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August 2012

Join Us to Discuss Global Economics and Future Prospects for Countries Like India!

Nandita Roy's picture
Photo: Noeltock/Flickr
Will technology be the savior of urban mobility?
Urbanization and rising incomes have been driving rapid motorization across Asia, Africa, and Latin America. While cities are currently home to 50% of the global population, that proportion is expected to increase to 70% by 2050. At the same time, business-as-usual trends suggest we could see an additional 1 billon cars by 2050, most of which will have to squeeze into the already crowded streets of Indian, Chinese, and African cities.
If no action is taken, these cars threaten literally to choke tomorrow’s cities, bringing with them a host of negative consequences that would seriously undermine the overall benefits of urbanization: lowered productivity from constant congestion; local pollution and rising carbon emissions; road traffic deaths and injuries; rising inequity and social division.
However, after a century of relatively small incremental progress, disruptive changes in the world of automotive technology could have fundamental implications for sustainability.
What are these megatrends, and how can they reshape the future of urban mobility?

Getting ready for ICT’s potential to make transport safer and more efficient

Julie Babinard's picture

Rich countries and emerging markets alike have participated in a rapid integration into global capital markets over the last 25 years. Proponents of financial globalization believed this would bring a myriad of benefits via improved financial intermediation, with a more efficient allocation of capital to productive firms and increased access to finance to those outside the halls of political power.

But the recent financial crisis has given pause to the pro-globalization advocates. The marked increase in capital flows to emerging markets quickly reversed in the wake of the financial crisis, leaving these countries looking vulnerable. Might the globalizers have gotten their prescriptions wrong?

A recent paper entitled Does Financial Openness Lead to Deeper Domestic Financial Markets? finds that, in fact, developing countries have reaped a number of benefits from financial globalization. In particular, the authors of the paper have found that greater financial openness:

I-Gov: Tunisia’s Citizen Scorecard is born

Heba Elgazzar's picture
¿Cuáles son los desafíos de construir una infraestructura de transporte un área urbana deteriorada, insegura, con alta congestión y bajo nivel de servicio?
Metrobus La Matanza. La obra de transporte que le mejora la vida a 240.000 usuarios en una de las áreas más deteriordas y de peor accesibiliad del Área Metropolitana de Buenos Aires.

De eso se ha tratado el proyecto de BRT (por siglas en inglés de Bus Rapid Transit), en La Matanza, uno de los municipios más pobres y con peor accesibilidad del área metropolitana de Buenos Aires. Hoy la obra, llamada localmente Metrobus La Matanza, está terminada y en pleno funcionamiento. Un sistema de transporte moderno ordena el tránsito de autos, camiones y buses (colectivos). Son 12 km de vías totalmente renovados, con carriles exclusivos, iluminación y 16 estaciones nuevas, con semáforos y cruces peatonales. La obra del Metrobus le mejoró la vida a 240.000 personas que diariamente usan el servicio, reduciendo un 33% el tiempo de viaje en el corredor, y también a los automóviles particulares que viajan más seguros y con menos congestión.

Fueron cuatro años de trabajo con varios desafíos y por ello quiero compartir las 10 cosas que aprendí durante la implementación de uno de los proyectos de transporte urbano más importantes del Banco Mundial en Argentina:

Why are Kenyans still brilliant runners but disappointing footballers?

Wolfgang Fengler's picture

  الزراعة الواعية بتغير المناخ في كينيا الصورة من: المجموعة الاستشارية للبحوث الزراعية الدولية والمناخ

عدت مؤخرا من محادثات الأمم المتحدة عن المناخ التي عقدت في وارسو ببولندا وأنا أحمل أنباء سارة وأخرى سيئة.

الخبر السيئ هو أن المندوبين اختاروا تأجيل المناقشات حول الزراعة مرة أخرى. ونظرا للمساهمة الأساسية الموثقة للزراعة في الانبعاثات الغازية، يكشف هذا القرار أن المفاوضين مازالوا يشعرون بعدم الارتياح إزاء علم وأولويات ما نعتبره "الزراعة الواعية بتغير المناخ."

