached five years early.
Source: The Gates Notes - A Report Card on Helping the World’s Poor

 

 

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Los Angeles updates zoning in Hollywood – moving towards metro-centric city

A plan that could dramatically remake the Hollywood skyline and form the blueprint for denser development around the city’s growing rail network has won unanimous approval from the Los Angeles City Council.

Revised zoning guidelines for Sunset Boulevard and surrounding streets will make it easier for developers to build bigger and taller buildings, especially around subway stations and along bus routes. Supporters say the plan is a visionary change that will allow Hollywood to complete a 20-year-transformation from a seedy haven for drug dealing and prostitution into a more vibrant, cosmopolitan center of residential towers, jobs, entertainment and public transportation.

“If we’re going to spend billions of dollars to build a rapid-transit system, it only makes sense to put development there,” he said.

Learn more – L.A. council OKs plan to concentrate growth in Hollywood

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Beautiful and interesting game – The Unfinished Swan (trailer)

The Unfinished Swan is a game about exploring the unknown.

The player is a young boy chasing after a swan who has wandered off into a surreal, unfinished kingdom. The game begins in a completely white space where players can throw paint to splatter their surroundings and reveal the world around them.

It’s being developed exclusively for the PlayStation 3 and will be available for download sometime in 2012. You can follow the game’s development on our blog.

 

// Thx – Anna the Red

Africa is experiencing the biggest falls in child mortality ever seen

Child mortality in Africa has plummeted, belying the continent’s “hopeless” reputation.

The chart below shows the change over the most recent five years in the number of deaths of children under five per 1,000 live births.

Sixteen of the 20 have seen falls, but the more impressive finding is the size of the decline in 12: more than the 4.4% annual fall needed for the world to achieve its millennium development goal of cutting by two-thirds the child-mortality rate between 1990 and 2015.

The top performers, Senegal and Rwanda, now have rates the same as India. It took India 25 years to reduce its rate from around 120 child deaths per 1,000 births to 72 now. It took Rwanda and Senegal only about five years.

Michael Clemens of the Centre for Global Development, a think-tank in Washington, DC, calls this “the biggest, best story in development”.

 

via Economist Daily Chart

United Nations has gone mobile – so many apps for world peace and development

The United Nations has gone mobile…in a big way. In just a few clicks I found more than 10 iPhone apps covering everything from news to statistics to global photos.

Plus, a very cool short video about the apps from Jess3:

 

I’ve just downloaded all these apps and haven’t yet played with them, so no recommendations yet. Let me know if you have any suggestions or tips:

 
 
Pieces of Peace

The app makes it easy to get involved and includes some innovative (and fun) ways to learn about the work of the United Nations. An interactive photo-scramble game, “Pieces of Peace,” gives users the ability to have fun while they learn by unscrambling photos taken around the world that are related to the work of the UN. The game includes ways for users to learn as they play, helping build awareness and knowledge about international issues. Integrated social media options also allow users to organically share this content with friends, brag about their photo-unscrambling prowess, and encourage them to get involved.
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"Everything is connected" – Ban Ki-moon urges the developed world to innovate sustainably

Speaking at Davos this year:

The Secretary General of the UN has told industrial leaders they have a social and moral duty to innovate, in the drive to turn around the global financial crisis.

Ban Ki-moon said that many countries were calling for the economy to be revitalised, social inequality to be addressed and the planet to be saved.

Mr Ban said that sustainable development would be a priority for the UN in addressing these issues.

via BBC

An earlier speech on sustainable development in September of 2011:

 

“Everything is connected” – Ban Ki-moon urges the developed world to innovate sustainably

Speaking at Davos this year:

The Secretary General of the UN has told industrial leaders they have a social and moral duty to innovate, in the drive to turn around the global financial crisis.

Ban Ki-moon said that many countries were calling for the economy to be revitalised, social inequality to be addressed and the planet to be saved.

Mr Ban said that sustainable development would be a priority for the UN in addressing these issues.

via BBC

An earlier speech on sustainable development in September of 2011:

 

"To make something great you have to be willing to throw away something good" – Steve Jobs (video)

Perfection, or rather the pursuit of perfection. It’s a quality that only the rarest individual can achieve.

In my opinion, Steve Jobs came very close with many of his products, even though in the fast-pace world of technology they become dated just a few years later. To achieve this he would often talk about the need to start over. To go back to the beginning even when you’re halfway done, against a deadline, and going to upset a lot of people.

The more I listen to him explain this concept the more I understand it. In the early stages of development a lot is learned and mistakes are made. This process often influences the development of the product and even makes it into the final release.

To start over, to take that new knowledge back to the beginning often results in a far superior product. Yet, for some reason, all of us are afraid to scrap our rough drafts and spend the time to start over.

If we can meld this with our own desire to achieve perfection, or even greatness, then perhaps we can achieve what Steve was able to achieve.

Steve Jobs on Design

Some transcribed quotes from the video:

Steve: “Design is a really loaded word…I don’t even know what it means. So we don’t talk about design a lot around here, we actually just talk about how things work. Most people think it’s how they look but it’s not really how they look it’s how they work.”

Johnny Ive: “When we were developing the iMac we were at a point where we had a couple of solutions, and we thought they were good. But, then we had that sinking feeling, you know when you start to convince yourself that something is better than you really know that it is.”

Steve: “Sometimes you just have to look at it yourself and say, you know it’s just not really great, it’s ok, it’s good, but lets not fool ourselves and call it great.”

Steve: “We are willing to throw something away because it’s not great and try again, when all of the pressure of commerce and business are at your back saying no you can’t do that.”