There has been substantial progress in reducing child mortality in the past several decades. Between 1990 and 2016, the global under-five mortality rate dropped by 56 percent from 93 deaths per 1,000 live births to 41 deaths per 1,000 live births. Over the last sixteen years, the reduction in child mortality rates accelerated, compared to the previous decade. As a consequence, around 50 million more young children survived the first five years of life since 2000 who would have died had under-five mortality remained at the same level as in 2000.
But even in 2016, 15,000 children died every day (totaling 5.6 million a year). While a substantial reduction from the 35,000 deaths a day in 1990 (12.6 million a year), more needs to be done to meet target 3.2 of the Sustainable Development Goals, which aims for all countries fewer than 25 deaths of under-5s per 1,000 live births.
China has provided foreign assistance to countries around the world since the 1950s. Since it’s not part of the DAC group of donors who report their activities in a standard manner, there isn’t an official dataset which breaks down where Chinese foreign assistance goes, and what it’s used for.
A team of researchers at AidData, in the College of William and Mary have just updated their “Chinese Global Official Finance” dataset. This is an unofficial compilation of over 4,000 Chinese-financed projects in 138 countries, from 2000 to 2014, based on a triangulation of public data from government systems, public records and media reports. The team have coded these projects with over 50 variables which help to group and characterize them.
Activity-level data on an increasingly important donor
This dataset is interesting for two reasons. First, China and other emerging donors are making an impact on the development finance landscape. As the Bank has reported in the past (see International Debt Statistics 2016), bilateral creditors are a more important source of finance than they were just five years ago. And the majority of these increases are coming from emerging donors with China playing a prominent role.
Second, this dataset’s activity-level data gives us a look at trends and allocations in Chinese bilateral finance which can inform further analysis and research. Organizations like the World Bank collect data on financial flows directly from government sources for our operational purposes, but we’re unable to make these detailed data publicly available. We compile these data into aggregate financial flow statistics presented from the “debtor perspective”, but they’re not disaggregated by individual counterparties or at an activity-level. So there can be value added from sources such as AidData’s China dataset.
A detailed view, but only part of the picture of all financial flows
However, this dataset has limitations. It only presents estimates of “official bilateral credits”. These are flows between two governments, and are just one part of the total financial flows coming from China. By contrast, the World Bank is able to integrate the granular data it collects from countries into the full set of financial flows to and from its borrowing countries. This situates official bilateral credit among the broader spectrum of providers of long-term financing (such as bondholders, financial intermediaries, and other private sector entities), sources of short-term debt (including movements in bank deposits), and equity investments (foreign direct and portfolio investments). This data integration leads to better quality statistics.
In short, AidData’s China dataset provides more detail on one type of financial flow, but is likely to be less reliable for a number of low-income countries. With these caveats in mind, I’ve done a quick exploration of the dataset to produce some summary statistics and give you an idea of what’s inside.
Looking at foreign assistance by type of flow
First, let’s see what the trends in different types of foreign assistance look like. AidData researchers code the projects they’ve identified into three types of “flow”:
Official Development Assistance (ODA), which contains a grant element of 25% or more and is primarily intended for development.
Other Official Flows (OOF), where the grant element is under 25% and the the financing more commercial in nature.
Vague Official Finance, where there isn’t enough information to assign it to either category.
Here are the total financial values of the projects in AidData’s dataset, grouped by flow type and year:
It looks like more Chinese finance is classed as OOF ($216bn in the period above) than ODA ($81bn), and that 2009 is a bit of an outlier. With this dataset, we next can figure out which countries are the top recipients of ODA and OOF, and also which sectors are most financed.
As global demand for food rises, the halting of landscape degradation and the restoration of these areas is paramount. Sustainable Development Goal 15 recognizes that efforts to restore degraded areas also benefit livelihoods and biodiversity by reducing erosion, supplying clean water, and providing wildlife habitat and other forest products (targets 15.1 and 15.3). Forests and trees also help mitigate climate change, enhance soil fertility, conserve soil moisture, and boost food production (target 15.3). A restored landscape may accommodate a range of land uses such as agriculture, protected reserves, ecological corridors, regenerated forests, well-managed plantations, agroforestry systems, and riparian plantings to protect waterways.
