The global financial crisis hit South Asia at a time when it was barely recovering from a severe terms of trade shock resulting from the global food and fuel price crisis.The food and fuel price shocks had badly affected South Asia, with cumulative income loss ranging from 34 percent of 2002 GDP for Maldives to 8 percent for Bangladesh. Current account and fiscal balances worsened sharply and inflation surged to unprecedented levels.
When the South Asia Development Marketplace for innovative ideas to tackle stigma and discrimination relating to HIV/AIDS was launched in November 2007 by the HIV/AIDS Group in the South Asia Region of the World Bank and its partners, civil society groups across South Asia sent in almost a thousand proposals.
People fear HIV/AIDS because of the association with sex, drugs, illness, and death. In South Asia, the epidemic is driven largely by high risk practices – buying and selling sex, injecting drugs, and unprotected sex among men having sex with men. This compounds the fear and stigma around HIV/AIDS, as sex workers, injecting drug users, and men having sex with men are already stigmatized.
Governance for All sounds a lot like Education for All. That's the global movement, led by UNESCO, that aims to meet the learning needs of all children, youth and adults by 2015. But this time it's the World Bank, and our own Dani Kaufmann, launching a new blog on governance. A great idea.
Will investments in agricultural technology by themselves be sufficient to ensure long-term productivity growth in the farm sector and, more importantly, for rural poverty reduction? As rapidly rising food prices threaten food security and the poverty gains made by developing countries, many have blamed declining funding for agricultural technology development for this state of affairs (for example, the New York Times).
This question is highly relevant for South Asia. Shanta Devarajan has commented on the recent rice export ban by India and its implication for its neighbor, Bangladesh, which has become a net rice importer this year due to floods and cyclone impacts. But Bangladesh also provides evidence that agricultural technology by itself is unlikely to lead to adequate growth in agricultural output if factors such as physical and economic geography and infrastructure needs are not considered.
In a recent study, we examine these issues for Bangladesh. During the early 1990s, Bangladesh experienced widespread diffusion of green revolution technology in rice, its main crop. As a result, rice production has more than doubled since the early 1970s. The spread of green revolution technology is usually expected to boost wages for farm workers. But we found regional differences in rural wages that run counter to the traditional argument.
First the good news. The Indian government has agreed to sell the originally-agreed 400,000 tons of non-basmati rice to the Government of Bangladesh at a price of $430 per ton. On March 30th, the Government of Bangladesh’s Purchase Committee approved the Indian offer of procuring the 400,000 tons of rice at $430 per ton by ship.
Four hundred million people--if it were a country, it would be the third largest in the world--rely on the Ganges River and its tributaries for their livelihood. Six thousand rivers provide a perennial source of irrigation and power to one of the world’s most densely populated and poorest areas. The Himalayas, “the water tower of the Ganges,” provide 45 percent of the annual flow. These facts represent the potential payoffs to the populations of Bangladesh, India and Nepal as well as the threat that climate change poses to poor and already <