Syndicate content

Public Sector and Governance

Brazil’s small farmers offer lessons to India

Priti Kumar's picture
Angela, on the far left and dressed in red, is a small-holder farmer and entrepreneur in Brazil. She started a banana business that expanded to packed lunches for truckers, college students, and travelers. Credit Priti Kumar/World Bank

“Once, it was a rodeo day here and my son asked for money to go. But I didn’t have the money and told him to sell our farm’s bananas on the road instead. So, he took 50 bunches of bananas and sold them all in a few hours. Soon I started a banana business. The sales enabled me to expand my business to packed lunches for truckers. Over time, with the help of my family, the road administration, and my own investments, I started receiving invitations to make meals for college students and travelers.”

Angela, small-holder farmer and entrepreneur, São Paolo, Brazil.

 
Angela told us her story one afternoon as we ate the delicious lunch she had prepared for us at her rather humble roadside eatery in rural São Paulo, Brazil.

Her story was not only touching but also summed up the importance of entrepreneurial foresight and the power that collaboration holds in opening new doors for poor farming communities.
 
India and Brazil have much in common. Both have smallholder farmers - called family farmers in Brazil - (although these farmers make up a much smaller proportion of Brazil’s overall farming community and have a different landholding structure).

Yet Brazil, like many other Latin American countries, has been able to promote commercial agriculture and raise farmers’ incomes by creating collectives, comprised mainly of family farmers.
 
Even though family farmers represent a small slice of Brazil’s cooperatives, the impact of their collectives is considerable.

Often referred to as the “breadbasket of the world”, half of Brazil’s food comes from its 1,500 plus agricultural co-operatives, which employ more than 360,000 people.

The productivity of Brazil’s agriculture is evident.

With only 15% of Brazil’s population living in rural areas, more than 20% of its GDP comes from the agriculture sector.

 In India, on the other hand, 66% of the people live in rural areas while just 15% of GDP comes from agriculture.
 
Brazil’s success in making agriculture more market-oriented and raising farmer incomes holds many lessons for India.

For many years now, India has recorded a surplus in most critical agricultural commodities. 

Yet, farmers’ incomes continue to be subdued.

To help farmers earn more from the land and move onto a higher trajectory of growth, India has gradually shifted its policy focus to linking farmers to markets, as well as enabling them to diversify their production and add value to their produce.
 
So how do Brazil’s farmer collectives work?

An update on Bhutan’s economy

Tenzin Lhaden's picture
Accelerating the reform momentum after the 2018 elections is key to consolidating and furthering Bhutan’s development
Accelerating the reform momentum after the 2018 elections is key to consolidating and furthering Bhutan’s development. Credit: World Bank

Bhutan is one of the smallest, but fastest-growing economies in the world.
 
Its annual average economic growth of 7.6 percent between 2007 and 2017 far exceeds the average global growth rate of 3.2 percent.
 
This high growth has contributed to reducing poverty: Extreme poverty was mostly eradicated and dwindled from 8 percent in 2007 to 1.5 percent in 2017, based on the international poverty line of $1.90 a day (at purchasing power parity).
 
Access to basic services such as health, education and asset ownership has also improved significantly.
 
The country has a total of 32 hospitals and 208 basic health units, with each district hospital including almost always three doctors.
 
The current national literacy rate is 71 percent and the youth literacy rate is 93 percent.
 
The recent statistics on lending, inflation, exchange rates and international reserves (Sources: RMA, NSB) confirm that Bhutan maintained robust growth and macroeconomic stability in the first half of 2018.  

Gross foreign reserves have been increasing since 2012 when the country experienced an Indian rupee shortage.
 
Reserves exceeded $1.1 billion, equivalent to 11 months of imports of goods and services, which makes the country more resilient to potential shocks.
 
The nominal exchange rate has been depreciating since early 2018 (with ngultrum reaching Nu. 73 against the US dollar in early November).

Poor sanitation is stunting children in Pakistan

Ghazala Mansuri's picture
A nutrition assistant measures 1 year old Gullalay’s mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) at UNICEF supported nutrition center in Civil Dispensary Kaskoruna, Mardan District, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan.
With a stunting rate of 38 percent, Pakistan is still among the group of countries with the highest rates of stunting globally and the pace of decline remains slow and uneven. In Sindh, for example, things have worsened over time, with one in two children now stunted. Credit: UNICEF


More than one in every three children born in Pakistan today is stunted.

