World Bank Voices
Syndicate content

July 2015

Unleashing the power of women entrepreneurs around the world: The smartest investment to unlock global growth

Jin-Yong Cai's picture
Also available in: Español | 中文 | العربية
Jacqueline Mavinga, entrepreneur, Democratic Republic of Congo.  © John McNally/World Bank Group


​Since childhood, Gircilene Gilca de Castro dreamed of owning her own business, but struggled to get it off the ground. Her fledgling food service company in Brazil had only two employees and one client when she realized she needed deeper knowledge about what it takes to grow a business. To take her business to that next level, she found the right education and mentoring opportunities and accessed new business and management tools.

What you need to know about energy and poverty

Sri Mulyani Indrawati's picture
Also available in: Français | Español | العربية
Portable solar systems in rural Mongolia © Dave Lawrence/World Bank


First, we need to address “energy poverty” if we want to end poverty.

We find that energy poverty means two things: Poor people are the least likely to have access to power. And they are more likely to remain poor if they stay unconnected.

Around one in seven, or 1.1 billion people, don’t have access to electricity, and almost 3 billion still cook with polluting fuels like kerosene, wood, charcoal, and dung.

What developing countries can learn from Alaska

Ted Chu's picture
The White Pass & Yukon summit train. © Ted Chu


I recently returned from vacation in Alaska, America’s final frontier. This place is massive, twice as big as Texas. It’s so remote that many of the conveniences Americans take for granted simply aren’t available. Prices are high, cell-phone coverage is sparse, and the state capital, Juneau, isn’t even accessible by road. It’s wonderful in summer, but during winter there are only six hours of dim sun.

For the 737,000 people who call Alaska home, life can be a challenge most of the year. The economy relies heavily on energy extraction (80% of state revenue is from petroleum) and the federal government (subsidies and military spending), plus fishing and tourism.

How the world can put a stop to illicit financial flows

Bertrand Badré's picture
Also available in: Español | العربية | Français


Under the weight of great expectations and the glare of television cameras, delegates gathered last week for the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa.

Global leaders, civil society and private sector representatives exchanged ideas on financing the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals. The conversation represented a paradigm shift in how we think about development. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon spoke of a world, “in which both the global population and resource constraints are growing,” and consequently one in which, “development finance needs a reboot.”

New tools to accommodate old financial habits: key for digital financial services usage

Ignacio Mas's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français | Español | 中文


When it comes to understanding the needs and behaviors of low-income people, the financial inclusion literature is full of contradictions. Experts celebrate poor people for their complex, active financial lives, but then seek to educate them financially.  Researchers document how resilient and purposeful their informal practices are, but then investigate ways to protect them against their own financial habits. Giving the poor a wide range of financial choices is an admirable goal, but do we really need to “nudge” them to change behaviors, as if the choice had already been made for them?

Achieving trillions out of billions

Bertrand Badré's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية | Español


The release of the joint statement “From Billions to Trillions: Transforming Development Finance” at the World Bank-IMF Spring Meetings is one of the most satisfying moments during my two-year tenure as Managing Director and World Bank Group CFO.

My one regret is that the title should have been Billions for Trillions.

Why?

The case for inclusive green growth

Sri Mulyani Indrawati's picture
Also available in: Español | Français | 中文 | العربية
Women fishers in Ghana. (Andrea Borgarello/World Bank - TerrAfrica)



Over the last 20 years, economic growth has helped to lift almost a billion people out of extreme poverty. But 1 billion people are still extremely poor. 1.1 billion live without electricity and 2.5 billion people without access to sanitation. For them, growth has not been inclusive enough.

In addition, growth has come at the expense of the environment. While environmental degradation affects everyone, the poor are more vulnerable to violent weather, floods, and a changing climate.

Development experts, policymakers, and institutions like the World Bank have learned a major lesson: If we want to succeed in ending poverty, growth needs to be inclusive and sustainable.

Can land registration institutions be reformed in deeply entrenched bureaucracies?

