Syndicate content

Infrastructure for Jobs in Tough Times

Caroline Freund's picture
The recently released Global Economic Prospects report cautions that a second global financial crisis emanating from the Eurozone is a serious threat. Among the policy recommendations for developing countries is to prioritize infrastructure spending, even in a tight budgetary environment, because of its importance as stimulus and for long-term growth. We couldn’t agree more. This is especially relevant for many countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, where domestic uncertainty has already lowered short-run economic prospects and unemployment is on the rise. A forthcoming report (click here for summary), shows that investment in infrastructure contributes significantly to job creation in MENA.

All aboard! All aboard! transparency is on its way

Lydia Habhab's picture
Also available in: العربية

World Bank | Arne Hoel, 2011Francis Maude, Minister of the Cabinet in the United Kingdom, was at the World Bank recently talking about transparency in the UK. He said it best when he described the classic road of transparency: “Politicians think transparency is a great platform to run on for elections. Politicians think transparency is a great idea once elected because it gives them the opportunity to expose their predecessors. After about a year, transparency seems doesn’t seem like such a great idea anymore because it means politicians then have to expose themselves.”

How to reach the heart of every family

Inger Andersen's picture
Also available in: العربية

World Bank l Arne Hoel, 2011 We touched on many important topics during the Live Chat I hosted last month and when we generated a word cloud out of the conversation we had and the issue that leapt out big and bold was EDUCATION. That’s no surprise. I imagine many of the voices who joined me in the chat were young and among young people education and jobs loom as especially significant. But for a number of years now my colleagues at the Bank have been working on education in the Middle East and North Africa with a sharp focus on quality.

Of pirates, ports and poverty!

Simon Bell's picture
Also available in: Français

A hard-scrabble, drought-prone small African country;  youth unemployment at 70 percent;  poverty rates of 40 percent;  highly dependent on the port which services much of Ethiopia’s imports and exports;  a few foreign military bases which have little connectivity with the local economy.  Pirates roaming the seas off the coast of the region (like a bad Johnny Depp movie);  illegal money suffusing through the region from illicit piracy;  neighboring Somalia in a state of war and chaos;  Yemen just across the Red Sea with its own bloody revolution;  and neighboring Eritrea causing significant problems of their own across the northern frontier.  Can such a nation ever hope to become a more dynamic, diversified, and private-sector oriented state with faster, more fairly distributed, growth and deeper poverty reduction?

Job creation: a big role for big firms

Bob Rijkers's picture
Also available in: Français
SME promotion programs are becoming progressively more popular. While evidence on their effectiveness remains elusive, their policy prominence is predicated on the belief that small firms grow faster and generate the most jobs. Our preliminary analysis of the Tunisian registry of firms, which contains longitudinal information on all formal firms from 1996 until 2010, yields three stylized facts suggesting that large firms are far more important than small firms in generating employment and growth.

What do Yemeni youth want?

Wael Zakout's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français

During my first visit to Yemen, I met with a group of young people in the capital, Sana'a. The purpose of the meeting was to learn more about how the youth are thinking; what is important to them; and how the World Bank can help them achieve their goals. I was amazed at the level of their understanding of priorities, the immediate and short-term ones. Their enthusiasm was overflowing with an expression of unconditional love to serve and develop Yemen, their country. They expressed their full readiness to contribute to the national dialogue and work to build the new civil state if they were given the opportunity to do so.

The Egypt exodus: Part 2

Khaled Sherif's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
Once in the terminal, I looked behind me and the security services had closed the entrance to the terminal.  It could accommodate no one else.  It was barely 9:00 AM, and no one was being allowed into the terminal from what I could see.  My sister’s instincts were right.  If I had gotten to the airport terminal any later, I would have been turned away likely like thousands of others with confirmed reservations. From the corner of my eye, I could see that BA was already checking people in.  For a flight at 4:00 PM, check in was already on-going at 9:00 AM.  But, I had to get to check in station 4, and I was closer to check in station 24.

Corruption not in the culture

Caroline Freund's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
President Mikhail Saakashvili recently addressed a standing-room-only crowd at a book launch for Fighting Corruption in Public Services, a case study of Georgia’s reforms.  This short book provides a timely account on the “how to” of eliminating corruption, which all new government officials seeking to redesign the system should read. Emerging immediately after the revolution offered the government a unique opportunity for major reforms because of the overwhelming popular support for change.  This experience provides important lessons for new governments in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya.  Georgia’s success proves that corruption is not in the culture, but simply a response to poor governance.   

The Egypt exodus: Part 1

Khaled Sherif's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
The phone rang.  It woke me up shortly before 7:00 AM.  I hadn’t slept most of the night due to the sound of machineguns firing consistently outside our window.  And, this is the way it had been for a week since the curfew came to be.  As soon as it got dark, shooting would start and it would be constant throughout the night. Tanks and armored personnel carriers were deployed all over Cairo.  In Maadi, they were in every square and main intersection.  With the internet and international lines all severed, communications with the outside world were impossible.  Cell phones could not dial internationally, or receive calls from abroad. 

Unbundling governance: what is the role of the World Bank?

Guenter Heidenhof's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية
People often ask me what exactly the World Bank means when it uses the term “governance.” Many think the governance agenda is associated mainly with activities to fight fraud and corruption. That is true, but only partially. In our view, fraud and corruption are visible consequences – symptoms if you like – of breakdowns in government systems and institutions. Ideally, countries should have strong institutions that are responsive to citizens’ needs and deliver public services. Ideally, countries should have transparent processes and regulations that benefit all citizens and the entire private sector, not only a small elite. Ideally, governments should have the capacity to ensure that public money is well spent and that policies are implemented.