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Africa

A better way to train small business owners: using psychology to teach personal initiative

David McKenzie's picture
Also available in: Français



Billions of US dollars have been spent—by governments, microfinance organizations, and NGOs—on training the owners of small businesses. Traditional programs typically aim to teach practices such as record-keeping, stock control, and simple marketing. But while these do seem to improve the performance of small businesses, most result in little real change, making the impact hard to detect.

What Studies in Spatial Development Show in Ethiopia-Part III

Michael Geiger's picture
Source: World Bank visualization based on data from NOAA’s VIIRS Satellite.
In Part III of our three-part blog series on our study on spatial distribution and its implications for inclusiveness development in Ethiopia over the next five years, we will broadly describe four overarching policy solutions to address spatial inequalities in development in Ethiopia.

What Studies in Spatial Development Show in Ethiopia-Part II

Priyanka Kanth's picture
Source: World Bank visualization based on data from various UN agencies

In Part I of our blog —based on a background note we wrote for the World Bank’s 2017–2022 Country Partnership Framework for Ethiopia—we presented our key findings on the spatial or regional distribution of poverty and child malnutrition in Ethiopia.

In Part II of our blog, we look at changes in road density over the ten years from 2006 to 2016, and in nightlights in six cities over four years from 2012 to 2016.

What Studies in Spatial Development Show in Ethiopia-Part I

Michael Geiger's picture
Malnutrition in Ethiopia: distribution of stunted children
The Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for the coming five years in Ethiopia, approved by the World Bank board in June, features a “spatial lens” for development activities. This lens was developed in a background note we wrote evaluating spatial disparities and their related challenges. In it, we looked at the policy framework put forward by the 2009 World Development Report “Reshaping Economic Geography,” and combined it with literature on pro-poor growth. Together, these have allowed us to put forward policy solutions Ethiopia could adop

Will automation kill South African jobs? No, say new studies

Marek Hanusch's picture
South Africa: in need of speeding-up economic productivity with more innovation. Photo: Credit: Arne Hoel/World Bank


The 4th Industrial Revolution is here: driverless cars, 3-D printing, and Artificial Intelligence are the future. These innovations deliver the promise of better and more convenient lives to many. But they also disrupt the way in which we used to do things, including the way we work.

Can South Africa tap into its innovation potential to improve the lives of its citizens?

Gabriel Goddard's picture



Some people think innovation is only about gadgets, high-tech industries, and laboratories. But this is only the tip of the iceberg! The truth is that there are many types of innovation that can have a transformational impact on everyday people’s lives.

Are cash transfers better chunky or smooth? Evidence from Nigeria

Gautam Gustav Bastian's picture
Also available in: Français



Imagine this: You open your mail and it says that you are owed $1,200 from overpaid taxes! After recovering from your elation, you read on. The letter requests you to choose if you would like to be paid over the next year in increments of $100 every month or $300 every three months?

Être un bon proviseur : une compétence innée ou acquise ?

David Evans's picture
Cette page: English | Portuguese | Arabic

Un bon proviseur, ça change tout.

« L’on pense communément qu’un bon proviseur est la clef d’une école à succès. » C’est aussi ce que pensent Branch, Hanushek, et Rivkin dans leur étude sur les effets du rôle des proviseurs dans l’apprentissage des élèves. Mais comment peut-on mesurer la qualité d’un proviseur ? En utilisant une base de données provenant du Texas, aux États-Unis, ils ont employé la méthode de la valeur ajoutée, employée d’habitude pour mesurer la performance des enseignants. Ils ont contrôlé les informations générales sur les élèves (telles que le genre, l’origine ethnique, et un indicateur de pauvreté) ainsi que les résultats d’examens scolaires de l’année précédente. Ils se sont ensuite demandés comment l’apprentissage de ces élèves évoluait lorsque l’école changeait de proviseur ? Ils ont trouvé que lorsque la qualité d’un proviseur augmente d’un écart type de 1, l’apprentissage des élèves augmentait d’un écart type de 0,11. Même après quelques ajustements statistiques additionnels, leurs estimations les plus rigoureuses montrent « qu’une augmentation d’un écart type de 1 dans la qualité du proviseur, se traduit pour un écart type de plus ou moins 0,05 en bénéfice d’apprentissage moyen pour l’élève, soit, l’équivalent de deux mois additionnels d’apprentissage. »

From the brink of bankruptcy to a model for performance-based management: The story of one Yaoundé hospital

Also available in: Français

We took over the management of the obstetrics, gynecology, and pediatric hospital in Yaoundé (HGOPY) in 2014, inheriting an institution that faced chronic structural debt, obsolete equipment, and dilapidated buildings. No debt repayment plan was in place and fixed expenses such as staff salaries and benefits were extremely high.

This situation was regrettably common in many institutions across Africa which were hit hard by the economic and social crisis that resulted from structural adjustment policies implemented in by several countries, including Cameroon. Furthermore, the decision to increase health care charges adversely affected the poorest, limiting their access to health care and leading to a rise in maternal and infant mortality rates.

In response, African countries signed the Abuja Declaration in 2000, committing to earmark at least 15% of their national budget to the health sector. In addition to the goal of providing universal health care, the sector was expected to enhance the performance, effectiveness, and efficiency of its services.

Realigning investment tax incentives to job opportunities

Sébastien Dessus's picture
Photo by: Gabriel/Flickr


The recent decline in global commodity prices is proving to be very costly for South Africa. The deterioration of South Africa’s terms of trade since 2012 cost at least four percentage points of gross domestic product (GDP) growth. This estimate does not account for some important indirect effects generated by the commodity price shock, including the heightened volatility of the rand and its impact on investment decisions. Instead of global monetary policy developments, commodity price volatility is now understood as being the main driver of exchange rate and capital account volatility in South Africa, and in emerging markets more generally. And 91% of European investors surveyed in the second half of 2014 identified the volatility of the rand as a major constraint to doing business in South Africa.

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