Child stunting, measured as low height for age, is associated with numerous health, cognition and productivity risks with potential intergenerational impacts.

With a stunting rate of 38 percent (Demographic & Health Survey 2018), Pakistan is still among the group of countries with the highest rates of stunting globally and the pace of decline remains slow and uneven.

In Sindh, for example, things have worsened over time, with one in two children now stunted!

The policy response to this enormous health crisis has been almost entirely centered on interventions at the household level—reducing open defecation (OD), improving household behaviors like child feeding and care practices and food intake.  

A recent World Bank report, which I co-authored, suggests that a major shift is this policy focus is required for significant progress on child stunting.

The report begins by showing that over the past 15 years Pakistan has made enormous progress in reducing extreme poverty, with the poverty rate falling from 64 percent to just under 25 percent in 2016.

This has improved dietary diversity, even among the poorest, and increased household investment in a range of assets, including toilets within the home.

This has, in turn, led to a major drop in OD, from 29 percent to just 13 percent. Curative care has also expanded, with the mainstreaming of basic health units and the lady health worker program.
 

Doing better business to fight poverty

Duvindi Illankoon's picture
The new Doing Business ranking places Sri Lanka at 100 out of 190 economies, compared with 111 last year. This year Sri Lanka made it easier for businesses to register property, obtain permits, enforce contracts and pay taxes. Credit: World Bank

End Poverty Day fell on the 17th of October. Two weeks later, the new Doing Business rankings come out for this year.

If you’re wondering what the link is, here’s a quick summary: business-friendly regulations can be instrumental in lowering poverty at the national level.

This is one of those happy instances where economics, common sense and the data align.

A better regulatory environment encourages more businesses to register and expand, bringing more employers to the economy.

Then the market responds- not only do these employers create more jobs, but also going to offer better jobs to attract capable workers to their companies.

Ultimately, a reliable source of income is the catalyst to moving out of poverty.

Sounds too simple? Trust the numbers.

Afghanistan eases doing business

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: دری | پښتو
Doing Business Better in Afghanistan


Despite a volatile business environment, Afghanistan has made gains to improve the ease of doing business in the country.

These gains resulted in Afghanistan’s ranking in Doing Businessa World Bank report that measures business regulations across 190 economies—jumping from 183 in 2018 to 167 in the 2019 report, earning the country a coveted spot in this year’s global top improvers.

This is a first for Afghanistan and the upshot of the record five reforms was to improve the business environment for small and medium companies, increase shareholders’ rights and role in major corporate decisions, and strengthen access to credit.

With more than half of the Afghan population living below the national poverty line, Afghanistan needs to catalyze private investment and create jobs, helping entrepreneurs advance their business initiatives and helping established private businesses, small and large, to grow and create jobs.

There is a great deal of work to do in this regard, but the good news is that Afghanistan is serious about improving its investment climate. An overview of the key reforms Afghanistan has undertaken in the last year shows how the country is easing constraints faced by entrepreneurs and investors:

تسهیل هر بیشتر تجارت و کار در افغانستان

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: English | پښتو
چگونگه انجام تجارت در افغانستان بهبود یافته است
 

[tweetable]]علی الرغم دشواری های موجود برای پیشبرد تجارت و کسب و کار، دولت افغانستان اقدامات لازم را غرض تسهیل و بهبود شرایط برای  سرمایه گذاران رویدست گرفته است[[/tweetable]].
 
براساس اخرین گزارش سالانه انجام تجارت، که توسط بانک جهانی به منظور مطالعه مقررات تجارتی در ۱۹۰ کشور تهیه میگردد، امسال افغانستان در رده بندی جهانی انجام تجارت، از جایگاه ۱۸۳ در سال گذشته به ۱۶۷مین کشور در گزارش متذکره صعود نموده است. بدین ترتیب این کشور در صدر آنعده کشورهای برتر قرار گرفته که بهبود قابل ملاحظه را در راستای فراهم آوری تسهیلات لازم غرض انجام تجارت فراهم نموده است. این بار نخست است که افغانستان با تطبیق اصلاحات در پنج ساحۀ مقرراتی نه تنها سبب بهبود محیط کسب و کار برای  سرمایه گذاری های کوچک و متوسط گردیده، بلکه در تقویت حقوق و نقش سهمداران در تصمیم گیری های بزرگ شرکت ها و فراهم آوری تسهیلات به منظور دسترسی به قرضه نیز پیشقدم  شده است.
 
