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East Asia and Pacific

Thailand: Road safety will never happen by accident

Chanin Manopiniwes's picture

Photo credit: Dennis Thern
Photo credit: Dennis Thern

In Thailand, road accidents cause about one death every hour—but for a country of almost 70 million people, how does it fare compared to other countries?

Well, before we get to answering that; the good news for the country is that, according to Thailand Road Safety Observatory, overall road accidents, fatalities and injuries all fell roughly by a third over the past decade. But as for the bad news, the probability of crash victims becoming fatally wounded or permanently disabled is higher than ever.

However, the real bad news—despite the authorities’ efforts to prevent accidents—is that, according to the World Health Organization’s Global Status Report on Road Safety 2013, Thailand continues to have one of the highest rates in road fatalities. In fact, with 38 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants per year, it ranks third in the world, just behind the African countries of Eritrea and Libya, at 48.4 and 40.5 respectively.

From farm to chopsticks: Improving food safety in China

Garo Batmanian's picture
Also available in: 中文
A challenge for Chinese businesses is to re-capture the vast domestic market owing to the recent food scares that have seriously undermined the domestic brands.

After several high-profile food safety incidents, according to one recent survey, around 64% of Chinese consider food safety as the number one priority that affects their daily lives and requires immediate action by the government.

The Chinese government is taking these concerns very seriously and has launched important reforms in its system of food control. It promulgated a new Food Safety Law in 2009, and created a new food safety authority in 2013 to deal with these issues. These reforms are now rolling out to provincial and local levels. These reforms will eventually affect more than one million state officials, restructure more than a dozen government ministries, and revise more than 5,000 regulations. The reforms will result in a complete overhaul of the food control system and introduction of new global best practice policies for food safety.

中国城市将采取大胆举措

Sri Mulyani Indrawati's picture
Also available in: English


Photo courtesy of Li Wenyong

 

预计到2030年,中国超3亿人将迁入城市居住。届时,中国70%的人口将在城市居住。考虑到中国人口规模,这意味着全世界每六位城市居民中,就有一位是中国人。不论是在中国,还是在其它国家,与人口构成变化相伴而来的挑战已然显见并广为人知。

城市化是一大全球性趋势。因此,在我们思考中国推进城市化采取的新方法之际,我们认为,这些方法对面临类似问题的其它国家具有借鉴价值。换言之,中国在城市化方面取得的成功,可为全球重新思考如何把城市建设成为健康、高效和成功的城市铺平道路。

Bold Steps for China’s Cities

Sri Mulyani Indrawati's picture
Also available in: 中文
Also available in: العربية  Español


Photo courtesy of Li Wenyong

 

In 2030, more than 300 million Chinese are expected to have moved into cities. By then, 70 percent will live in urban settings. Given China’s size, it will mean that one in six urban dwellers worldwide will be Chinese. The challenges coming with that demographic shift are already visible and well known, in China and beyond.

Urbanization is a global trend. So when we think about new approaches to urbanization here in China, we believe that they are of value for other countries facing similar issues. In other words, China’s success in urbanization could pave the way for global rethinking on how cities can be built to be healthy, efficient, and successful.

从农田到餐桌:改善中国的食品安全

Garo Batmanian's picture
Also available in: English
由于最近发生的严重削弱国内品牌的食品恐慌事件,中国企业所面临的一项挑战就是重新夺回巨大的国内食品市场。

根据最近的一项调查,在发生了若干严重的食品安全事件之后,大约64%的中国人认为食品安全是影响他们日常生活的头等大事,需要政府采取紧迫的行动。

中国政府正在很认真地考虑这些关切,并在其食品控制体制内启动了重要的改革。它在2009年公布了一项新的《食品安全法》,并在2013年成立了一个新的食品安全权威机构,以处理这类问题。这种改革目前正在向省和地方层面推进。这些改革最终将影响超过100万国家官员,重组十多个政府部委,修订超过5,000个法规。它们将全面改革食品控制体制,引进新的有关食品安全的全球最佳做法政策。

Indonesia’s investment in flux

Alex Sienaert's picture
Also available in: Bahasa Indonesia

Can Indonesia’s economy move from a situation of investment in flux to an investment influx? This is one of the questions posed by the World Bank’s March 2014 edition of the Indonesia Economic Quarterly.

Why is Indonesia’s investment growth in flux? First, there has been a slowdown in fixed investment, due to lower terms of trade and tighter external financing conditions. This has helped narrow Indonesia’s external imbalances.

Second, while foreign direct investment—an important source of investment financing—has remained solid so far, the rapid growth of FDI inflows seen in recent years shows signs of plateauing.

Third, Indonesia remains reliant on external financing from portfolio investment inflows. These have surged in recent months, but they can be volatile.

Finally, recent policy developments have increased regulatory uncertainties. Add to that the usual difficulty of predicting policy ahead of elections, which may impact on investment of all kinds.

Given uncertain prospects for global investment flows to major emerging market economies like Indonesia, the good news is that Indonesia’s external balances are adjusting. The current account deficit shrank significantly in the fourth quarter of 2013, to $4.0 billion, or 2% of GDP. This is a welcome reduction from the record high of $10.0 billion in the second quarter of 2013—that’s 4.4% of GDP. The stock market rallied, gaining 9% in local currency terms, bond yields fell, and the Rupiah climbed back by 7% against the USD, year-to-date, recouping some of last year’s significant losses. Banking and portfolio inflows also rose in the final quarter of 2013*.

