As international donors gather this week in Brussels to mobilize resources for Guinea-Bissau, the government and people of this West African nation appear ready for a fresh start.
Luck has struck the region of East Africa: for a couple of years now, new announcements of natural resource discoveries are being made every few months. Mozambique has found some of the largest natural gas deposits in the world, while Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya have also discovered gas and oil. Exploration is still ongoing, so even more discoveries could be forthcoming. Luck has definitely struck the region, but the main question is: how will the people in these countries benefit from this?
What will the world look like in 2030? Clearly, it will be very different from today and some of these changes can already be anticipated. Most of us can remember the year 1996 which is as far back in the past as 2030 is forward in the future. Today’s emerging trends will shape the world over the next two decades.
Every five years, the US’s National Intelligence Council publishes its analysis of “Global Trends”. This time, the analysis looks forward to 2030 and highlights four “megatrends” all of which will probably feel quite intuitive to people living in Africa.
Let's think together: Every Sunday the World Bank in Tanzania in collaboration with The Citizen wants to stimulate your thinking by sharing data from recent official surveys in Tanzania and ask you a few questions.
"The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow", so the old adage goes. All countries, including Tanzania, need to invest in and build a strong, healthy, well educated, dynamic and innovative youth. In Africa, the number of youths (aged 14 to 25 years) have grown significantly over the past decades, contributing to the bulk of the labor force.
Africa is on the move. After two decades of decline, fortunes reversed by the end of the 1990s, resulting in a decade of strong economic growth and sizable improvements in sanitation, education and health. Real incomes per capita in Sub-Saharan Africa grew by more than 30 percent over the last ten years, and six countries from the continent made it on the list of the ten fastest-growing economies in the world. Big men, although still around in some parts of the continent, have become less common, elections have become more frequent, and many civil wars have finally ended. All this has produced a narrative of “Africa Rising” and a widespread optimism that Africa is finally on the right track. Indeed, the 21st century may well turn out to be Africa’s century.
Or not. Ted Miguel’s keynote address at the annual conference of the Center for the Study of African Economies (CSAE) in Oxford highlighted a potentially important concern. Applying a common statistical framework to a large number of studies on the link between temperatures and human violence, Miguel and his co-authors find a remarkably consistent and strong correlation between exceptionally high temperatures and manifestations of violence. Drawing on detailed data from a variety of countries and studies, they show that exceptionally high temperatures are correlated with significant increases in witch killings (Tanzania), rapes (USA), murders (USA), aggressive behavior of baseball players (USA) and more frequent and more aggressive horn-honking.
Let's think together: Every week the World Bank team in Tanzania wants to stimulate your thinking by sharing data from recent official surveys in Tanzania and ask you a couple of questions. This post is also published in the Tanzanian Newspaper The Citizen every Sunday.
Energy fuels economic development and the evidence is before our eyes every day. Businesses require a steady supply of energy to produce goods and services. Electricity allows school children to study after sunset and hospitals need it to save lives Insufficient or irregular energy supply is associated with significant economic cost for businesses and households. Lack of access to clean energy also creates a myriad of health and environmental hazards, such as indoor pollution from cooking on traditional open-fire stoves and deforestation.
Unfortunately, affordable access to clean energy remains an elusive dream for most Tanzanians, especially those living outside of urban centers and the poor:
Every year, the World Bank’s country teams and sector experts assess the quality of IDA countries’ policy and institutional framework across 16 dimensions to measure their strenght and track progess.
The latest country policy and institutional assessment (CPIA) results show that despite difficult global economic conditions, the quality of policies and institutions in a majority of Sub-Saharan African countries remained stable or improved in 2011.
For several countries the policy environment is the best in recent years. Of the 38 African countries with CPIA scores, 13 saw an improvement in the 2011 overall score by at least 0.1. Twenty countries saw no change, and five witnessed a decline of 0.1 or more. The overall CPIA score for the region was unchanged at 3.2.
In short, despite a challenging global economic environment, African countries continued to pursue policies aligned with growth and poverty reduction.
The International School of Kenya just hosted its last football tournament of the year. Teams from Nairobi’s poor neighborhoods dominated the event. Rain was pouring and many of the players were playing barefoot, but they still thrived, outperforming many teams from schools where the rich take their children.
In the 10-11 age group, the top three places went to teams from destitute neighborhoods, including Kibera, which some people have (wrongly) dubbed as the world’s largest slum. Kibera Sports Academy stood at the top of the podium, while second and third places went to Inspiration Kenya and Peace Academy respectively.
Many people, including Kenyans, consider slums the epitome of misery. The common wisdom is they breed disease, crime and many other forms and manifestations of poverty. Why then are slums growing bigger, with people migrating to them in ever increasing numbers?
Teachers in Tanzania are absent 23 percent of the time; doctors in Senegal spend an average of 39 minutes a day seeing patients; in Chad, 99 percent of non-wage public spending in health disappears before reaching the clinics.
These and other service delivery failures have been widely documented since the 2004 World Development Report, Making Services Work for Poor People.
But why do these failures persist? Because they represent a political equilibrium where politicians and service providers (teachers, doctors, bureaucrats) benefit from the status quo and will therefore resist attempts at improving services. For instance, teachers are often the campaign managers for local politicians. They work to get the politician elected, in return for which they get a job from which they can be absent. Powerful medical unions ensure that their members can work in the private sector and neglect their salaried government jobs. The losers are the poor, whose children don't learn to read and write, or get sick and die because the public clinic is empty.