فقرار التأجيل يعد قصير النظر حينما نعتبر أن الزراعة ينبغي أن تصبح جزءا من الحل العالمي. فالزراعة هي القطاع الوحيد الذي لا يمكنه فقط التخفيف من آثار تغير المناخ، بل إنها أيضا تمتص الكربون من الغلاف الجوي. فهي تمتلك القدرة على احتجاز كميات كبيرة من انبعاثات ثاني أكسيد الكربون في تربة المحاصيل، والمراعي والغابات.

أما الخبر السار فهو أن ثمة خطوات نستطيع أن نتخذها لكي نجعل الزراعة جزءا من الحل. والأهم هو أن المناقشات التي جرت مع المزارعين حول كيفية تحسين الدخول والمحاصيل لتعزيز القيمة الغذائية لمحتوى الطعام الذي نزرعه هي محط تركيزنا الرئيسي. لكننا نستطيع في الوقت ذاته أن نحسّن من مرونة أنظمة الغذاء ونحد من الانبعاثات الغازية.

Voices of Youth: Ideas to Encourage the Public to Embrace Mass Transit

Nandish Kenia's picture
Also available in: Spanish
Residents in La Paz use mobile phones to practice submitting feedback to their municipal government via the Barrio Digital tool.
Residents in La Paz use mobile phones to practice submitting feedback to their municipal government
via the Barrio Digital tool. (Photo: Barrios de Verdad team)
Information and communication technology (ICT) has expanded the frontiers of connectivity and communication. Nowadays, we don’t think twice before ordering an Uber or using Open 311 to report an issue to our municipality. In the developing world, the impact has been even greater. For example, in Latin America and the Caribbean, cellphone coverage increased from about 12 subscriptions per 100 people in 2000 to over 114 in 2014, and local governments are getting creative in using this technology to reach out to and engage with their citizens.

The city of La Paz in Bolivia is piloting a new tool called Barrio Digital—or Digital Neighborhood—to communicate more effectively and efficiently with citizens living in areas that fall within Barrios de Verdad, or PBCV, an urban upgrading program that provides better services and living conditions to people in poor neighborhoods.

The goals of Barrio Digital are to:
  1. Increase citizen participation for evidence-based decision-making,
  2. Reduce the cost of submitting a claim and shorten the amount of time it takes for the municipality to respond, and
  3. Strengthen the technical skills and capacity within the municipality to use ICT tools for citizen engagement. 

Rising food prices: time to put your money where your mouth is?

Marie Chantal Messier's picture

Les systèmes de prépaiement peuvent-ils élargir l’accès aux services de l’eau aux populations défavorisées des villes et centres urbains d’Afrique ? Peuvent-ils en améliorer la qualité ? Cette solution peut-elle au contraire interdire aux plus pauvres un plus large accès à l’eau ? Les systèmes de prépaiement sont-ils trop coûteux, imposent-ils de nouvelles contraintes sur le plan technique, social et de l'accessibilité des prestataires de service qui peinent déjà à répondre à une demande en eau croissante ? Et qu’en pensent les usagers ?

Quote of the Week: Malcolm Gladwell

Sina Odugbemi's picture

“Social and economic mobility, in any system, is essentially slack arbitrage: hard work is a successful strategy for those at the bottom because those at the top no longer work so hard. By custom, we disparage the idleness of the idle rich. We should encourage it. It is our best chance of taking their place. “


-Malcolm Gladwell, Staff Writer, The New Yorker

-As quoted in The New Yorker article, Slackers, July 30, 2012.

The impact of bank competition on access to finance

Maria Soledad Martinez Peria's picture
Policymakers often associate competitiveness with real exchange rates. Not too long ago, firms in Southern European countries attributed their difficulties to compete in global markets with a strong Euro. Worldwide, a lot has been discussed on the implications of an undervalued yuan on the chances of competing with Chinese firms. Also a few years back, Brazil’s finance minister argued that an ‘international currency war’ had broken out, as governments around the globe competed to lower their exchange rates to boost competitiveness.

Globalization and the Gender Earnings Gap in the Apparel Industry

Gladys Lopez-Acevedo's picture

Lorsqu’on on se promène dans une grande ville d’Afrique subsaharienne, un premier constat saute aux yeux : la prédominance des femmes dans le commerce de produits et services en tous genres. Les femmes participent de manière très visible à l’économie du continent, seule région du monde où elles représentent la majorité de ceux qui travaillent à leur compte. Des données montrent même qu’à certains égards elles constituent un moteur économique plus puissant dans les pays africains que dans le reste du monde.