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Putting food first …

Jos Verbeek's picture

Our world is only three years away from the 2015 deadline for reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Two global targets have been reached well ahead of schedule – according to preliminary estimates for extreme poverty the proportion of people living on less than a $1.25 a day has fallen below half its 1990 value. The same is true for the target to halve the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water. 

A few more MDGs are in sight of the finish line. These are primary school completion rate and gender equality in primary and secondary education. 

However, some others will need a real push, particularly child and maternal mortality and access to improved sanitation facilities. Hence, it is too early to claim that the mission has been accomplished, especially when we look at individual countries and achievements per region. Disparities among regions and countries remain large and much remains to be done to make progress towards the MDGs a reality for all. 

The Global Findex: The first database tracking how adults use financial services around the world

Asli Demirgüç-Kunt's picture

The post orginally appeared on All About Finance.

The facts are in. 50 percent of adults worldwide have an account at a formal financial institution. 21 percent of women save using a formal account. 16 percent of adults in Sub-Saharan Africa use mobile money. These are just a few of the thousands of data points now available in the Global Financial Inclusion (Global Findex) database, the first of its kind to measure people’s use of financial products across economies and over time.

‘Green’ growth, ‘green’ jobs and labor markets

Alex Bowen's picture

Much of the attraction of ‘green’ growth to politicians and policy-makers is the apparent promise of job creation.  Many developing countries face the prospect of rapidly growing labor forces, so measures that stimulate labor demand look attractive.  But is the promise justified?  That depends on how labor markets work and how ‘green’ growth policies are implemented.

Dueling Development Visions: Shaping the World Bank for the Future

Michael Woolcock's picture

As candidates for the presidency of the World Bank have been the focus of attention in recent weeks, divergent views have been exchanged regarding what ‘development’ actually is, how it should be conducted, and how efforts to bring it about should be assessed. Beyond the geo-strategic issues, how these questions are answered inexorably shapes what kind of leader one thinks should head up the world’s largest multilateral development agency, what kind of agenda that agency should pursue, and what kind of skills its staff should have.

A vast treasure trove of development knowledge just opened up

Adam Wagstaff's picture

Today's launch of the World Bank's Open Knowledge Repository (OKR) and Open Access Policy might not seem a big deal. But it is.

The knowledge bank’s assets are huge, but until today were hard to access

The Bank is a huge producer of knowledge on development. This knowledge surfaces in formal publications of the Bank – the institution publishes books and flagship reports like the World Development Report. It also surfaces in publications of external publishers, including journal articles – up to now, these external publications haven't been seen by the Bank as part of its knowledge output despite the fact they dwarf the Bank's own publications in volume and in citations. The Bank's knowledge also surfaces in reports, and in informal "knowledge products" like briefing notes and other web content.

SEZs in Africa: Putting the Cart in Front of Horse?

Douglas Zhihua Zeng 曾智华's picture

Africa has launched a new wave of special economic zone or industrial park initiatives in recent years.  Countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Zambia, Mali, Botswana, etc., either have built some SEZs or are in the initial stages of building SEZs at various scales. While this seems to be an exciting development, it has to be dealt with great caution as well.

Tanzania and Ethiopia – Cracking the growth and jobs conundrum

Merrell Tuck-Primdahl's picture

Growth to job creation to poverty reduction — that would be the ideal dynamic to get countries like Tanzania and Ethiopia on the track toward middle income country status. Yet, a trip to both places earlier last month that was focused on the promise of light manufacturing for Africa made it clear that the production line to prosperity can only be set up with the right incentives, with a smart but selective helping hand from the government.

The Law’s Majestic Equality?

Varun Gauri's picture

Literary writers do not think much of the law. In the last century, Anatole France wrote, mordantly: “The majestic equality of the laws prohibits the rich and the poor alike from sleeping under bridges, begging in the streets and stealing bread.” More recently, Aarvind Adiga says, “The jails of Delhi are full of drivers who are there behind bars because they are taking the blame for their good, solid middle-class masters. . . . The judges? Wouldn't they see through this obviously forced confession? But they are in the racket too. They take their bribe, they ignore the discrepancies in the case. And life goes on.”

Whose anecdote will it be this time?

Gero Carletto's picture

Within the Living Standards Measurement Study (LSMS) team, the anecdote  goes that in the late 1970s World Bank President Robert McNamara, while reading through the first World Development Report, was stunned to discover that only a handful of countries were collecting any data for the reporting of poverty figures.  He found this situation unacceptable and initiated an effort that among other things resulted in the creati

Politically-filtered views on progress against poverty

Martin Ravallion's picture

Like all fields of socio-economic measurement, there is scope for debate on how best to assess development progress. There is often much to be learnt from such debate.

But the debates are not always politically neutral. Some observers chose only to look critically at data and methods when the results diverge from their political priors. And some try to undermine evidence that does not fit their priors by questioning the motives of those producing that evidence. A generous interpretation might construe this as some “postmodern” approach to data, but on closer inspection it often looks more like a debating ploy to make up for weak substantive arguments.

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