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The jobs challenge is bigger than ever in the poorest countries

Akihiko Nishio's picture
Researchers at the CSIR-Crops Research Institute (CSIR-CRI) in Ghana. © Dasan Bobo/World Bank 
Researchers at the CSIR-Crops Research Institute (CSIR-CRI) in Ghana. © Dasan Bobo/World Bank 

Over the next decade, close to 600 million people will be looking for jobs, mostly in the world’s poorest countries. The South Asia region alone will need to create more than 13 million jobs every year to keep pace with its demographics. In Sub-Saharan Africa, despite a smaller population, the challenge will be even greater—15 million jobs will need to be created each year.
 
Adding complexity, the jobs challenge is also a concern for today. Many people in poorer countries who do work are stuck in informal, low-paying, less productive jobs, which are often outside the formal and taxed economy. And as the trends of urbanization continue, scores of internal migrants are searching for work, but can’t find quality, waged jobs, nor do they have the skills demanded by the markets. As a result, too many people are left on the economic sidelines and are limited in what they can contribute to their countries’ growth.  

Join sector and communication specialists for a leadership, strategy and stakeholder analysis training course

Umou Al-Bazzaz's picture
Also available in: العربية | Español
Flora Bossey, center, Communication Officer, Edo SEEFOR Project, Nigeria, attended in 2015. © World Bank
Flora Bossey, center, Communication Officer, Edo SEEFOR Project, Nigeria, attended in 2015.
© World Bank

When Amr Abdellah Aly, a department manager at the Electricity Ministry in Egypt, returned home from the Summer Institute in California training course at last year, his first question to his supervisors was if they had a communications strategy in place for the efforts of reforms in the electricity sector. His goal was to stress on the important role of communications throughout the reform process, something he had just learned from the course.
 
Each summer, the World Bank collaborates with the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California to offer the executive education course on reform communication: Leadership, strategy and stakeholder alignment. 

Community-based forestry in Malawi will soon bear fruit

Hasita Bhammar's picture
Firewood on bicycles as primary mode of reaching markets, Malawi. © Dejere/Shutterstock.com
Firewood on bicycles as primary mode of reaching markets, Malawi. © Dejere/Shutterstock.com

The jeep came to an abrupt halt, a few miles before we reached Lengwe National Park. I saw the Forest Officer jump out and stop a villager on a bicycle that was overloaded with a giant stack of firewood. The villager looked distraught as the Forest Officer confiscated the logs and sent him off with a cautionary warning. With a shrug of resignation, the officer explained that harvesting firewood in forest reserves and national parks was illegal and incidents like the one I had just witnessed were increasing tensions between the community and the Department of Forestry. 

For many Malawians, firewood and charcoal provide their only source of income and for the majority, they are also the only form of energy (fewer than one in 10 people has access to electricity). Their economic predicament forces them to risk being apprehended but under these circumstances, they take their chances.

Blended finance unlocks the keys to affordable housing across west Africa

Martin Spicer's picture
Also available in: Français
Houses under construction. © John Hogg/World Bank
Houses under construction. © John Hogg/World Bank

Affordable housing is a major challenge across West Africa, where fewer than 7 percent of households can afford to buy their own home. The situation is particularly acute in the countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) -- Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo – where demand for decent housing far outstrips supply.

But a new financing tool developed by the World Bank Group, is helping thousands of families across the WAEMU access private housing finance and finally achieve their dreams of owning their own home.

The tool is the $2.5 billion IDA18 IFC-MIGA Private Sector Window (IDA PSW), launched in July 2017 to help catalyze private sector investments and create jobs in the lowest income countries eligible for financing from the World Bank’s International Development Association.

Accelerating Vietnam’s path to prosperity

Makhtar Diop's picture
Da Nang, Vietnam. © Pixabay
Da Nang, Vietnam. © Pixabay

Vietnam continues to boom. It is one of the most dynamic emerging markets in East Asia, marked, over the past thirty years, by a remarkable reduction in poverty and impressive economic growth—which has benefited the population of Vietnam. Few countries around the world could boast a 2018 growth rate of 7.1 percent, supported by strong exports and a growing share of formal employment, especially in manufacturing.
 
Infrastructure has been a central factor of Vietnam’s fast-paced economic development. Today, 99 percent of the population uses electricity as their main source of lighting, up from 14 percent in 1993. However, economic growth is putting increasing pressure on Vietnam’s infrastructure. Freight volumes are expanding rapidly. Road traffic has increased by an astounding 11 percent annually and the demand for energy is expected to grow by about 10 percent per year until 2030.

