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Labor and Social Protection

Can North Africa leapfrog together in work and welfare?

Heba Elgazzar's picture
Dana Smilie

It was December 8, 2010, when I boarded a plane after a routine trip to Tunisia.  There was nothing out of the ordinary that would have provided a clue as to the dramatic upheaval to come.   The taxi drivers rarely spoke of politics, poverty was an untouchable topic of conversation, and YouTube was blocked.  However, over the course of that winter, uprisings erupted throughout Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and beyond that called for greater social justice.  Investment policies had privileged elites for too long. Social and labor policies had not been that effective at promoting inclusiveness.   Each country has since struggled to maintain political stability while addressing demands for improving work and welfare, with mixed results. 

Opportunity entrepreneurs are key to jobs and growth

Madhur Jha's picture
What makes some entrepreneurs grow their businesses and employ hundreds, or even thousands, of people? Knowing this is crucial for all governments keen to drive economic growth. For economic development, it is important to focus on opportunity entrepreneurs instead of subsistence entrepreneurs. They are likely to grow their business faster, employ more people, and introduce innovation that could help fill important gaps in the market, while boosting productivity in the economy.
 

Underlying determinants: the starting point on the path to youth employment

Matt Hobson's picture
On May 1st, the world marks International Worker’s Day. Sadly, hundreds of millions of young people have little to celebrate. Instead, they struggle to find work or secure a decent livelihood – and right now, their options don’t look to be getting much better. We have developed a conceptual pathway to employment that shows how all stakeholders can work together to achieve youth employment at scale.  At the same time, our framework recognizes that youth take their first steps on the pathway beset with what we may call ‘underlying determinants’ or characteristics that can shape choices or affect their opportunities.
 

Improving compliance with minimum wage standards

Uma Rani's picture
Minimum wage standards have the force of law. Yet, establishing a legally binding minimum wage does not in itself mean that these are applied in practice. In reality, compliance is always less than perfect in both advanced and developing countries. Understanding which factors determine compliance is important. Our analysis shows that compliance is affected by both the level at which minimum wages are set relative to average wages, as well as by institutional factors.

Remnants of the Soviet past: Restrictions on women's employment in the Commonwealth of Independent States

Alena Sakhonchik's picture


My father is a long-distance trucker based in Belarus. As a young girl, I spent long hours on the road with him. I loved traveling to neighboring and faraway cities and—even though I could barely reach the pedals at the time—dreamed of becoming a truck driver myself one day. Life ended up taking me on another path, but it wasn’t until I was older that I learned that the option of being a truck driver was never open to me to begin with.

Why?

Because my native country prohibits women from being truck drivers, one of the 182 professions out of bounds for women.

Higher education for the 21st century in action

Joe Qian's picture
The graduating class of the University of Moratuwa’s Department of Textile and Clothing Technology. Photo Credit: Isuru Udara

Imagine a school that teaches knowledge and provides hands-on training. A place where students express confidence in their skills, and are excited to make a difference in their future jobs. A bastion of confidence and optimism, where 100% of graduating students have jobs lined up before graduation.
 
Sounds too good to be true? I found this haven at the University of Moratuwa’s Department of Textile and Clothing Technology, supported by the Higher Education for the 21st Century Project (HETC), which is designed to modernize education by its increasing its quality and relevance. 24-year-old Malaka Perera, who is graduating next month, told me how the program has helped him build a foundation for his career. “The program taught me how to deal with people, along with communications and problem solving skills that I used during my internship. As a result, finding a job was quite easy.”
 
Sri Lankans have enjoyed the benefits of broad education access for decades, which has allowed the country to build human capital to rise and become a middle income country. However, as a country with rising aspirations in an increasingly globalized world and competitive region, the quality and relevance of its education system is key for the country to maintain its edge and reach new heights.

Against xenophobia and national barriers—in light of the refugee crisis in Europe

Olga Nottmeyer's picture
Whether—and how—to integrate asylum seekers features prominently on the political agenda in so many European countries. The situation in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries facing conflict, civil war, and terrorism make it impossible to ignore the challenges associated with the mass migration of people from these areas. Ignoring the crisis is no solution; neither is xenophobic rhetoric or building more fences and tightening border controls. There is, however, a sensible approach that would certainly help with integrating refugees in the destination countries‘ labor markets.
 

Jobs and economic transformation for IDA countries

Thomas Farole's picture
Policymakers the world over are concerned about jobs. It is often the first thing they talk about when World Bank delegations meet them, and the last message they leave us with on our way back to Washington. So it should come as no surprise that jobs has been chosen as one of the central themes of the IDA-18 replenishment round.
 
 

Moving towards a universal basic income

Andy Stern's picture
In 2010, I seemed to be at the top of my game. But after nearly fifteen years at the helm of SEIU I had lost my ability to predict labor’s future. By 2010, the economy was changing and fragmenting at such warp speed that I couldn’t see where it — or labor — was headed. At the end of that year I embarked on what became a four-year journey to discover the future of jobs, work, and the American Dream. If there are significantly fewer jobs and less work available in the future, how will people make a living, spend their time, and find purpose in their lives? I believe there is a solution – the universal basic income or UBI.

In the face of disaster, resilient communities are just as important as resilient infrastructure

Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez's picture
What does it take to prevent or mitigate the impact of natural disasters?
 
For many, disaster resilience is all about better infrastructure, efficient early warning systems, and stronger institutions. While those aspects are obviously crucial, we shouldn’t overlook the role of communities themselves in preparing for and responding to disasters. After all, the success of both preparedness and recovery efforts depends largely on local residents' ability to anticipate risk, on their relationship with local and national authorities, and on the way they organize themselves when disaster strikes. In the aftermath of a catastrophe, rebuilding not just the physical environment but also the livelihoods of people is also essential, including through effective social protection systems and safety nets.
 
In this video, Senior Social Development Specialist Margaret Arnold explains how the World Bank is working with client countries and local communities to bring the social dimension of disaster risk management to the forefront.


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