Billions of US dollars have been spent—by governments, microfinance organizations, and NGOs—on training the owners of small businesses. Traditional programs typically aim to teach practices such as record-keeping, stock control, and simple marketing. But while these do seem to improve the performance of small businesses, most result in little real change, making the impact hard to detect.
Gouvernements, institutions de microfinance, ONG ont dépensé des milliards de dollars pour former les petits entrepreneurs. Les programmes de formation classiques visent en général à améliorer les pratiques professionnelles des chefs d’entreprise, en privilégiant la tenue des registres, le contrôle des stocks ou la commercialisation des produits. Mais si le recours plus systématique à ces outils semble améliorer la performance des entreprises (a), la plupart des tentatives de formation des entrepreneurs n’induisent qu’une évolution marginale des pratiques (a), ce qui empêche d’apprécier leur impact véritable sur les résultats commerciaux. Lorsque nous avons été sollicités, fin 2012, pour mettre au point une évaluation de l’impact d’un programme de formation déployé au Togo dans le cadre d’un prêt de la Banque mondiale, nous avons donc suggéré de comparer l’efficacité du programme envisagé (le Business Edge (a) de la Société financière internationale [IFC]) à une approche alternative.
In Nigeria, Africa’s largest and most populous country, more women are engaging in work than ever before. By 2011, more than half (57%) of women 15-64 years old were in some form of employment. The increase in women working has been driven by women with the least amount of schooling finding work –these are the women who are more likely to be out of work than those who have had access to more schooling.
Women are less productive farmers than men in Sub-Saharan Africa. A new evidence-based policy report from the World Bank and the ONE Campaign, Leveling the Field: Improving Opportunities for Women Farmers in Africa, shows just how large these gender gaps are. In Ethiopia, for example, women produce 23% less per hectare than men. While this finding might not be a “big” counter-intuitive idea (or a particularly new one), it’s a costly reality that has big implications for women and their children, households, and national economies.
The policy prescription for Africa’s gender gap has seemed straightforward: help women access the same amounts of productive resources (including farm inputs) as men and they will achieve similar farm yields. Numerous flagship reports and academic papers have made this very argument.
With an estimated 10 million malaria cases in 2010, the World Health Organization considers Tanzania to be one of the four countries with the highest malaria prevalence in Africa, along with Nigeria, DRC and Uganda. And yet there are signs that efforts to fight the disease are bearing fruit:
- Data from Rapid Diagnostic Tests shows that malaria prevalence in children aged 6 months to 5 years fell by half from 18 per cent in 2007/08 to 9 per cent in 2011/12.
- Reported malaria deaths declined from around 20,000 per year in 2004-06 to below 12,000 in 2011. While there is a possibility that the malaria deaths are underreported, the trend signals substantial improvement.
Let's think together: Every Sunday the World Bank in Tanzania in collaboration with The Citizen wants to stimulate your thinking by sharing data from recent official surveys in Tanzania and ask you a few questions.
"The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow", so the old adage goes. All countries, including Tanzania, need to invest in and build a strong, healthy, well educated, dynamic and innovative youth. In Africa, the number of youths (aged 14 to 25 years) have grown significantly over the past decades, contributing to the bulk of the labor force.
“So how are you enjoying living in paradise?” Michael Geerts, the former German ambassador to Kenya asked me the other day. He was posted in Nairobi during the difficult years in the end of the 1990s, and continues to stay in touch with a country he loves dearly. Many colleagues, who once worked in Kenya have bought houses in Nairobi, and plan to retire in the “city under the sun”. But not everybody shares their passion and faith in the country’s future. There are many pessimists who feel that the country is moving in the wrong direction. Kenya, they say, will never rid itself from grand corruption, and crime such as drug trafficking will continue to flourish.
Are they seeing the same country? Maybe both perspectives are right, because Kenya is a country of extremes.
From almost every point of view, Rwanda’s performance over the past decade has been an unambiguous success story.
Between 2001 and 2011, Rwanda’s economy grew by 8.2 percent per annum, earning the country a spot on the list of the ten fastest growing countries in the world. Poverty rates fell by 14 percentage points, effectively lifting more than one million Rwandans out of poverty. Social indicators followed the general trend: Net enrolment in primary school increased to almost 100 percent, completion rates tripled, and child mortality decreased more than threefold, hitting the mark oftwo-thirds reduction as targeted by the Millennium Development Goals.
Yet buried under all this good news lays another maybe even more important evolution. After a decade-and-a-half stall, total fertility rates in Rwanda dropped from 6.1 in 2005 to 4.6 in 2010. This means that during a period of five years, the average number of children a woman of childbearing age can expect to have, has declined by 1.5.