Data for development impact: Why we need to invest in data, people and ideas

Haishan Fu's picture
© Shutterstock
© Shutterstock


High quality development data is a must for development impact

We know that high quality development data is the foundation for meaningful policy-making, efficient resource allocation, and effective public service delivery. Unfortunately, even as new technology makes more data and wider uses of data possible, there are still many blank spaces on the global data map. A paper by my colleague Umar Serajuddin et al. (2015) describes this phenomenon as “data deprivation”, finding that as of just a few years ago, 77 countries still lacked the data needed to adequately measure poverty. What’s worse, data is often most scarce in the areas where it is most desperately needed. For one, the scarcity of individual-level data on issues like assets and consumption severely curtails our ability to make decisions to reduce gender disparities. Similarly, despite the urgency of the need to manage climate risk, significant voids remain with regards to climate data, such as impacts on freshwater resources. Education, health, food security, and infrastructure are just a few of the many other areas where more and better data is needed to deliver progress.

So what’s to be done? Looking forward, I propose three data priorities, which we are working to put into practice.

How crowdsourcing can improve food safety

Colin Finan's picture
Also available in: Español | 中文 | Русский
Left photo: Patrick Quade. Right photo: Flore de Preneuf/ World Bank

Unsafe foods cost developing economies over $110 billion in lost productivity and medical expenses each year, according to the World Bank's own figures. And yet in many cases surveillance is limited, and there are few effective ways for a consumer to report a case of food poisoning.

 New Technology Can Help

This is where we believe new technology solutions can make a significant contribution. In the large towns and cities of the pantropics the mobile phone now reigns supremeit is possible to input citizen data accurately in order to detect food poisoning and identify issues in real time. This is what motivated us to found Iwaspoisoned.com and B2B service Dinesafe.org. We think the journey we embarked on - and the hurdles we faced - could provide interesting lessons to entrepreneurs and policy-makers who are eager to harness the power of data to fix age-old problems. 

What happens to women when men leave the farm? Sharing Evidence from Nepal and Senegal

Anuja Kar's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français | Español
 Poverty Alleviation Fund II Project, Government of Nepal.
Smallholder female farmer in Nepal: Poverty Alleviation Fund II Project, Government of Nepal.

Kofi Annan once said that ‘There is no tool more effective than the empowerment of women.’ This is definitely true in the agriculture sector: Empowered women are critical to sustainable agricultural growth and equitable rural transformation.  In June 2018, we published a report on “Male Outmigration and Women’s Work and Empowerment in Agriculture, which explores the impacts of rural outmigration on the lives and livelihoods of women who stay behind on the farms. The first in what will be a series of publications, this report uses innovative survey data to produce rigorous evidence on the gendered impacts of rural outmigration.  

Why does it matter? Globally, migration is an important development agenda and is closely connected with agriculture in many countries. The available evidence suggests that across the globe, migration originating from rural areas is predominantly male, which could potentially lead to significant socioeconomic changes in rural areas, including changes in traditional gender norms. Using data from two comparable, surveys for Nepal and Senegal collected between August and November 2017, we studied the effects of male outmigration from rural, primarily agricultural areas on women’s work and empowerment--both in agriculture and in the household.

2018: A year of influence, impact and cooperation on global issues through social media

Zubedah Robinson's picture


​In 2018, the themes of climate change, disruptive technology, and human capital were not only priorities for the World Bank Group, but for governments, private companies, and international organizations of all kinds. The level of partnership online among these groups has been unprecedented as the world collectively tries to address global challenges.

The same kind of cooperation that is driving impact on the ground is also driving awareness and advocacy more broadly as the world rises to these challenges. Below are just a few examples of how collaboration online has strengthened and amplified the global effort to end poverty in 2018 across three key themes.

Tackling climate change in the poorest countries

Axel van Trotsenburg's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français | 日本語 | Español
Burundi. © Sarah Farhat/World Bank
Burundi. © Sarah Farhat/World Bank

How can we help the poorest countries deal with climate change? The challenge is huge. Globally, the last three years were the hottest on record.  Emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels and industry started rising again in 2017 after briefly leveling off. Many regions are experiencing more severe and frequent storms, floods, and drought. According to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, the climate consequences of a 2°C warmer world are far greater than for a rise of 1.5°C, and we are not on track for either.

Recognizing the urgent need for more action, the World Bank Group announced new and ambitious targets for our climate work with developing countries at COP24, this month’s global climate change conference in Katowice, Poland. Having recently exceeded our 2020 financing targets two years ahead of schedule, we are aiming to double our investments to $200 billion over the five years from 2021 to 2025. The Bank Group is also making adaptation and resilience a top priority, since millions of people are already dealing with the severe consequences of more extreme weather events. By ramping up direct adaptation finance to around $50 billion over FY21-25, the World Bank will now give it equal emphasis to investments that reduce emissions.

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