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What Drags Poverty Reduction in South Asia?

Zahid Hussain's picture

Poverty has been a concern in societies even before the beginning of recorded history. In the past three decades extreme poverty in the world has decreased significantly. More than half of population in the developing world lived on less than $1.25 a day in 1981. This has dropped to 21% in 2010. More impressively, notwithstanding a 59% increase in population in developing countries, there were 1.2 people living on less than $1.25 a day in 2010, compared with 1.9 billion decades ago. However, the challenge of poverty reduction ahead remains daunting with 1.2 billion still living in extreme poverty. Freeing the world from poverty is perhaps the most important economic goal for the world today. More than a hundred countries are still not able to move away from high poverty traps.
 

Notes From the Field: Improving Sierra Leone's Ability to Trade

Julia Oliver's picture

About "Notes From the Field": With this occasional feature, we let World Bank professionals who are conducting interesting trade-related projects around the globe explain some of the challenges and triumphs of their day-to-day work. The views expressed here are personal and should not be attributed to the World Bank. All interviews have been edited for clarity.

Gozde Isik, Trade EconomistThe interview below was conducted with Gozde Isik, a Trade Economist in the Africa Region Poverty Reduction and Economic Management (PREM) network. She spoke with us about the Diagnostic Trade Integration Study (DTIS) Update for Sierra Leone and how these studies help Least Developed Countries (LDCs) prioritize and sequence trade-related interventions and integrate trade into poverty-reduction strategies. Gozde is part of the Africa Region's Trade Practice and co-author of “De-Fragmenting Africa: Deepening Regional Trade Integration in Goods and Services” and “Why Does Cargo Spend Weeks in Sub-Saharan African Ports?

What does World Development Indicators tell us about South-South trade?

Wendy Ven-dee Huang's picture

Merchandise trade has become an increasingly important contributor to a country’s gross domestic product (GDP), particularly for developing countries. Before the global financial crisis hit in 2008, merchandise trade as a percent of GDP for low- and middle-income economies was 57 percent, about 5% higher than for high-income economies. This is very evident in Europe and Central Asia (ECA) where merchandise trade accounts for 73 percent of the developing region’s GDP.  Many ECA countries including Hungary, Belarus, and Bulgaria have merchandise trade to GDP ratios above 100 percent (155, 136, and 114 percent respectively in 2011), meaning merchandise exports are a large contributor to their overall economy.

West Bank Check-Points Damage Economy, Illustrate High Cost of Trade Barriers

Massimiliano Calì's picture

Qalandia Check-point. Source - www.flickr.com/photos/37276375@N08/4910258986/in/photolist-8tUmVG-8unY9k-7YfgzGConflict is a major cause of poverty in the developing world today. In addition to endangering lives, conflict disrupts the functioning of an economy in many ways. It destroys infrastructure, prevents children from going to school, and closes factories. A little-studied economic impact is conflict’s tendency to restrict the mobility of goods and labor within and across borders. These restrictions are caused both by insecurity associated with the conflict and by explicit barriers that constrain the mobility of people and goods. Our recent World Bank study measures the harm such barriers have caused the economy of the West Bank by limiting mobility in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement: A Development Opportunity

Selina Jackson's picture

Signers of the Joint Communique. Source - WTO/Studio CasagrandeDuring this week’s World Trade Organization (WTO) Global Review of Aid for Trade in Geneva, almost all of the participants made a strong plea for concluding the Trade Facilitation Agreement. Developing countries shared the gains their economies have achieved by improving border procedures and updating antiquated customs rules. Senior representatives from 27 developed countries and international development organizations signed a high-level Joint Statement that reiterated their commitment to providing financial and technical support for trade facilitation-related assistance to developing countries. Speaker after speaker quoted the extensive, recent research that clearly demonstrates the large potential gains to developing countries from sound investments in trade facilitation. As we heard, diminishing the barriers that impose high trade costs and long delays on traders will result in increased bilateral trade, greater export diversification, enhanced foreign investment and improved national competitiveness. 

