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Poverty

Six non-obvious points about conflict, security and development

Shanta Devarajan's picture

Launched today, the 2011 World Development Report is on “Conflict, Security and Development.”  In making a presentation on its relevance to Africa to my World Bank colleagues, I counted six messages that are new and different.

1. 21st century violence is different from 20th century violence.
2. Conflict and violence are caused by a combination of weak institutions and external stresses.
3. Build good-enough coalitions to break the cycle of repeated violence.
4. Create jobs, even with second-best approaches that are inefficient and likely not sustainable.
5. Address external stresses alongside institution building.
6. International partners should do more good than harm.

More on each on them:

Kenya and economic turbulence: Time to prepare, not panic

Wolfgang Fengler's picture

The world is in turmoil.  The combination of the Japanese earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis, the conflict in Libya and the European debt crisis, may change the way we look at the world.  Newsweek put it most dramatically last week in its headline: “Apocalypse Now”

The perspective of developing countries is different. They appear to be a beacon of stability in these turbulent times.  Africa is set to grow again by more than 5 percent in 2011--for the 7th time in 8 years.

Wanted: a new strategy to fight crime in Latin America

Maninder Gill's picture

What strikes me most as we engage further in citizen security issues in Latin America and the Caribbean is the level of interconnectivity that can be found at every possible level.

To begin with, of course, are the criminals themselves. Crucial to the success of organized criminal organizations is their ability to transcend borders and effectively integrate the very diverse and harmful facets of their enterprise. We also know how much the different forms of crime – drug traffickers, gun traffickers, youth gangs -- feed off one another. This is especially salient in Central America and Mexico, two of our team's priorities.

Picking Up The Pieces

Otaviano Canuto's picture

For the 600 million people living in fragile and conflict affected economies, the threat of relapsing into violence and slipping into deeper poverty is a reality they must face every day. Believe it or not, poverty rates average 54% in fragile and postconflict economies, compared with 22% for low-income countries as a whole. Weak institutions and a lack of local capacity further undermine the delivery of core services, such as security, rule of law, and other public goods.

So what happens when the fighting stops and the reconstruction begins? What happens to local capacity in countries where qualified civil servants have either fled to escape the conflict or were killed during it? A new study on public financial management reforms, produced by the World Bank’s fragile states and public sector governance units, shows that progress is possible even in such difficult circumstances.

Results-Based Projects: Insights from the Frontline (Part I)

Dhushyanth Raju's picture

Projects supported by results-based loans—of the breed of the current projects in education in Pakistan and counterparts in the Latin American and Caribbean region—are increasingly seen as a promising way for raising the effectiveness of Bank lending. In a seminar recently organized by the South Asia region, a proposal that such projects should be set as the default choice and quickly become the lion’s share in the region’s lending portfolio resonated widely with the participants.

While, in principle, linking loan disbursements to the achievement of results seems desirable, this step by itself may not be enough for project success. In this entry, and ones to follow, learning from the Pakistan results-based projects in education, I provide some insights on considerations that may increase the likelihood that such projects succeed. Some of these insights may also be relevant for other types of projects.

Madagascar Economic Update

Jacques Morisset's picture

In Madagascar, donors have traditionally counted for almost half of the Government’s budget and have been, by far, the main source of funding in social sectors. 

Since the beginning of the crisis, official aid toward education, health and social protection surged, reaching almost US$260 million in 2010 against US$180 million in 2008.  Nonetheless, this increase failed  to improve significantly social indicators. 

Money Can’t Buy Equality

Otaviano Canuto's picture

South Asia has been one of the world’s success stories in terms of rapid economic growth. With India leading the way, South Asia’s poverty rate has fallen from 60 percent in 1981 to 40 percent in 2005. However, during the same period, the number of poor people—those living on less than $1.25 per day—actually increased from 549 million to 595 million over the same period.

The Microfinance Mystery

Martin Ravallion's picture

For the last two years, there has been a mystery about the evidence supporting the past favorable assessments of the scope for reducing poverty using microfinance instruments such as the famous Grameen Bank (GB). The chances for many poor people to benefit from access to this form of credit rest, in part, on solving that mystery.

To understand the mystery we need to go back to an influential paper by Mark Pitt and Shahidur Khandker (PK), published in the 1998 volume of the Journal of Political Economy. PK documented research supported by the World Bank—research that came to provide the most cited scholarly evidence yet to support the view that microcredit helps reduce poverty.  

Combating Systemic Corruption in Education

Sabina Panth's picture

Studies have revealed a strong correlation between quality of education and increased corruption in a country.  According to a Transparency International report, data collected to track progress in education in 42 countries showed that the practice of paying bribes is associated with a lower literacy rate among adolescents. Corruption is also linked with increased inequality in the quality of education between the rich and the poor.  When resources allocated for public education is inadequate or do not reach the schools, it is the poor who bear the brunt.  Unlike the rich, who can afford private tuition for their children, the poor have to depend on the government.

More on South Sudan: the Poverty Profile + Videos of Lant Pritchett & Shanta in Juba

Gabriel Demombynes's picture

As a brief follow-up to Shanta's post on the economic policy workshop in South Sudan, here is the World Bank's recent poverty profile for the soon-to-be-country. I've worked closely with the Southern Sudan Centre for Census, Statistics and Evaluation, which collected the data underlying the poverty profile.


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