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East Asia and Pacific

In China’s Taobao villages, e-commerce is one way to bring new jobs and business opportunities to rural areas

Xubei Luo's picture
E-commerce is often perceived as a phenomenon of high-income countries, but the industry’s rapid growth in China demonstrates that the transition from physical to digital commerce does not necessarily demand such high levels of development.
 
China’s worldwide e-commerce transaction value grew from less than 1% a decade ago to over 40% now, exceeding that of France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States combined, according to a McKinsey study. In rural China, the development of e-commerce shows strong signs of clustering. The number of Taobao villages – those significantly engaged in e-commerce with a total annual e-commerce transaction volume of at least RMB 10 million and at least 100 active online shops – has increased from 20 in 2013 to 3,202 in 2018.
 
Distribution of Taobao Villages in China, 2014-2018

How Singapore and the GIF are bridging the infrastructure gap in Asia and beyond

Kathy Lai's picture



With support from the World Bank Group, Singapore invested heavily in infrastructure during the early stages of our growth. This included 14 World Bank loans between 1963 and 1975, which financed the development of the deep sea terminal at the Port of Singapore, the doubling of the country’s energy capacity, and the construction of water pipelines to Malaysia—all of which remain a part of our core infrastructure today.

Antimicrobial resistance is a priority issue for all people

Juergen Voegele's picture
Bogota, Colombia. Photo credit: Dominic Chavez/World Bank

If, like most people, you think antimicrobial resistance is something that only doctors and scientists need to worry about, you should probably think again.
 
We humans have co-evolved with microbes for millions of years.  Our bodies have provided a safe environment for thousands of species of microbes to flourish and in return microbes have provided us with many benefits – like protection against “bad” organisms and regulation of many of our physiological processes.  We now know that a healthy, balanced microbiome is essential to human wellbeing.

Malaysia’s digital future needs faster Internet

Siddhartha Raja's picture
As an early pioneer in the digital economy, Malaysia has many of the building blocks to leapfrog to a new digital future, but the country will need faster Internet to go the next mile. Photo: bigstock/ mast3r
About 20 young women in the eRezeki center in Shah Alam, Malaysia work quietly on their computers as the class proceeds. They are there to learn about how to work online to earn  an income. On banners nearby are vignettes of Malaysians—many from the bottom 40% of the income group, and the primary target group for this program—who have benefited from these opportunities. One businesswoman selling clothes and furniture online since 2013 saw her monthly sales increase ten-fold after learning how to better market her products online.  A retired lecturer learnt about online work opportunities and began performing dispatch services for delivery apps, earning over RM 2,400 (~US$580) a month.

Membantu perempuan miskin mengembangkan usaha mereka melalui tabungan bergerak, pelatihan, dan lainnya?

Mayra Buvinic's picture

Mengembangkan sebuah usaha bukanlah sesuatu yang mudah. Terlebih bagi perempuan yang memiliki suatu usaha, ini merupakan tantangan yang besar, khususnya ketika kondisi mereka miskin dan usahanya hanya cukup memenuhi kebutuhan sehari-hari. Di negara-negara berkembang, 22 persen perempuan tidak melanjutkan usaha mereka karena tidak adanya dana. Menurut Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, perempuan lebih rentan dibandingkan pria menutup usahanya disebabkan masalah keuangan. Sementara itu, simpanan pribadi merupakan sumber yang penting dalam pendanaan usaha, dan hampir 95 persen pelaku usaha menyatakan bahwa mereka menggunakan dana pribadi untuk memulai atau mengembangkan usaha mereka. Akan tetapi, perempuan menghadapi kendala tersendiri dalam menyisihkan tabungan mereka untuk diinvestasikan guna mengembangkan usaha mereka.

Photo credit: Marijo Silva and the “She Counts” global platform.

Helping poor women grow their businesses with mobile savings, training, and something more?

