The IDB goes with the flow
Sunday, March 18 2007 @ 10:17 PM UTC
Contributed by: Don Winner
A different kind of dilemma could bedevil another "opportunity for the majority" idea that surfaced at this weekend's annual conference in Guatemala City. On Friday the bank agreed to work on plans to make land titles more widely available. This would, for example, allow the poor to use land - often their only asset - as collateral for loans. The scheme is in its early stages - a statement of principle has been agreed with the Lima-based Institute for Liberty and Democracy, an organisation founded by Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto. According to bank officials it envisages working on developing land registration mechanisms in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Guatemala and Panama and one other country. Here the problem is not that land titling is already happening. Far from it. Only limited progress has been made anywhere in the region, with powerful vested interests that prefer existing legal ambiguities blocking reform. The bank itself has started similar schemes elsewhere without success, for example. If it is to succeed this time it must be prepared for some complex political challenges.