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Africa

The jobs challenge is bigger than ever in the poorest countries

Akihiko Nishio's picture
Researchers at the CSIR-Crops Research Institute (CSIR-CRI) in Ghana. © Dasan Bobo/World Bank 
Researchers at the CSIR-Crops Research Institute (CSIR-CRI) in Ghana. © Dasan Bobo/World Bank 

Over the next decade, close to 600 million people will be looking for jobs, mostly in the world’s poorest countries. The South Asia region alone will need to create more than 13 million jobs every year to keep pace with its demographics. In Sub-Saharan Africa, despite a smaller population, the challenge will be even greater—15 million jobs will need to be created each year.
 
Adding complexity, the jobs challenge is also a concern for today. Many people in poorer countries who do work are stuck in informal, low-paying, less productive jobs, which are often outside the formal and taxed economy. And as the trends of urbanization continue, scores of internal migrants are searching for work, but can’t find quality, waged jobs, nor do they have the skills demanded by the markets. As a result, too many people are left on the economic sidelines and are limited in what they can contribute to their countries’ growth.  

Moving towards gender equality: A new index looks at legal reforms to help women’s economic inclusion

Sarah Iqbal's picture

Do you think the world is becoming more equal for women at work? The recently published Women, Business and the Law 2019: A Decade of Reform gives us some insight. While achieving gender equality requires a broad range of efforts over time, the study focuses on the law as an important first step to providing an objective measure of how specific regulations affect women’s incentives to participate in economic activity.

What is captured in the Women, Business and the Law index?

The study introduces a new index structured around eight indicators that cover different stages of a woman’s working life, which have significant implications for the economic standing of women: Going Places, Starting a Job, Getting Paid, Getting Married, Having Children, Running a Business, Managing Assets and Getting a Pension.

8 Indicators that Measure How Laws Affect Women Through Their Working Lives

Source: Women, Business and the Law 2019: A Decade of Reform

For instance, if a woman cannot leave her home without permission can she effectively look for a job or go on an interview? Even if she is hired, will she need to quit if she gets married or has children? Will she have to move to a lower paying job because she must balance work with caring for her family?

Community involvement is key to eradicating ebola

Michel Muvudi's picture
16 January 2019 - Beni, Democratic Republic of Congo. Health workers monitors the health of a patient through the quarantine transparent cube, that allows health workers and family to see the patient from the outside. Vincent Tremeau / World Bank 2019


For several years, Ebola has been ravaging our continent, especially communities in Central and West Africa.  It is exacting a severe human toll and causing significant economic losses in places already burdened by extreme poverty.  My homeland, the Democratic Republic of Congo, is now battling its tenth Ebola outbreak since 1976.

New Mali survey data now available!

Marco Tiberti's picture
Photo © Dominic Chavez/World Bank

The second edition of the Enquête Agricole de Conjoncture Intégrée aux Conditions de Vie des Ménages (EAC-I 17)—a nationally representative household survey covering a range of topics including agriculture, demography, education, food security, labor, livestock, savings, shocks—is now available.

For this survey, 8,390 households were visited twice each between 2017 and 2018, during post-planting and post-harvest periods of the agricultural season. Particular attention was paid to the measurement of agricultural income, a long-sought goal of the Ministry of Agriculture.

Overall findings:

  • Agriculture: 70% of households do not use improved seed varieties or phytosanitary products, and 44% of agricultural households use inorganic fertilizers.
  • Credit: The primary reasons for taking out loans are, 1) to buy farm inputs, and 2) to help meet household consumption requirements.
  • Education: There is a large educational gap between urban and rural populations. Around 75% of individuals aged 15–39 years are uneducated in rural areas, while only 29% are, in urban areas.
  • Employment: Agriculture is the greatest source of employment in rural areas. Over 96 % of individuals aged 15–39 years are in fact employed in agriculture.
  • Income: Crop production is by far the most important source of income, accounting for almost 50% of total income, followed by transfers (18%), and livestock and non-agricultural wages (12%).
  • Livestock: Livestock are mainly kept for their income-generating by-products and their ability to work the fields.
  • Labor: Household labor represents 92% of total labor farm labor.

Rising with rice in Côte d’Ivoire 1: How local farmers and millers are leading the way

Raphaela Karlen's picture
Also available in: Français
Zié Coulibaly, director of the Katiola rice mill in the Hambol Region, Côte d’Ivoire (Photo by Raphaela Karlen, World Bank)

It is rice harvesting time in the Hambol Region of central Côte d’Ivoire, and Sali Soro is making sure this important day goes off without a hitch. A female member of Coop-CA Hambol, a regional rice cooperative in the Lopé lowlands, Sali managed to rent one of the few threshers available in the area. Workers brought the machine to her plot in the early morning and the rumble of the thresher has filled the air ever since.

At the end of the day, Sali will bring the harvested paddy rice to the nearby mill in the small town of Katiola. It’s a mill she is quite familiar with: Throughout the rice production cycle, Sali received not only seeds and fertilizers from the mill but also in-person agronomic advice from an extension agent.

Blended finance unlocks the keys to affordable housing across west Africa

Martin Spicer's picture
Houses under construction. © John Hogg/World Bank
Houses under construction. © John Hogg/World Bank

Affordable housing is a major challenge across West Africa, where fewer than 7 percent of households can afford to buy their own home. The situation is particularly acute in the countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) -- Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo – where demand for decent housing far outstrips supply.

But a new financing tool developed by the World Bank Group, is helping thousands of families across the WAEMU access private housing finance and finally achieve their dreams of owning their own home.

The tool is the $2.5 billion IDA18 IFC-MIGA Private Sector Window (IDA PSW), launched in July 2017 to help catalyze private sector investments and create jobs in the lowest income countries eligible for financing from the World Bank’s International Development Association.

The challenge of urban mobility in Abidjan

Jacques Morisset's picture



I am often asked how I view Côte d’Ivoire’s economic future. One thing is certain: the country will become urbanized. More than half the population already lives in the city and this proportion is expected to reach two thirds by 2050, particularly with the expansion of Abidjan, which will be home to over 10 million people.

Kenya taps innovative digital mapping to enhance public participation

Rose Wanjiru's picture
OpenStreetMap of Kenya

Kenya is well known for its innovation in technology, particularly mobile technology in cash transfers. These innovations have largely been championed by the private sector and young entrepreneurs.

In contrast, the public sector tends to play catch up adopting new technology, and that has remained true in implementing Geographic Information Systems (GIS). GIS, also referred to as digital maps, is utilized to capture, store, analyze, manage, and present geographic data.

Ethiopia’s new tobacco control law: a step forward that needs to be complemented by higher taxes!

Patricio V. Marquez's picture



Recently, Ethiopia’s parliament unanimously approved one of Africa’s strongest anti-tobacco laws.  Ethiopia’s new tobacco control law is comprehensive as it requires 100 percent smoke-free public and work places, bans tobacco advertising and promotions, restricts the sale of flavored tobacco products and mandates pictorial warning labels covering 70 percent of the front and back of all tobacco products. The law also bans the sale of heated tobacco products, e-cigarettes and shisha, and prohibits tobacco sales to anyone under the age of 21.


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