Mayra Buvinic's picture

Growing a business is not easy, and for women firm owners the challenges can be acute, especially when they are poor and run subsistence level firms. In developing countries, 22 percent of women discontinue their established businesses due to a lack of funds, and women are more likely than men to report exiting their businesses over finance problems, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. Meanwhile, personal savings are a crucial source of entrepreneurial financing, and nearly 95 percent of entrepreneurs globally state that they used their own funds to start or scale up their businesses. Women, however, face unique constraints in accumulating savings to invest in growing their firms.
 

Photo credit: Marijo Silva and the “She Counts” global platform.

The rise of local mapping communities

Vivien Deparday's picture
More than 150 people participated in the SotM Africa conference in 2017. (Courtesy of SotM Africa)
More than 150 people participated in the SotM Africa conference in 2017. (Courtesy of SotM Africa)

There is a unique space where you can encounter everyone from developers of self-driving cars in Silicon Valley to city planners in Niamey to humanitarian workers in Kathmandu Valley: the global OpenStreetMap (OSM) community. It comprises a geographically and experientially diverse network of people who contribute to OSM, a free and editable map of the world that is often called the “Wikipedia of maps.”  

What is perhaps most special about this community is its level playing field. Anyone passionate about collaborative mapping can have a voice from anywhere in the world. In the past few years, there has been a meteoric rise of locally organized mapping communities in developing countries working to improve the map in service of sustainable development activities.

The next opportunity to see the OSM community in action will be the November 14th mapathon hosted by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR)’s Open Data for Resilience Initiative (OpenDRI). Mapathons bring together volunteers to improve the maps of some of the world’s most vulnerable areas, not only easing the way for emergency responders when disaster strikes, but also helping cities and communities plan and build more resiliently for the future.

Malaysia budget 2019 – A balancing act for the new government

Firas Raad's picture
Malaysia’s latest budget points to many encouraging directions. How the government balances its priorities is key to ensuring low-income populations get to share in the benefits of development. (Photo: Samuel Goh/World Bank)

The unveiling of Malaysia’s much-anticipated 2019 budget last Friday by the Minister of Finance, Lim Guan Eng comes at a challenging time for the country. On the external side, Malaysia’s exports are facing growing headwinds – as opposed to the fair winds of recent years – due to heightened trade tensions and slower global growth. On the domestic front, a new emphasis on addressing the stock of government debt and contingent liabilities is likely to narrow fiscal space and prevent public investment from driving economic activity as it did before. In this situation, Malaysia will depend more on private consumption and investment to support economic growth in the next few years.

Why Disruptive Technologies Matter for Affordable Housing: The Case of Indonesia

Dao Harrison's picture

  The Case of Indonesia

Big Data. Blockchain. Drones. E-Wallets. Artificial Intelligence.
These are words that one would expect to hear at the latest conference in Silicon Valley, not during a discussion of Indonesia’s affordable housing challenges. Yet they were buzzing through the captive crowd in Jakarta at the Disruptive Technologies Workshop for Affordable Housing on September 17, 2018. The event, hosted by Indonesia’s Ministry of Public Works and Housing with support from the World Bank’s National Affordable Housing Program (NAHP), was attended by 150 participants from local public agencies, developers, lenders, and community organizations. The workshop’s goal was to explore one big question: How might Indonesia harness the power of disruptive technologies to transform its housing ecosystem?   

Lessons from China: Vocational education for economic transformation in Africa

Girma Woldetsadik's picture
“African participants visit modern container port in Ningbo, China. Photo credit World Bank”

This September I traveled to Beijing and Ningbo, China, to participate in the second Africa China World Bank Education Partnership Forum on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET). The Forum--co-hosted by the China Institute for Education Finance Research, Peking University, Ningbo Polytechnic and the World Bank Group-- served as a platform for discussion and knowledge exchange to encourage stronger partnership efforts between African TVET institutions and some of China’s best ranking TVET centers and industries.


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