Wael Zakout's picture
Turkey has radically transformed its land title registration system, and decreased the turnaround time for recording property transactions to just two hours.
Turkey has radically transformed its land title registration system, and decreased the turnaround time for recording property transactions to just two hours.
I just returned from Turkey where I visited the Turkish Tabu Cadastre Agency (Land Registration Agency of Turkey). The agency had changed so much that I did not recognize it.
 
I remember my first visit to the agency in 2007. The agency is heavily staffed (15,000), has more than 100 branches and its main headquarters had once almost fallen apart. In my first visit, the head of the agency gave me a nice surprise: he showed me a land book that dated back to the 18th century, and included a record of my great-great-grandfather’s land title in Palestine.
 
The head of the agency had great plans to transform the agency by improving land records, introducing computerization and integrating the system into the overall e-government program, and setting a time limit of one day to register land transactions. Based on that an ambitious reform agenda, we worked together over a few months’ ‘time to prepare the cadastre modernization project. The Bank partly financed this reform through a $100 million loan, while the Turkish government funded the rest of the program. The project started in 2007, and I moved on to other positions later that year.
 
This time I had a second surprise. The institution is completely transformed. The main office has been completely and beautifully renovated. It now resembles any other government office in the US or Europe. The agency presented its achievements. It was amazing to see what had been accomplished in 8 years. The government is about to complete the renovation of the cadastre and the computerization of all land records, including historical records from Ottoman times. Service delivery has improved dramatically, with property transactions now being registered within 2 hours. They also integrated cadastre registration into the overall e-government program, which allows any Turkish citizen to access the record of their land/property online. Above all, customer satisfaction has reached 97% — something unheard of for land agencies, often known to be among the most corrupt agencies in many countries.

Crowding in Technical and Financial Resources in Support of Forest Landscapes

Paula Caballero's picture
Mexico butterflies by Curt Carnemark / World Bank ​As financing for development talks wrapped up last week in Addis, many conversations revolved around the “how much” as well as on the “how” of achieving universal sustainable and inclusive development in the post 2015 context. Work in the natural resources arena has valuable lessons to offer. 

There is a growing consensus that a new approach is needed to meet the financial needs of developing countries to ensure sustainable, inclusive and resilient growth paths. We all know that Official Development Assistance (ODA) finance is limited and cannot address the massive investment needs of countries. In addition to increased domestic resource mobilization, the more effective engagement of a variety of players, especially from private sector, NGOs, and philanthropic organizations, will be key to close the finance gap. 

Finance as a Tool for Inclusive Growth

Bertrand Badré's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français | Español
Primary school students in Gaza City. © Arne Hoel / World Bank


When I was a teenager, I went hiking in the French Alps. When I arrived at the top, the view was magnificent. It was like a picture postcard with the sun glimmering off the snow under a clear, blue sky.

A slogan for sustainable agriculture: 'Mot Phai, Nam Giam' rice production

Chris Jackson's picture
Also available in: Tiếng Việt
A woman measures greenhouse gas emissions on a rice farm in Vietnam.
A woman measures greenhouse gas emissions on a rice farm in Vietnam.


Successful slogans can make a world of difference. In Vietnam, a catchphrase for a climate-smart way to produce rice has shown small farmers how they can boost rice profitability, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The World Bank discovered this through an Agriculture Competitiveness Project in Vietnam, which championed an alternate wetting and drying rice production technique that uses less water, reduction in application of fertilizers and management of crop residues to reduce the level of methane and nitrous oxide emissions from the rice fields. Adopting this climate-smart practice required the systematic engagement of the entire community committed to draining the rice fields multiple times over a matter of weeks, something traditionally rarely done. Adopting this alternate wetting and drying technique not only helps strengthen plant roots but also reduces flooding periods which translates into reduced methane production.

Economic growth and climate action – a formula for a low carbon world

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

© Shynar Jetpissova/World Bank

Most people now realize the cost of inaction to deal with climate change is far higher than the cost of action. The challenge is mustering the political will to make smart policy choices.

A new report by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, of which I am a member, shows climate action delivers local development benefits as well as emissions reductions. In fact, smart policy choices can deliver economic, health and climate benefits for developed and developing countries alike.

