Nearly eight in 10 adults in China now have a bank account, according to the 2014 Global Findex. This represents a 15 percentage point increase since 2011. According to the survey, the number of global unbanked has decreased from 2.5 billion to 2 billion in the past three years, and China’s progress has been a major driver of this change. In fact, the 2014 Findex found that of the world’s 500 million newly banked adults, more than one third (180 million) live in China.
Three positive trends emerge from this data.
1. Rural and poor people constitute many of the “newly banked” adults.
Sixty-six percent of the poorest quintile in China now have a formal account which represents an increase of 28 percentage points over the past three years. The rural population – which includes most of the poor in China - also saw a major increase of 20 percentage points with 74 percent of rural adults formally banked in 2014. Women have significantly benefitted from this growth and are now almost as financially included as men.
Nanguang Railway is one of six rail lines currently supported by the World Bank in China and one of three that recently became operational. With a route length of 576 kilometers (358 miles), it connects the capital cities of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Guangdong Province of China.
Guangxi is rich in natural resources and home to dozens of ethnic minorities. But economic development has been relatively slow there compared with coastal regions in China. The high-speed railway system will help monetize Guangxi’s natural resources by bringing in more business opportunities and tourists. In this sense, the line will not only benefit local people in terms of transportation but also help boost the local economy.
Each time I go to Manila, I can’t help but feel a bit overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of the city. It seems that with each visit I make, a newer, taller building is being built, a road is being paved and, from time to time, a new shopping mall is waiting to be opened.
These are all signs of a rising middle class reaping the benefits of the country’s impressive economic performance.
The island nation, where people’s sunny disposition matches its warm climate, has also emerged as the newest darling destination for over four million tourists last year. In 2014, Palawan was voted the most exotic island in the world in its annual Condé Nast’s Reader’s Choice Awards.
Trong đợt công tác chuẩn bị cho dự án trồng mới cây cà phê gần đây tôi đã gặp anh Y Cham, người Ê-đê, tại Dak Lak, vùng trồng cà phê robusta chính tại Tây Nguyên.
Y Cham đã làm nghề nông từ lâu. Anh chia sẻ với chúng tôi về lo lắng của mình cho bốn ha cà phê, đã không được tưới nước đầy đủ do hạn hán kéo dài.
“Nếu không thu hoạch được cà phê như năm ngoái thì cũng không biết làm sao có đủ tiền cho con gái tiếp tục theo học tại Trường Y Hà nội”.
Tây nguyên, nơi có tới 500.000 ha cà phê, đang bị hạn hán nghiêm trọng. Đợt hạn hán năm nay là đợt nghiêm trọng nhất trong 10 năm qua. Khai thác thủy lợi quá nhiều, sử dụng nước lãng phí cộng với thời kỳ khô hạn kéo dài đang gây nhiều khó khăn cho người trồng cà phê nếu họ không chuẩn bị kĩ đễ thích ứng tốt hơn với điều kiện thời tiết thay đổi.
Anh Y Cham cho biết, nước là thách thức lớn nhất trong các yếu tố tác động mạnh nhất tới năng suất cà phê theo thứ tự “nước, giống, vốn, kỹ thuật”. Nguồn nước và giống có khả năng chịu đựng được thời tiết là các yếu tố quan trọng nhất.
Thiếu nước cũng là một trong những chủ đề bàn cãi gay gắt gần đây trong hội nông dân trồng cà phê mà Y Cham tham gia thành lập gồm khoảng 250 thành viên, bên cạnh các vấn đề về biện pháp canh tác tốt do trung tâm khuyến nông tỉnh hỗ trợ cho người trồng cà phê.
Y Cham, whom I met during a mission to plan for our support for the coffee rejuvenation project, comes from the Ede ethnic minority in Dak Lak, the major robusta coffee-producing province in the Central Highlands of Vietnam.
The long-time farmer shared with me his worries about his four hectares of coffee garden which had not been watered enough due to the prolonged drought.
“If I cannot harvest as much coffee as last year, I cannot sustain the studies of my daughter who is a student at medical college in Hanoi”.
The Central Highland, home of 500,000 hectares of coffee, has recently been affected by severe drought. The drought this year is considered most the most serious in the last 10 years. Over-irrigation and inefficient water use, compounded by increasing periods of drought, makes coffee farmers highly vulnerable, unless they are prepared to better adapt to the changing weather patterns.
Among the crucial factors for coffee yield, water, according to Y Cham, has become the biggest challenge in the priority order of “water, variety, funding, and science.” Water availability and advanced varieties resistant to the conditions of climate change are considered the most important factors.
Tahun ini Indonesia merayakan satu dekade pelaksanaan Bantuan Operasional Sekolah. Program ini bertujuan untuk memastikan agar sekolah memiliki dana yang cukup untuk beroperasi, mengurangi biaya pendidikan yang ditanggung oleh rumah tangga, serta meningkatkan manajemen berbasis sekolah. Program hibah sekolah ini berukuran sangat besar dan mencakup sekitar 43 juta siswa sekolah dasar dan sekolah menengah di seluruh Indonesia. Tiap tahun, sebuah sekolah menerima Rp 580.000 untuk tiap siswa sekolah dasar dan Rp 710.000 untuk tiap sekolah menengah pertama. Secara total rata-rata jumlah hibah per tahun menjadi sekitar Rp 230 juta untuk tiap sekolah menengah tingkat pertama.
Sejak saya datang ke Indonesia, saya telah mengunjungi banyak sekolah secara teratur untuk melihat perkembangan BOS. Saya mempunyai kesempatan untuk berbicara dengan orangtua dari keluarga miskin tentang bagaimana program ini telah membantu menurunkan biaya pendidikan yang harus mereka keluarkan. Para kepala sekolah juga berbagi dengan saya tentang bagaimana BOS membantu mereka dalam banyak hal untuk memberikan peluang pelatihan yang diperlukan guru untuk meningkatkan proses belajar-mengajar di kelas.
This year, Indonesia celebrates the first decade of its school grant scheme BOS (Bantuan Operasional Sekolah). The program aims to ensure that schools have sufficient funds to operate, reduce the education costs faced by households and improve school based management. The program is huge and covers approximately 43 million primary and secondary school students across Indonesia. Every year, schools receive $50 for each primary and $60 for each junior secondary school student. This translates into an annual grant of about $20,000 for the average junior secondary school.
Since I arrived in Indonesia we have visited schools regularly to check on the progress of BOS. I have talked with poor parents about how the program has helped to lower the education costs they face. School Principals have shared with me the many ways BOS has enabled them to provide the training opportunities their teachers need to improve classroom practice. School visits have also highlighted some of the challenges the program has faced in ensuring funds are used transparently. In one school, the necessary public noticeboard displaying information on the use of BOS funds was pulled out from behind a cupboard and contained information that was a year out of date.