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How can Russia grow out of recession?

Birgit Hansl's picture
Also available in: Русский

Russia’s economic woes continue: the recession deepened in the first half of 2015, severely impacting households, while the economy continued to adjust to the 2014 terms-of-trade shock, which saw oil prices being halved within a few months. In addition, investment demand has contracted for a third consecutive year.

Economic policy uncertainty, arising from an unpredictable geopolitical situation and the ongoing sanctions, caused private investment to decline rapidly as capital costs rose and consumer demand evaporated.

The record drop in consumer demand was driven by a sharp contraction in real wages, which fell by an average of 8.5% in the first six months of 2015 - illustrating the severity of the recession. The erosion of real incomes significantly increased the poverty rate and exacerbated the vulnerability of households in the lower 40% of the income distribution.

So, if oil prices remain low, how can Russia grow out of its recession?

Why do we need to talk more about risk reduction in Central Asia

Joaquin Toro's picture
Also available in: Русский



Imagine yourself in the last century, walking down one of the streets of a large Central Asian city. You are surrounded by architecture dominated by the Soviet style, with common building types stretching across the blocks. As you walk the streets, suddenly, the ground under your feet starts wobbling and everything around you starts shaking. Buildings, trees, and cars start to shake and you cannot walk any more. Instantly, many structures start to collapse and there is dust and screams everywhere. There is chaos and desperation. An earthquake of magnitude 7+ has hit the city.  This story, a true story, has happened several times in each of the Central Asian countries in the last century.

What makes me proud as a Georgian working for the World Bank

Tako Kobakhidze's picture
Also available in: Русский | Español
 
I am Georgian and I have lived in this small country of about 70,000 square kilometers for almost 30 years. Sadly, I will confess that I have never been to the Gergeti Trinity Church. At an elevation of 2,170 meters, it sits near one of the highest and most beautiful peaks in the Caucasus Mountains - Kazbegi.
 
But Ahmed Eiweida, my Egyptian colleague, has been there.
 
If you’re thinking he is an enthusiastic hiker looking for mountains to scale, that isn’t true - although he truly is enthusiastic about supporting the improvement of Georgia's rural areas and leads the Third Regional Development Project, financed by the World Bank.
 
The reason I mentioned the Gergeti Trinity Church is that you can find it on the list of thirteen cultural heritage sites that will be improved through this project.

Did we get the ‘old-age dependency’ of aging countries all wrong?

Johannes Koettl's picture
Also available in: Русский
Photo by Brookings

We have all seen the numbers before: Over the coming decades, many countries in the developed and developing world alike will significantly age. One particular number to describe this development is the “old-age dependency ratio.” It measures the number of those aged above 65 years (currently defined as old age) as a share of those between 15 to 64 years (currently defined as working age). In other words, this ratio tells us how many retired people a potential worker has to sustain. With global aging, it will deteriorate dramatically in most countries over the coming decades. This raises serious concerns about the sustainability of pension systems.

Are we Armenians insecure about food safety?

Vigen Sargsyan's picture
Also available in: Русский
I was quite surprised recently to find out that a poll of 1,066 people across Yerevan and all ten regions of Armenia revealed substantial gaps in public awareness of food safety and people's behavior. The Social Survey on Food Safety Public Awareness (June 2015) may have produced some provoking outcomes, but it could certainly become a roadmap for the State Service for Food Safety (SSFS) in its efforts to further enhance food safety in Armenia.

Young people run faster, but seniors know the shortcuts

Johannes Koettl's picture
Also available in: Русский
In a world of increasingly fluid labor markets, many older workers fear being pushed aside and out of their jobs by younger, more dynamic employees. But is this worry really justified? Are we less productive as we age?

The answer to the question has important implications for how well we can keep older people at work. As I have argued together with Wolfgang Fengler before, we not only live longer and healthier lives, but we also have the potential to work longer.

Yet, this will only happen if we have the right skills and abilities for the job also at old age. It is quite obvious that our body becomes slower and weaker as we grow old - but what about our brain? And even if our body and brain get weaker - does it matter for employers?

Why do students and scholars need budget literacy?

John Ivor Beazley's picture
Also available in: Русский
After one and a half days of intense discussions in Moscow with a group of experts from four continents, I have come away excited and energized by the possibilities of making students more aware of the business of government and becoming more active and responsible citizens. 
 
In most developed countries, anywhere from one-third to half of all national income is managed by the government - but how much does the average person really understand about the budget or the difficult choices and trade-offs being made by governments every day?
 
Should taxes be raised or lowered?
Should they spend on schools? Better hospitals? Pensions?
Is it better to run a deficit and let future taxpayers settle the bills or save today to pay down the debt? 
 
Why is this barely discussed in schools?  
 
To help address this basic question, the Russian Ministry of Finance, helped by the World Bank, is piloting an initiative designed to encourage responsible citizenship and greater engagement in the budget process. The idea is that high school seniors will debate and discuss these issues, using real life cases and information from government budgets. 
 

More oil from old wells: Innovating for Kazakhstan’s future

Yeraly Beksultan's picture
Also available in: Русский
Although innovation has been a hot topic in Kazakhstan for over a decade now, it’s not always easy getting brilliant ideas “from the laboratory to the market.”
 
Kazakh scientists navigate this winding, unpredictable road for years and generally come to the realization that great scientific research is not enough in itself. Too often, they face a lack of support when it comes to applying the results of their scientific research in a useful, practical way.
 
Fortunately, a team of Kazakh scientists at the Private Entity Institute of Polymer Materials and Technology in Almaty has had a somewhat more positive experience. This team has been working on a truly innovative project: developing a solution to improving the recovery of oil from old oil wells in Kazakhstan.
 
But why, you might ask?

Residential sector reform: Ukraine at the crossroads

Grzegorz Gajda's picture
Reform of the residential and utilities sector in Ukraine is now imminent, as much as the modernization of law enforcement or reform of the public health care system. In fact, Ukrainians deal with these areas on a daily basis and, historically, reforms in the residential sector were usually postponed until better times. First, it is important to explain why Ukraine finds itself in this situation. After gaining independence, Ukraine received, among other things, a tremendous amount of state-owned residential property.
 

In Kazakhstan, every number counts

Aliya Pistayeva's picture
Also available in: Русский
Mark Twain once said: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” It might seem that not much has changed since then.

In Kazakhstan, however, we have tried to change this perception of statistics, starting with the KAZSTAT Project that was launched in 2013 to strengthen the national statistical system.

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