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Europe and Central Asia

How Islamic finance can boost infrastructure development

Joaquim Levy's picture
Queen Alia International Airport, Jordan. © littlesam/Shutterstock
Queen Alia International Airport, Jordan. © littlesam/Shutterstock

In many developing countries, there are glaring gaps in the quantity of infrastructure per capita. For example, power generation capacity per person in these countries is only one-fifth that of advanced economies. We know that expanding infrastructure investment in economic and social services is an effective way both to promote inclusive growth and to foster local resilience to global shocks. In particular, investment in quality, sustainable infrastructure helps finance the transition towards a low-carbon, more environmentally friendly economic model. This happens notably in the renewable energy and low-emission transport sectors. Given the scale of resources needed to address the infrastructure investment gap, mobilizing the private sector for this goal has become imperative, especially in countries where financial transactions in banking and capital markets follow Islamic law (or shari’ah) principles.
 
The conventions of Islamic finance are particularly suitable for infrastructure development. They define an asset-oriented system of ethical financial intermediation built on the principles of risk-sharing in lawful activities (halal) rather than rent-seeking gains. This “entrepreneurial” approach by investors requires a high degree of transparency and creates incentives to monitor projects more carefully, which, in turn, strengthen the efficiency in building and operating infrastructure.

How is your life different from that of your parents?

Venkat Gopalakrishnan's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français | Español | 中文
© You Ji/World Bank
© You Ji/World Bank


Yunus owns a fabric store in Blantyre, Malawi. The store was founded by his grandfather, who immigrated to Malawi in 1927, and has now been in his family for three generations. Business is good, Yunus said, but that the cost of essential services like electricity and water has gone up since his grandfather and father owned the store. Even so, he remains optimistic.
 
Marija Bosheva is a student at an agriculture and forestry vocational high school in Kavadarci, Macedonia. Like many high school students around the world, she takes daily lessons in history, math, biology, and chemistry. However, unlike many of her peers, she is also studying oenology — the art of making wine.
 
Are you carrying on a family tradition, like Yunus? Do you work or study in an entirely new field that didn’t exist when your parents were your age? How has life changed for you compared to your parents or grandparents when they were your age, and how do you see your children’s lives and possibilities compared to your own? Are you in the same position vis a vis your peers as your parents were vis a vis theirs?
 
Share your story, using the hashtag #InheritPossibility.

The 2018 Fragility Forum: Managing risks for peace and stability

Franck Bousquet's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français | Español
© Caroline Gluck/Oxfam


In just under two weeks, about 1,000 people will gather in Washington D.C. for the 2018 Fragility Forum. Policy makers from developed and developing countries, practitioners from humanitarian agencies, development institutions and the peace and security communities, academics and representatives of the private sector will come together with the goal of increasing our collective impact in countries affected by fragility, conflict and violence (FCV).
 
The theme of the Forum, Managing Risks for Peace and Stability, reflects a strategic shift in how the global community addresses FCV – among other ways by putting prevention first. This renewed approach is laid out in an upcoming study done jointly by the World Bank and United Nations: Pathways for Peace: Inclusive Approaches to Preventing Violent Conflict. The study says the world must refocus its attention on prevention as a means to achieving peace. The key, according to the authors, is to identify risks early and to work closely with governments to improve response to these risks and reinforce inclusion.

Using adaptive social protection to cope with crisis and build resilience

Michal Rutkowski's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français | Español
In a world increasingly filled with risk, social protection systems help individuals and families cope with civil war, natural disaster, displacement, and other shocks. ©
 Farhana Asnap/World Bank


Crisis is becoming a new normal in the world today. Over the past 30 years, the world has lost more than 2.5 million people and almost $4 trillion to natural disasters. In 2017 alone, adverse natural events resulted in global losses of about $330 billion, making last year the costliest ever in terms of global weather-related disasters. Climate change, demographic shifts, and other global trends may also create fragility risks. Currently, conflicts drive 80 percent of all humanitarian needs and the share of the extreme poor living in conflict-affected situations is expected to rise to more than 60 percent by 2030.

Syrian refugee children’s smiles shine again in Istanbul

Qiyang Xu's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français | Español
© World Bank


Nothing is more satisfying than putting a smile on a child’s face. It is especially true when the child has been a victim of war.
 
The viral image of the three-year-old Syrian boy, Aylan Kurdi, whose dead body was quietly lying on the beach captivated us. Kurdi’s loss of the chance to flee to a safer life invigorated us to act. We decided to help refugee children adapt to their new lives when arriving in a new country.
 
And so, our team from the World Bank Youth Innovation Fund (YIF) partnered with Small Projects Istanbul (SPI), a Turkish non-profit organization, to help 20 Syrian children find some happiness and joy in Turkey after fleeing their war-torn country.
 
YIF provides an opportunity for young employees of the World Bank Group to design, implement and evaluate development projects in client countries focusing on innovation, efficiency and impact on development.
 
After submitting a proposal to the YIF Proposal Competition, and winning, our journey began. Our project, Turkish Language, Mentorship and Psychological Counseling Program, aimed to  support these children to effectively integrate with the local society, develop self-confidence, and have access to education while living in Turkey.

