I once took a train from Saratov, a Russian city on the Volga, to Almaty, then the capital of Kazakhstan. The journey took nearly three days. It seemed that for most of that time we passed through nothing but dark, frozen, empty space (it was December). The train moved slowly and noisily on old tracks, a relic from Russia’s Soviet past. But it was still impressive—this creaky transportation network had once held together one-sixth of the world’s land surface. It was part of an economic circulatory system that allowed goods, raw materials, and labor to move incredible distances, from the Black Sea to the Pacific.
As the Arab Spring swept through the region, Iraq was at war and fighting a homegrown insurgency. Since the war’s end, Iraq has had to pick up the pieces and come to terms with its sanctions and bloody sectarian conflict. How Iraq addresses these challenges in the medium term will have a long-term effect on its stability and development.
A recession is a difficult time to start a business. Credit is tight, consumers are wary, and the future appears uncertain. It seems logical that entrepreneurs would have been deterred from starting a new business during the 2008-09 global financial crisis, but how widespread was this phenomenon, and are there signs that new firm creation has begun to recover? The 2012 Entrepreneurship Database released today provides a novel look at these trends.
Ten years ago, the World Bank and the government of Norway launched an ambitious project to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from a source few people thought much about. If you’ve driven past oil fields at night, you’ve seen the flames from gas flaring. But you might not have realized just how much greenhouse gas was being pumped into the dark – and how much of a natural energy resource was being wasted in the process.
Half a dozen major oil companies joined us in 2002 in creating the public-private Global Gas Flaring Reduction partnership, and we began working together to reduce the flaring. More than 30 government and industry partners are on board today.
Together, we have achieved a great deal in just the first decade.
Today, if you wander on over to the Millennium Challenge Corporation website, you’ll find a brief on the results from 5 impact evaluations of agricultural training projects. This is exciting for a number of reasons.
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Chile has long been known as a superstar in liberalization reforms and innovative export-led growth strategies. The country successfully exports tourism and transportation services.
But these successes are, in some ways, yesterday’s news. The country’s performance in more modern service exports – internet and communications technology, business process outsourcing and others – has been less remarkable. Chile is no India.
Last week a group of Bank staff joined our clients from the South Asia region for an Urbanization Knowledge Platform event on green cities. The event was held in Seoul and Daegu, respectively the largest and third-largest cities in Korea. It was hosted by the Korea Research Institute for Human Settlements (KRIHS), Korea’s premier institute responsible for urban, regional, infrastructure, land, and housing planning and research. The idea was for clients and Bank staff to learn firsthand about green city development as it happens on the ground in Korea. The following are my six takeaways from the workshops and field visits during the week.
Are you interested in the accessibility of research, the application of data and the future of development policy? Don't miss these three events happening at the World Bank this week:
- Monday 22nd at 4pm EST: The Kickoff of Open Access Week 2012
- Thursday 25th at 2pm EST: "Turning Big Data into Big Impact"
- Thursday 25th- Friday 26th: "Using History to Inform Development Policy"
Medicines are key inputs for quality medical care and the prevention of disease, and when administered appropriately, as evidence from Sub-Saharan African countries shows, they can contribute significantly to reducing death rates due to conditions such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.
But it is also obvious that not everybody in these countries, particularly the poor, enjoys this benefit, since limited access to essential drugs remains a key challenge in most health systems. High out-of-pocket expenditures, typically more than 40% of total health expenditures in some countries (a large portion for outpatient drugs), also place a heavy burden on poor families with chronically ill members who require daily drug intake.