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Europe and Central Asia

Corrosive Subsidies in MENA

Shanta Devarajan's picture

Air pollution in Cairo Half the world’s energy subsidies are in the Middle East and North Africa Region.  These subsidies have been criticized on grounds that they crowd out public spending on valuable items such as health, education and capital investment.  Egypt for instance spends seven times more on fuel subsidies than on health.  Furthermore, the allocation of these subsidies is heavily skewed towards the rich, who consume more fuel and energy than the poor.  In Yemen, the portion of fuel subsidies going to the richest quintile was 40 percent; the comparable figure in Jordan was 45 percent and in Egypt, 60 percent.
 

At the Heart of the Matter: Improved Market Access to Food Supplies

Bill Gain's picture
Hi-Las workers weighing and sizing mangoes. Source -

At the Ninth WTO Ministerial Conference held in Bali on December 2013, all WTO members reached an agreement on trade facilitation and a compromise on food security issues, a contentious topic which had previously stalled talks during the 2008 Doha Development Round. The “Bali Package,” as it came to be known, was quickly heralded as an important milestone, reaffirming the legitimacy of multilateral trade negotiations while simultaneously recognizing the significant development benefits of reducing the time and costs to trade.

Seven months after the Bali Ministerial Conference, however, the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) has yet to be ratified as India is concerned that insufficient attention has been given to the issue of food subsidies and the stockpiling of grains. India maintains that agreements on the food security issue must be in concert with the TFA.
 
Despite the current impasse in implementing the Bali decisions, the food security concern at the heart of the matter sheds light on the importance of improving the agribusiness supply chains of developing countries to ensure maximum efficiencies. Consider the fact that in 2014, farmers will produce approximately 2.5 billion tons of food. Yet, 1.3 billion tons are lost or wasted each year between farm and fork, while 805 million people suffer from chronic hunger.

Moving 4 Degrees South

Victor Neagu's picture
We talk so frequently about how we shape our work and yet rarely about how our work shapes us. Let me explain. I recently moved 4 degrees in latitude – from Chisinau, Moldova to Almaty, Kazakhstan, on a six-month development assignment – and it has been fascinating to discover in just one week how similar our collective mentalities are!

Moving 4 Degrees South

Victor Neagu's picture
We talk so frequently about how we shape our work and yet rarely about how our work shapes us. Let me explain. I recently moved 4 degrees in latitude – from Chisinau, Moldova to Almaty, Kazakhstan, on a six-month development assignment – and it has been fascinating to discover in just one week how similar our collective mentalities are!

100 Days Old in Moldova

Alex Kremer's picture

100 days ago today, I relocated to Moldova from Kyrgyzstan. I’m still getting to know my new host country and still figuring my way around the office (so please don’t ask me just yet where to find the office paper-puncher).
Also, if you ask me “How’s Moldova?” you will probably get the standard response, “Ask me again in six months”.
However, I can give any newcomer to Moldova one solid piece of advice: do not do what I did! Do not, on any account, read “The Good Life Elsewhere” by Vladimir Lorchenkov.

100 Days Old in Moldova

Alex Kremer's picture

100 days ago today, I relocated to Moldova from Kyrgyzstan. I’m still getting to know my new host country and still figuring my way around the office (so please don’t ask me just yet where to find the office paper-puncher).
Also, if you ask me “How’s Moldova?” you will probably get the standard response, “Ask me again in six months”.
However, I can give any newcomer to Moldova one solid piece of advice: do not do what I did! Do not, on any account, read “The Good Life Elsewhere” by Vladimir Lorchenkov.

Technology and Jobs - Is Poland Ready?

Roberta V. Gatti's picture

The IT revolution has transformed labor markets globally in an unprecedented way. New jobs as well as new ways of working have appeared, and traditional skills and jobs have lost their dominance. World Bank Lead Economist Roberta Gatti looks at Poland's ability to address the challenges posed by these new realities.

Technology and Jobs - Is Poland Ready?

Roberta V. Gatti's picture

The IT revolution has transformed labor markets globally in an unprecedented way. New jobs as well as new ways of working have appeared, and traditional skills and jobs have lost their dominance. World Bank Lead Economist Roberta Gatti looks at Poland's ability to address the challenges posed by these new realities.

Always Regulated, Never Protected: How Markets Work

Richard Mallett's picture

If you’re not already interested in livelihoods, you should be. Because livelihoods are the bottom line of development. Millions are spent on trying to build more effective states around the world, but development isn’t really about state capacity. At the end of those long causal chains and theories of change, there’s a person – an average Jo (sephine), a ‘little guy’. Making things work a little better for that person, making it easier for them to make their own choices and carve out a decent living…that is the why of development.

Why Should we Worry about Russia’s Low Growth?

Birgit Hansl's picture

Facade of a housing estate For 2014, we project that Russia’s economy will grow at an estimated 0.3-0.5 percent. This is the lowest growth rate since the global financial crisis but higher than the high-risk case scenario which was expected since the geopolitical tension started and the sanctions of the EU and the US took hold. This means that Russia’s expected economic performance in 2014 will be similar to that of the Euro-zone, even though Russia is much more dependent on the European market than the EU is on Russia.


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