The Importance of Girls in a New War to end Poverty – #gov20

Girls are the Answer

Girls are the Answer

I often start my speeches, in every corner of the globe, with a video from The Girl Effect.  My wife and two daughters know exactly why I care so much about the topic.  And my daughter, now 13, has given me the best gift I could have asked for.

She has a project at school that will be a year long.  She can tackle any subject.  It needs to be community focused, but little guidance after that.  She came to Mom asking if she could focus on something like “The Girl Effect”.  When Mom told me, I brimmed with pride.

Parents everywhere wonder if they are doing the right thing, if they are raising kids to be active parts of their world, whether they introduced technology too soon, whether they restricted access to hard, whether they taught enough.  Whether they developed strong and yet empathetic citizens.  And wondering when they would find out.  For us, it is apparently at 13.

Our conversations so far have been around the economic impact of addressing young girls as a target would have.  And I am proud that her focus is dual – US and Global.  She understands the issues are different, but the effects are profound.  That by fixing the irrational problems surrounding girls in lesser developed countries, the out comes are stunning.  According to USAID, “by empowering women farmers with the same access to land, new technologies, and capital as men, we can increase crop yields by as much as 30 percent and feed an additional 150 million people”.   And according to the Girl Effect,  “An extra year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10 to 20 percent. An extra year of secondary school: 15 to 25 percent.”  And, “When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent for a man.”

And while she will have one eye on the globe, she will have her feet firmly planted in the US.  That girls in this country suffer from similarly stifling effects of poverty.  That unlocking a solution for them in cities around this proud nation has a disproportionate effect on the health and wealth of all of us.  That by securing strength among girls in Chicago, Seattle, Milwaukee, New York and elsewhere will have a positive and unstoppable effect on girls in rural america and onward.  And that our strength here will be multiplied to her sisters overseas, tightening the circle and creating a tide to rise all boats.

But my favorite part of my daughter’s journey is the understanding that, in the West, women have only recently become enfranchised and that, now, more than ever, they have a responsibility to solidify the ladder they used to climb up to enable the girl effect worldwide.  So, while my daughter is privileged, she will start the cycle in our city, in her school.  At 13, she will shoulder a very tiny fraction of the load carried by her counterparts overseas.  She will use the gifts she has been given, to charm the socks off of everyone around her, to demand that we not simply state that we care about our girls, but that we will FIGHT to enable them across the globe.

Thank you Madison.

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Africa: MIT Wealth of Nations, eRegistry #opengov and #gov20 to Drive Economic Growth Globally

Government 2.0 and Open Government Data Could Grow Africa's Welath...

Government 2.0 and Open Government Data Could Grow Africa's Welath...

I have the honor of sitting on a board that came from MIT and specifically from Julius O. Akinyemi, the great thinker behind the eRegistry project.  The Wealth of Nations Project, and the board charged with making it real, is positioned to alter the very nature of capital structures starting in Africa, but clearly exportable to other lesser developed nations.  And Government 2.0 will play an instrumental role.

Julius has agreed to do a guest blog here on FixingPotholes.com, but until then I wanted to post a bit about the basics and the opportunity.

The project is aimed at unlocking the power of dormant trillions of dollars of local assets in parts of the world that lack a system to accurately peg that value and securitize the assets to grow local economies.  The theory of the project also embodies the local design movement in emerging markets and does not inaccurately place existing securitization strategies on top of markets that lack some of the developed world characteristics. To quote Julius,

“We will provide through economic modeling, a global standardized index that financial institutions can use to better assess individual’s worth and improve the lending practices. This process will generate needed capital in developing nations. Additionally, this process of asset securitization will provide transparency and accountability for invested and loaned funds to the various nations by the World’s financial organizations e.g. IMF.”

The transparency angle was certainly enough to get me interested in getting involved, but the best part is that the project envisions utilizing the crowd to add to securitization and leverage ICT to create a level of comfort to capital to allow the system to drive secure lending practices based upon accurate identification of risk and value in lesser developed parts of the world.  The idea is that we could develop an eRegistry to tap into local crowds to identify asset value and securitize it to an extent that the inefficiency in the current global market is corrected and the value unlocked.  The great point is that this is extensible, through open government data initiatives, to a degree that eGovernment systems can be enabled across the globe.

“As with the development of the Internet, which did not come from a single technology but from the timely convergence of multiple streams of technological development, the convergence of new technologies has the potential to enable asset owners, regardless of location or type of asset, to partake in an artificial nervous systems that can begin to sense, capture, record, transmit and even value an asset in nanoseconds via the eRegistry.

