A multi-lane highway with a speed limit exceeding 70 mph, a dirt road without shoulders or protective barriers, and a city street where child pedestrians and cyclists share space with cars, buses, trucks, and motorcycles can be among the most dangerous places in the world.
Much of the attraction of ‘green’ growth to politicians and policy-makers is the apparent promise of job creation. Many developing countries face the prospect of rapidly growing labor forces, so measures that stimulate labor demand look attractive. But is the promise justified? That depends on how labor markets work and how ‘green’ growth policies are implemented.
This post is part of our Closing the Gap: Financial Inclusion blog series, which shares the views of experts and practitioners on different financial inclusion topics.
Financial institutions and market authorities have moved payment systems from the backroom to the boardroom in recognition of the critical role that a well-functioning payment system plays in supporting financial systems and real economies. A sound and efficient infrastructure to process modern payment instruments has the potential to enhance financial inclusion. Widespread use of electronic payment instruments could also create significant savings for governments and other stakeholders.
The World Bank has been paying increasing attention to payment system development as a key component of a country’s financial infrastructure, and has committed to periodically collect and update information on the status of payment and settlement systems worldwide to both enhance knowledge on these matters and help guide reform efforts.
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The most recent World Bank Global Payment Systems Survey contains information on: the legal and regulatory framework underpinning a national payments system, large-value payment systems, retail (or low-value) payment instruments and services including the latest innovations, foreign exchange settlement systems and international remittances and cross-border payments, among other topics. The study is important because it provides a ‘snapshot’ of payment systems worldwide covering 139 countries and serves as an important reference in shaping the international agenda on payment systems issues. The next iteration of the World Bank Global Payment Systems Survey will be launched in July 2012.
Can Africa claim the 21st century? When the World Bank’s Africa department published this book in April 2000, most observers were doubtful that African countries would ever be in a position to become emerging markets. That year, The Economist called Africa “The hopeless continent” and global attention was focused mainly on Africa’s problems: HIV/Aids in Southern Africa; the relentless war in Somalia; and, droughts in the Sahel—which gave the pessimists plenty of ammunition.
But over the last several years, something remarkable has happened: Africa’s fragile and conflict-affected countries remain a major development challenge, but besides these, a Stable Africa has emerged. Most of this Stable Africa has experienced continued high growth for a decade, and major improvements in social indicators. Africa is becoming an investment destination, and there is hardly a week which goes by without a major investor dropping by my office, to discuss the region’s economic fundamentals.
How has Africa changed over the last decades?
The climate, energy and resource challenges facing the planet are daunting. The world’s population continues to grow rapidly, and the majority of people now live in cities. While cities are projected to be home to nearly 70% of our population by 2050, this won’t happen unless society drives significant efficiency gains in all aspects of resource use. Leveraging information will lie at the heart of optimizing resource use.
While projections for city growth are common, we need ask ourselves a simple question -- how much longer will cities be able to service increasing demands for energy, transportation, water, and food without a wholesale transition in the way resources are managed? If we are going to accommodate billions of new urbanites, they will need energy for lights, for heating, for cooling; energy for transportation, housing and emergency services; energy for water systems and sanitation.
“Transparency is the best antidote to conspiracy theories.”
Robert B. Zoellick. As quoted in Foreign Affairs, March/April 2012. Why We Still Need the World Bank – Looking Beyond Aid.
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Guest blogger Moira Donahue is the director of international operations for Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations with a mission to prevent unintentional childhood injury, a leading cause of death and disability for children ages 14 and under.
A number of developed countries now have linked employer-employee records, although to date I haven’t seen as many papers doing cool things with such data as I would expect. A new paper in the AEJ-Applied (ungated here) by Andrey Stoyanov and Nikolay Zubanov uses Danish data to show what is possible, and help provide some of the most convincing evidence yet that workers carry firm knowledge with them when they move.