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March 2017

Between 2 Geeks: A new podcast about data and development

Tariq Khokhar's picture

I find data to be a great way of getting into a subject.

Take forests for example. Making this map  about where forests have been lost and gained since 1990 led me down a wonderful rabbit hole of learning about China’s successful reforestation programs, how forests support people’s livelihoods, the definitions of what counts as a forest (hint: it’s not just “a bunch of trees”), and how organizations use a variety of sources from nationals surveys to satellite imagery to produce this data.

Not only is there a story behind every number, but numbers can help to tell the story of development.  

That’s the idea behind a new podcast - “Between 2 Geeks” in which Raka, Andrew and I, talk to folks who create and use data, as they work across the field of international development.

We’ve got a great lineup of guests, and discuss topics including Africa’s “demographic dividend” - how population structures are shaping the future of the region; a new risk insurance mechanism designed to help stop pandemics like the 2014 West African Ebola outbreak; and how metadata from cell phone networks can be used to estimate measures of migration and poverty.

Just like the forest map, I’ve found each episode to be a peek into the rabbit hole of a new subject - I’ve learned how to better communicate about uncertainty, the economics of large scale renewable energy systems, and what the future of how data is produced and used may look like.  

We’ve really enjoyed making the first series of this podcast and we hope you’ll tune in. The opening episode will be available on Tuesday April 4th - it’ll be posted here on The Data Blog, on the World Bank’s SoundCloud channel, and you can subscribe to “World Bank’s Podcasts” in your podcast app or on iTunes.

 

Special Issue of Food Policy Debunks Myths about African Agriculture

Vini Vaid's picture

In this era of alternative facts, the use of high-quality data to set the record straight is more important than ever. In Africa, there has been a pressing need to revisit the conventional wisdom on the region’s agriculture. However, relevant data—where available—have long been outdated and inadequate.

With this in mind, the World Bank’s Africa Chief Economist Office and its partners initiated the Agriculture in Africa– Telling Facts from Myths project. It explores the validity of the conventions surrounding Africa’s agriculture and its farmers’ livelihoods that experts and policymakers considered as self-evident truths. The impact of such stylized facts cannot be underestimated. They shape the policy debates and drive research agendas

Now, a Special Issue of Food Policy brings together 12 open-access articles based on the project, drawing mainly on data from the first rounds (2009–2012) of the nationally representative Living Standards Measurement Study-Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (LSMS-ISA). Four innovative features of the LSMS-ISA data—integration, individualization, ICT use, and intertemporal tracking—allowed for a more refined insight into African agriculture and rural livelihoods.

Chart: Globally, 70% of Freshwater is Used for Agriculture

Tariq Khokhar's picture
Also available in: 中文 | Español | العربية | Français

In most regions of the world, over 70 percent of freshwater is used for agriculture. By 2050, feeding a planet of 9 billion people will require an estimated 50 percent increase in agricultural production and a 15 percent increase in water withdrawals.

Chart: Where Have Forests Been Lost and Gained?

Tariq Khokhar's picture
Also available in: 中文

Over the last 25 years Brazil lost around half a million square kilometers of forest - around the same area that China gained. Since 1990, the growing demand for forest products and for agricultural land has contributed to an average annual loss of 50,000 square kilometers of forest globally - an area the size of Costa Rica. Read more in "Five forest figures for the International Day of Forests."

World Bank challenges and opportunity in fragile states

Sharon Felzer's picture

The fragile and conflict situations in which the World Bank Group supports development programs are seen as a top and increasingly urgent strategic priority for the institution and donors, and the Bank Group is increasing attention and focus there (note the WBG’s paper “The Forward Look”). The statistics related to fragile situations are staggering. Two billion people live in countries where development outcomes are affected by fragility, conflict and violence. Nearly fifty percent of the global poor is predicted to be living in fragile and conflict affected situations by 2030. Terrorism incidents have increased and forced displacement is a global crisis.

