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Reasons for optimism in closing the infrastructure financing gap

Jason Zhengrong Lu's picture

There is no doubt a significant financing gap exists for investments in infrastructure in emerging markets and developing economies, a gap that stands in the way of funding projects crucial to providing basic services to transform living conditions across the globe. We at the Global Infrastructure Facility (GIF) recognize that addressing the infrastructure gap can get us closer to eliminating poverty and boosting shared prosperity.
After attending a discussion with a prestigious panel of finance ministers and senior financiers at the event “Making Infrastructure Rewarding,”—hosted by the GIF on the eve of the IMF-World Bank Group’s 2016 annual meetings in Washington, D.C, I feel there is a lot to be optimistic about in the way infrastructure is viewed and financed using the right instruments to fill the gap.
Given the standing-room-only attendance at the event—which was also live-streamed—and the number of comments and tweets that came in using #investininfra, there is clearly enormous interest in how we get from point A to B.

Paving the Way for a Brighter Future for Nigeria’s Mothers and Children

Temitope Akintunde's picture
Left, Dr Oluwole Odutolu, Senior Health Specialist, with officials of Osun State Ministry of Health after they received their initial disbursement check from the Minister of Health.

As I witnessed the official launch of the Saving One Million Lives Program for Results (SOML PforR), a government-led initiative supported by a $500 million World Bank International Development Association credit, I was overcome by several emotions, the foremost of which was hope.

The next generation of African scientists need a more sustainable career path

Rama George-Alleyne's picture
A professor teaching cell biology and biochemistry at a university in Africa. (Stephan Gladieu / World Bank)

Happy UN Day for South –South Cooperation!
Investment in skills is vital to economic growth and competitiveness and poverty reduction. I believe that there is no better way to do that than to educate young graduates with expertise in high-demand areas to help grow African economies, create jobs, and support research.

When help can’t wait: Stabilization and recovery in North-East Nigeria

Rachid Benmessaoud's picture
IDPs in North-East Nigeria. Photo by Immanuel Afolabi, 
The Center on Conflict and Development at Texas A&M University

Oumar (not his real name) lives with his parents and six younger siblings in a camp for internally displaced people (IDPs) in North-East Nigeria. They dream of returning to their home that they abandoned when Boko Haram insurgents attacked their village.
Oumar and his family are not alone. The Boko Haram insurgency has caused untold devastation. Since 2009, it is estimated that over 20,000 people have been killed and over two million displaced. In North-East Nigeria, where 80% of the people rely on agriculture for their livelihood, the economic impact has been brutal, with farmers forced from their land, livestock killed, and continued insecurity preventing a safe return in many areas.
In a region that has suffered so much, how can the global community support recovery?
As a first step, the Nigerian government asked the World Bank in August 2015 for help in assessing the damage and corresponding needs in the North-East. An empirical evidence base and reliable data are critical for informed decision making, as the government moves forward not only to fix the brick and mortar, but to mend the hearts and minds that have been hurt by the violence.
In response, a joint team of the World Bank, the European Union (EU), and the United Nations (UN), working closely under the government’s leadership, initiated the North-East Nigeria Recovery and Peace Building Assessment (RPBA), a comprehensive analysis of damages and estimated needs resulting from the Boko Haram crisis. It began with a comprehensive conflict analysis that served as the backbone of the assessment, including the underlying drivers to provide an integrated approach to peace building and recovery.

Meaty issues on the radio

BBC Media Action's picture

Ehizogie Ohiani, a Producer/Trainer for BBC Media Action in Nigeria, discusses how radio is raising awareness about the lack of hygiene amongst the butchers of Benue State, Nigeria.

A meal without meat is as good as no meal for most people in Benue State, North Central Nigeria. Considering its importance, one would expect that hygiene surrounding the preparation and sale of meat would be held in the same high esteem. This is not the case.

A murky mix of flies, blood, water, muddy walkways, sweaty bodies and smoke combine to make the abattoirs in the marketplaces of Benue State a perfect breeding ground for disease. Lack of adequate sanitation knowledge, lack of enforcement by market associations and insufficient supervision of animal slaughter by qualified veterinary officers conspire to create major health challenges for communities.

I was at Harvest FM, a local radio station in Benue State, to train producers. We were brainstorming ways we could use their popular early morning show “Good Morning Benue” to help serve the public interest. For the producers, an obvious choice was to discuss hygiene in abattoirs.

The programme explored a number of problems in the state’s local abattoirs: an absence of toilet and handwashing facilities and the practice of washing meat with untreated water sourced direct from the River Benue.

The way out of poverty and corruption is paved with good governance

Sri Mulyani Indrawati's picture

Woman speaks to World Bank MD and COO Sri Mulyani Indrawati in the Nyabithu District of Rwanda. © Simone D. McCourtie/World Bank

For the first time in history, the number of people living in extreme poverty has fallen below 10%. The world has never been as ambitious about development as it is today. After adopting the Sustainable Development Goals and signing the Paris climate deal at the end of 2015, the global community is now looking into the best and most effective ways of reaching these milestones. In this five-part series I will discuss what the World Bank Group is doing and what we are planning to do in key areas that are critical for ending poverty by 2030: good governance, gender equality, conflict and fragility, creating jobs, and, finally, preventing and adapting to climate change.

Twenty years ago, the World Bank took up the fight against corruption as an integral part of reducing poverty, hunger, and disease. The decision was groundbreaking then and remains valid today. Corruption diverts resources from the poor to the rich, leads to a culture of bribes, and distorts public expenditures, deterring foreign investors and hampering economic growth.

Disruptive innovation: The most viable strategy for economic development in Africa

Efosa Ojomo's picture
Without question, Africa is the poorest region in the world. The chart below shows the growth of gross domestic product (GDP) per person – an imperfect but widely used measure – for Africa and the rest of the world. Not only is the rest of the world six times richer than Africa, GDP per person has grown at a faster rate. These numbers are significant because they do not simply represent the macro-economic realities that governments in African countries must manage; they also translate to the circumstances in which millions of people live their lives.

A new generation of action promises to open up government contracting in Africa

Robert Hunja's picture
Dr. Flora Lubowa is a medical officer at the Magomeni Health Center. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: Photo Arne Hoel

I have worked on public procurement and governance for most of my life. But I have never been more excited to finally have a solution at hand that has potential to change the legacy of opaqueness, fraud and lack of effectiveness in public contracting in many African countries.
Africa still need billions in investments to build infrastructure and provide quality services to its citizens, many of them vital: health care centers, food for school children, water services and road to help farmers market their produce. Investments as part of the Sustainable Development Goals in infrastructure alone carries a price tag nearly $100 billion a year. Unfortunately, like in many countries around the world, public contracting in Africa has been characterized by poor planning, corruption in picking contractors and suppliers and contracts are poorly managed.
But the good news is that this is changing. The series of blogs I’m kicking off will highlight the shifting of the norm towards open contracting in Africa.

School nutrition programs are the first line of defense against diabetes

Linda Brooke Schultz's picture
Children having meals in school in Ghana. Photo: © Arne Hoel/The World Bank

April 7th is World Health Day, a day to highlight emerging global health concerns. The focus this year is raising awareness on the diabetes epidemic, and its dramatic increase in low- and middle-income countries.