Stories written by Ian Richards

With the World Bank’s “Doing Business” Out of Business, What Should Come Next?

Last week the World Bank announced it was “discontinuing” its “Doing Business” report, which ranks countries on the ease of opening and operating a company.

Brexit Shows Why Traders Need Reliable Information But Many Are Ahead of the Game

It’s now almost three months since the United Kingdom entered into a new trade agreement with the European Union. During that time, we’ve seen traders struggle to get to grips with the new arrangements. From lorry drivers having their sandwiches confiscated by Dutch customs officers to estimates of additional paperwork costs of $7 billion a year, and pig breeders watching their meat rot on the quayside for want of the correct forms.

Vaccine Passports Are Controversial But Their Technology Will Bring Big Benefits to Developing Countries

The United Nations is using the digital government technology behind vaccine passports to help developing countries provide essential services to their vulnerable populations. After a year of Zoom meetings and with vaccinations slowly rolling out, international travel is making a come-back.

How Technology Can Promote Multilingualism & How it Cannot

Some of you may remember Sophia, the talking robot. In 2017 and 2018 she toured UN meetings and TV studios, wowing audiences with her thoughts on the future of technology and seemingly engaging in conversations with UN deputy chief, Amina Mohammed and British broadcaster, Piers Morgan.

How UN Helped Benin Become World’s Fastest Place to Start a Business via a Mobile Phone

Until recently, Benin was best known for its cotton exports and its vibrant clothing designs. Since this year it is also the fastest place in the world to start a company. By providing a full online service, the government helped entrepreneurs create businesses and jobs during the pandemic. A third of Benin’s new entrepreneurs are women.

Staff to UN Management: Please Drop Your Plans for Uber-Style Contracts

As the United Nations prepares to celebrate its 75th anniversary we have been made aware of an extremely worrying development concerning the future of UN staff contracts.

UN’s Plan to Offshore Back-Office Jobs is Probably a Waste of Money

A $64 million plan to move 750 back office jobs from the UN’s main duty stations to four new centralized service centres in Budapest, Montreal, Nairobi and Shenzhen, could end up being a waste of money.

Opinion: UN Frontline Staff Consider Options as Pay Cuts Loom

When the world’s most powerful ambassadors gathered in New York last week to celebrate the United Nations’ 70th anniversary, it would have been undiplomatic to mention the looming crisis facing the UN’s proudest achievement - its humanitarian aid programmes.

The U.N. at 70: Risk Averse, Unsafe and Too Old

On Apr. 20, this year, four of my colleagues tragically lost their lives in Northern Somalia, when an explosive device ripped through their minibus as they travelled back to their guesthouse.