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Poverty

Financing Living Wage in Bangladesh’s Garment Industry

Zahid Hussain's picture

The Wage Board on garments in Bangladesh nearly doubled minimum wages on July 29, 2010. The minimum wage at the entry level will be raised to Tk 3,000 a month (or about $43) from Tk 1,662.50 ($24). The new pay structure, proposed to be effective from November 1, maintains the existing seven grades with the highest pay fixed at Tk 9,300 ($140) per month. About 3.5 million Bangladeshis work in the garment industry, which accounts for 80 percent of the country’s exports. International companies like Wal-Mart, JC Penney, H&M, Zara, Tesco, Carrefour, Gap, Metro, Marks & Spencer, Kohl's, Levi Strauss and Tommy Hilfiger all import in bulk from Bangladesh.

Garment workers apparently are unhappy over their wages, even after the proposed increase. They protested by smashing vehicles and blocking traffic in various garment sites in Dhaka following the announcement of the wage increase. Why has the frequency of violence increased?

A debate on multidimensional poverty indices

Gabriel Demombynes's picture

At Duncan Green’s blog, there is a fascinating back-and-forth on the UN’s new Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) between its co-creator, Sabina Alkire, and the World Bank’s Martin Ravallion. This is very much a live debate in development circles. The MPI is a descendant of the earlier Human Development Index and is similar to the various Unsatisfied Basic Needs indices long used in many countries.

I agree wholeheartedly with Martin’s critique, but Sabina does offer a spirited (and highly hyperlinked) defense. Martin’s emphasizes two points: 1) what’s the point of aggregating a bunch of indicators into a single index? and 2) the choice of weights for such an index is inherently problematic.

Bangladesh sets a world record – 5 million CFLs in a day, one bulb at a time!

Ashok Sarkar's picture

CFL bulbIf you were in Bangladesh in June, you would have found teachers in schools, preachers in mosques, and ads in newspapers, television, loudspeakers and pamphlets, encouraging people to bring in their incandescent bulbs to exchange with new Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) – and encouraged they were! On Saturday, June 19th 2010, at over 1,400 rural and urban distribution centers spread across 27 districts, manned by teachers, utility workers and other volunteers, Bangladeshis collectively took home about five million high quality CFL bulbs, in the first round of distribution.

 

They broke a record set by the British in January of 2008, for the most number of CFL bulbs distributed in a single day―some 4.5 million. In June, the Government and people of Bangladesh were inspired to do even better … and they did!

 

Comments on “Wax, Gold and Accountability in Ethiopia”

Shanta Devarajan's picture

Last month’s post on the exchange between Helen Epstein and Ken Ohashi on Ethiopia generated a large number of comments (and rejoinders), a response from Helen herself, and references in the Addis press

One set of comments were about the facts. Many commentators questioned whether human development indicators were actually improving in Ethiopia, while others questioned whether the political situation was as repressive as described by Helen in her original piece in the New York Review of Books.  Some asked whether the facts coming out of Ethiopia (on agricultural productivity for example) were reliable.  Since these are questions of fact, they can and should be verified.

Another group of comments questioned my interpretation of the facts,

Frank Talk About Social Accountability

Sabina Panth's picture

An important book has just been released by the World Bank: Demanding Good Governance: Lessons from Social Accountability Initiatives in Africa (edited by Mary McNeil and Carmen Malena). The book is important because the content is provided by practitioners in the field, who share real life examples from their firsthand knowledge and experiences.  This is likely to further South to South learning, and, therefore, a departure from the standard literature in the field.  
 

