World Bank Voices
Syndicate content

In Africa’s drylands, opportunities to cut vulnerability to drought and famine are within reach

Michael Morris's picture
Soil fertility managment and adding trees to farms can boost agricultural productivity and increase the drought tolerance of crops. Photo: Andrea Borgarello

As the global development community marks World Day to Combat Desertification on June 17, large areas of Sub-Saharan Africa will be gripped by extreme drought, leaving millions of people in need of emergency assistance. This is lamentable, because interventions are available that could significantly increase long term resilience to drought. A recent report that we wrote estimates that a set of 5-6 interventions could help reduce the impact of drought by about half in Africa’s drylands, keeping on average 5 million people per year out of danger in some of Africa’s poorest zones.

The report Confronting Drought in Africa’s Drylands: Opportunities for Enhancing Resilience aims to advance measures to reduce the vulnerability and enhance the resilience of populations living in dryland areas of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Forgotten No More: Aid to Fragile States Is a Duty Not an Option

Kristalina Georgieva's picture
© Dasan Bobo / World Bank


In Ethiopia, where poverty was reduced by half in the past 20 years—economists often speak of the Ethiopian miracle— I met women farmers who had managed to turn a dry hill into productive land. I talked to a group of landless youth who had used climate-smart agriculture to restore degraded fields and received land tenure in exchange. I met some women entrepreneurs who received microloans and embarked on a journey from nothing to business ownership. I visited Wukro, a small town in Northern Ethiopia, where labor-intensive cobblestone paving projects had generated jobs for thousands while beautifying the city and lowering the crime rate.

Ethiopia has a long way to go on its road to prosperity—a state of emergency remains in effect due to social unrest in some part of the country, and the threat of food insecurity still looms—but in once-inhospitable places, greenery and opportunities now bloom. Ethiopia is a country that has shown incredible resilience in the face of harsh climate shocks. It is heartening to see that climate smart investments are paying off.

Global opinion leaders show increased use of social media for information on development

Zubedah Robinson's picture
Also available in: 中文 | Français | Español
Social media is increasingly becoming a driver of conversation on several topics including global development. The World Bank’s Public Opinion Research Group conducts  Country Opinion Surveys in about 40 developing countries every year and found that the number of global opinion leaders using social media to get information on global development is steadily increasing.

Vietnam’s financial inclusion priorities: Expanding financial services and moving to a ‘non-cash’ economy

Ceyla Pazarbasioglu's picture



 Also available in: Tiếng Việt

It’s nighttime and the streets are bustling in Vietnam’s cities and towns. Buoyed by years of strong growth, the country has a burgeoning middle class with purchasing power to sustain restaurants and cafes, full and open late into the night, busy retailers and a high penetration of mobile phones – more than one per person. The economy, however, continues to run on cash and a majority of adults still don’t have formal financial services such as a basic transaction account. Moving to a “non-cash” system is a priority for the government to increase efficiency, promote business and economic development and reduce poverty including in remote rural areas where traditional financial providers have difficulty reaching.

Since 2016 the State Bank of Vietnam, the country’s central bank, has been partnering with the World Bank Group on a comprehensive approach to financial inclusion which will result in a national financial inclusion strategy. While still in development, several key elements of the strategy are clear: a focus on digital finance including shifts in government payments to digital products and platforms; providing financial services to rural and agricultural communities and ethnic minorities, where growth has lagged and poverty rates are above the national average; and strengthening consumer protection and financial education so that the next generation of consumers are prepared for a modern financial marketplace.

'Fixing' disaster recovery

Jo Scheuer's picture
Also available in: العربية | Español | Français
Photo credit: Flickr User danvicphot


The link between poverty and disasters is becoming clearer – new research shows that extreme weather events alone are pushing up to 26 million people into poverty every year. With forces like climate change, urban expansion, and population growth driving this trend, annual losses have passed more than $500 billion annually, and show no signs of slowing.

With limited time and resources, however, adequate preparedness for these common events is often neglected in developing countries. The result is a pattern of deficient recovery that is imperiling sustainable development, and leaving millions of the most vulnerable behind.

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

The Middle East, version 2.0.

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


Let’s be honest. The Middle East and North Africa is burning, and in some areas it is literally burning. Conflict and fragility have long warped what once was the cradle of civilization and the inspiration for the many inventions we can’t live without today. However, in the midst of that fire hope rises, a driver of change that is transforming the ugly reality into a bright future.
 
After I fled the war in Iraq in 2006, I was pessimistic about what the future was holding for that region. Year after another, the domino-effect of collapse became a reality that shaped the region and its people. Yet, fast-forward to 2017, I have witnessed what I never thought I would see in my lifetime: the new renaissance in the Middle East and North Africa.
 
I have just recently come back from attending the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa at the Dead Sea in Jordan. This year, the Forum and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, partnered to bring together 100 Arab start-ups that are shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
 
There, the positive vibe was all around; no negativity, no pessimism. Instead there was a new sense of optimism and enthusiasm, hunger for change, and the will to take the region to a whole new future, away from conflict and the current norm of pessimism.

Is technology a third lever for financing the SDGs?

Magdi M. Amin's picture

When governments adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), their message was one of ambition: a world in which poverty is eliminated, growth made sustainable, ecosystems restored, and no one is left behind. This came with a price tag: annual investment needs of $4 trillion. With only $1.5 trillion now being invested, this means closing an investment gap of $2.5 trillion every year until 2030.

For International Finance Institutions, this is the central challenge of our time. It involves aligning the interest of global savers, and the investors who represent them, with the interest of citizens as they are expressed through the SDGs.

The fact is that the poorest countries have been left behind. To change this, we have focused on two levers: (a) reforms and instruments to manage risks of investing in lower-income countries, which are perceived to be of higher risk, and (b) sector policy and capacity to increase the flow of viable, high impact projects. At major gatherings in Addis Ababa, New York, Washington and Accra, we are working on these issues.

Can you make a #Loop4Dev? Join our cities boomerang challenge!

Mario Trubiano's picture
Also available in: Español | Français | العربية | 中文

Ever notice how cities can really encapsulate many of the things that make life enjoyable? Green spaces to enjoy the outdoors, access to jobs, affordable housing for all, a well-connected public transportation system, access to healthy food, schools for all children, and so on. Some cities achieve this better than others, but creating a city that works for all of its citizens can be a challenge for governments and communities alike.

Why? Let’s look at some numbers: Up to 1 billion people living in slums in the cities of the world are in need of better services; Cities consume 2/3 of the world’s energy and account for 70% of greenhouse gas emissions; 66 out of 100 people will live in cities by 2050, which tells us the global population is becoming increasingly urban.

Every city is a work in progress in this sense and for organizations like the World Bank, cities offer opportunities to help people raise themselves out of poverty. With so many people concentrated geographically, it’s possible to make improvements that benefit many, and with investments across multiple sectors in cities, governments can really make an impact on the lives of their citizens.

Pages