In many low and middle income countries, out-of-pocket healthcare expenditures are high, and can be a significant financial risk to the poor. Universal health coverage (UHC) is about people having access to needed health care without suffering undue financial hardship.
The World Region
What’s the latest research in international trade and integration? Researchers from the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO recently gathered for a one-day workshop to present their latest research on the topic. The papers presented addressed topical questions in areas as diverse as the links between trade, wage inequality and the poor, global value chains, non-tariff measures, preferential trade agreements, FDI restrictions, and migration. We provide a quick roundup on the papers presented during the workshop.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us— in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”
- Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
Many rural households in low- and middle-income countries depend on livestock for their livelihoods. Sustainable livestock systems can contribute to reducing poverty, ending hunger, and improving health, and can also be key in addressing environmental degradation and climate change, and preserving biodiversity.
Measuring livestock systems—and the socioeconomic benefits they generate—remains a challenge due to a lack of high-quality, nationally representative data. Livestock is often neglected in many national statistical operations and, as a result, decision makers are unable to design evidence-based livestock sector policies and investments.
A new multi-partner publication provides guidance for effectively including livestock in multi-topic and agricultural household surveys. The livestock module template provided in this Guidebook can be used by survey practitioners and stakeholders to generate household-level statistics on livestock, its role in the household economy, and its contribution to livelihoods. It builds on a variety of multi-topic and agricultural/livestock household survey questionnaires implemented in low- and middle-income countries, and on lessons learned from the implementation of comprehensive livestock questionnaires, as part of multi-topic household surveys, in Niger, Tanzania, and Uganda.
The Guidebook is the result of collaboration between the World Bank's Living Standards Measurement Study (LSMS) team, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Tanzania National Bureau of Statistics, and the Uganda Bureau of Statistics.
For practical advice on household survey design, visit the LSMS Guidebooks page: http://go.worldbank.org/0ZOAP159L0
Some countries are blessed with natural resources, others are cursed. It’s been said that all the blessed ones are alike, they put the resources to good use, improving the people’s welfare in a sustainable manner. And for the cursed? More often than not, they struggle with political violence, especially when ethnic or religious fragmentation and weak institutions are a concern. Not surprisingly, it was Venezuela’s former Development Minister and OPEC Founder Perez Alfonso who christened oil the “Devil’s excrement.”
If natural resources could be the source of such evil, are there ways of “exorcising” them? Perhaps policymakers could try to prevent or resolve resource-related conflicts by sharing natural resource wealth with opposition groups or directly with the people. Would such a counter spell work?
In early November, nearly 200 countries came together at the UN climate change conference (COP22) in Marrakech to reaffirm their commitment to the historic “Paris Agreement.” If the COP21 was about signing this agreement, this year’s conference is about the critical next step of turning commitment into action.
To track overall opinions of thought leaders across the globe, including views toward climate change before and after the landmark deal, the World Bank Group’s Country Opinion Survey program annually surveys nearly 10,000 key influencers working in government, parliament, private sector, civil society, media, and academia in more than 40 development countries. The results help shed light on the overall public opinion environment where efforts to operationalize the Agreement will likely take place.
The following charts provide a snapshot view of global opinion leaders’ (in developing countries) attitudes toward climate change.
Overall, survey data suggest that concern about climate change among opinion leaders worldwide has increased significantly in the past four years. While the percentage of respondents considering addressing climate change a top development priority is relatively lower than that of education, governance, and food security in many countries, data clearly show an upward trend in the perceived importance of combatting climate change since 2015.
Last year in Paris, world leaders came together for the first time to commit to keeping global warming below 2°C. With the Paris Agreement in force and negotiators at COP22 in Marrakesh teasing out the details of implementing the Agreement, countries are developing their action plans (or Nationally Determined Contributions, NDCs) to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. Part of this is looking at how carbon assets could be traded across borders.
Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk via Flickr Creative Commons
I love the TV show “The Big Bang Theory.” It gives a sympathetic view of geeks, where the nerdy guy gets the beautiful girl—I just wish it had been made when I was in high school. I was the geek, without the chic. At the mercy of the big, macho kids, who seemed to have gone through puberty years before I even knew what the word meant.
I thought I had left all of that in high school, but there is a tendency in PPP to perpetuate the macho stuff. Let’s take toll roads as an example. A few frustratingly macho myths about toll roads that only a geek can bust:
How large is the share of public procurement to GDP in middle-income and low-income countries and how it is evolving? If sizable, can public procurement be used as a policy tool to make markets more competitive, and thus improve the quality of government services? Can it be used to induce innovation in firms? Can it also be a significant way to reduce corruption?
In Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, there are more than twice as many students per teacher than in Europe and North America. The pupil-teacher ratio is different but related to class size, and is often used to compare the quality of schooling across countries.