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Poverty

Five facts about rice and poverty in the Greater Mekong Sub-region

Sergiy Zorya's picture

The Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) is a major global rice producer and exporter but its population suffers from serious levels of poverty and malnutrition.
 
Spanning six countries – China, Myanmar, Lao PDR, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam – the region is home to 334 million people. Nearly 60 million of them are involved in rice production, growing collectively over 44% of the world’s rice. All of the countries, except China, are net exporters of rice. This means they have more rice available than required for domestic consumption. Yet, nearly 15% of the population is seriously malnourished and about 40% of children under five are stunted, in other words, too short for their age as a result of under nutrition.
 

Taxes and budget 2016: On the road to a developed country

Faris Hadad-Zervos's picture
This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly

MALAYSIA has travelled far on the road to economic growth and shared prosperity. Using its natural resources, the country not only eliminated absolute poverty from 49% in 1970 to less than 1% in 2014, but also lifted the incomes of households at the bottom 40% of the income bracket. The Gini Coefficient — a measure of income inequality in an economy — dropped from 55.7 to 42.1 over the same period, implying that gaps in incomes were narrowing. This road is now leading towards a developed country, with a vibrant and growing middle class where aspirational households have access to relevant education and training, higher income opportunities, more savings for retirement and a safety net to protect the vulnerable from shocks.

Underlying this journey to developed country status is a series of structural reforms that have formed the bulk of the national development plans, most recently the 11th Malaysia Plan. The quest moving forward is therefore to sustain and finance this process. The 11th Malaysia Plan is budgeted to cost RM246 million between now and 2020. Taxation choices will matter a great deal for Malaysia’s prospects in this journey, more so in an environment of low or volatile oil and commodity prices and a global and regional economic slowdown.

Cambodia: from poverty reduction to shared prosperity

Axel van Trotsenburg's picture
Photo: Saroeun Bou/World Bank

Before I set foot in this beautiful country, I was told the story of Siv Mao and her newborn baby.

Last year, Siv Mao, a young woman from a village in northern Cambodia gave birth to a boy after an emergency Caesarean section at a new hospital in her province’s capital.

The boy was named Rith Samnang “Lucky” for a good reason: without the doctors and modern equipment in the new 16 Makara Hospital in Preah Vihear, he wouldn’t have been able to survive.

The traditional midwife had difficulty assisting the birth at her home, and other hospitals were far away.

Baby Lucky is a symbol of Cambodia’s development success in the last decade: the country has gone a long way in improving economic and social conditions for its people, especially the poorest.

Reflections from the field: On the road with communities in Myanmar and Laos (Part 1)

Susan Wong's picture

So I just returned from a terrific mission to Myanmar and Laos, two countries experiencing strong annual growth rates, and both facing challenges of making rapid growth inclusive and just for all its citizens.

Staying the Course in Mongolia: 14 years institutionalizing community participation

Helene Carlsson Rex's picture
Also available in: Mongolian
In development we want things to go accordingly to plan.  We look for tools, guidelines and best practices in our quest for results and impact. But we also know that development is not an exact science and things do not always go according to plan.  Changes in government or an economic downturn can quickly make a project design irrelevant.

But in some cases, it does go (more or less) accordingly to plan despite bumps in the road along the way.  One such example is the Sustainable Livelihoods Program series in Mongolia, which on September 17, 2015 launched its third and final phase.

Back in 2002, after a series of particularly harsh winters that killed one-third of the livestock in Mongolia and added even more strain to an already impoverished rural population, the World Bank decided to support a new approach to sustainable livelihoods. At that time, the country had little history of community participation in local development planning, and few rural finance options.  

The vision was to place investment funds at the local level and to give the communities a strong voice in the allocation of these funds. Because of the risks associated with the severe winters in Mongolia, pastoral risk management and winter preparedness were to be strengthened. And with a history of inefficient central planning, supporting a policy shift towards greater fiscal decentralization was very important.

