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July 2013

Learning from Data-Driven Delivery

Aleem Walji's picture

Given confusion around the phrase “science of delivery,” it’s important to state that delivery science is not a “one-size-fits-all” prescription based on the premise that what works somewhere can work anywhere. And it does not profess that research and evidence ensure a certain outcome.
 
A few weeks ago, the World Bank and the Korea Development Institute convened a global conference on the science of delivery. Several development institutions assembled including the Gates Foundation, the Grameen Foundation, UNICEF, the Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science, and the mHealth Alliance. We discussed development opportunities and challenges when focusing on the extremely poor, including experiments in health care, how technology is reducing costs and increasing effectiveness, and the difficulty of moving from successful pilots to delivery at scale.
 
The consensus in Seoul was that a science of delivery underscores the importance of a data-driven and rigorous process to understand what works, under what conditions, why, and how. Too often in international development, we jump to conclusions without understanding counterfactuals and assume we can replicate success without understanding its constituent elements.

Road Injuries and Non-communicable Diseases: A Hidden Health Burden in Sub-Saharan Africa

Patricio V. Marquez's picture



Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are becoming a significant burden in sub-Saharan Africa, and road traffic injuries are rapidly emerging as a major cause of death and disability. By 2010, cerebrovascular diseases (stroke) and road injuries were already within the top 15 causes of years of life lost, joined by ischemic heart disease, diabetes mellitus, and hypertensive heart disease in Southern sub-Saharan Africa.  Road traffic injuries are expected to be the number one killer of children aged 5-15 in Africa by 2015 if current trends continue unabated. Yet, this burden remains largely hidden.

Powering Up Developing Countries through Integration?

Emmanuelle Auriol's picture

The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that 1.3 billion people, mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa and in developing Asia, are without access to electricity. According to the IEA, an estimated $48 billion per year is needed to finance the volume of investment required to provide universal access to electricity by the year 2030. And this is a huge challenge, especially for the world's poorest nations.

President Obama on his recent Africa trip has hence announced a 7-billion project to increase electrical infrastructure. This is a much needed move as ,with scarce public resources, little assistance from the private sector, and limited aid, most of the developing these countries attempt to address their investment needs by creating regional power markets. Integrated power pools allow for the better use of existing infrastructures and realization of projects that would otherwise be oversized for an isolated country. For instance, the hydro potential of the Democratic Republic of Congo alone is estimated to be sufficient to provide three times the much power currently consumed in Africa. Large hydroelectric projects, such as the Grand Inga in the region of the Congo River and the projects for the Senegal River basin, could benefit all countries in the region. The challenging question, however, is how to finance and manage these projects.

Accessing the World Bank Data APIs in Python, R, Ruby & Stata

Tariq Khokhar's picture



Developers, analysts and researchers often use our data through the APIs we provide. We’ve written about accessing World Bank data in Stata in the past, but I’m going to take a moment to survey the other language-specific libraries that I know of. From now on, unless I state otherwise, by “API”, I’m referring to our development indicators API.

I’ll list the libraries first, and then show some examples with a couple of them:

  • Python: The wbdata module by Oliver Sherouse offers easy access to all the data in our APIs. It also plays nicely with Wes McKinney’s superb ‘pandas’ analysis library. I’m less familiar with Matthew Duck’s wbpy module but it appears to offer similar functionality and also provides access to the Climate Data API.

    Edit: Vincent notes in the comments below that he's ported his R package to Python and it is now integrated directly in the Pandas library as an I/O module

  • R: The WDI module by Vincent Arel-Bundock offers convenient access to the data in our API and opens the door to using it with the awesome ggplot2 graphing library. You can also access the Climate Data API in R with rWBclimate.

  • Ruby: The world_bank_ruby gem by Justin Stoller has some nice features for bringing our data into Ruby.

  • Stata: The wbopendata module byJoão Pedro Azevedo offers access to all our data, and the worldstat modules by Damian C. Clarke builds on it to add charting and mapping features.

Shocks abroad, pain at home?

Neeltje van Horen's picture

The U.S. and Western Europe suffered their worst banking crisis since the 1930s with global wholesale liquidity evaporating and Western banks suffering important losses. The crisis followed a period in which the globalization of the financial system dramatically deepened. European banks, in particular, extended their operations in the international wholesale market and increased their presence in many countries through the establishment of a foreign branch or subsidiary. Did this increased dependency on international wholesale funding and the growth of foreign bank presence intensify the international transmission of financial shocks?

Quote of the Week: Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

Sina Odugbemi's picture
“It has been said, and with good reason, that while society has entered the digital era politics has remained analog.  If democratic institutions used the new communication technologies as instruments of dialogue, and not for mere propaganda, they would breathe fresh air into their operations.  And that would more effectively bring them in tune with all parts of society.”

- Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. A Brazilian politican who served as president of Brazil from 2003 to 2011.
Quote from the New York Times, July 16, 2013. The Message of Brazil's Youth.
 

A missing "G" in ESG? - an emerging case for integrated environmental, social and governance analysis

Michael Jarvis's picture

Governance issues are prominent on the development agenda - as exemplified by the recent G8 focus on transparency or in discussions of the post 2015 agenda. However, at least among most donors, the governance aspects are dealt with separately from discussions of social or environmental (or even economic) aspects. Is this a useful distinction? Or are we missing a trick from the financial and private sectors in not developing integrated environmental, social and governance (ESG) approaches?

Insights from 15 years of Fieldwork in Thailand

David McKenzie's picture
A new book Chronicles from the Field: The Townsend Thai Project provides a behind-the-scenes look at putting together one of the most impressive data collection projects in development  - Rob Townsend’s Thai data, which has conducted monthly surveys on a panel of Thai households for over 150 consecutive months, as well as annual surveys. The Townsend Thai data is available online and has spurred a number of research papers by Rob and his co-authors. This book looks at what it takes to produce all this data.

Is Strengthening Bangladesh's Unions Good Economics and Good Politics?

Zahid Hussain's picture

The fallout from the April 24 collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Dhaka, Bangladesh has had severe domestic and international reactions. The international buyers and governments have responded vehemently to these events. Careful reappraisal of labor issues has been universally identified as a key area of reform. The objective is to ensure workers’ safety and workers’ rights. Poor labor standards can adversely affect Bangladesh’s overall reputation in the exporting sector. The government has been pressured to take a series of measures to improve workers’ safety. Representatives of the Bangladesh government, the European Union and the International Labor Organization met in Geneva on July 8, 2013 to promote improved labor standards and responsible business conduct in Bangladesh’s garment industry.  Following up on the commitments made in Geneva, Bangladesh’s legislature recently amended the Bangladesh Labor Law to provide improved protection, in law and practice, for the fundamental rights to freedom of association and the rights to collective bargaining, among others.

Are these good economics and good politics now and in the future?

Education in Timor-Leste has grown from the ashes

Joao dos Santos's picture

 


Timor-Leste is making great progress in education, which is considered an important
asset as the country looks to achieve sustainable, long-term development.

 

Eleven years since the restoration of Independence, Timor-Leste has now emerged from the ashes of destruction that devastated the country. During the conflict, most of the country’s infrastructure was demolished with over 95 percent of schools burnt to the ground.

Lack of infrastructure was only one of the many challenges facing Timor-Leste’s education. During the period of occupation most skilled teachers were not native Timorese and at the end of the conflict many evacuated, leaving very few trained teachers. Only a small number stayed on in the hope of driving education out of the darkness.


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