The WBG pays close attention to what its key stakeholders in client countries think about development and the work of the Bank through its Country Opinion Survey program - a mandated survey effort that assesses the views of influential across the Bank’s client countries annually (40+ countries/year on three year cycles). By keeping ‘ears to the ground’ it can understand what the institution’s key stakeholders think about their own development situations, the Bank’s work within this context, and how the Bank can increase its value in these increasingly difficult and complicated situations. The data below reflects opinions from more than one thousand opinion leaders in FCV countries.

The age of marriage & legal gender differences - 3 charts for International Women’s Day

Tariq Khokhar's picture
Also available in: 中文 | Français | Español

As we mark International Women’s day, I’ve been considering how laws often apply differently to men and women. When they work well,  laws ensure greater gender equality, offer protection against child marriage and domestic violence, and open up economic opportunities for women and girls.

Girls can often be married under the age of 18 with parental consent

A new policy paper from the Women, Business and The Law team discusses laws that protect women from violence. Child marriage is one of the first issues they address - each year 15 million girls around the world are married before they are 18. Even where the legal age of marriage is 18 or above, many countries allow countries allow girls to be married earlier with parental consent.

And 17 economies have a different legal age of marriage for boys than for girls. Where this is the case, girls are allowed to get married at a younger age:

Chart: In These Countries, Internet Use is Higher Among Women than Men

Tariq Khokhar's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français | 中文

Access to information and communication channels empowers women. In 13 countries, women access the internet at a higher rate than men. But this figure represents only one fifth of countries with data - in most the world, women are less likely to be internet users regardless of a country's region or income group.

And if you plot all the countries with available data, we see that in the majority of cases, internet use is lower among women than men.

SDGs 1 & 2: Meeting the demand for more and better household survey data

Alberto Zezza's picture

Household survey data constitute a cornerstone of the statistical toolkit for addressing the data needs for the monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on poverty and hunger. A seminar convened today by the FAO and the World Bank, under the aegis of the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Food Security, Agricultural and Rural Statistics during the 48th Session of the UN Statistical Commission will provide chief statisticians of several low- and middle-income countries an opportunity to discuss a common agenda for fostering the adoption and implementation of a new set of guidelines for the measurement of food consumption data in household surveys.
 
Food constitutes a key component of a number of fundamental dimensions of well-being: food security, nutrition, health, and poverty. It makes up the largest share of total household expenditure in low-income countries, accounting on average for about 50 percent of the household budget. Low levels of food access contributed to an estimated 800 million individuals who were chronically undernourished in 2014-16.
 
Proper measurement of food consumption is therefore central to the assessment and monitoring of the well-being of any population, and to several development domains: social, economic, and human. Food consumption data are needed to monitor global and national goals including the SDGs. But the measurement of food consumption data is also crucial for assessing and guiding FAO’s mandate to eradicate hunger, food insecurity, and malnutrition, as well as the World Bank’s twin goals of eliminating extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity.

Announcing funding for 10 Development Data Innovation projects

Haishan Fu's picture

In July of 2016, the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD), announced a new multi-million dollar funding initiative to support collaborative data innovations for sustainable development.  Today, the Partnership, working in close collaboration with the World Bank’s Development Data Group, is delighted to announce the recipients of the pilot round of this initiative.

As part of the Collaborative Data Innovations for Sustainable Development Pilot Funding, which is supported by the World Bank’s Trust Fund for Statistical Capacity Building (TFSCB), GPSDD will support 10 projects in data production, dissemination and use, primarily in low­-income and lower­-middle-­income countries.

From improving vital registration of Syrian refugees in Lebanon to helping health workers predict patient behavior in Africa, from using low-orbit satellites to detect illegal fishing in Southeast Asia to using signal attenuation between mobile phone towers to estimate rainfall, the selected projects include a rich mix of innovations in development data being carried out in 20 countries across Africa, the Middle East and Asia. 

“What’s particularly exciting about the funding provided by the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data is that it is focused on solving real problems facing real people in the world.”- 
Nathaniel Heller, Managing Director, Results for Development Institute, Innovation Fund Recipient
 

While these projects cover a variety of sectors and SDGs, their unifying goal is to encourage collaboration, experimentation, learning and capacity development in the field of sustainable development data, especially where needs are continuous or recurrent, and where innovations can be readily adapted to other regions and sectors.

