- weekly news
También disponible en español
Imagine that one day you are forced to leave your home with only the clothes on your back. You have no house, land, supplies, work or friends. You cannot return. The only thing you have left is your will to survive and to protect your family. You arrive in a new city to start from scratch. Everything seems overwhelming. You realize you have lost in two ways: as a woman and now as a displaced person.
This is the experience of millions of displaced women in Colombia, such as the ones we met at the Foundation for Development and Progress (FUNDESPRO) in Bogota.The Foundation works with the government to aid victims, especially women, of the Colombian civil conflict, as part of a World Bank initiative supported through the Peace and Development Program.
In theory, we admire and aspire to originality. We claim to be different, in fact, singular in every way. Yet, according to the authors of an important new book on social behavior, we are far less original than we think. We don’t like to acknowledge it, but we borrow ideas and practices promiscuously and we imitate others with feverish abandon.
The book is titled I’ll Have What She’s Having: Mapping Social Behavior, and the authors are two leading anthropologists plus a marketing and communication consultant: Alex Bentley and Michael J. O’Brien are the anthropologists and Mark Earls the consultant on marketing and communication.
A luxury liner, out on a peaceful vacation trip, encounters a small rock causing the huge vessel to sink. Chaos erupt and the captains abandon the ship, failing to manage the unfolding crisis and resulting in unnecessary deaths of passengers. One cannot help but compare this sad incident with the state of European economic affairs. As the ship sank on the coast of Italy’s shores, the credit rating of several EU-countries was being downgraded.
The events in Europe come as a reminder of the tremendous changes that have taken place worldwide over the past decade. Economic power is shifting from West to East, and from North to South. The big loser has been Europe, while emerging markets, especially in Asia, have reaped the lion’s share of the benefits. A decade ago, the possibility that China would come to the rescue of a bankrupt EU-country would have sounded outlandish-- no less inconceivable than saying that Nigeria could bail out China 20 years from today!
Some African countries may feel a sense of Schadenfreude as they witness the challenges faced by former colonial powers. European policy makers are no longer in any position to lecture their African counterparts. In fact, if you look at the quality of macroeconomic management over past years, many European countries could learn a lot from Africa, especially on how to handle fiscal deficits and debts. If Kenya was a member of the EU, its debt levels would be among the lowest in the union.
In reality though, Europe’s economic woes will create additional challenges for Kenya’s economy in 2012, a defining year for both this country and the Euro-zone.
Back in the tail end of last year, I did a post on using workshops with project teams to build impact evaluation design. My friend anonymous requested copies of the presentations. Since I am in the midst of doing another one of these workshops here in Ghana, I thought it would be worth posting them now.
One of the most destructive effects of the global financial crisis on many countries has been a rise in unemployment. To address this, policy makers everywhere are putting a great deal of energy into devising policies that will increase the proportion of their adult population in jobs. With the publication of Women, Business and Law data, which was updated in 2011, we have fresh insight into one particular issue of employment: encouraging female labour force participation.
- Financial Sector
We are used to thinking of landlocked countries as victims of geography. We worry that Ethiopia, Mali, Rwanda and Zimbabwe, among others, cannot benefit fully from flows of trade, tourism and knowledge. But do these countries use policies to improve connectivity and offset the handicap of location?
A new services policy database shows a perverse pattern. Landlocked countries tend to restrict trade in key “linking” services like transport and telecommunications more than other countries.
Zambia, for example, bravely liquidated its national airline in 1994, but it still denies “fifth freedom rights” to Ethiopia to fly the Addis Ababa-Lusaka-Johannesburg route, and to Kenya to fly the Nairobi-Lusaka-Harare route. In fact, the restrictive policies of many African countries make a mockery of the decade- old Yamoussoukro Decision (and a subsequent COMESA agreement) to liberalize air transport.
Editor’s Note: The following is a guest contribution by Susan Lund, Director of Research at the McKinsey Global Institute. She will be speaking at the World Bank on the topic of job creation on January 24 as part of the FPD Chief Economist Talk series.
Perhaps no topic is more pressing today than the growing jobs and employment problem. We estimate that there are 40 million unemployed in high-income countries and tens of millions more who have dropped out of the workforce or are under-employed. Not only does this exact a toll in human misery and dampen lifetime economic prospects, but it also places a drag on aggregate demand and tax receipts at a time when both are sorely needed.
Unfortunately, these 40 million may just be the foretaste of what could be in store. Increasingly, the job market in developed economies is bifurcating: full-time employment, job security and rising incomes for high-skill, technically trained, and entrepreneurial workers—and the opposite for almost everyone else. Factories are becoming places of many robots and a few high-skill technicians. The modern office is becoming more virtual—a network of task specialists who may work remotely and are increasingly likely to be part-time or contract labor. Shops are online; those made of brick and mortar increasingly are self-serve and self-checkout.