Landscape degradation directly affects 1.5 billion people, many of which live in extreme poverty.Around half of all land used globally for agriculture is moderately or severely affected by soil degradation.
Worldwide, nearly 25 million square kilometers offer opportunities for restoration, many in tropical and temperate areas. Nearly 18 million square kilometers would ideally combine forests and trees with other land uses through "mosaic restoration," including smallholder agriculture, agroforestry, and community forestry. A further 5 million square kilometers would be suitable for wide-scale restoration of closed forests. Africa provides the largest restoration opportunity, followed by Latin America (figure 15h).
What kind of information do you need to assess progress of community projects that aim to improve livelihoods and biodiversity conservation in remote Conservation Areas in Mozambique? More importantly, how do you efficiently collect this type of data and guarantee the level of consistency and quality needed to make strategic improvements in project implementation?
These are the questions our team faced during our recently concluded Mid-Term Review (MTR) of the World Bank Conservation Areas Development Project (Mozbio). We learned that there was not more time to wait and by applying the free World Bank-designed Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) Platform Survey Solutions, we could improve data collection and get the Project’s monitoring and evaluation back on track.
The 5-year Mozbio project addresses some of the most pressing challenges to Conservation Areas (CAs) in Mozambique, which covers 25% of the country. Besides strengthening the legal and institutional framework for conservation and promoting nature-based tourism and infrastructure facilities, the cornerstone of the project is to improve livelihood alternatives to local communities that live in and around the CAs. These populations constitute some of Mozambique’s poorest and most vulnerable households. To address this, Mozbio finances small-scale community projects that equip communities with tools to sustainably manage natural resources, engage them in income generating activities and increase their contribution to biodiversity conservation.
Goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Agenda for 2030 – Good Health and Well-being - explores a myriad of causes of ill-health and mortality, and hopes to improve the lives of many through its targets. Two recent blogs by the authors have focused on health during pregnancy and childbirth, and the prevention of some communicable and non-communicable diseases.
This blog turns its attention to other factors that impact people: mental health, alcohol and tobacco, and road traffic injuries and deaths.
Suicide rates are falling gradually in many parts of the world
Mental health is a focus of target 3.4, alongside other non-communicable diseases. Suicide accounts for 8.2 percent of deaths among young adults ages 15-29 globally and is the second leading cause of death after road traffic injuries for that age group.[i] Suicide rates for all ages tend to be higher in Europe and Central Asia and in high-income countries. In middle- and low-income countries, there has been a decline in rates since 2000.
Say you want a snapshot on digital entrepreneurship in Tunisia, or you are trying to understand tourism trends in Mexico. You'll probably need to identify 30-50 relevant indicators, dig up the data, create a presentable format, and hope that you have organized the report the way an expert well-versed in the topic might. Yes, it can be very difficult to put together a report that gives you reliably sourced, current, and properly structured information on the topic you are interested in.
Fear not — help is at hand! On TCdata360, we offer you country-level reports on demand on a number of topics (tourism, gender, entrepreneurship, investment climate … and the list is growing). All you have to do is to go to our Reports section (tcdata360.worldbank.org/reports), choose your country and topic, and you're done — the site will give you a beautifully laid out report that you can share online or print and take to your next meeting.
Introducing TCdata360's thematic reports
The TCdata360 platform (tcdata360.worldbank.org) is a new open data initiative launched by the World Bank, which provides quick access to over 2000 trade and competitiveness indicators from over 40 international sources.
We shared a few ideas about improving data access and usability with you in an earlier blog post and one demand that kept emerging was to help people make sense of thousands of cross-cutting indicators, and communicate these insights in a simple, portable way. One of the ideas we came up with are these on demand reports. We have worked with subject matter experts to curate TCdata360 indicators and visualize them within the constraints of a two-pager country thematic report that are relevant to both experts trying to quickly gather reliable data, and to beginners exploring new topics.
Since 1970, the electricity generation capacity of Turkey has increased more than 30-fold to reach 70,000 MW in March 2015. In a country of nearly 80 million people, demand for electricity has risen about 7 percent annually in recent years, requiring steady efforts to expand the sources of reliable and clean power. Starting in the early 2000s, through a series of interlinked measures supported by the World Bank Group, the country has worked to meet this growing demand, while spurring private-sector investment and innovation. Read more.