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Malaysia budget 2019 – A balancing act for the new government

Firas Raad's picture
Malaysia’s latest budget points to many encouraging directions. How the government balances its priorities is key to ensuring low-income populations get to share in the benefits of development. (Photo: Samuel Goh/World Bank)

The unveiling of Malaysia’s much-anticipated 2019 budget last Friday by the Minister of Finance, Lim Guan Eng comes at a challenging time for the country. On the external side, Malaysia’s exports are facing growing headwinds – as opposed to the fair winds of recent years – due to heightened trade tensions and slower global growth. On the domestic front, a new emphasis on addressing the stock of government debt and contingent liabilities is likely to narrow fiscal space and prevent public investment from driving economic activity as it did before. In this situation, Malaysia will depend more on private consumption and investment to support economic growth in the next few years.

Social cohesion: Why does it matter in forced displacement situations?

Jo de Berry's picture



When refugees arrive, everything changes for the hosting community. Suddenly, there are large numbers of people who need to use your hospital, your school, and collect water from the same source. You know that they have suffered a traumatic experience, but you may start blaming the newcomers for the pressures that they bring to your community, causing tensions and raising the possibility of potential conflict.

Making higher education accessible to Afghan women

Muzhgan Aslami's picture
Afghan students attending their class in Kabul University
Students attending class at Kabul Medical University. Photo Credit: Rumi Consultancy/ World Bank

As a women’s rights activist who has dedicated the past six years of her life to empowering women, ensuring that women can access education is crucial to me.
 
This is what motivates me in my work with the Higher Education Development Program (HEDP) at the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE), the principal body responsible for providing and regulating higher education in Afghanistan.  
 
When I joined the MoHE as a Gender Specialist in 2016, I mainly focused on making sure female students did not face the same challenges I personally encountered as a student at Kabul University.

Some of the issues my friends and I remember was traveling long distances to the university, the lack of facilities for female students on campus, and the few opportunities to go abroad for postgraduate studies. Factors which, together, led to low female enrollment rates.

Today, with support from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), many of the challenges I witnessed have been resolved with the initiation of the second National Higher Education Strategic Plan, 2015–2019, under the HEDP.

Egypt’s Sanitation Program for Results (PforR): achieving results on the ground

Gustavo Saltiel's picture
Co-authors:
  • Osama Hamad, Lead Water Supply & Sanitation Specialist, World Bank Water Global Practice
  • Heba Yaken Aref Ahmed, Operations Analyst, World Bank Water Global Practice
  • Sara Mohamed Mahmoud Aly Soliman, Consultant,  World Bank Water Global Practice

 
In a rural area about 60 miles north of Cairo lies the town of Toukh El Aqlam, situated on Egypt’s busy Cairo-Alexandria agricultural road. The region has long-suffered from a lack of sanitation services, creating a serious impact on the health and social development of its inhabitants. On October 16th, 2018, the World Bank’s Program for Results (PforR) team and representatives from Egypt’s Ministry of Housing visited Toukh El Aqlam, where 30,000 citizens now benefit from 5,000 new sanitation connections in rural Dakahliya governorate.



The Dakahliya Water and Sanitation Company (WSC) is one of three WSCs participating in the World Bank-supported Sustainable Rural Sanitation Services Program (SRSSP), along with Beheira and Sharkiya. Approved by the Bank in July 2015, the Program is already delivering results on the ground in its efforts to achieve sustainable access to sanitation services, reduce water pollution in the Nile Delta, and improve water sector governance.

To build human capital, we need more and better-targeted investments in health – The GFF provides an innovative path

Jim Yong Kim's picture
 
© Dominic Chavez/Global Financing Facility
© Dominic Chavez/Global Financing Facility

​When countries invest in people—particularly young people—they're investing in the future and giving the next generation an opportunity to achieve their dreams. 

 But every year, in countries across the world, too many dreams are cut short: more than 5 million mothers and children die from preventable causes. Globally, nearly a quarter of children under 5 are malnourished and 260 million are not in school.

In this age of rapidly advancing technology, where there is a growing demand for complex cognitive skills and problem-solving, this crisis should be a wake-up call. 

With half of the world’s population still lacking access to basic health services, we urgently need more and better financing for health, especially in developing countries where health and nutrition needs are greatest.  

Social business, youth and technology to accelerate climate action to 1.5°C

Max Thabiso Edkins's picture


Recently the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) set out clear scientific evidence of what a world impacted by climate change will look like in their Global Warming of 1.5°C report, and the facts are striking: climate impacts in a 2°C warmer world are far greater than with 1.5°C warming. By 2050, in a 2°C world, several hundred million more people would be exposed to climate-related risks and susceptible to poverty.

How Pakistan can diversify, digitally

Miles McKenna's picture

A year ago, Farzana had no idea that an online business would so drastically change her life. She was drowning in debt with no way of repaying, worrying about her family’s financial future. Reaching for a lifeline, she joined GharPar, a women-founded, women-led social enterprise that connects beauticians with clients seeking at-home salon services through an Uber-like digital platform.

 
 

Financing stabilization: Achieving a common vision for security and development

Paul M. Bisca's picture
UN troops patrol the airport grounds in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo. They are followed closely by children who were able to sneak into the airport without much trouble. © Vincent Tremeau/ World Bank


Deciphering the nexus between security and development has become one of today’s most pressing global challenges. Just look at recent news: In the past few weeks, more than 5,000 people have been marching from Central America to the United States to flee criminal violence and poverty. In Afghanistan, 4 million people have voted in parliamentary elections amid growing violent attacks that have taken almost 30 lives, including that of a powerful a police chief. In Nigeria, insecurity is a major development challenge due to the militant group Boko Haram, as well as because of the growing intercommunal violence between herders and pastoralists.

Read the full blog on Paris Peace Forum's Medium

Making room for Africa's urban billion

Sebastian Kriticos's picture

By 2050, more than a billion people will be living in African cities and towns. As more and more of the continent’s population – 60 percent of whom live in the countryside – move to urban areas, pressures on land can only intensify. How should we make room for this massive urban expansion? How will city structures have to change to accommodate Africa’s urban billion? And could well-directed policy help spring African cities out of the low-development trap? These questions were at the core of discussions at the World Bank’s 5th  Urbanisation and Poverty Reduction research conference on September 6th 2018.

Marginal changes for the many or focusing on the few? Trade-offs in firm support policies and jobs

David McKenzie's picture

Should governments aiming to improve job opportunities devote additional resources towards trying to provide programs that attempt to generate marginal changes in many micro and small firms, or try to target the support towards making larger impacts on a smaller number of high-growth and larger firms? For example, should a government spend an additional $5 million on grants and training programs that support 25,000 micro firms at $200 each, use it to give 100 grants of $50,000 each to 100 high-growth potential firms, or use it as a single $5 million tax incentive to encourage one large multinational to set up a manufacturing plant in the country? I’ve been asked my thoughts on this question quite a few times, so thought I’d share them here.
 
The answer involves many different trade-offs and considerations, and I attempt to summarize some of the key ones in this post. The bottom line is that there are trade-offs (at least in the short-run) between poverty alleviation and productivity growth, and that different policies will have impacts on different types of job creation. A key lesson for policymakers is to be clear about what the job problem is that they are trying to solve, and not try to use the same policy instrument to achieve multiple competing priorities.


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