This vision and core principles were translated into the design of the three-part Sustainable Livelihoods Series, which included piloting, scaling-up and institutionalization phases.

Монголын нийгмийн халамжийн хөтөлбөрүүд ядуучуудад тусалж байна уу?

Junko Onishi's picture
Also available in: English

Монголын эдийн засгийн өнөөгийн байдал нь түүхий эдийн үнэ унасан, эдийн засгийн өсөлт буурсан гэдэг хоёр хүчин зүйлийн нийлбэр дээр байна. Энэ байдал нь орлогын бууралтад илүүтэй өртөж байгаа ядуучууд болон эмзэг бүлгийн хүмүүсийг хамгаалах нийгмийн халамжийн тогтолцоог шаардаж байгаа юм.

Нийгмийн халамжийн тогтолцоо хэр сайн ажиллаж байгааг дүгнэхийн тулд нийгмийн халамж юунд зарцуулагдаж байгааг, ядуу, эмзэг гэр бүлд зарцуулагдаж байна уу, үүнээс тэд хангалттай хамгаалалтыг авч чадаж байна уу гэдгийг авч үзэх хэрэгтэй. 

Social welfare programs in Mongolia - are they helping the poor?

Junko Onishi's picture
Also available in: Mongolian

Mongolia’s current economic situation is characterized by a combination of falling commodity prices and slowing growth. This heightens the need for the country’s social welfare system to protect the poor and the vulnerable from the threatened fall in incomes.

To assess how well the system is performing, it is necessary to consider Mongolia’s spending on social welfare - whether it is directed towards poor and vulnerable households, and if the benefits provide effective and adequate protection.

Maintaining momentum in Myanmar

Axel van Trotsenburg's picture

Myanmar is undergoing a historic transition. After decades of armed conflict and economic stagnation, the country is beginning to make important strides toward realizing its potential and the aspirations of its people.

Our engagement in Myanmar started more than 60 years ago when it became a member of the World Bank, soon after gaining independence from British rule.

Back in 1955, the Bank’s first economic report stated: “the lack of security remains a disrupting influence on the economic life of the country” while “the long term economic potentials are bright” on account of its moderate population growth and abundant natural resources. It also noted the importance of “encouraging private sector enterprise to improve the standard of living of the people”— these are topics that continue to resonate in today’s development discourse.

In the early 1950s, Myanmar’s GDP per-capita was comparable to that of Thailand, Korea, and Indonesia.  Like others in the region, Myanmar was coming out from colonial rule and a period of struggle. Sixty years on, Myanmar has a per capita GDP just above $1,100, less than one third the average for ASEAN countries and one of the lowest in East Asia.

The good news is that Myanmar has begun the catch up process. Major political and economic reforms since 2011 have increased civil liberties, reduced armed conflict, and removed constraints to trade and private enterprise that long held back the economy.

Đo lường nghèo ở Việt Nam như thế nào?

Linh Hoang Vu's picture
Also available in: English



Thế nào là nghèo ở Việt Nam? Khi tôi lớn lên ở Hà Nội trong những năm cuối thập kỷ 1980, có thể thấy cái nghèo ở khắp mọi nơi. Hầu hết người dân Việt Nam khi đó hẳn là sống ở mức dưới chuẩn nghèo quốc tế (1,25 đô-la một ngày). Bởi lẽ vào thời gian đó chưa có các cuộc khảo sát mức sống để đo lường nghèo nên cũng không có một cách thức rõ ràng để xác định như thế nào là nghèo. Người giàu thời đó là người nào trong nhà có xe máy hay TV, còn người nghèo là những người ăn xin ngoài đường hay người nào không có đủ gạo để ăn. Trong cuộc khảo sát sớm nhất được thực hiện vào năm 1992 và 1993, có khoảng 64% dân số được coi là nghèo theo chuẩn nghèo quốc tế. Sau hai thập kỷ thì chỉ có khoảng dưới 3% dân số là nghèo theo chuẩn nghèo này trong khi tình trạng đói ăn đã được xóa bỏ.

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