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Poverty

Transfer mineral revenues directly to citizens—and avoid the resource curse

Shanta Devarajan's picture

My colleague Marcelo Giugale and I have an Op-Ed in today’s Guardian online advocating the direct transfer of mineral revenues to citizens. 

Mineral revenues typically go from the extracting company to the government without passing through the hands of citizens.  As a result, citizens do not scrutinize the expenditure out of these revenues as much as they would if it were financed by tax revenues.  The net result is misallocation of public spending, slower growth and even slower poverty reduction in many of these mineral-rich countries, such as Cameroon or Nigeria. 

How can Zimbabwe avoid having the world’s worst Human Development Index?

Martin Ravallion's picture

Each year the mass media and many governments look keenly at the country rankings by the Human Development Index (HDI). In the 2010 Human Development Report, Zimbabwe has the lowest HDI in the world at 0.14 on a (0,1) scale (UNDP, 2010). The next lowest is the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), with 0.24. (Norway is highest, at 0.94.)

It is natural to ask: what would Zimbabwe need to do to get its HDI up to the level of the DRC or better? Zimbabweans will no doubt have a strong interest in knowing the answer, as will those interested in the HDI in general.

There are three components to the HDI, for life expectancy, schooling and income. Let’s look at these in turn.

Human Rights and Human Development

Shanta Devarajan's picture

“Shanta, are you against human rights?” a colleague asked when she saw that I was arguing for the negative in a debate on “Is a concern for human rights needed to achieve human development outcomes?” 

Needless to say, my debate partner, Varun Gauri and I are not against human rights (Varun has written extensively on the subject), but we did argue—based on the evidence—that a concern for human rights was neither necessary nor sufficient to achieve health and education outcomes. 

Why do Kenyans want to live in cities?

Wolfgang Fengler's picture

Every day, Kenya’s capital Nairobi is facing endless traffic jams. Our colleagues spend hours every day to commute to and from work. One Kenyan colleague escapes traffic by leaving home at 4.30am, others by leaving the office as late as 9pm. Given this congestion, escalating costs of living and high crime, why are Kenyans moving into cities more rapidly than ever – more 250,000 every year?

The Oxford Millennium Villages Debate

Gabriel Demombynes's picture

In March at Oxford, I had the opportunity to debate John McArthur on the Millennium Villages Project (MVP) evaluation, which is the subject of a paper I co-authored with Michael Clemens of the Center for Global Development.

Seeds for Higher Growth in Rwanda

Birgit Hansl's picture

Rwanda’s economy is growing at a healthy rate--7.5 percent in 2010, two percent higher than the East African Community (EAC) and even more than Sub Saharan Africa (SSA).

During 2010, the services and industrial sectors progressed in their recovery, while growth in the agricultural sector slowed down marginally.  The country’s macroeconomic framework was remarkably stable, given the difficult external post-crisis environment and Rwanda’s position as a highly import-dependent, land-locked country. This was mainly achieved through a prudent fiscal stance with strong focus on priority expenditures, assisted by continued grant financing from donors.

After the long walk to freedom, an affordable bus ride to work

Sandeep Mahajan's picture

Almost two decades after Nelson Mandela's globally-inspiring long walk to freedom, millions of his compatriots find it prohibitively expensive and time-consuming to simply get to work. Millions more have no work, and the geographical separation of the poor from centers of economic activity has a lot to do with it.

Take the case of Lydia (pictured here), who is a soft-spoken, gentle mother of two boys -- a one-year old baby and a fifteen-year old teenager. Each in his own way needs his single mother's attention and time. Time that she has very little of, because she has to spend close to five hours commuting to and from her place of work, the World Bank office, where she is one of the housekeeping and cleaning ladies.

Six non-obvious points about conflict, security and development

Shanta Devarajan's picture

Launched today, the 2011 World Development Report is on “Conflict, Security and Development.”  In making a presentation on its relevance to Africa to my World Bank colleagues, I counted six messages that are new and different.

1. 21st century violence is different from 20th century violence.
2. Conflict and violence are caused by a combination of weak institutions and external stresses.
3. Build good-enough coalitions to break the cycle of repeated violence.
4. Create jobs, even with second-best approaches that are inefficient and likely not sustainable.
5. Address external stresses alongside institution building.
6. International partners should do more good than harm.

More on each on them:

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