The book describes and analyzes the work of seven countries in Sub-Saharan Africa: Benin, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. The case studies were identified from multi-country social accountability stocktaking exercises commissioned by the World Bank Institute in view of representing a variety of approaches, strategies and objectives within a range of political, social, cultural and institutional context.  The analysis and descriptions of these seven initiatives are intended to serve as a resource for government and civil society representatives who are interested in exploring similar possibilities for their countries and for research communities and donors to promote and support enhanced social accountability and demand for good governance in Africa.  The following are some questions that the book attempts to answer:

Seeing, hearing and reading about how we help small farmers in Latin America

Molly Norris's picture

The cheep-cheep of newly-hatched chicks is the sound of a growing livelihood to Adriana and Nalcy Banderas, smallholder farmers hard at work in a verdant Colombian village. And we wanted to bring you down that red clay road to see how the Banderases, and other people like them have changed their lives with opportunities supported by the World Bank.

2010 SEED Awards Reach Out to Social Entrepreneurs

Tom Grubisich's picture

"Green"-themed social entrepreneurs are invited to compete for 35 SEED Awards that are focused on seven countries in Africa.  Winners will receive expert advice on their business plans, access to tailored workshops, and be profiled through the SEED Initiative's international network.

Start-up social and environmental entrepreneurs working in developing and emerging countries are invited to apply.  The deadline for applications is Aug. 16.  Here's how to apply

(Photo at right shows precious metals miner in Chocó Bioregion of Ecuador and Colombia where 2009 SEED winner Oro Verde is helping to reverse environmental degradation by promoting certified mining practices.)

The Power of Innovation - free Webinar TODAY at 3PM EST

Ihssane Loudiyi's picture

Join Aleem Walji, formerly of Google.org, now the Practice Manager of WBI’s Innovation Team and one of the lead authors for a webinar to mark the launch of a special issue of Development Outreach magazine on “The Power of Innovation.”

Join webinar on WBI's 'The Power of Innovation'

Edith Wilson's picture

On Thursday, July 22, the World Bank Institute is launching a special e-issue of Development Outreach magazine whose theme is "The Power of Innovation," and we're inviting you to help us tell how innovation can be a game changer in solving the biggest global development problems.

Get involved by signing in to a special webinar on Thursday that will be led by WBI Innovation Practice Team Leader Aleem Walji, one of the lead authors of the Development Outreach special issue.

The webinar begins at 3 p.m., but sign in early -- by 2:30 or 2:45 p.m. -- because the number of participant slots is limited to 100.

In a post-crisis world, innovation may be the single most important driver of economic growth and competitiveness. The time is right to move development forward through creative uses of technology. We now have the capacity to scale up innovative approaches to meet the needs of people at the bottom of the pyramid when traditional markets fail to do the job.

How to do all this is detailed in "The Power of Innovation."  Top experts tell how to mobilize innovative solutions to reduce poverty--smarter, better, faster, and differently.

Policies for Growth E-learning Course - Apply by September 17, 2010

Ihssane Loudiyi's picture

What? E-learning course on
Policies for Growth
When? October 1-31, 2010
How to Apply? Please follow this link
 

Tentative Agenda
 

The story of growth and poverty reduction is much debated in an ever-changing world. The challenge in the 1960s was how to lift low-income countries from a low-growth trap to a reasonably high-growth path. Fifty years later we have many fast-growing emerging economies but also over a hundred countries unable to move away from low-growth and high-poverty traps.

Between 1960 and 2010, 3 major shifts impacted how we think about growth and poverty. These big shifts were from state-directed ‘commanding heights’ to market-driven approach, from structural issues of deregulation, liberalization and privatization to sectoral sources of growth, particularly agriculture and financial services, and from macroeconomic to microeconomic (and now macro-micro) approaches to growth. Somewhere along these shifts, there was a recognition that poverty reduction is a goal in itself and does not have to depend on how fast or slow a country is growing. The new wave of globalization that has swept the world during the past two decades has aided growth and poverty reduction in the developing world but the ongoing global economic crisis threatens to undo all those gains and much more.

For policy makers, practitioners and students who want to learn more about growth and poverty reduction in development economics today, the World Bank Institute is offering an e-learning course on Policies for Growth

The application deadline is September 17, 2010. Please note that a nominal fee of $250 will be assessed for accepted participants.


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