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Infrastructure: Do all Roads Lead to Green Investments?

Jordan Schwartz's picture

Infrastructure: Do all Roads Lead to Green Investments?

I am sitting in a conference room in Panama and the room is so cold it just might start snowing. I can barely write, my fingers are so stiff, and this makes me wonder about the psychology of being cold in a hot climate…about the excessive use of energy while oil hovers around US$86 per barrel and the Earth’s temperature creeps higher.

Since it is often beyond a question of comfort, is it a statement about our rights to consume, about our control over our environment, about wealth? Whatever the cause, the citizens of Mexico City and Managua share the habit with those of Manila and Miami.

Latin America's poor not protected enough against rising food prices

Margaret Grosh's picture

Latin America's poor not protected enough against rising food prices

As the threat of a new global crisis eats away the world’s expectations of a prompt economic recovery, our eyes are again focused on rising food prices and their potential impact on Latin America and the Caribbean’s own recovery.

Now, you may argue that the region is well equipped to weather another meltdown, and that the region’s poor are shielded from the impacts of such developments. After all, Latin America has been praised worldwide for its safety nets, right?

Beyond Growth: Is investing in infrastructure good for people’s well-being?

Jordan Schwartz's picture

Beyond Growth:  Is investing in infrastructure good for people’s well-being? / World Bank Photo Collection

In our last blog, we asked whether it is possible for an infrastructure investment in Latin America and the Caribbean to hit the triple win: spur growth, aid societal well-being, and help the environment.

One young woman, on the World Bank Facebook page, posted this plea: "We as citizens have to demand these types of investments from our governments: modern roads, clean energy, investments that create employment without contaminating." ("Nosotros como ciudadanos tenemos que exigir ese tipo de inversiones a nuestros gobiernos: vías modernas, energía limpia que dé trabajo y no contamine.")

I take this as a signal that we should move beyond growth, so...

Latin America’s growth prospects: Made in China?

Tatiana Didier's picture

Latin America's Growth prospects:Made in China?

Global turmoil. Growing prospects of another recession. Crisis in the Eurozone. China’s role as a global growth and recovery engine thrown into question.

The current situation looks worrying enough as it is for Latin America –and the rest of the world for that matter- but the region’s growth prospects should be looked at beyond the current juncture and on the merits of its long-term strengths.
 
Here’s why. The last ten years or so have been very good for many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. They have witnessed the consolidation of a stable and resilient
macro-financial framework, relatively high growth rates, and advances in the equity agenda.

This new economic face of the region was perhaps most clearly portrayed by a rather robust performance, especially of South American countries, in the context of the recent global crisis. In effect, compared to the middle-income country average, the region’s recession in 2009 was relatively short-lived and, with the notable exception of Mexico, remarkably mild, which helped to make its recovery in 2010-2011 stronger.

Latin America: women still struggle for equality at work and at home

Ana María Muñoz Boudet's picture

Portrait of young woman, Colombia. Photo: Jamie Martin / World Bank
Igualdad (equality) is perhaps one of the most important words in our language and in our culture – it helps us build better societies and the well-being of future generations. However, in Latin America and many other parts of the world, it has different meanings for men and women. 

For the past two decades, “opportunities for all” has been the maxim guiding the region’s public policy. But when we speak about gender equality, the urgency of this principle is questioned by many policy makers. The World Development Report 2012: Gender Equality and Development confirms that gender equality is not only central to development, but a core development objective in its own right.

Brazil: fighting poverty with music

James Martone's picture

Brazil's celebrated love for music is playing a key role in the future of many underprivileged kids, especially women. But it isn't samba, forro, funk or any Hollywood-inspired dance moving thousands of Brazilian kids towards success. It is, instead, classical music.

Thanks to a community project supported by the World Bank more than 200 community associations receive funding to finance lessons and instruments for aspiring young musicians –many of whom have found jobs in philharmonic orchestras as a result of this training. Cameraman Romel Simon and I visited the city of Sao Tome in North Eastern Brazil to document the progress of this initiative, as part of a series of videos for our gender campaign.
 

Investing in infrastructure is still the best bet to spur growth, jobs

Jordan Schwartz's picture

 Investing in infrastructure is still the best bet to spur growth, jobs

Every profession has its fantasy Triple-Win. For a gambler at the horse races, it’s the Trifecta. For musicians, it is a song that breaks hearts, moves feet and sells records. Yet even we geeks have our dreams. In the field of infrastructure, in Latin America and elsewhere, the ultimate triple-win is an investment that

1. spurs economic growth

2. contributes to social well-being, and

3. helps the environment.

“Impossible!” you say. “The laws of nature could not possibly allow for growth that contributes to society’s well-being without taxing our natural endowment.” Is there no way we can unstick ourselves from the Kuznets Curve and uncover investments that spur Green and Inclusive Growth?

First two years of life are key to good jobs

Omar Arias's picture

In President Ollanta Humala's Peru just as in all of Latin America making good grades in school, finding a good job and having access to opportunities to get ahead largely depend on a single number: the first 1,000 days in the life of an individual, in other words, from conception to age two.

Honduras: Are high food prices fueling child malnutrition?

Marie Chantal Messier's picture

 Honduras:are high food prices fueling child malnutrition?

 

Recently, I was once again confronted with a puzzling situation I have seen too often during the course of my career: flat growth curves for children. This especially worried me in light of the current context of rising food prices and global economic instability, and the impact that previous crises have had on the nutritional status of mothers and children.

Peruvian Employers Seek Skills for A 21st Century Economy

Omar Arias's picture

Peruvian Employers Seek Skills for A 21st Century Economy

The prerequisites to get a good job in today’s economy are as uncertain as the economy itself. Some experts emphasize intelligence. Others say high math and reading skills are a must. Yet some experts laud entrepreneurship and that one need only to express themselves in a competitive and globalized world.

Obviously, all of this is important. Nevertheless, economists in recent years have discovered something that employers, psychologists and many educators and parents have known for a long time. A person’s socio-emotional qualities or “skills” are at least as important as their cognitive capacity or whatever knowledge they may have to place themselves in a changing labor market.

The ability to be responsible, punctual, organized, persevering, interact with others, react and adapt to new situations and experiences, describes –along with cognitive capacity– the generic abilities that are essential in a “well educated” labor force, one prepared to confront the challenges of the future.

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