If everyone is singing from the same song sheet, why has this harmonious chorus not produced a final text that could be agreed upon by all WTO member states?

...And the Egypt Development Marketplace 2013 Grantees Are....

Dougg Jimenez's picture

Egypt DM 2013 GranteesAlmost two months ago the announcement was made about the World Bank, IFC and partners providing grants of 1.25 million via the Egypt DM. Since that announcement, many have been contacting us via various channels to find out who the actual 34 grantees are? Well here is your answer! Below please find the 34 selected grantees institutions, with links to their websites and social channels when available. They are broken down by governorate, with a very small blurb about each one. Why so little information? Well, most of these organizations speak Arabic only and therefor their information is only available in Arabic. We are working on translating all related documents, and while that takes time, we hope to have full pages on our website for each one of them later in September. We also hope to do feature stories here in our blog for some if not all the grantees, stay tuned!

ASSYUT

Community Development Association in Al Ezzeyya: Recycling agricultural residues and animal waste into compost and high value organic fertilizers, to manage waste, decrease environment hazards, and increase productivityof the agricultural land.
Friends Association for the Disabled and Community Development at Sadfa: Improving livelihood through supporting modernization, quality management and marketing of beehives and their honey production.
Alhayah Erada for Sustainable Development: Revival  of kilim/wool weaving to generate income and create employment for women of the Beni Addiat village.
Community Development Association in Badary: Hand-processing and packaging of pomegranate fruit to increase income for young girls and youth through introducing quality and marketing to new local and export markets.

Why Does Cargo Sit So Long In African Ports? Not Just Poor Infrastructure… Poor Incentives

Gael Raballand's picture

Container ship in Durban. Source - flickr.com/photos/royluck/A major factor holding back African development is the time it takes to transport goods within the continent. Though road conditions are poor in much of Sub-Saharan Africa, research has shown that ports are major contributors to transport delays: Cargo traveling from a port to a city in a landlocked Sub-Saharan African country generally spends more of its time (75 percent) at the port than on the road. Cargo spends nearly three weeks on average in Sub-Saharan African ports, compared to under a week in large ports in Asia, Europe and Latin America. This has hurt the region’s economies and deterred the development of value-added industries that rely on time-sensitive supply chains.

Helping Women Cross Borders and Break Barriers in Customs Administration: A WCO Conference

Alan Hall's picture

 IPS/Inter Press Service. In many parts of the world, border-crossings are more than just an annoyance for women traders. Women can be subject to physical and sexual abuse from border officials, or charged illegal fees because they cannot read a receipt. Yet women traders are vital to some of the poorest economies in the world.

In addition to – and perhaps related to – the heightened risks women take in cross-border trade, they are underrepresented in the institutions that manage those borders. Men dominate the ranks of customs officials around the globe. One recent count estimated just 45 women in leadership positions in customs administration worldwide.

The World Customs Organization (WCO) is trying to change that statistic. On July 1, the WCO, with support from the World Bank, will hold a conference in Brussels to stimulate a conversation about women in customs - about their empowerment through both trade and public administration. Called the Women in Customs, Trade and Leadership Conference, the day-long agenda will address the hurdles faced by women in a wide range of roles, from informal traders to customs officials.

Improving Connectivity for Landlocked Developing Countries: Preparing the comprehensive 10-year review of the Almaty Programme of Action

Nora Weisskopf's picture

What’s in Kyrgyzstan’s future?

Alex Kremer's picture

The problem with the World Bank’s 20th anniversary in Kyrgyzstan last November was that everybody else’s party had happened already.

There has been a blur of speeches, gala concerts, jazz bands, canapés, toasts and traditional performances as one embassy after another feted twenty years of partnership with the Kyrgyz Republic. The same guests, speeches, and – truth be told - probably the same canapés.

We had to do something different. So, as we celebrated the last 20 years of our work in Kyrgyzstan (which have been quite good), we toasted the next 20 years as well.


 


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