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Protecting Minority Rights in African Countries

A Constitutional Political Economy Approach

John M. Mbaku

In this enlightening book, John Mukum Mbaku analyses the main challenges of constitutional design and the construction of governance institutions in Africa today. He argues that the central issues are: providing each country with a constitutional order that is capable of successfully managing sectarian conflict and enhancing peaceful coexistence; protecting the rights of citizens – including those of minorities; minimizing the monopolization of political space by the majority (to the detriment of minorities); and, effectively preventing government impunity.
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Abbreviations and acronyms

A Constitutional Political Economy Approach

John M. Mbaku

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The stakeholder governance of microfinance

A Comparative Perspective

Magdalena Dieterle

The author argues that stakeholder-based financial institutions with supportive governance structures and local ownership (whether explicit or implicit) can offer healthier and more stable growth, even in times of crisis, for the institutions, their customers, and the communities in which they are based. This claim is based on a look at the history of microfinance that goes back to Irish loan funds and an analysis of today’s microfinance institutions, especially those with a sense of client ownership.

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Daniel Seikel

The author highlights the political vulnerability of public banks with the example of German public banks. He introduces the reader to the traditional structure of the German banking system, the role of the public banks therein, and the relevance of this structure for the German production regime. He then traces the conflict between private and public banks as the latter increasingly competed for the same business. The conflict stalemated in the national arena until the European Single Market project was launched. This offered the private banks the opportunity to bypass the strong opposition in Germany. As European competition law presumes that all actors act like profit-maximizing private investors, the state liability guarantee for German public banks was considered to be an unfair competitive advantage. Under the dictates of the European Commission, this guarantee had to be withdrawn by the year 2005.

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Adriana Nunes Ferreira and Everton Sotto Tibiriçá Rosa

The authors trace the history of one of the largest development banks in the world, Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social. In its various phases since the 1950s, the history of the BNDES has mirrored the vision of development held by the leaders of the Brazilian economy. It moved from support for industrialization based on import substitution to relieving private companies of their foreign-denominated debt, to facilitating privatization and finally to carrying out industrial policy initiatives. While it undoubtedly contributed to economic growth in Brazil, the country has yet to fulfil the original vision of development with an endogenous technical progress and social justice.

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Reflections on the Global Infrastructure System

The Trans-national Strategy and Policy Interface

Colin Turner and Debra Johnson

This chapter brings together the themes addressed within the previous chapters to over conclusions as the state and pressures/processes within the global infrastructure system. In reflecting how there is an evident nexus between the state infrastructuring and territoriality, it is also apparent that National Infrastructure Systems are adapting to the pressures acting upon them by the forces of globalization. However, seeking to balance territorial requirements of the National Infrastructure System with globalization has led to a sustained (and, in some cases, a newly emergent) fragmentation of the global system.

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Edited by Christoph Scherrer

This book asks the important question of whether public banks are a better alternative to profit-seeking private banks. Do public banks provide finance for development? Do they serve as stability anchors in financial markets? What kind of governance keeps public banks accountable to the public? Theoretically the book draws on the works of Minsky for the question on stability and on interpretative policy analysis for the issue of governance. It compares empirically three countries with significant public banks: Brazil, Germany, and India.
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Ana Rosa Ribeiro de Mendonça and Brunno Henrique Sibin

The authors analyse the parallels between the crisis response of the Brazilian public bank Caixa Econômica Federal (Caixa) and its Chilean counterpart BancoEstado in their different political and economic environments. Both banks acted anticyclically, but encouraged by the strong pro-growth orientation of the Brazilian government and enabled by the institutionalized access to compulsory savings funds, Caixa continued the expansion of lending even after the crisis had been overcome. This procyclical behaviour is a sign that Caixa’s mandate went beyond the function of a stability anchor.

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Pallavi Chavan

The author looks at one of the biggest public banking sectors in the world from a historical perspective. Besides supporting employment-intensive sectors such as agriculture and small enterprises, Indian banks are charged with reaching out to a great number of people without bank accounts, especially in rural areas, since the broad-based nationalization of banks in the late 1960s. Until the financial liberalization phase in the 1990s, branch outreach increased rapidly and bank credit became much more accessible in agriculture. The expansion of public banking was accompanied by a striking increase in national savings and investments. However, the policy of financial liberalization brought about a reversal in most of these accomplishments. The policy of financial inclusion and low interest–bearing loans to address agrarian distress resumed after 2005, but also included bulky loans to infrastructure and core industrial sectors with a higher propensity for default. Rejecting the call for privatization, she asserts the need not only to preserve the public character of these banks by way of recapitalization given their role in financial inclusion but also for professional and transparent management of these banks.

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The nature of the Global Infrastructure System

The Trans-national Strategy and Policy Interface

Colin Turner and Debra Johnson

State-based National Infrastructure Systems (NIS) is undergoing a process of adaptation shaped by the forces of globality. This globality is generating a global infrastructure system based on the interaction between NIS. This global system of interacting national infrastructure has the potential to impact upon state territoriality through the conduit offered by the infrastructural mandate. In analysing this process the chapter identifies that interaction between NIS occurs through three potential channels. The first is direct cross-border interaction (which normally occurs across contiguous space). The second is through third party (transit) infrastructure, which is especially a concern where a state is landlocked or requires long-distance transmission systems (such as pipelines) across third-party states. The third is transmission across the global commons.