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Improving the international trading system does not require new, comprehensive multilateral agreements. Countries can derive large gains from the trading system by engaging in reforms often referred to as trade facilitation. In broad terms, trade facilitation includes reforms aimed at improving the chain of administrative and physical procedures involved in the transport of goods and services across international borders. Countries with inadequate trade infrastructure, burdensome administrative processes, or limited competition in trade logistics services are less capable of benefiting from the opportunities of expanding global trade. Companies interested in investing, buying, or selling in local markets are less likely to bother if there are too many frictions related to document processing or cargo inspection at customs, antiquated port facilities, logistics bottlenecks, or limited reliability of freight or trade-financing services. According to recent studies from the World Bank and other international economic institutions, trade facilitation reforms could do more to increase global trade flows than further reductions in tariff rates. For many developing countries -- particularly those that receive preferential tariff treatment from rich countries -- reducing transportation and logistics-related costs through trade facilitation reforms would be much more beneficial than further tariff cuts. But trade facilitation does not only offer promise to developing countries. All countries can benefit by removing sources of friction in their supply chains. The post-9/11 focus on minimizing the risk of terrorists exploiting porous international supply chains to sneak weapons of mass destruction into U.S. cities -- obviously a vital objective -- could hamper the capacity of Americanbased companies to attract investment and compete for markets. Likewise, U.S. prohibitions against foreign competition in transportation services and the political antipathy toward foreign investment in U.S. port operations raise the costs of doing business and increase the scope for trade facilitation in the United States.
John D. Gerhart Center for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement at The American Univerity in Cairo;
From Charity to Change: Trends in Arab Philanthropy, provides a preliminary overview of Arab philanthropy in eight countries of the region including: Egypt, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The purpose of the study was to document the varying forms of institutionalized philanthropy that currently exist as well as provide recommendations for how philanthropy can become more effective.
This report explores how mobile services provided by Vodafone and the Vodafone Foundation are enabling women to seize new opportunities and improve their lives. Accenture Sustainability Services were commissioned to conduct research on the services and to assess their potential social and economic impact if they were widely available across Vodafone's markets by 2020. It showcases the projects and the work of those involved and also poses the question -- what would the benefit to women and to society at large be if projects such as these were taken to scale and achieved an industrialscale of growth? This reflects the Foundation's commitment not solely to the development of pilots but rather the Trustees' ambition to see projects which lead to transformational change. In order to understand this more deeply, the Report looks at the benefits for women and society and providessome financial modelling for how the engagement of commercial players could achieve industrial, sustainable growth in these areas. Accenture has provided the modelling and, given the public benefit and understanding which the report seeks to generate, these are shared openly for all in the mobile industry to understand and share. It is the Trustees' hope that the collaboration with Oxford University and Accenture in the delivery of this Report will stimulate not only the expansion of existing charitable programmes but will also seed other philanthropic, social enterprise or commercial initiatives.