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January 2017

Will South Africa turn the corner in 2017?

Marek Hanusch's picture
Photo By: David Stanley/Flickr


The year 2016 was difficult for many countries. We estimate that global economic growth slowed from 2.7% in 2015 to 2.3% in 2016. High-income economies struggled with subdued growth and low inflation amidst increased uncertainty about policy direction in light of rising populism. Among emerging markets and developing economies, commodity exporters were most affected by the end of the commodity price boom, growing by only 0.3%—much in line with our estimate of 0.4% growth for South Africa, the lowest growth rate since the 2009 recession after the global financial crisis. By contrast, commodity importers carried the torch of global growth in 2016, expanding by 5.6%.

Realigning investment tax incentives to job opportunities

Sébastien Dessus's picture
Photo by: Gabriel/Flickr


The recent decline in global commodity prices is proving to be very costly for South Africa. The deterioration of South Africa’s terms of trade since 2012 cost at least four percentage points of gross domestic product (GDP) growth. This estimate does not account for some important indirect effects generated by the commodity price shock, including the heightened volatility of the rand and its impact on investment decisions. Instead of global monetary policy developments, commodity price volatility is now understood as being the main driver of exchange rate and capital account volatility in South Africa, and in emerging markets more generally. And 91% of European investors surveyed in the second half of 2014 identified the volatility of the rand as a major constraint to doing business in South Africa.

Early childhood as the foundation for tomorrow’s workforce

P. Scott Ozanus's picture

Also available in: Spanish

Scott Ozanus, guest blogger, is the Deputy Chairman and Chief Operating Officer at KPMG. He is also a member of the ReadyNation CEO Task Force on Early Childhood

Early childhood is key to a productive current workforce as well as nations’ future success. Photo: Arne Hoel / World Bank

Better workers.  Better communities.  Better lives for our citizens.
 
Why is a company that employs over 189,000 people around the world, and hires about 40,000 people every year, concerned with early childhood?
 
It’s because all over the globe, countries and companies face a common challenge: How best to strengthen their economy and workforce, while also taking societal concerns into consideration.  Early childhood is key to a productive current workforce as well as nations’ future success.

From the farm to the classroom, and beyond: improving prospects for Togo’s rural poor

Joelle Businger's picture
In Togo, many students from rural agricultural households struggle to find employment later down the line. Erick Kaglan/World Bank


Last week, I wrote about my field visit in October to the agriculture support project in Togo financed by International Development Association (IDA) and the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP). The visit to a rice field and the discussions with rice farmer Komlan Souley and his family revealed some early successes made possible with Bank support, but also underscored the many challenges that remain to help small farmers move out of poverty in a sustainable way and to help Togo’s agriculture become more productive and competitive.

Making growth inclusive: Challenges and opportunities

Vinaya Swaroop's picture
Many advanced economies are experiencing rising income inequality which has raised questions about the benefits of globalization.  Given the growing backlash against perceived job losses associated with the free movement of goods and people particularly in the US and Europe, economists and other development practitioners are renewing their efforts in making economic growth more inclusive and have focused their attention on how to share prosperity equitably.

Nigeria General Household Survey 2015-2016: Data and documentation now available

Vini Vaid's picture
© Curt Carnemark / World Bank

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in collaboration with the World Bank’s Living Standards Measurement Study (LSMS) team launched the third wave (2015–16) of the Nigeria General Household Survey (GHS)-Panel in Abuja, on December 13, 2016.  
 
The GHS-Panel survey is a nationally representative survey administered every 2–3 years, that covers a range of topics including demography, education, welfare, agriculture, health and food security. The data is collected in two visits: post-planting and post-harvest seasons. The survey follows the same households over time and collects a rich set of information, to allow for comprehensive time-series analyses that can help shape policies for a wide array of development sectors. Here are some interesting findings from the 2015–16 survey:

A second regularization campaign for irregular immigrants in Morocco: When emigration countries become immigration countries

Kirsten Schuettler's picture
How to deal with irregular migrants is not only discussed in the United States. Also low- and middle- income countries need to find answers to this question. Morocco launched a second regularization campaign last month. Although it is still primarily an emigration country, Morocco has increasingly become a transit and also an immigration country. Since the 2000s it has received an increasing number of migrants and refugees from sub-Saharan Africa, Syria, and Europe.

Now Accepting Applications!! The 2017 World Bank - Annenberg Summer Institute in Reform Communication: Leadership, Strategy and Stakeholder Alignment

Darejani Markozashvili's picture

Instituting reforms is challenging. The changing environment of politics, the conflicting interests of multiple stakeholders, and contrary public opinions can all become obstacles to the success of a reform agenda.
 
So how can leaders and change agents create successful and sustainable reforms?

What is the role of strategic communication in planning, implementing and evaluating a reform? Join us for the 2017 World Bank - Annenberg Summer Institute in Reform Communication: Leadership, Strategy and Stakeholder Alignment to find answers to these important questions.

The seventh annual Summer Institute will be held at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, June 5 - June 16, 2017.​ During the 10-day program, participants will learn the most recent advances in communication and proven techniques in reform implementation. Participants will develop the skills required to bring about real change, leading to development results. Leaders will also connect with a global network of development professionals working on initiatives in the public, private and non-profit sectors.

A review of How China Escaped the Poverty Trap by Yuen Yuen Ang

Yongmei Zhou's picture

We chose to highlight this book for the World Development Report (WDR) 2017 Seminar Series as its focus on institutional functions rather than forms and on adaptation resonates strongly with the upcoming WDR 2017.

The first takeaway of the book, that a poor country can harness the institutions they have and get development going is a liberating message. Nations don’t have to be stuck in the “poor economies and weak institutions” trap.  This provocative message challenges our prevailing practice of assessing a country’s institutions by their distance from the global best practice and ranking them on international league tables. Yuen Yuen’s work, in contrast, highlights the possibility of using existing institutions to generate inclusive growth and further impetus for institutional evolution.

Weekly links Jan 13: taking on the curse of the top 5, underpowered economics, where to for tax research, and more…

David McKenzie's picture
  • A webcast of the AEA panel on “publishing in economics journals: the curse of the top 5” (h/t @DurRobert) – Heckman, Akelof, Deaton, Fudenberg and Hansen discuss. Some interesting discussion and comments – Deaton notes he didn’t have any papers rejected until he was famous; Heckman had a lot of data, including this one which shows (first column) which journals account for most dissemination of the ideas of the top development economists – with WBER number 1:

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