Sirikarn, a Thai university student, opted for a bachelor's degree taught in English. English language skills open more job opportunities and make further education abroad possible. Photo: Gerhard Jörén / World Bank
Welcome to the new blog for Youthink! -- where youth from around the world can share ideas and stories on global development.
As you can see, we’ve made some changes from the previous Youthink! site. With our new blog home, we hope to increase engagement with you and make it easier than ever to share ideas and learn about development.
As we drive along the semi-paved roads leading out of Juba, I wonder somewhat despondently how this one-year-old country that has been so deeply affected by conflict can prosper and grow with a literacy rate of just 27 percent. When we reach our destination—a tiny school that caters to poor children who are orphaned or with no family support, we are greeted by a loud welcome song. Children chant in a colorfully decorated hut led by a swaying young teacher whose baby sleeps peacefully on her back.
The vibe in the hut energizes me, and I begin to realize what the resilience of this nation is all about. Some of the facts in a new report on education in South Sudan start to come alive to me. This country has come a long way within a short period of time, but still has a very long way to go to catch up with the rest of Africa. Some of the children in this hut are among the 700,000 more students who were able to enroll in school between 2005 and 2009.
PRETORIA, South Africa - I have to admit it. I’m a bit of a development junkie. For most of my adult life, I’ve been reading thick tomes describing the success or failure of projects. I talk to friends over dinner about development theory. And I can’t stop thinking about what I believe is the biggest development question of all: How do we most effectively deliver on our promises to the poor?
So you can imagine how excited I was to have a day full of meetings with South Africa’s foremost experts on development: the country's ministers of finance, economic development, health, basic education, water and environmental affairs, and rural development and land reform - and then with President Jacob Zuma.
I chose to travel to South Africa as part of my first overseas trip as president of the World Bank Group because of the country’s great importance to the region, continent, and the world. It is the economic engine of Africa, and its story of reconciliation after apartheid is one of the historic achievements of our time.
When the World Bank’s Food Price Watch reported last week that severe drought pushed prices of staples such as maize and soybean to an all-time high this summer, people everywhere took notice. What will it mean for the poor in regions most affected by rising prices? What will it mean for us?
Economist José Cuesta, who authors the Bank’s quarterly Food Price Watch, asked readers of our last blog entry to submit their own questions about food prices. Here are his answers to a few of them.
“In June this year Apple CEO Tim Cook shared with the waiting crowd at its Worldwide Development Conference that Apple would be giving access to the App Store to 32 new countries, bringing the total to 152. Tim Cook also shared some impressive statistics: the App Store now has 400 million accounts; there are 650,000 apps available for download; there have been 30 billion app downloads and more than $5 billion (£3.2 billion) has been paid to developers.
Of those 32 new countries there are a number in Africa, ranging from countries like Chad with millions of potential app users to remote São Tomé and Príncipe, with just thousands.” READ MORE
Never mind that it is drizzling throughout the opening ceremony, forcing many people under a undulating roof of red, green, blue, and pink umbrellas. The re-opening of Cote d’Ivoire’s leading university here in Abidjan’s Cocody district, after its closure two years ago because of the long political crisis which culminated in the disputed results of the 2010 presidential election, isn’t going to be deterred by the last fading days of the rainy season. Academics in their green robes sit good naturedly under tents. Student reps wait nervously by the entranceway for Cote d’Ivoire’s President Ouattara to arrive. The music is loud and exuberant. The place is humming with expectation and excitement. It’s a new start for higher education.
The government has been planning for this moment for the last eight months, hiring legions of workmen, builders, and gardeners to refurbish the old University of Cocody, one of Africa’s longest-running and best-known tertiary institutes which opened before the country won its independence in 1960.
Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is home to the world’s poorest countries. The region’s geographical disadvantages are often viewed as an important deterrent to its economic development. A country’s geography directly affects economic development through its effect on disease burden, agricultural productivity or the availability of natural resources. However, the new economic geography (NEG) literature, initiated by Krugman (1991), highlights another mechanism through which geography affects prosperity.
“At least 70 journalists and support staff were killed while on assignment in the first half of this year, making it one of the bloodiest periods of recent times.
Fifteen were confirmed dead in Syria alone between January and June, according to the biannual Killing The Messenger survey of news media casualties produced for the International News Safety Institute (INSI) by the Cardiff school of journalism.
The next worst countries were Nigeria, where seven unidentified newspaper staff were killed by a bomb, Brazil, Somalia, Indonesia, where five journalists died in a plane crash, and Mexico.” READ MORE
Political intervention in credit markets, often with telling consequences, seems to be ubiquitous, regardless of the stage of development of the financial system. It has been well documented that in emerging markets, cozy ties between banks and politicians, as well as state ownership of banks, give rise to a great deal of political influence in credit extension and capital allocation. The recent financial crises in U.S. and the Eurozone have demonstrated that even advanced financial systems are not immune to political intervention.