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Development

Policy Watch

[WTN-L World Tibet Network News. Published by The Canada Tibet Committee. Issue ID: 02/02/28; February 28, 2002.]

The Washington Post. February 24, 2002, Sunday, Final Edition.

Critics of the World Bank, echoed by the Bush administration, contend that the institution is bureaucratic and political, and that it's difficult to point to measurable results. Now come two Bank alumni, Dennis Whittle and Mari Kuraishi, with an Internet business that links worthy development projects with willing funders, without all the fuss in between. Launched earlier this month, DevelopmentSpace.com has identified 48 worthwhile projects, from solar energy systems in Tibet to a social atlas to be compiled by school children in rural Argentina, and attracted several hundred "social investors" as site subscribers. The first deal will likely be completed next week -- the foreign aid equivalent of the speed of light.

To expand their reach, Whittle and Kuraishi have put together a network of people to identify projects in every region, plus a cadre of mentors for local project managers drawn from Bank alumni and graduate students from the United States and India. They'll also maintain a database of past projects that will help direct future funds to individuals and groups that have the best track records. By next year, they plan to move from purely grant proposals to investment opportunities. Funder/investors will be charged a commission of 7 to 10 percent on all completed deals.

World Bank, beware.


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