By the same token the “eRegistry” could be used as an eGovernment Revenue Generation base, Census and Population Control Issues database, Disease control and Health and wellness resource etc. The “eRegistry,” when enabled with data mining capabilities and localized economic models that consider local economic nuances, can easily predict future pricing of assets, local market behaviors and, when intelligently used with proper governance processes, will build a second understanding and “layer” of that society for both individuals and the community at large by allowing for another, more global perspective of individual and communal wealth to emerge. With this model, a new Digital Global Common Currencywill emerge that can enable global open capital sourcing. The eRegistry will enable us to build an Entrepreneurial Information Exchange Platform that could be analogous to a real-time global commerce commodities trading floor. The Information Exchange will also become an open platform for Virtual Doctors and Health Care Services, Local Commodities Trading, Media for Capital Generation, Quantitative tool for Micro credit lending efficiency, as well as products and services brokerage functions.”

I am unbelievably excited about this project and look forward to working with Julius to help drive the idea and the execution of it.  But, as always, the success of the endeavor clearly depends upon the community that reads this blog, discussing and debating and promulgating the idea.  We are already starting to work out the details, but we all remain committed to advice from our global government 2.0 community to truly tip the world in a new direction.  We will present a demonstration of the concept at the World Economic Forum in Davos coming up, lets make that an incredible experience by getting involved.

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Matthew Burton: ACH Turns Open Government Data into Actionable #gov20 Policy Insight

 

Gunnar and Burton: Applying ACH to Non-Intelligence Policy Issues with Open Government Data

Gunnar and Burton: Applying ACH to Non-Intelligence Policy Issues with Open Government Data

Thanks to Gunnar posting over at GovFresh, we have some insight into some of the advanced policy work being done in the Gov20 world.  It is interesting to see this coming from the intelligence community and can be insightful in many more areas.

ACH has multiple applications outside of the defense or intelligence spheres.  In almost every area of public policy we have massively competing hypothesis.  In many cases we also have a multitude of data sources available to analyze that could lead us to more stable policy development long term.  It could also have a positive effect of cleaning up our political discourse or at least abrogating the difficulty that we have in separating out political rhetoric from long term policy development.

Take Argentina as an example.  During the late 80′s, Argentinian inflation was incredibly out of control.  People didn’t ask for their change in transactions because it wasn’t worth their time to wait.  Buying decisions had to be made in hours as opposed to days.  Mortgages and other long term credit were in disarray.  Domingo Cavallo was brought in by newly elected President Carlos Menem, a Peronist, to help stem the tide.  His austerity program, admittedly steeped in criticism in its detail, stopped the free fall.  But the challenge was too much value had dropped and lives destroyed because of the disconnect between what would have traditionally be understood from a Peronist point of view (or in general a left leaning point of view) and the austerity programs embraced by Cavallo.  Again, he stopped the hyperinflation, but the delay was caused by the fog of political/policy divisions.

What if Burton’s work were applied as countries start to feel the upcoming inflationary pressures?  Could it help guide policymakers in making tough decisions that Menem eventually made in a quicker way?  Could his solution be applied to issues steeped in politics?  What if we had used it to analyze global warming earlier?  What about micro-lending or LDC loan forgiveness?  What about the MDGs?

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Challenge: Can Government as a Platform help attain Development Goals?

Can Open Government Data help attain Millinium Development Goals?

Can Open Government Data help attain Millinium Development Goals?

UNDP convened multiple countries in Ghana this past month to discuss achieving the Millenium Development Goals in the Context of Conflict.  It is a great question to struggle with and convening on it is a great first step, but I wonder if there is a heightened role for the Government2.0 movement to play.

The 12 participating countries included: Burundi, CAR, Chad, DRC, Ethiopia, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Somalia, Sudan and Timor-leste.  Each of these countries has significant challenges internally and externally.  Those challenges also allow for an opportunity to help structure government in a fundamentally different way.  Instead of creatinga  dependency cycle on donor nations and IGO’s, what if we could help governments in these countried think in a fundamentally different way about citizen service.  What if they built platforms with their resources that allowed a global community to help support.  One where the target was developing step-by-step an infrastructure upon which peaceful growth could prosper.  At its basis open government data that would allow for useful applications to be developed both locally and globally and allowing local dollars to be spent instead on creating needed physical infrastructure components and a security structure that allowed for such growth?

Where would we start?  What would the first layer of the platform be?  In developing nations, often digitization is the first step, followed by identity and digital intake capabilities.  Often their is a misunderstanding from the banking sector on securitization of assets which could be solved by a new credit ranking system.  I know that the folks over at MIT are working on such a thing with Nigeria. 

Could we make this the call to action for Millennials?

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