Archive for May 2015

5 Apps For Development


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by Guest blogger, Mariana Leyton

AppsPhoto courtesy of Flickr by Jason Howle

What are the tools we talk about when we talk about civic technology? In this post and the next, we share ten applications that can be considered quintessential civic tech apps to give an idea of what can be achieved using ICTs as tools to achieve openness, transparency, efficiency and participation in our democracies.

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Counting Fishes…Or Tap Taps !


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by Guest blogger, Agustin Aguerre

Photo of  Haitian Tap Tap, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, User Teemeah

I want to share with you an experience that convinced me that in Haiti a better future is possible.

My story begins shortly after the 2010 earthquake.  Those days were quite memorable for the impassable roads filed with debris, destroyed buildings and those on the verge of collapsing, many thousands of people in the ruins, trying to survive, or just staring down in a state of shock, silenced by fear and pain.

In the midst of the chaos, there were the Tap Taps.  Elaborately painted, Tap Taps are a type of private bus constructed by fashioning a metal sheet over the flat bed of a small pickup truck and are found everywhere in Haiti. I wondered whether Tap Taps held important lessons which could help me better understand Haiti as the then newly appointed leader of the IDB’s team in the country.  As a transport specialist, I was fascinated and eager to know what kind of transportation system could function in the shattered city of Port au Prince.

One day my curiosity led me to board a Tap Tap.  It was an unforgettable experience.  There were twenty people packed in a space that, at best, could and should accommodate ten.  Pressed together, I joined mothers huddled with children, students clutching backpacks, and workers covered in exhaustion from their daily grind.  It seemed my Tap Tap crawled along so slowly that I was getting nowhere. > Read more

A Colorful Day in Laventille


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by Jeremy Valentine-Harry and Anthony Bartholomew

123Photo credit by Kerneisha Beckles

I guess we all harbored mixed emotions – excitement, anxiety, lingering doubts – as the army convoy in which we were travelling slowly meandered its way up the Laventille Hills on the morning of November 15 2014. The mission of the Family Association that day was the painting of the St Barbs Primary School, located in the low-income, community of Laventille in East Port of Spain. Laventille is a “high risk “community given its vulnerability to crime and violence.

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Journalism and the Prevention of Violence


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by Guest blogger, Pablo Bachelet

Non-violencePhoto courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Author, Mikael Ejdemyr

Almost 10 years ago, I was one of the first journalists to reach the island of Grenada after it was hit by Hurricane Ivan.

My trip lasted one day, including six hours traversing the island. The Caribbean paradise looked like a battle ground. I hurried to write a story in 45 minutes, then ran back to the airplane that had brought in  food and water. The next day, my story was on the front page of the Miami Herald. The newspaper’s archives are not publicly accessible but the text of my story is available.

What would have happened if, a few months before Ivan hit the island, I had proposed to my editor that I report and write a story on how the Caribbean prepares for natural disasters? Hard to guess, but that would have been a long and costly assignment, and I doubt it would have had the impact of my post-hurricane story. > Read more

Caribbean Economic Outlook 2015: Seeing Stars


Written by

By Juan Pedro Schmid

32_cyg_ (1)Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Egres73

What will 2015 bring to the Caribbean? A famous economist once said that ‘the only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable’. While I tend to agree that my discipline does not have too much luck lately with forecasting (the recent world economic recession is a good example of a crisis that was absolutely missed), the recent Caribbean Region Quarterly Bulletin still tries to make an informed assessment of the risks and opportunities for the Caribbean economies in 2015.

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The relationship between remittances and crime in Mexico


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by Guest bloggers, René Osorio and Steve Brito

399px-CelaPhoto courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, User Dantadd

It is difficult to find any Mexican who does not have friends or family living in other countries. And one of the key features shared by Mexicans who live in the United States is that they send billions of dollars to their native country every year.

Remittances received in Mexico amount to 2.1 percent of the country’s GDP. Mexico receives about 40 percent of all the remittances sent to Latin America and the Caribbean.

Beyond what we already know about the impact of remittances on the economy in general,  we can ask what is their impact on crime. In the working document “Remittances and the Impact on Crime in Mexico” we ask ourselves the question: Do remittances help to fight crime? > Read more

Does Big Data = Big Brother?


Written by

by Guest blogger, Roberto Obando

BigData_2267x1146_whitePhoto courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Author, Camelia.boban

The image of a policeman seated in front of a crystal ball or a magical mirror does not seem logical, even to the most creative minds. Nevertheless, the science fiction movie Minority Report” shows a police department that arrests people who are expected to commit crimes in the future. More recently, the CBS television series Person of Interest” shows a computerized vigilance system that secretly monitors everything and uses algorithms to predict which people will be involved in a violent crime.

Although there’s a vast gap between fiction and reality, that is the general concept of what predictive policing means. It is a way of using advanced technology and data analysis to adopt preventive measures, to “get ahead” of the crime. Thanks to the new technologies, predictive policing may be able to reduce crime by carrying out patrols and operations based on reports generated by algorithms that analyze data on past crimes. > Read more

How to Strengthen Transparency in Extractive Sector Governance? Ask Trinidad and Tobago


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by Malaika Masson



Trinidad and Tobago reached a milestone in promoting transparency and improving the governance of its extractive sector. On January 23rd 2015, the country achieved full compliance with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) requirements. The official announcement highlights the country’s progress in adapting an international standard to a national context and reality. It also signals the success of numerous committed individuals: policy entrepreneurs, industry champions, and civil society supporters to improve governance of T&Ts extractive industry.

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West Indians and the Building of the Panama Canal


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by Elizabeth Rodezno and Samantha Terraforte

123SS Kroonland transits the Panama Canal on February 2, 1915.  Largest passenger ship to date to transit the canal.


May 14, the DC premiere of the film Panama Stories will be presented at IDB headquarters.  The film will feature five stories based on the lives of everyday people affected by the Canal over the course of 100 years.  Producers Pablo Schverdfinger and Pituka Ortega as well as Jamaican writer Olive Senior will be at the showing.

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World Relays – Bahamas, Round 2! K.O.! Five reasons to love the IAAF World Relays, 2015


Written by

by Everette Sweeting

rsz_img_4721Photo credit by Everette Sweeting

The excitement, the heat, the competition came back to The Bahamas for the 2nd Annual IAAF World Relays and questioned – can The Bahamas top last year? – YES, WE CAN!

A week of overcast weather that included rain, thunder and lightning, led to speculation that we would have a rainy and wet Championships. That all was put to rest by Friday, and we would not see anymore rain for the week.  Saturday and Sunday provided burning temperatures in the afternoon followed by a cool Bahama Breeze at night. Perfect temperatures for two world records to be smashed and fireworks to greet every winner at the finish line.

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The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Inter-American Development Bank, its Management, its Board of Executive Directors or its member Governments.

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