Photo: Sergio Amaral/MDS
Photo: Sergio Amaral/MDS
Just as Tamires, Brazil wishes to score a dream goal – and it has got nothing to do with the upcoming World Cup. The country seeks to enroll 1 million people in the National Programme for Vocational Education and Employment (Pronatec, its acronym in Portuguese) until the end of 2014.
International rock star Bono recently visited the World Bank where he was hosted by Bank President Jim Kim (see photo). In a packed and electrifying session, moderated by CNN news anchor Isha Sesay, Bono and Kim talked about corruption, transparency, food security, and gender inclusion. Bono called on the Bank to join civil society efforts to fight for the end of poverty. While praising the Bank’s recent open development reforms, he noted that open data and transparency would “turbo-charge” the fight against extreme poverty as it will shine a light on this urgent problem. He jokingly referred to Bank economists as “jedis for development” and said that he never thought he would say publicly “I want to go work for the Bank.” As the head of One, Bono has been an effective advocate for greater aid to Africa over the years. One reason for his success has been his willingness to work with both donor and recipient country governments to push for greater aid. In the US, he has reached out to both Democrats and Republicans in the US Congress to lobby for foreign aid, and is credited for having convinced the Bush Administration to sharply expand funding for Africa and HIV/AIDS in the mid-2000s.
Regardless of a country’s stage of economic development, their governments make payments to, and collect payments from individuals and businesses. Financial resources are also transferred between government agencies. These flows cover a wide range of economic sectors and activities, and in most cases, the overall amount of such flows is significant – normally ranging between 15% to about 45% of the GDP.
However, only 25% of low-income countries worldwide process cash transfers and social benefits electronically and this percentage is only slightly higher for public sector salaries and pensions—and this has considerable cost implications. By going electronic, governments can save up to 75% on costs, a significant amount in an era of stretched resources.
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?