In June 2015, after two days of heavy rain, flood water washed away Sarah’s small store in Accra, which provided for her family of three (1). The flood that hit the city in June 2015 affected around 53,000 people in the city and caused an estimated US$100 million in damages. Slum areas in the Odaw basin were among the worst hit.
- An excellent list of links curated by Masa Kudamatsu, on tips for economists, right through from applying to grad schools to becoming chair of department and Dean (h/t @seema_econ).
- From Unicef, a set of impact evaluations of humanitarian assistance programs (see papers on the right), including supporting the school participation of Syrian children in Lebanon, food assistance in Mali, and programs in Iraq, Yemen and Niger.
- On VoxDev, Karlan, Roth and Mullainathan summarize their work on debt traps – “Even when street vendors are freed from debt and educated about the benefits of saving, they go back to borrowing from moneylenders at exorbitant rates”
- “One of the IVs that has gotten overused in recent years - to the point where it eventually became a punchline - is rainfall”, and “if you have to use IV, stick to linear regression”. Marc Bellemare’s lecture notes on IVs.
- development impact links
This has been a demanding challenge. At the start of our engagement on financial access back in 2013, we said that having a real target with an end date would keep us focused and give us a benchmark against which we could measure progress.
Members of parliament are valuable partners for the World Bank. They enact laws, shape and review development policies, and hold governments accountable for World Bank-financed programs. This applies for the landlocked Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. The role of its parliament has been increasing since the country’s successful transition from monarchy to constitutional monarchy in 2008. Through its engagement with these elected representatives, the World Bank effectively integrates citizen voice in its programs to achieve lasting and inclusive development results.
A joint workshop between the World Bank and National Council of Bhutan, the upper house, was a great opportunity for the World Bank to engage with the 25 newly elected National Council members.
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The future of Africa will be shaped by two dynamics. First how well its leaders prepare for the fastest population growth rate in the world. And second, how well they do in creating the right opportunities for its young citizens. Africa is projected to become home to 1.7 billion people with more than half of that population under the age of 15 by 2030. Although it is a huge challenge, it offers an immense opportunity for the region.
When students’ skills and knowledge are measured internationally, some countries get a big surprise – especially countries considered to have top-quality education. Take Germany, for example.
Germany’s first PISA results, in 2000, revealed low performance among students compared to their peers in other countries – this was called the “PISA shock”. Fortunately, this outcome triggered large-scale education reforms in Germany, leading to greatly improved PISA performance.
On the other hand, PISA results are sometimes a pleasant surprise. Take for example the high performance in 2012 of Vietnam – a country with low per capita income but, apparently, a very efficient education system.
Around the world, interest in measuring the real learning outcomes of school students has been on the increase. The number of countries participating in the PISA study, managed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), grew from 32 in 2000 to 79 in 2018.
This year, Belarus participated in the PISA assessment for the first time, with support from the Belarus Education Modernization Project, which is financed by the World Bank.
Since joining the World Bank, I have observed a similar trend across the developing countries. For instance, the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic has begun to place stronger emphasis on cyber resilience after a series of incidents, including digital vandalism of organizations’ websites. Among other considerations, also these cyber events led to the inclusion of cybersecurity financing in a World Bank $50 million Digital CASA (Central Asia-South Asia) – Kyrgyz Republic Project while, at the same time, the Bank catalyzed complementary grants for technical assistance to the government.
One of these grants is the “Global Cyber Security Capacity Building Program”. We chose the Kyrgyz Republic as the first beneficiary country for the Program, and then others followed suit: Ghana, FYR Macedonia, and Myanmar. The financing came from Korea’s Ministry of Strategy and Finance (MoSF), through the Korea-World Bank Group Partnership Facility (KWPF), which is administered by the World Bank.
We know that LGBTI discrimination is not just a personal problem, it is an economic development challenge. Discrimination is not only inherently unjust, but “there are substantial costs—social, political, and economic—to not addressing the exclusion of entire groups of people.” LGBTI inclusion is therefore, not only the right thing to do, it also makes economic sense.
So, understanding the barriers that LGBTI people face in accessing markets, services, and spaces is important for designing more inclusive policies and programs that reduce poverty and promote inclusive growth.
I've been thinking about the role of data and digital technology in today's information landscape. New platforms and technologies have democratized access to much of the world’s knowledge, but they’ve also amplified disinformation that affects public discourse. In this context, the official statistics community plays a critical role in bringing credible, evidence-based information to the public.
A “post-truth” society is not an inevitable state of affairs that we must accept; it's an unacceptable state of affairs that we must address. To do so, we need reliable data that are trusted by the public. Institutions like national statistical offices must go beyond their traditional data production remit to become a trusted, visible force for reason in people’s lives by building trust, embracing relevance, and communicating better.