There’s a range of studies that suggest that the potential prize from Open Data could be enormous - including an estimate of $3-5 trillion a year globally from McKinsey Global Institute and an estimate of $13 trillion cumulative over the next 5 years in the G20 countries. There are supporting studies of the value of Open Data to certain sectors in certain countries - for instance $20 billion a year to Agriculture in the US - and of the value of key datasets such as geospatial data. All these support the conclusion that the economic potential is at least significant - although with a range from “significant” to “extremely significant”!
On this year’s International Day of the Girl, I was part of the vast audience in the Atrium of the World Bank who had the opportunity to hear Malala Yousafza, the young activist who is inspiring the world with her bravery and courage, speak about her passionate fight for girls’ education.
Just the night before, she had wowed Jon Stewart on his television show with her poignantly articulate and exceedingly wise responses. Among them, she said: “I believe in equality. And I believe there is no difference between a man and a woman. I even believe that a woman is more powerful than men.”
These words, though spoken by a teenager, could scarcely ring more true amid the battle to eliminate poverty. Women are indeed more powerful than men, in the sense that, when you invest in a woman, you also invest in her family, her community and her country at large.
Local businesses can create jobs in Pakistan's conflict areas (Credit: Zerega, Flickr)
How can you effectively support areas shaken by years of regional instability? The Western border areas of Pakistan are one such region, where a 2009 insurgency and subsequent military operations in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) led to one of the worst crises in the country's history. More than 2 million people were forced to leave their homes and considerable damage was caused to physical and social infrastructure. The unprecedented floods of 2010 only made the situation worse.
Growth poles can help create jobs for Africa's one billion citizens (Credit: World Bank)
We were asked the other day by our senior management to be outrageously aspirational when we engage with growth poles. I have been reflecting on what this means for our work on this topic in Africa, especially in light of the findings of the Africa Competitiveness Report. I think we need to be aspirational in three broad directions: (i) developing the capacity to get things done in Africa, (ii) ensuring all stakeholders benefit from growth, and (iii) mobilizing as much capital as we can, whether it be private, philanthropic or public.
Today’s sharpest business executives “don’t want to spend their life creating ‘shareholder value.’ That’s not their purpose in life. . . . They want to have a purpose. They want their company to stand for something that matters – to be ‘moving the needle’ on something important.” Just a few years ago, the idea of a business professor suggesting that shareholder value is not the be-all and end-all of corporate life might have seemed unthinkable. Yet a renowned Harvard strategist, visiting the World Bank Group last week, analyzed the private sector’s current woes and offered a way both to repair public faith in business and to constructively “reinvent capitalism.”
Creating enduring value – not just for a company’s stockholders, but for all of society’s stakeholders – requires companies to reconsider the logic of how they do business, said Michael Porter of Harvard Business School, a pioneer in the field of corporate strategy. Business leaders, said Porter, should focus on creating win-win outcomes that strengthen society as well as satisfy the profit motive. They can do so by reaching out to serve broader constituencies and by being attentive to long-term social impact.
India’s economic growth rate in the past decade has been nothing short of spectacular. With its GDP growth around 7 to 9 percent per year, India is the second-fastest-growing large economy in the world. However, the country’s manufacturing sector accounts for a dismal 17 percent of its employment opportunities, as compared to 60 percent in agriculture and 23 percent in services.This summer, the World Bank’s Indian Visiting Scholars Program* invited two leading academics from Harvard University to visit India and to articulate potential pathways to sustain the country’s growth trajectory. These 2 scholars are Ricardo Hausmann, Professor of Economic Development at the John F. Kennedy School of Government and Director of Harvard’s Center of International Development and Dani Rodrik, Professor of International Political Economy at the Kennedy School. While there, they interacted with the private sector and key policymakers, including senior officials of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, the Planning Commission, and the Ministry of Finance.