با توجه به آن که بیشتر از نصف نفوس افغان ها زیر خط فقر زندگی میکنند، ضروریست تا دولت افغانستان روند تقویت سرمایه گذاری های خصوصی را که باعث ایجاد فرصتهای شغلی میشود، تسریع بخشیده و برای انکشاف تشبثات خصوصی و ابتکارات تجارتی متشبثین کوچک و متوسط  زمینه های تشویقی و حمایوی بیشتر را فراهم سازد تا دامنه فعالیت های آنها گسترش یافته و در ایجاد فرصت های کاریابی نقش کلیدی را ایفا نمایند.
 
به منظور تحقق اصلاحات در محیط تجارت و سرمایه گذاری لازم است تا به گونه مؤثر و متداوم تلاش صورت گیرد، که خوشبختانه دولت افغانستان بمنظور تطبیق برنامه های اصلاحاتی در سال گذشته  جدیت به خرچ داده است. نتایج تطبیق این اصلاحات در سال گذشته نشان میدهد که بعضی محدودیت ها و موانع فراروی تاجران و سرمایه گذاران در ساحات ذیل کاهش یافته است:

په افغانستان کې د تجارت او کار لا آسانېدل

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: English | دری
په افغانستان د سوداګری ښه ترسره کول
 

د تجارت او کار او کسب پر وړاندې د شته ستونزو سره سره، د افغانستان دولت د پانګه اچونې لپاره د شرایطو د آسانتیا په موخه پر ځینو اقداماتو باندې لاس پورې کړی.
 
د تجارت د ترسراوي د وروستي کلني راپور پر اساس چې په۱۹۰ هیوادونو کې د تجارتي مقرراتو د مطالعی په موخه د نړیوال بانک لخوا چمتو کیږي، سږ کال افغانستان د یاد راپور په نړیواله درجه بندۍ کې له ۱۸۳ درجې څخه ۱۶۷ درجې ته پورته شوی دی. نو پدې اساس افغانستان د هغو هیوادونو په لړ کې راغلی کوم چې د سوداګری د ښه والي لپاره یې د پام وړ آسانتیاوې رامینځته کړې دي. دا لومړی ځل دی چې افغانستان په پنځو مقرراتي څانګو کې د اصلاحاتو له راوستو سره نه یوازې دا چې د کوچنیو او منځنیو پانګه اچونکو لپاره د کار او کسب چاپېریال ښه کړی، بلکه په لویو پریکړو کې د سهم لرونکو یا ونډوالو د ونډه اخیستنې د حقوقو تقویه کول او همدارنګه پورونو ته د لاسرسي په موخه د آسانتیاوو د برابرولو په برخه کې هم پرمختګ لیدل کیږي.
 
دې حقیقت ته په پام سره چې له نیمایي ډیر افغانان د بېوزلۍ تر کرښې لاندې ژوند کوي، اړینه ده چې د افغانستان دولت د خصوصي پانګه اچونې بهیر چې د کاري فرصتونو د رامینځته کیدو  سبب کیږي، لا ګړندی او غښټلۍ کړي او د تشبثاتو د پراختیا په خاطر د کوچنیو او منځنیو خصوصي متشبثینو د ابتکارونو  لپاره لا ډیرې تشویقي او هڅوونکې زمینې برابرې کړي تر څو د هغوې د فعالیتونو  پراخیدل  د کاري فرصتونو په جوړولو کې اساسي ونډه ترسره کړي. 
 
د تجارت او پانګه اچونې په چاپېریال کې د اصلاحاتو د پلي کیدو په موخه باید اغیزناکه او دوامداره هلې ځلې وشي، چې له نیکه مرغه د افغانستان دولت په تیر کال کې د اصلاحي پروګرامونو په پلي کیدو کې پوره جدیت ښودلی دی. په تیر کال کې د دې اصلاحاتو د پلي کیدو په پایله کې د سوداګرو او پانګوالو پر وړاندې په لاندې برخو کې ځینې خنډونه او محدودیتونه را کم شوي دي:

Commitment to reforms improves business climate in South Asia

Hartwig Schafer's picture
 
Rikweda, an Afghan fruit processing company in the Kabul Province is well on its way to restoring Afghanistan as a raisin exporting powerhouse—a status the country held until the 1970s when it claimed about 20 percent of the global market. Credit World Bank


Imagine a state-of-the-art processing plant that harnesses laser-sorting technology to produce a whopping 15,000 tons of raisins a year, linking up thousands of local farmers to international markets and providing job opportunities to women.
 