We’re committed to learning from the projects’ successes and failures as they’re implemented over the next 18 months. This is vital for any innovation work. The results and lessons learned from these projects will be openly available to all, and will help to shape the themes and priority for future rounds of funding.

The process has been a joint effort between the World Bank and GPSDD. Innovation financing was one of the World Bank’s commitments when it joined GPSDD, and GPSDD provided a network of ideas, individuals and institutions that resulted in the submission of over 400 proposals for this pilot round of financing.

Chart: Where Are Mammal Species Threatened?

Tariq Khokhar's picture
Also available in: العربية | 中文

Nearly one-quarter of the world's mammal species are known to be globally threatened or extinct. Indonesia is currently home to the greatest number of threatened species of mammals in the world. These are species that are classified as critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
 

Ethiopia Socioeconomic Survey 2015-2016: Data and documentation now available

Vini Vaid's picture
© Alemayehu A. Ambel / World Bank

The Central Statistical Agency (CSA) in collaboration with the World Bank’s Living Standards Measurement Study (LSMS) team launched the third wave (2015–16) of the Ethiopia Socioeconomic Survey (ESS) panel data, on February 22, 2017.  
 
The ESS is a nationally representative survey administered every 2 years that covers a range of topics including demography, education, health, savings, labor, welfare, and agriculture, food security and shocks. The data is collected in two visits: post-planting and post-harvest seasons. The survey follows the same households over time and collects a rich set of information, to allow for comprehensive panel data analyses that can help shape policies for a wide array of development sectors.
 
Here are some interesting findings from the ESS 2015–16 survey:      

Machine-readable open data: how it’s applicable to developing countries

Audrey Ariss's picture

Where should telecom providers place their towers and what frequencies should they use?

How can governments best calculate commodity imports to ensure food security?

How can communities better manage areas at risks of floods?

These are just some of the questions that organizations around the world try to answer by using open government data — free, publicly available data that anyone can access and use, without restrictions. Yet around the world, much government data is yet to be made available, and still less in machine-readable [1]formats. In many low and lower-middle income countries, finding and using open data is often challenging. It may take a complicated request process to get data from the government, and the data may come in the form of paper-based documents that are very hard to analyze. A new study looks to better understand how organizations in low and lower-middle income countries utilize machine-readable open data.

In producing the study, the Center for Open Data Enterprise, supported by the World Bank, interviewed dozens of businesses and nonprofit organizations in 20 countries. The organizations were identified through the Open Data Impact Map, a public database of organizations that use open data around the world, and a resource of the Open Data for Development (OD4D) Network. Over 50 use cases were developed as part of this study, each an example of open data use in a low or lower-middle income country.


 

Tanzania Conference on LSMS Data

Gwendolyn Stansbury's picture

Data producers and users from Sub-Saharan Africa meet at the First International Conference on the Use of Tanzania National Panel Survey and LSMS Data for Research, Policy, and Development

Earlier this month, researchers, policymakers, and development practitioners gathered in Dar es Salaam to attend the first of a series of conferences to discuss the use of household panel data produced with support from the Living Standards Measurement Study–Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (LSMS-ISA) program.  
 
The event—co-sponsored by the Tanzania National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and LSMS of the World Bank’s Development Data Group—brought together more than 100 people, with a large representation of researchers from Sub-Saharan Africa.

The opening session featured the Hon. Dr. Philip Mpango (Minister for Finance and Planning, United Republic of Tanzania), Dr. Albina Chuwa (Director General, Tanzania National Bureau of Statistics), Mr. Roeland Van De Geer (European Union Ambassador to the United Republic of Tanzania and the East African Community), Ms. Bella Bird (Country Director Tanzania, World Bank),  Ms. Mayasa Mwinyi (Government Statistician, Office of the Chief Government Statistician–Zanzibar), and Dr. Gero Carletto (Manager, LSMS program, World Bank)—as well as a keynote speech by Dr. Blandina Kilama (Senior Researcher, Policy Research for Development–REPOA).