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November 2013

Growth in Greece? A Logistical Possibility

Daria Taglioni's picture

The Partnenon in Athesn, Greece. Source -  Nicholas Doumani.More than 95 percent of goods traded between Europe and Asia are transported via deep sea. All of this happens through two primary routes-- some serious traffic. But it's far from stop-and-go. In fact, most doesn’t stop at all.

Large container ships leave ports in Asia and proceed directly to Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Many choose to get there by passing through the Suez Canal, entering the Mediterranean, and bypassing its bygone empires.

One of these ancient powers, Greece, now finds itself in a marginal position on the logistical map of Europe. Despite being geographically and economically well located, it’s far from being the hub it once was. The World Bank’s International Trade Unit and the Transport Unit of the World Bank’s Vice Presidency for the Europe and Central Asia Region recently teamed up with the government of Greece to find out how the country can capture a share of the world’s growing East-West trade and kick-start an economy that has been struggling to maintain GDP growth after the global economic crisis.
 

Media (R)evolutions: Mapping the World's Most Popular Websites

Kalliope Kokolis's picture

New developments and curiosities from a changing global media landscape: People, Spaces, Deliberation brings trends and events to your attention that illustrate that tomorrow's media environment will look very different from today's, and will have little resemblance to yesterday's.

This week's Media (R)evolutions: Mapping the World's Most Popular Websites



 
























 

Waive remittance fees and restore remittance services in the typhoon-affected areas in the Philippines

Dilip Ratha's picture

After a natural disaster, among the first form of help to rush in are remittances from migrant relatives. The physical infrastructure supporting access to cash and remittances is likely to have been disrupted by Typhoon Haiyan. Even drawing cash from one's own savings from banks is rendered difficult due to damaged physical infrastructure and disrupted communication networks.

Relief operations tend to focus on delivery of food and water, but delivering cash and restoring remittance services are also important to enable people to buy necessities. Perhaps banks and money transfer agencies could expand their courier networks and even consider waiving remittance fees for a month to help the affected people. (Recall: remittance fees were waived by some leading money transfer companies after the Haiti earthquake in 2010.) Government and international aid agencies in turn should try to restore basic banking and remittance services in the affected region.

IO and Development Part 3: Where are some opportunities for work intersecting these areas?

David McKenzie's picture
The first two posts on this topic this week have looked at the gap in the use of IO in development, and some possible reasons why IO tools might not be used as much. Today, the final post in my Q&A with Dan Keniston [DK] and Katja Seim [KS], looks at where there might be low-hanging fruit from better use of methods from IO in development.

Can Outer Space Tell Us Something Useful about Growth and Poverty in Africa?

Tom Bundervoet's picture

Imagine you lived in a world where night lights from satellite images tell you instantly about the distribution and growth in economic activity and the extent and evolution in poverty. While such a world is probably still far off, night lights as observed from space are increasingly being used as a proxy of human economic activity to measure economic growth and poverty. In a fascinating 2012 paper in the American Economic Review, Henderson and colleagues found a strong correlation between growth in night lights as observed from space and growth in GDP, basedon data on 188 countries spanning 17 years. They use their estimates for two main purposes: (i) to improve estimates of “true” GDP growth in countries with weak statistical capacity and (ii) to estimate GDP growth at levels where national accounts are typically non-existent (sub-national or regional levels; coastal areas;,…).

African CityThe added value of such an approach for Africa is obvious. Most African countries rank low on the World Bank’s Statistical Capacity Indicators, with some countries lacking national accounts altogether. Some African countries are huge (in size), and having sub-national estimates of GDP growth would help identifying leading and lagging areas, and why. For a country such as Kenya, which is starting an ambitious decentralization project, the approach could estimate GDP growth for its 47 newly formed counties to help in their economic planning. Nightlights can even be used to show where the Pirates of Somalia are spending their ransom money.

Financial Inclusion and the Role of the Post Office

Leora Klapper's picture

Financial inclusion is a topic of increasing interest on the international policy agenda. Last week the Universal Postal Union (UPU) hosted the 2013 Global Forum on Financial Inclusion for Development. With over a billion people using the postal sector for savings and deposit accounts and a widespread presence in rural and poor areas, post offices (or “posts”) can play a leading role in advancing financial inclusion. In Brazil more than 10 million bank accounts were opened between 2002 and 2011 after the post established Banco Postal in partnership with an existing financial institution. However, leveraging the large physical network of the post is not without challenges. Posts generally have little or no expertise in running a bank and the business model that a government pursues in providing financial services through the postal network may be critical to its success.

Tracking light from space: Innovative ways to measure economic development

Megha Mukim's picture

  

One of the most common challenges in economic development is collecting comparable data. The information age is changing that as the diffusion of information technology meets changes in institutional attitudes toward data sharing. New capabilities are meeting old capabilities on our desktop computers and it is leading to some bright ideas in how to measure and evaluate economic development.

The first that comes to mind is nighttime lights imagery – colloquially referred to as nightlight data. Nightlight refers to light resulting from human activity visible from outer space at night.  Astronomers call it light pollution. This is pretty accurate since nightlight is the waste by-product when humans use of energy that is emitted or reflected straight up into the sky – these could be city lights, car headlights, fires, etc.

Rich Countries, Poor People: Will Africa’s commodity boom benefit the poor?

Anand Rajaram's picture

Travelling across Africa these days you are likely to run into increasing numbers of mining, oil, and gas industry personnel engaged in exploration, drilling, and extraction across the continent. Although commodity prices are moderating, the discoveries being made in Africa offer the real prospect of significant revenue to many cash-poor, aid-dependent governments in the decade ahead. If you care about development, the question is whether these revenues will catalyze broad economic development and whether they will benefit the poor in Africa.

Prospects Daily: Developing country stocks drop for the 9th day, Japanese consumer confidence index falls, Indonesia’s central bank raises benchmark interest rate

Global Macroeconomics Team's picture
Financial Markets…U.S. and German government bond prices declined as signs of improvement in the world’s largest economy added the case for the Federal Reserve to taper its stimulus program sooner than expected. The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yield climbed to as high as 2.79%, the highest level since September 18, while the comparable German bund yield rose to a nearly three-week high of 1.79%.  Notably, longer-term U.S. Treasuries have declined 11% thus far this year, the worst performer among major sovereign bonds worldwide.


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