Ending poverty and boosting shared prosperity is about realizing human potential

Ted Chu's picture
Also available in: 中文 | العربية | Español | Français
© Vikash Kumar

I have been fascinated by the concept of frontier all my life. What brought us here? What’s next? As a kid, my favorite book was “Ten Thousand Whys,” a pop-science series with all kinds of seemingly trivial questions like “Why are there fewer stars in the sky in winter?”

I wrote my Ph.D. dissertation on the Production Efficiency Frontier Theory — how to identify the most efficient units in a production network and measure the technical frontier. Later I became more of a macroeconomist and my interest expanded to identifying countries standing on the growth frontier. Subsequently, I began studying the deepest thinkers and became convinced that humanity is on an important new frontier of cosmic evolution.

#Music4Dev guest artist Nneka’s advice for women: ‘Don’t let anyone intimidate you’

Korina Lopez's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français | Español

UPDATE: To continue shedding the light on women's rights, Nneka shared another song with us, Shining Star, at World Bank Group's headquarters in Washington D.C.

Ever since Nigerian singer Nneka released her debut album, Victim of Truth, in 2005, the diminutive star has been one of the most vocal advocates of anti-corruption and women’s rights in Africa. She continues beating that drum to raise awareness of her fourth album, My Fairy Tales, this time exploring the struggles of Africans in the diaspora. She recently stopped by World Bank’s headquarters to share her music and voice her views on women’s rights. “I use my music as a platform to (give voice) to such issues,” she says. “I grew up in Nigeria where women don’t have much freedom on many different levels. I was raised in a system where you respect the system through fear.

Who sets the rules of the game in Asia?

Sri Mulyani Indrawati's picture
© Nonie Reyes/World Bank


It is now a commonplace to refer to the 21st century as the Asian Century. With the world economy struggling to recover from the global financial crisis, the Asia Pacific region, and especially its developing countries, has provided much of the impetus for global growth. In 2015, developing countries in the East Asia Pacific region are likely to account for over one-third of global growth — twice as much as the rest of the developing world. China in particular is now an economic powerhouse. By some measures China is now the world’s largest economy as well as the biggest global manufacturer and exporter.

With this economic success has come increased scrutiny of the region. The rest of the world now wants to know: who sets the rules of the game in Asia?

Say “yes” to evaluation, then communicate findings clearly

Rachel Coleman's picture
Experts who measure the effectiveness of women’s economic empowerment programs recently gathered at the Center for Global Development (CGD) to take on a number of questions—from how to design monitoring and evaluation frameworks to how to translate their findings into accessible lessons learned.
 
CGD Conference Panelists

The World Bank Group is on Flipboard!

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

Are you an avid user of Flipboard and interested in development issues? We have news for you; we are now on Flipboard!

The World Bank Group has valuable content that can benefit a wide range of audiences across the world. This new service will complement our existing online assets and promote our narrative in a more engaging way for better impact.

For those unfamiliar with Flipboard, it is a digital social magazine that aggregates content from websites and social media, presents it in magazine format, and allows users to flip through the content. It is a single place to discover, collect, and share content from different publishers in a personalized magazine.

The first magazine we are launching is about gender. It highlights our efforts in ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity by empowering women.

Arup Banerji: Universal access to social protection at the core of World Bank Group's twin goals

Arup Banerji's picture
Yesterday, the World Bank Group together with the International Labour Organization (ILO) announced a mission and a plan of action towards universal access to social protection. I share my thoughts on how this announcement is at the core of the Bank's goals of ending poverty and boosting shared prosperity, and how universal access to social protection is linked to the sustainable development goals. 

Think you know everything about the World Bank's Open Agenda? Take the challenge!

Davinia Levy's picture

Did you know that the World Bank has a repository of more than 200,000 documents and reports at your disposal, dating all the way back to 1947? Did you also know that you can access over 18,000 development indicators, and much more?

The World Bank is celebrating the 5th anniversary of its Access to Information Policy. Since its launch in 2010, the World Bank has emerged as a global leader in the openness agenda and has disclosed a wealth of information to the public.