Records from WB’s first loan to France digitized for the opening of the World Bank Visitor Center

Elisa Liberatori Prati's picture
Also available in: Español | Français | العربية
Steel mill at Montataire. © World Bank
Steel mill at Montataire. © World Bank

On November 15, 2017, the World Bank Group opened the doors to its new Visitor Center located at 1776 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. (across the street from the Bank’s Main Complex). The Visitor Center offers not only an extensive display of Bank Group’s history, but also provides an interactive learning experience about the institution’s work and mission.

To celebrate the Visitor Center’s opening and to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the World Bank’s first loan – Loan 0001 to France for reconstruction following World War II – the WBG Archives has digitized and publicly released records related to this inaugural loan. Correspondence and memoranda on the negotiation, administration, and repayment of the 1947 loan to France are now accessible on the World Bank’s Projects & Operations website along with other relevant resources and information.

Increasing literacy levels in young people could help meet rising aspirations

Zubedah Robinson's picture
Also available in: Français | Español | العربية


In the next 15 years, the world will need 600 million jobs for young people. The Solutions for Youth Employment coalition (S4YE), which provides leadership and resources to increase the number of young people engaged in productive work, found that in the next 20 years, global growth will be driven by young people.

This World Youth Skills Day, we are looking at some of the challenges when it comes to youth employment. Currently, there are 621 million youth who are not being educated, employed or trained. Worse, youth unemployment is three times higher than the adult unemployment rate. And for those who manage to get a job, 1 in 4 young people can’t find work for more than $1.25 a day!

Перспективы мировой экономики в 10 диаграммах: июнь 2017 года

Global Macroeconomics Team's picture
Всемирный банк прогнозирует повышение темпов роста мировой экономики в 2017 году до 2,7 процента по мере возобновления роста в странах с формирующимся рынком и развивающихся странах, относящихся к экспортерам сырьевых товаров, благодаря оживлению промышленного производства и торговли, росту уверенности участников рынка и стабилизации цен на сырье.
В развитых странах ожидается ускорение экономического роста до 1,9 процента в 2017 году, что благотворно скажется на положении их торговых партнеров. На фоне благоприятных глобальных условий финансирования и стабилизации цен на сырье экономический рост в странах с формирующимся рынком и развивающихся странах, в целом, достигнет в этом году 4,1 процента по сравнению с 3,5 процента в 2016 году. Вместе с тем, эти перспективы омрачаются серьезными факторами риска, к числу которых относятся возможность ужесточения торговых ограничений, неопределенность в области торговой, налогово-бюджетной и кредитно-денежной политики, а в более долгосрочном плане – хронически низкие показатели производительности и прироста инвестиций.

Скачать доклад «Перспективы мировой экономики» за июнь 2017 года (на английском языке).

В 2017 году темпы роста мировой экономики должны повыситься до 2,7 процента, как и прогнозировалось ранее. В странах с формирующейся рыночной экономикой и развивающихся странах (СФРРС) экономический рост, как ожидается, будет заметнее, чем в развитых странах, и составит 4,1 процента.
 
Рост мировой экономики

From a rubber boat in the sea to swimming in Rio: A story of resilience

Bassam Sebti's picture
Also available in: العربية | Español | Français


On a chilly October day in 2015, 24-year-old Rami Anis boarded a rubber boat in the Aegean Sea in Turkey. His destination was Europe and his goal was a better life away from war and hardship.

Looking at the people around him on the boat, he was horrified. They were children, men, and women. The fact that they might not make it never escaped his mind, even though he is a professional swimmer.

“Because with the sea, you can’t joke,” said the Syrian refugee.

But on Aug. 11, Rami will not be worried about swimming in the sea. He, instead, will be swimming at the Olympics. He made it safely to Belgium after days of heart-wrenching journey, from Istanbul to Izmir to Greece before setting off a trek through Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Austria, Germany and eventually Belgium.

Rami will be competing at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro as a member of the Refugee Olympic Team — the first of its kind — and march with the Olympic flag immediately before host nation Brazil at the opening ceremony. 

The way out of poverty and corruption is paved with good governance

Sri Mulyani Indrawati's picture
Also available in: Español | العربية | Français

Woman speaks to World Bank MD and COO Sri Mulyani Indrawati in the Nyabithu District of Rwanda. © Simone D. McCourtie/World Bank

For the first time in history, the number of people living in extreme poverty has fallen below 10%. The world has never been as ambitious about development as it is today. After adopting the Sustainable Development Goals and signing the Paris climate deal at the end of 2015, the global community is now looking into the best and most effective ways of reaching these milestones. In this five-part series I will discuss what the World Bank Group is doing and what we are planning to do in key areas that are critical for ending poverty by 2030: good governance, gender equality, conflict and fragility, creating jobs, and, finally, preventing and adapting to climate change.


Twenty years ago, the World Bank took up the fight against corruption as an integral part of reducing poverty, hunger, and disease. The decision was groundbreaking then and remains valid today. Corruption diverts resources from the poor to the rich, leads to a culture of bribes, and distorts public expenditures, deterring foreign investors and hampering economic growth.

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