The Mountain View investors are the partners of Y Combinator, an organization that can be likened to a sleep-away camp for start-up companies. Y.C. holds two three-month sessions every year. During that time, campers, or founders, have regular meetings with each of Y.C.'s counselors, or partners, at which they receive technical advice, emotional support and, most critical, lessons on the art of the sale. There is no campus, only a nondescript office building in Mountain View — on Pioneer Way, around the corner from Easy Street. Founders are advised to rent apartments nearby, so that they can run to the office in minutes should an important investor pay a visit.
Authors: Shantayanan Devarajan and Wolfgang Fengler
Sub-Saharan Africa's GDP has grown five percent a year since 2000 and is expected to grow even faster in the future. Although pessimists are quick to point out that this growth has followed increases in commodities prices, the success of recent political reforms and the increased openness of African societies give the region a good chance of sustaining its boom for years to come.
Since the end of the industrial age, Americans have worried about improving their education system. But the country has never been able to make much progress. Other nations do it better, and the United States must learn from their examples if it hopes to catch up.
Asked by Georgia Ossorguine, from Grace Church School
Yingluck Shinawatra was elected prime minister of Thailand in July 2011. She has so far achieved the most important thing in Thailand today, which is preserving a fragile peace between different interest groups and political sides.
American policymakers have long been concerned about the eroding U.S. advantage in educating science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) students. With much of the assembly work for lucrative high-technology products having moved to Asia, future U.S. prosperity depends increasingly on innovating new products and techniques—innovation that requires training (or importing) a new generation of scientists and engineers.
Helen Clark discusses the 2013 Human Development Report, The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World. The report identifies more than forty developing countries that have done better than expected in human development in recent decades, with their progress accelerating markedly over the past ten years
In 2012, China imported nearly 60 million tons of soybeans, most of which were genetically modified. In that sense, even if GM foods are found to have any long-term hazards, one probably should not worry too much about only China's GM foods, but about those from all countries, including the United States, the largest producer and consumer of GM foods.
Foreign ministers from the G8 nations declared "rape and other forms of serious sexual violence in armed conflict are war crimes," violate the Geneva Conventions, and are a priority to address. Adopted on April 11, 2013, the declaration outlines how to investigate and prosecute rape and provide services for victims.
Isobel Coleman, CFR's senior fellow and director of the Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy initiative, discusses transitions to democracy and market economies, as part of CFR's Academic Conference Call series.
The recent announcement of a BRICS development bank raised many questions. Isobel Coleman writes about the potential structure and purpose of the BRICS development bank and its implications for international development and the global economy.
President Obama met with President Sall from Senegal, President Banda from Malawi, President Koroma from Sierra Leone, and Prime Minister Neves from Cape Verde on March 28, 2013. The four presidents discussed the progress their countries have made in democracy and economic development.
Asked by Fagner Dantas, from Universidade Federal da Bahia
The Brazilian government faces a number of challenges and opportunities concerning its economic forecast in the coming years. After peaking at 7.5 percent growth in 2010, Brazil's recent economic slowdown has caused worry that the dream of a new high-growth economy had slipped out of reach.
The fifth summit of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) countries met in Durban, South Africa March 26 and 27, 2013, to discuss "political and economic coordination." They released their fifth summit declaration, "BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Development, Integration and Industrialisation," which includes plans for a BRICS development bank. In the 2014 Fortaleza Declaration of the Sixth BRICS Summit, more details about the bank are explained.
Isobel Coleman writes that while it is widely recognized that food and fuel subsidies in Egypt are expensive and inefficient, Egyptian leaders do not want to touch the political third rail of subsidy reform. But they also realize that the country's fiscal situation is untenable without it. Sooner or later, serious subsidy reform is inevitable, and a well-planned process is preferable to the alternative.
Speakers: Jendayi Frazer, Juergen Voegele, and Gary Weir Presider: Harry Broadman
Jendayi Frazer, Juergen Voegele, and Gary Weir flesh out the drivers of scarcity and security challenges related to natural resources in Africa, focusing on natural resource management. This meeting is part of the Global Resources, the U.S. Economy, and National Security symposium, sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations and Conservation International.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.
The authors argue that it is essential to begin working now to expand and establish rules and norms governing armed drones, thereby creating standards of behavior that other countries will be more likely to follow.
The author examines Pakistan's complex role in U.S. foreign policy and advocates for a two-pronged approach that works to quarantine threats while integrating Pakistan into the broader U.S. agenda in Asia.