But some caution is warranted. The adjustment has been narrowly based on tighter monetary policy and currency depreciation over the second half of 2013, and slower investment growth. Indonesia remains vulnerable to a renewed deterioration of global market conditions.

Investasi yang tak menentu di Indonesia

Alex Sienaert's picture
Also available in: English

Dapatkah ekonomi Indonesia keluar dari keadaan investasi yang tak menentu? Ini adalah salah satu pertanyaan yang diajukan dalam laporan Perkembangan Triwulanan Perekonomian Indonesia dari Bank Dunia edisi bulan Maret 2014.

Mengapa pertumbuhan investasi Indonesia tak menentu? Pertama, terdapat perlambatan dalam investasi tetap, karena turunnya kondisi perdagangan dan lebih ketatnya kondisi pembiayaan luar negeri.

Kedua, sementara investasi asing langsung (FDI)—sumber pembiayaan investasi yang penting—masih tetap kuat sejauh ini, laju pertumbuhan aliran masuk FDI yang tercatat pada beberapa tahun terakhir menunjukkan tanda-tanda mendatar.

Ketiga, Indonesia tetap bergantung kepada pembiayaan luar negeri dari aliran masuk modal investasi portofolio. Aliran itu telah meningkat pada beberapa bulan terakhir, namun dapat bersifat volatil.

Akhirnya, perkembangan kebijakan terakhir telah meningkatkan ketidakpastian peraturan. Hal itu menambah kepada sulitnya memperkirakan kebijakan menjelang pemilu, yang dapat berdampak kepada seluruh jenis investasi.

Dengan ketidakpastian prospek aliran investasi global ke ekonomi-ekonomi pasar berkembang seperti Indonesia, kabar baiknya adalah bahwa neraca eksternal Indonesia sedang melakukan penyesuaian. Defisit neraca berjalan menyusut secara signifikan pada kuartal terakhir tahun 2013 menjadi 4,0 miliar dolar AS, atau 2 persen dari PDB. Penurunan ini merupakan hal yang menggembirakan karena defisit pernah mencapai catatan tertinggi sebesar 10,0 miliar dolar AS pada kuartal kedua tahun 2013—yang merupakan 4,4 persen dari PDB. Pasar saham kembali naik, dengan mencatat peningkatan sebesar 9 persen dalam mata uang lokal, imbal hasil (yield) obligasi turun, dan Rupiah menguat sebesar 7 persen terhadap dolar AS, selama tahun berjalan, yang menutup sebagian penurunan yang signifikan pada tahun lalu. Aliran masuk modal portofolio dan perbankan juga meningkat pada kuartal penutup tahun 2013*.

Namun sejumlah hal perlu diwaspadai. Sejauh ini penyesuaian itu terutama berdasarkan pada kebijakan moneter yang lebih ketat dan depresiasi valuta selama paruh kedua tahun 2013, dan—seperti telah disinggung—melambatnya pertumbuhan investasi. Indonesia tetap rawan terhadap kemungkinan penurunan kembali kondisi pasar dunia.

What will it take to inspire women’s leadership in the Pacific Islands?

Alison Ofotalau's picture

On gender equality – it is no secret that the Pacific Islands is lagging.

The region is home to some of the world’s highest domestic violence rates. Economic empowerment of women in many countries, particularly in Melanesia, is desperately low. Women lack access to finance, land, jobs and income. In my country, Solomon Islands, there is only one woman in parliament, and there are none in Vanuatu and Federated States of Micronesia – a country which has never yet seen a woman elected.

Mindanao, Philippines: Building people who will build the nation

Hana Kabagani's picture

Available in: Español | عربي

Noranna busy at work: A true-blooded Moro, she is among the many witnesses to the struggle around her. As a child, she saw how conflict affected the lives of the people in their community in Maguindanao – lack of social services, slow development progress and displaced families.

In Mindanao, southern Philippines, the decades-long search for long lasting peace has been hindered by many challenges and natural calamities. This has led to a situation where young professionals are learning a type of development work that deals with the effects of various conflicts. 

The Bangsamoro Development Agency or BDA, provides more than work opportunities for residents of Mindanao. Bangsamoro basically means “Moro nation,” a term currently used to describe the Muslim-majority areas in Mindanao – its peoples, culture and ethnic groups. 
 

Does Women’s Leadership in Vietnam Matter?

Victoria Kwakwa's picture
Also available in: Tiếng Việt
High primary enrollment ratios for girls and impressive female labour force participation rates are two striking examples of Vietnam’s progress on gender equality. On female leadership, however, Vietnam has a huge unfinished agenda. The good news is that a recent study by Grant Thornton (2013) shows women’s leadership in business is growing and 30 percent of Board of Director roles in Vietnam are held by women compared to the global average of 19 percent. Women’s membership in the Communist Party has also risen from over 20 percent in 2005 to more than 30 percent in 2010.   The not so good news is that across business, government and political spheres, the face of leadership in Vietnam is still overwhelmingly male. 

In the last decade and a half, the share of women in the National Assembly has been declining. Only one out of nine chairs of National Assembly Committees is female. Women’s representation remains low in key bodies of the Communist Party: the Politburo (two out of 16), the Central Committee and the Secretariat.  In Government, the civil service has a large percentage of women but their representation in leadership is small and tends to be at lower levels: 11 percent at the division level, 5 percent at director level and only 3 percent at ministerial level (UNDP, 2012).

But should we be concerned about getting higher levels of women in leadership? Is this just about “political correctness” or can having more women in leadership in business, government and politics benefit Vietnam’s development?
 

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