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Back from the brink: visiting Medellin 20 years later

Felipe Jaramillo's picture

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Medellin

Rewind 20 years. Medellin, Colombia, is the murder capital of the world, with over 300 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants.

Pablo Escobar and his drug trafficking cronies are the heroes of the comunas -- the hillside low-income barrios that oversee the skyscrapers of the modern downtown. Shootings, kidnappings and rampant lawlessness are the stuff of daily headlines. Teenage boys in the comunas want to be Escobar henchmen, quick with the gun and fast with the girls. And after Escobar was killed in a graphic shootout with police in 1994, they dream of becoming paramilitary ‘rambos’, inspired by the violent squads that plagued the countryside since the mid-1990s.

Making Latin America’s decade a reality

Hasan Tuluy's picture

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Making Latin America’s decade a reality

As I get ready to join the discussions on Latin America's development at the IDB's Montevideo Assembly, one word keeps coming to me in slow motion, like scenes from a movie: part-ner-ships.

It is easy to see why such word is so important these days of uncertainty in global markets and economies -where joining efforts has been the sensible way forward and out of major peril.

Welcome to The Water Blog

Christopher Walsh's picture

Water is at the crux of several development challenges, from health impacts related to poor sanitation and drinking water, to food and energy shortages caused by poor water management. We’ve also heard leaders such as US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton describe water as a means for peace.

And investments in water are working. Last week, UNICEF and WHO announced that over 2 billion people gained access to safe drinking water between 1990 and 2010, meeting the Millennium Development Goal for increased access to water three years ahead of target. During this same timeframe, 1.8 billion people gained access to improved sanitation. 

Can business save the planet?

Lindsay Clinton's picture

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Can business save the planet?

This year marks two especially significant milestones in sustainable development: the 20th anniversary of the United Nations’ Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and the 25th anniversary of the Brundtland Report, Our Common Future.

How far have we come since the concept of sustainable development was elevated to the global policy agenda? To put it simply, not far enough....

"How I managed to turn disability into opportunity"

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Personas con discapacidad luchan por inclusión social

In 1980, as a pilot with the Ecuadorean Air Force, I suffered a serious accident while flying to remote Amazonian communities. A spinal cord injury had me on the verge of death.

The doctors who treated me in Quito told my family that, given the seriousness of my injury, I had little chance for survival. The accident paralyzed me from head to toe – quadriplegia, in medical terms. Unfortunately, 30 years ago my country did not have the medical facilities to treat these cases. I received intensive care at a U.S. hospital.

One Day on Earth: A small business means more security for a woman in Laos

Mehreen Arshad Sheikh's picture

A small business not only provides income, but it provides security and a better life for Khampane Kousonsavath’s family.  In Laos, Khampane’s life is better when she is selling processed food. Owning her own business has been rewarding for her; she is now able to go to school and generate income for her and her family.

Fotopedia, World Bank App Showcases Photos of ‘Women of the World’

Olivier Puech's picture



During the 2011 World Bank Annual Meetings, we decided to give the highest visibility to the topic of gender equality in connection with the World Development Report 2012.

The report details the need of the world to close the big gender gaps that exist in order to pursue a path of true development for many countries. There is global progress, for example, in education.

But in other metrics, the data on gender equality is appalling:

Worldwide, women make up the majority of unpaid workers. And violence against women is still widespread.

After the holidays, a time to reflect on the state of food in Africa

Ian Gillson's picture

As we gather in kitchens and dining rooms during this season of eating and charity, let us pause for a moment to review the state of food trade in Africa: how does cross-border commerce in key crops fare on a continent with pockets of harsh weather and unpredictable politics? How is the traffic in grains and tubers?

It’s clear that prices are high, following the February 2011 peak worldwide. The price of maize in Nairobi has tripled this year alone, while the price of a 50 kg bag of rice in Dakar has risen from $36 to $43.50. These spikes can be blamed partly on increased demand for food crops – including for biofuel production in Europe and the United States. They are also due to supply-side factors, such as higher energy prices which impact transportation and fertilizer costs, and weak harvests in large exporting countries.

But on a global scale there is no food shortage. In 2010, the world produced 2.2 billion tons of cereals, up from 820 million tons 50 years ago (a 268 percent increase). Over the same period, the world’s population has grown from three billion to seven billion people: an increase of 233 percent. In Africa, food staple production is abundant in some areas even though the continent is a net importer of food. Mali grows enough excess sorghum to supply its neighbors, and Uganda, the bread basket of East Africa, makes regular shipments of maize to Kenya, Southern Sudan and Rwanda. The problem is that the surplus food does not always get to those in need. Often shipments of perishable goods are stopped at the border and excessive inspections frequently cause delays.

Latin America’s financial sector needs to prepare for new risks

Alain Ize's picture

Finances

In stark contrast with Latin America’s rich history of financial crises and turbulence, this time around the region’s financial systems have weathered the current global volatility and the Great Recession rather well.

Why should then one want to conduct an extensive study on financial issues in Latin America and the Caribbean? We think the study, Financial Development in Latin America & the Caribbean, the Road Ahead, is timely because the region still faces substantial developmental gaps and issues that require attention.


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