During a visit to Sierra Leone a few months ago, I was struck by the commitment that the government has shown to making changes in delivering basic services—such as education, health, and water—so as to try to reach and benefit poor people. But it was also clear to me that while the government must continue to make improvements in its existing programs, it cannot reach all citizens immediately—and this is true in many low-income countries in Africa, especially those recovering from conflict or civil war.
Experts from three countries that have undergone political and economic transitions had advice September 22 for Arab nations where citizens have taken to the streets demanding voice and participation.
One of the most important lessons: “Develop and nurture a culture of citizenship,” said Corazon Soliman, Philippines Secretary for the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Showcasing the World Bank’s recently launched “Think Equal” campaign, the Nike Foundation yesterday unveiled an unusual visual message of equality and potential of girls at Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C. Artists from Brazil, Argentina, and Kenya created installations to display at the Bank, including a banner hanging outside the Bank’s main complex and a series of murals inside the atrium.
The art works champion what the foundation calls the Girl Effect movement. “If you invest in a girl you can stop poverty before it starts,” said Nike Foundation President and CEO Maria Eitel.
Developing countries should take steps now to prepare in the event of global economic turbulence, World Bank President Robert Zoellick said in a press conference on the eve of the World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings.
While Zoellick said he believes a double-dip recession remains unlikely, he said recent economic indicators are eroding his confidence.
Despite progress, the world is still under-investing in gender equality, a panel of experts agreed at the World Bank’s September 21 Open Forum on Getting to Equal.
More girls are in school and women are living longer, but there is also a “mixed story” on gender equality, said World Bank President Robert Zoellick. While there is “huge potential” for more progress, significant changes are needed to achieve it, he said.
À l’échelle mondiale, malgré des avancées, l’investissement au profit de l’égalité des genres reste insuffisant. C’est ce qu’a reconnu, le 21 septembre, un panel d’experts lors de l’Open Forum – Hommes-femmes : parvenir à l’égalité organisé par la Banque mondiale.
The 2011 World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings get under way next week with a full slate of discussions, webcasts and seminars planned around two issues critical to sustaining economic growth – gender and jobs.
In a world where women make up the majority of unpaid workers, and only 15% of landowners and one in five lawmakers are women, there’s a lot to talk about.
Development is about big systemic changes, complex tradeoffs, political choices and how the fruits of growth are channeled for the greater good. It is also about broadening opportunities – a goal that if neglected can result in frustrated citizens and tumult as we have seen in the North Africa and Middle East.
These were some of the many messages I took away from the ABCDE conference just held in Paris.
The parallel session on “Evaluating cash transfers – Latin American and African Experiences” at the ABCDDE 2011 centred on the evaluation of social protection programs that distribute cash to the poor, a topic that has been widely discussed by members of the Poverty Reduction, Equity and Growth Network (PEGNet) which organised the session. In accordance with PEGNet’s focus on fostering the exchange between academics and practitioners, the session brought together experts from both spheres. All the speakers were PEGNet members and one was a winner of the PEGNet Best Practice Award for effective cooperation between research and practice.
Experiences from cash transfer programs in Uruguay and Ghana were presented by Andrea Vigorito (Universidad de la Republica, Uruguay) and Robert Osei (ISSER, University of Ghana). In the third presentation the research perspective was confronted with views from development practice by Eva Terberger (KfW Development Bank). Her presentation and the following discussion clearly showed how, in particular in the field impact evaluation, researchers in development economics and policy makers can learn from each other and how large the potential for cooperation is.