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July 2012

Chart: Progress toward reducing undernourishment

LTD Editors's picture

Excerpt from Global Monitoring Report 2012.

Undernourishment measures the availability of food to meet people’s basic energy needs. The MDGs call for cutting the proportion of undernourished people in half, but few countries will reach that target by 2015. Rising agricultural production has kept ahead of population growth, but rising food prices and the diversion of food crops to fuel production have reversed the declining rate of undernourishment since 2004–06. The FAO estimates that in 2008 there were 739 million people without adequate daily food intake. More

Modern Schools for Modern Times

Tigran Shmis's picture

Also available in Spanish and French


Spending a day at a kindergarten can be eye-opening for an adult. I’ll tell you why.

The school in question is what we, in the Russian Federation, call an inclusive school – where children with special needs are part of a regular kindergarten and participate in the same activities and programs as others. It works! This school was started in 2011 and does not distinguish between children with special needs and others. Both groups are part of the same class, sit at the same table, and participate in the same activities. Not many places in the world do this.

The inclusive model, while not unique, is still rare. But other than that distinctive nature, what’s so special about it?

Holding Out for the Super-Voucher: Kevin Watkins Responds to Justin Sandefur on Private v Public Education

Duncan Green's picture

Kevin Watkins (right), senior visiting research fellow at the Brookings Institution, responds to yesterday’s guest post by Justin Sandefur.

After reciting the familiar evidence on the learning achievement problems in poor countries, Justin Sandefur offers an even more familiar ‘one-stop’ solution – a market-based fix, with low-fee private schools, vouchers, and the apparently talismanic Pearson corporation leading the way to a better, smarter future. It seems that only for-profit school providers and corporate entrepreneurs know the secret of raising education standards of marginalized kids in poor countries, and that public provision is part of the problem rather than part of a potential solution.

Nothing in the research cited by Justin makes the case for his prescriptions. Let’s start by being clear about our differences.

What’s Next for Mobile Money?

In recent years, mobile money has attracted sustained attention in ways that few other mobile services have. And for good reason: from East Africa to Pakistan, the Philippines and elsewhere, mobile money services are growing and diversifying into fields such as savings and insurance. Kenya-based M-PESA remains the global leader, and the benefits from increased market efficiency, consumer risk-sharing and third party utilizations are significant. But mobile money can no longer be considered an isolated phenomenon, and as it matures, a variety of new challenges and benefits will influence its developmental potential.

Mobile money is changing the financial landscape around the world. What's next? (Credit: Flickr Creative Commons, Gates Foundation)

Although it is notoriously difficult to make predictions about such a fast-moving and wide-ranging industry, in the new edition of Information & Communication for Development 2012, we highlight some emerging issues in mobile money that will likely become relevant in the upcoming years.

Prospects Weekly: Renewed concerns earlier in the week about the Greek bail-out plan

Global Macroeconomics Team's picture
Renewed concerns earlier in the week about the Greek bail-out plan and the possibility of a credit rating downgrade for several European economies drove borrowing costs up. The European Central Bank’s (ECB) announcement on Thursday to defend the Euro has helped ease concerns somewhat.

Waiting for Superman in Lahore: Do Poor People Need Private Schools? Guest Post by Justin Sandefur

Duncan Green's picture

Public v Private provision of education is a hot and divisive topic. So let’s get started. Today, CGD’s Justin Sandefur (right) puts the case for private. Tomorrow Kevin Watkins of the Brookings Institution responds. Be warned, their posts are pretty long and very passionate. Fasten seatbelts please:

While traveling in Pakistan a couple weeks ago, I took advantage of a brief flicker of electricity to check my twitter feed, and found this from Duncan.

After years of watching broken public school systems fail to educate their children, parents in Pakistan and many other parts of the developing world have taken matters into their own hands.  Low-cost private schools are growing by leaps and bounds, especially in rural areas.  The number of private schools grew by nearly ten-fold in Pakistan from 1983 to 2000, reaching about 35% of public enrollment, doubled in India from 1993 to 2003, and tripled their enrollment share in Kenya from 1997 to 2006 — at the same time fees were abolished in Kenyan public schools! 

Disentangling Sovereign and Banking Crises in Europe – Long-term Reform Agenda and Short-term Needs

Thorsten Beck's picture

Most observers have realized by now that a core problem of the Eurocrisis is the close interconnection between banking and sovereign fragility. The ongoing sovereign debt crisis in Europe continues to put strains on banks’ balance sheets — full of government bonds — while continuous bank fragility increases (contingent and more and more real) government liabilities.  Rather than disentangling the sovereign debt and bank crises, recent policy decisions have tied the two even closer together.  The use of the additional liquidity provided by the European Central Bank (ECB) through longer-term refinancing operations by some banks to stock up on government bonds has also tied the fate of sovereigns and banks closer together. Similarly, the initial plan to use European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) or European Stability Mechanism (ESM) resources to recapitalize Spanish banks via a loan to the Spanish government bank support agency (FROB) would have exacerbated the Spanish sovereign debt crisis rather than helped to alleviate it, as such a loan would have added another heavy burden to the Spanish debt-to-GDP ratio.  These short-term stresses come on top of doubts about the long-term sustainability of the EU Single Market in banking without a regulatory and supervisory framework that matches the geographic perimeter of banks’ activities.

Friday Roundup: Recent Research on HIV/AIDS

LTD Editors's picture

Washington, DC is buzzing this week with the XIX International AIDS Conference. Heavy-hitters and celebrities like US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, World Bank President Jim Young Kim, philanthropist Bill Gates and singer Elton John are all participating, and the range of topics being covered include the relationship between AIDS treatment and health systems as well as procurement and corruption issues.

The World Bank, USAID, PEPFAR and The Lancet hosted a debate on July 23, with the motion ‘Continued AIDS investment by donors and governments is a sound investment, even in a resource-constrained environment.’  The sparks flew, with none of the distinguished debaters pulling their punches.


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