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Friday Roundup: Ebola, World Economy in One Chart, Extremism, and Recognizing Humanitarians

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Data Literacy Bootcamp in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Photo: Usman Khaliq, iDT Labs


Increasing evidence suggests that, to improve accountability and promote evidence-based decision making, open access to data and data literacy skills are essential. While in-person educational opportunities can be limited in parts of the developing world, free educational tools are available online to boost data literacy skills.
 
In June 2016, Code for Africa, with support from the World Bank’s Open Government Global Solutions Group, held a Data Literacy Bootcamp in Freetown, Sierra Leone, for 55 participants, including journalists, civil society members, and private and public sector representatives. One of the Bootcamp’s primary objectives was to build data literacy skills to nurture the homegrown development of information and communication technologies (ICT) solutions to development problems.
 
Here are five tools Bootcamp participants employed to help capture, manipulate, and visualize data:

Friday roundup: US-Africa Summit, Carbon Reduction and Demographics, Poverty, Robots, and Fair Trade

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El comercio transfronterizo en Centroamérica ha sido un problema grave durante muchos años. Imagínese tardar 10 horas para recorrer menos de un kilómetro; eso era lo cotidiano para los camioneros de carga en las fronteras entre Guatemala y Honduras en 2017. Esas demoras en los cruces fronterizos han causado que el comercio en toda la región sea lento y costoso.

Friday Roundup: Human Development Report, LinkedIn Economic Confidence Outlook, Inequality, and Jason Furman

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Photo Credit: Oliver Jammes

The concept of “Gross National Happiness” has been long discussed, debated, understated, overstated or seen as a gimmick. Now what is really Gross National Happiness? And how does the World Bank engagement fit in it? Let’s look into it together in an attempt to de-mystify the concept into what it really is, which is: a vision, broad policy directions trickling down to programs, a survey, a policy screening tool, and yes also, a foreign policy instrument and a brand.
                  
The visionary statement, “Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross Domestic Product” was first enunciated by His Majesty the Fourth King of Bhutan in the 1970s. In turn, the Fifth King declared: “Today, GNH has come to mean so many things to so many people but to me it signifies simply - Development with Values. Thus for my nation today GNH is the bridge between the fundamental values of kindness, equality and humanity and the necessary pursuit of economic growth.” Article 9-2 of the constitution directs the state “to promote those conditions that will enable the pursuit of Gross National Happiness”.
 
GNH is translated into broad policy directions that provide the Government’s overarching, long-term strategies and five-year plans. The four pillars of GNH philosophy are: sustainable development; preservation and promotion of cultural values (traditional and cultural heritage paramount  - its loss leads to a general weakening of society); conservation of the natural environment (Bhutan’s constitution: 60 percent forest coverage, green economy), establishment of good governance.

Friday Roundup: ​Sources of Humanitarian Aid, Stolen Girls, First Thousand Days, South Sudan, and New Kaushik Basu Paper

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Foto aérea de Trinidad, Bolivia. / Banco Mundial.

La primera vez que escuché de Trinidad fue hace 11 meses. A pesar de ser la décima ciudad más grande de Bolivia, confieso que no conocía de ella. El Ministerio de Planificación del Desarrollo (MPD) había encargado al Banco Mundial un estudio sobre ciudades intermedias en Bolivia y en mis primeras investigaciones aprendí que se trataba de una ciudad colonial, fundada en 1686 durante las Misiones Jesuíticas. Similar en su arquitectura y clima a las ciudades surorientales de mi natal Venezuela, por su ubicación y topografía es sumamente vulnerable a inundaciones que afectan a miles de familias y comercios cada año.

Friday roundup: Malaria, Piketty and Ravallion, Oxfam Challenges IFIs on Inequality, and Global Flows in the Digital Age

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Photo Credit: Cor Laffra


Let’s assume you are a Finance Minister or ministry official of a country that has newly discovered oil or minerals.

What actions lay ahead? Or, if oil and mineral production is ongoing, how can you strengthen the public management of the extractive sector, which is a mainstay for national economies around the world?  
 
Planning for the development of an unfamiliar and complex sector can be daunting. How should sector policy objectives be determined?

Which economic, accounting and taxation principles should be considered? What kinds of laws and regulations would a government need to adopt? What roles do various ministries and government agencies play in administering these laws? How do technical, environmental and social considerations fit into the scheme of things? What about the investment of resource revenues, or the potential for new industry linkages?

Friday Roundup: DeLong on Piketty, Gentzkow wins Bates Medal, Mobile Money, and Remittances in Africa

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Connected cities use urban infrastructure and transportation networks to boost access to economic opportunities and job creation. In Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, a project recently analyzed the flows of people within the city’s network using cell phone data.  The study identified the most critical links in the urban transportation system that can connect people to jobs and businesses to markets. The project won the World Bank Group’s Fiscal Year 2018 Presidents Award for Excellence for using disruptive technology to collect data.

Friday Roundup: Redistribution and Growth, World Development Report 2015, Psychology and Economics, Democracy, and ABCDE 2014

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 Koza1983


Morocco, the host of COP22 happening this week and next in Marrakech, is an example of a country that is working closely with the World Bank and other organizations to shift its economy onto a low carbon development path.

It just submitted its official climate plan, or nationally determined contribution, NDC, where it pledges a 42% reduction below business-as-usual emissions by 2030. This is 10 percentage points more ambitious than it previously laid out, ahead of Paris, and we see the plan affecting a growing number of sectors in the economy. Morocco plans a $13 billion expansion of wind, solar and hydroelectric power generation capacity and associated infrastructure that should see the country get 42% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, ramping up to 52% by 2030.

Friday roundup: Inequality, Stiglitz, Chetty, frugal innovation, polio, and nudges

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Haití, el tercer país más afectado del mundo en términos de eventos climáticos, busca una forma más eficaz de gestionar los desastres naturales 

Haití es un país muy expuesto a las amenazas naturales. Al estar ubicado en la zona de paso dehuracanes del Atlántico norte, y sobre el límite donde chocan las placas tectónicas caribeña y norteamericana, los riesgos son constantes. Sin embargo, esto no significa que esos riesgos terminen en desastres.

Friday Round-up: Nelson Mandela, the power of Universal Health Coverage, the AIDS epidemic in 4 charts, gauging corruption, and grim climate trends

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Visitamos la región más afectada para conocer cómo sus comunidades se recuperan tras la tormenta del 4 de octubre de 2016.

Dos meses después de que el huracán Matthew devastara las provincias meridionales de Haití, ya están en marcha los esfuerzos de reconstrucción. En algunas áreas se pueden observar paneles de metal corrugado brillando bajo el sol, que tapan los agujeros de los techos arrancados por el huracán el 4 de octubre de 2016.

Friday roundup: Fuel subsidies, Stiglitz on US investment pacts, Afro optimism, China Plenum and OECD aid overhaul

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Photo: Felix_Broennimann | Pixabay Creative Commons
 
Infrastructure is a key driver for growth, employment, and better quality of life in emerging markets and developing economies (EMDEs). But this comes at a cost. Approximately 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from infrastructure construction and operations such as power plants, buildings, and transport. The Overseas Development Institute estimates that over 720 million people could be pushed back into extreme poverty by 2050 as a result of climate impacts, while the World Health Organization projects that the number of deaths attributable to the harmful effects of emissions from key infrastructure industries will rise from the current 150,000 per year to 250,000 by 2030.
 
Does this mean we need to build less infrastructure? No. But part of the solution lies in low-carbon infrastructure.


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