To find such a world-class facility, look no further than Rikweda, an Afghan fruit processing company in the Kabul Province that’s well on its way to restoring Afghanistan as a raisin exporting powerhouse—a status the country held until the 1970s when it claimed about 20 percent of the global market.
 
In Afghanistan’s volatile business environment, let alone its deteriorating security, Rikweda’s story is an inspiration for budding entrepreneurs and investors.
 
It also is an illustration of the government’s reform efforts to create more opportunities for Afghan businesses to open and grow, which were reflected in the country’s record advancement in the Doing Business 2019 index, launched today by the World Bank.
 
Despite the increasing conflicts and growing fragility, and thanks to a record five reforms that have moved Afghanistan up to the rank of 167th from 183rd last year, the country became a top improver for the first time in the report’s history.
 
And Afghanistan is not the only South Asian country this year that took a prominent place among top 10 improvers globally.
 
India – which holds the title for the second consecutive year – is a striking example of how persistence pays off, and the high-level ownership and championship of reforms are critical for success. Its ranking has improved by 23 places this year and puts India ahead of all other countries in South Asia. This year, India is ranked 77th, up from 100th last year. 

Afghanistan: Learning from a decade of progress and loss

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: دری | پښتو
Afghanistan: Learning from a decade of progress and loss


In Afghanistan, the past decade saw remarkable progress, as well as reversals and lost opportunities.

The overall macroeconomic and security context in Afghanistan since 2007 can be broken into two distinct phases, pre- and post- the 2014 security transition, when international troops handed over security responsibilities to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).
 
The pre-transition phase was marked by higher economic growth (GDP per capita grew 63 percent relative to its 2007 value) and a relatively stable security situation.

Since 2014, growth has stagnated, falling below rates of population growth, and the security situation continues to deteriorate. With the withdrawal of most international troops and the steady decline in aid (both security and civilian aid) since 2012, the economy witnessed an enormous shock to demand, from which it is still struggling to recover.

Similarly, welfare can be characterized into two distinct phases.

Finishing the job of ending poverty in South Asia

Hartwig Schafer's picture
This Bangladeshi woman was born in poverty. With the right kind of education, life in poverty quickly became a story from the past for her. Credit: World Bank

"I have a four-year-old son back in my village. I want to make a better life for him,” says Sharmin Akhtar, a 19-year-old employee in one of Dhaka’s many flourishing garment factories.

Like thousands of other poor women, Sharmin came down to Bangladesh’s capital from her village in the country’s north to seek a better job and create a more prosperous future for her family—leaving behind a life of crushing poverty.

Today, as we mark End Poverty Day 2018, it’s important to note that Sharmin’s heartening story is one of many in Bangladesh and the rest of South Asia, where economic growth has spurred a dramatic decline in extreme poverty in the last 25 years.

And the numbers are striking: In South Asia, the number of extreme poor living on less than $1.90 a day dropped to 216 million people in 2015 from 275 million in 2013 and 536 million in 1990.

Even more remarkable, South Asian countries experienced an increase in incomes among the poorest 40 percent of 2.6 percent a year between 2010-2015, faster than the global average of 1.9 percent.

On a global scale, the highest concentration of poor shifted from South Asia to Sub-Saharan Africa in 2012. And India is likely to be overtaken, if it has not already been, by Nigeria as the country with the most people living in extreme poverty.

It’s worth thinking about how far South Asia has come – but remaining clear-eyed about how far we must go to finish the fight against extreme poverty.

Indeed, it is increasingly clear that poverty is more entrenched and harder to root out in certain areas, particularly in rural areas and in countries burdened by violent conflict and weak institutions.

Estimates for 2015 indicate that India, with 176 million poor people, continued to have the highest number of people in poverty and accounted for nearly a quarter of the global poor.

True, the extreme poverty rate is significantly lower in India relative to the average rate in Sub-Saharan Africa. But because of its large population, India’s total number of poor is still large.

And while there has been a substantial decline in the numbers and rate of people living below $1.90 in South Asia, the number of people living on less than $3.20 has declined by only 8 percent over 1990-2015 because of the growing population.

In 2015, 49 percent of the population of South Asia were living on less than $3.20 a day, and 80 percent were living on less than $5.50 a day.

Pages