Singapore, September 17, 2006 –
Winners of the first annual research essay competition cosponsored by the
International Finance Corporation and the Financial Times were honored
today in Singapore. The awards ceremony capped a day of events on the theme
of private sector development, and participants included attendees of the
World Bank Group’s Annual Meetings, the winner of the first prize, the
competition’s judges, the press, and other stakeholders.
The competition, entitled “Business
and Development: The Private Path to Prosperity,” aimed to encourage new
thinking in the ongoing dialogue on the role of business in development.
“We believe that new ideas out in the
business world can lead to more, and faster, innovations in the development
business,” said Michael Klein, World Bank-IFC Vice President for Financial
and Private Sector Development and IFC Chief Economist.
The essay competition, which is expected
to become an annual event, drew more than 500 essays from over 70 countries.
Roughly four-fifths of the entries came from emerging market nationals.
Some 21 percent were from authors based in the United States; 15 percent
were based in Nigeria and 13 percent in India. The topics of the submissions
ranged from education to microfinance and from property rights to entrepreneurship,
as well as private sector development in post-conflict environments.
Klein noted as he reflected on the submissions,
“Clearly, the ideas of helping people out of informality and about the
‘bottom of the pyramid’ inspired many essays in the competition, as has
the practical success of entrepreneurs.”
Prize money totaling $90,000 was set
up for the six awards, with the top prize bringing the winner $30,000.
First prize went to James Tooley, Director of E.G. Centre West at the University
of Newcastle, where he is also Head of the Education Section and Associate
Director of the School of Education, Communication, and Language Sciences.
His work explores the role of the private sector in serving the educational
needs of poor people.
The winners of the competition were graded on quality, originality, and
level of research. The essays were reviewed by a distinguished panel of
seven judges: Hernando de Soto, Founder, President, and CEO of the Institute
of Liberty and Democracy; Sir Sam Jonah, President and Non-Executive Officer
at AngloGold Ashanti, Ltd.; Michael Klein, from the World Bank Group; Nadan
Nilekani, Chief Executive Officer, Infosys; C.K. Prahalad, Paul and Ruth
McCracken Distinguished University Professor of Corporate Strategy at the
Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan; Frances Seymour,
previous Program Director at the Institutions and Governance Department
of the World Resources Institute and current Director General at the Center
for International Forestry Research in Indonesia; and Martin Wolf, Associate
Editor and Chief Economics Commentator at the Financial Times.
The winners are:
GOLD PRIZE WINNER
“Educating Amaretch: Private Schools
for the Poor and the New Frontier for Investors,” by James Tooley
SILVER PRIZE WINNERS
“Traveling Down the Other Path - Learning
to See Extra-Legality as an Investment Opportunity,” by Matthew Bird
“Innovation of a Global Local Currency Microfinance Fund,” by Maheshan
BRONZE PRIZE WINNERS
“Pro-Market Beliefs Amongst Argentine
Squatters,” by Rafael di Tella, Sebastian Galiani, and Ernesto Schargrodsky
“ICTs as Appropriate Technologies for African Development,” by Kristin
Davis and Cosmos Ochieng
“Managing Policy Risk,” by Witold Henisz and Bennet Zelner
Winning essays and a brief biography of each prize winner can be viewed
on our Web site at www.ifc.org/competition.
Moving forward, this page will post details of the second annual
competition, which IFC will open in late 2006.
To set up an interview with the winners, the competition judges, or representatives
of the World Bank Group, please contact: Andrew Mak, cell, +65 8134 6274;