Earlier this year, the Metropolitan Policy Program and the Center on Children and Families at Brookings released a study on multidimensional poverty and race in America. The study shows why it’s important to look at poverty through the dimensions of low household income, limited education, lack of health insurance, concentrated spatial poverty, and unemployment, and why we should consider ways to de-cluster and reduce the links between them.
“Despite the global slowdown, India has been one of the few countries to have shown remarkable growth in the last financial year. While this has been an achievement in itself, this growth rate can be taken to double-digits.” This was the key message of Dr. Frederico Gil Sander, Sr. Country Economist, World Bank Group, New Delhi. Dr. Gil Sander was speaking to students at the IIM Ahmedabad as part of the World Bank - IIM Discussion Series. The discussion centered around “Financing Double-digit Growth: Current and Long-term Challenges of India’s Financial Sector”.
Dr. Gil Sander noted that urban consumption and public investment have been the key drivers for current growth. Additionally, a good monsoon this year is expected to give a boost to rural consumption. These, coupled with the promised emphasis on supply-side factors such as labour reforms, the inclusion of more women in the labour force, and the timely implementation of GST can boost economic growth. To further increase this growth rate, potentially to double-digits, these drivers will first have to be augmented by productive capacity investment, which in turn depends on ease of credit availability from banks. However, credit growth in India is marred primarily by high lending rates, priority sector lending regulations and rising non-performing assets (NPAs).
Increasing competition in local markets, growing access of low to middle income consumers to pre-made foods, and the advantage of selling popular products by the millions puts companies like Nestlé in a unique situation where they merge brand reputation management with development goals. The are several reasons behind merging a ‘cause’ with business outcomes, including the following:
- The rise of the social media: When catering to global markets, a company like Nestlé sells of millions products every day. However, any crisis— either in terms of food quality or even an undesirable story— can set off a series of consequences via social media that may be detrimental to a product or brand’s image. This makes it difficult for companies to ignore complaints and inquiries, which could have been the case a decade ago. It also makes having a buffer of good reputation important so that when crises do hit, people give the company the benefit of the doubt.
- There are more consumers – especially women: The increasing rate of female participation in the workforce increases access of low to middle income households to a greater variety of goods at the market. Further, when women are in control of family budgets, they tend to make more pro-family, future-oriented, and healthier choices. This may ultimately reflect the buying decisions that these consumers make amongst a range of products available – with possibly increased preferences for something which appears to be healthier yet cheaper.
- Forced displacement due to war, conflict, and persecution;
- Involuntary migration due to poverty, erosion of livelihoods, or climate change impacts that have destroyed and degraded life support systems; and/or even
- Voluntary migration of indomitable spirits unable to reconcile with the status quo and seeking better social and economic opportunities.
To better understand forced displacement, I led a joint World Bank-UNHCR team that brought out the Forced Displacement and Mixed Migration Report for the Horn of Africa (HOA) – a region with an estimated 242 million inhabitants that includes eight countries (Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda), which collectively host more than 9.5 million displaced persons, including more than 6.5 million internally displaced persons and approximately 3 million refugees.