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SEC’s Day of Reckoning on Transparency: Dodd-Frank Section 1504 on Disclosure of Natural Resource Revenues

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

   Following a very lengthy delay, tomorrow, August 22nd, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will finally issue the detailed implementing rules on natural resource transparency in Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act adopted by Congress in July 2010.   Specifically, Section 1504 stipulated that companies in extractive industries listed […]

Job Transition: heading (to) the Revenue Watch Institute

Friday, June 15th, 2012

     I wanted to quickly share the news with fellow bloggers and readers on my upcoming job transition, to take place in the early fall.   At that point I will head the Revenue Watch Institute (RWI) and will cease being a resident fellow at Brookings. I am mindful that nowadays improved governance of oil, gas and minerals is […]

Putin President Again: A Wake-Up Call to the World?

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

  Vladimir Putin is about to be re-elected, yet again, as President of Russia.  He already served as President twice, over the 2000-2008 period, to then immediately ease himself into the Kremlin’s Premiership for the past four years, awaiting his next term as President, which is about to begin.  His new term is expected to last six […]

Conviction of Spain’s Superjudge Garzon: An indictment of its own judiciary?

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

                                                       The recent conviction (ostensibly for ordering jailhouse witetaps) of Baltasar Garzón, the Spanish judge who took on corrupt officials, despots, terrorists and human rights violators during the Franco regime, casts a dark shadow on Spain’s judiciary and hints at a political witch-hunt.  In October 1998, Judge Garzón catapulted to prominence when he broke with […]

Russia and China Leadership Props Syria’s Assad

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

  This past Saturday the world saw harrowing media accounts of the massacre perpetrated by the Syrian government’s bombardment of civilians in the city of Homs. The massive artillery barrage, which has continued since then, have  left many hundreds of people dead, making it the most deadly attack of the year-long uprising. Homs had already […]

Iran’s Ahmadinejad warmly welcomed in Latin America, or not quite?: Misgovernance in one chart

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

  Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to Latin America has received wide coverage.  Much is being written about the fact that the President of Iran, increasingly isolated around the world, can count on a warm welcome in one continent, Latin America, providing him with excellent photo-ops embracing the region’s leaders, thereby stinging the U.S. It is however […]

Transparency, Conflict Minerals and Natural Resources: Debating Sections 1502 and 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Act

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

With a focus on conflict minerals and natural resource transparency, Sections 1504 and 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Financial Reform Act are unrelated to the U.S. banking system. Yet they have stirred up controversy. As is often the case with provisions that aim at changing the rules of the game, Sections 1502 and 1504 […]

Transparency in Natural Resources and Conflict Minerals: What We May Not Know About Dodd-Frank

Friday, December 9th, 2011

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is the very well known piece of legislation that intends to regulate the U.S. financial market. The debate over the act and its implementation continues and I have contributed to that discussion in previous postings. Yet, what is not so well known is how the Dodd-Frank […]

Africa’s Dawn or Doom?: From Premature Exuberance to Tempered Optimism

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

Earlier this summer, President Obama welcomed one day apart Gabonese President Ali Bongo and Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to the White House.  Both countries share in common significant oil wealth, weak public institutions, and a large proportion of the population living in poverty. Nigeria is ahead of the laggard Gabon in terms of developing democratic institutions, and has made inroads compared with its misgoverned […]

Congress’ Dismal Performance Need Not Be the Case: A Governance Perspective

Friday, July 29th, 2011

  According to a Gallup nationwide poll ten years ago, 55 percent of citizens approved of the way Congress was handling its job. That was in March 2001, before the surge in solidarity that resulted in Congressional approval ratings of 70-80 percent following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. By mid-2002, the approval ratings were back to pre-9/11 levels, […]

Open Government Partnership: First Steps and the Road Ahead

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

    “When a government hides its work from public view, hands out jobs and money to political cronies, administers unequal justice, looks away as corrupt bureaucrats and businessmen enrich themselves at the people’s expense, that government is failing its citizens,” stated U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the opening of the multi-country Open Government […]

Qaddafi’s Corrupt Influence in the West: a case of International State Capture?

Monday, March 7th, 2011

We know about the story in many countries of low level bureaucrats demanding a bribe to expedite the processing of a business license, or a driver’s permit, or to pay reduced taxes.  For a long time, such administrative corruption has been the focus of research and measurement in the field of corruption.  Administrative corruption is […]

Libya’s Startling Failure: Unforeseen or Ignored?

Friday, February 25th, 2011

A month ago, emboldened by the successful ousting of Tunisia’s Ben Ali, Egypt’s anti-government protesters took to the streets in Cairo demanding the resignation of Mubarak. And at that time, as pointed out in a previous post, many pundits wrote that the uprising in Tunisia was of a unique nature, that the reality in Egypt […]

Tunisia, Egypt and Beyond: Fewer Predictions, More Data and Aid Reform Needed

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

Nobody predicted that the desperate act of a young Tunisian who set himself on fire in protest of government policies that had left him jobless and disenfranchised would ignite protests for democratic and economic reforms across the Middle East. Since this incident, Tunisia’s government has fallen and demonstrations have spread to Yemen, Jordan, Algeria, Sudan […]

On Governance and Human Rights in China and Iran

Monday, October 11th, 2010

So it goes:  a few days ago the Nobel Peace Prize for 2010 was awarded to Liu Xiaobo, the jailed Chinese dissident, in spite of the active lobbying by the authorities in China (including threats on dire consequences on their relations with Norway)…

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