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April 2012

Welcome to the Jobs Knowledge Platform

Arup Banerji's picture

Even before the financial crisis, the world was facing a job crisis. Jobs will remain at the center of the policy debate in the near future for five main reasons:

  1. During the crisis, 30 to 40 million jobs were lost. Even if employment levels are improving, progress is not uniform across all countries. Plus, countries still face the need to create employment opportunities for those who have entered the labor force since the crisis began.
  2. Beyond the current economic crisis and the problem of unemployment a central development challenge is how to improve the quality of the millions of jobs that already exist. Labor income is the main mechanism through which people escape poverty, yet many workers and their families today remain poor.
  3. Across countries, a large share of workers are in informal wage employment lacking access to social security and labor regulations. Many more – 80 percent of workers in the case of Sub-Saharan Africa -- are self-employed in subsistence activities or working in small household enterprises, often without pay.
  4. Demographic patterns add urgency to the need to expand job opportunities. Young people, including those with higher education, still struggle to find jobs in many parts of the world. And as more of them enter the labor market, the situation could worsen, particularly in Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East.

Declining ODA, Resilient Remittances

C. Omar Kebbeh's picture

Numbers just published by the Organization for Economic cooperation and Development (OECD) show that major donors’ aid to developing countries, known as Official Development Assistance or ODA, fell by nearly 3% to 133.5 billion in 2011 compared to 2010, the first drop since 1997 when debt relief figures are not included (see charts below).  Bilateral aid to sub-Saharan Africa was USD 28.0 billion, representing a fall of -0.9% compared to 2010.

Beyond Hero Worship

Jill Richmond's picture

Julie Battilana of HBSSupporters of social entrepreneurship often cite examples of “heroes” who have successfully built organizations to solve social problems on a global scale. But social entrepreneurship also includes many efforts to fix targeted, local problems rather than working toward large-scale global change. An increasing number of social entrepreneurs are experimenting with ways to use commercially generated revenue to grow and maintain their social impact.

These findings are part of one of the most robust quantitative studies of social enterprise to date. Undertaken by Harvard Business School Associate Professor Julie Battilana and her colleague Matthew Lee, a doctoral student at Harvard Business School, they analyzed 6 years worth of applicant data from Echoing Green. The purpose of the study is to expand the field of vision beyond “heroic stories” that dominate the discussion on social entrepreneurship. In this interview, they share some initial findings from their research.

Prospects Daily: Japanese Yen strengthens as the country’s current account turns to surplus again

Global Macroeconomics Team's picture

Important developments today:

1. Japanese Yen strengthens as the country’s current account turns to surplus again

2. Japan’s current account returns to surplus in February

Avoiding group think on Arab world

Guest Blogger's picture
World Bank | 2012“I was hoping to hear about Arab countries...why are we hearing a case study of Pakistan?” exclaimed an attendee of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Chief Economist’s Forum at the World Bank.  Although the purpose was to draw upon lessons learned from a variety of countries, I still felt that the attendee’s criticism hinted at an exclusionary paradigm - even if the object of the criticism was from an Economics Nobel Laureate, Roger Myerson. True: over 20 Arab countries make up the MENA region.  Yet the topics and recent remarks at the Wharton Business School’s MENA conference challenge the exclusionary paradigm that fuels such criticism. 

Top Ten New Urban Jobs

Dan Hoornweg's picture

With about 185,000 people a day moving into cities – some 2 billion more people by 2035 – cities are where the action is and jobs are available. Following is a top ten urban report for tomorrow’s job seekers.

1.   Construction Workers. Someone’s got to build all those new cities with their infrastructure, buildings, transportation systems, waste management, and power supply. And then there’s the retrofitting of existing cities. How are we going to pay for all this construction? Over the next 30 years the world will see an unprecedented increase in wealth as the land being taken over by cities grows in value. Let’s just hope we build ‘sustainable cities’ or the true costs will far outweigh the benefits.

2. Civil Engineers and City Planners.    Used to be you could graduate as a civil engineer and start building roads, buildings, railways, ports and wastewater treatment facilities. The ‘civil’ part just distinguished it from military engineering, the world’s first engineers. Now the ‘civil’ in civil engineering can just as easily refer to civility and civilization. Today, civil engineers, the builders of cities, need to help develop and nurture a social contract that is always stronger than concrete and steel. Also, an encouraging trend in many countries – more than half of the freshmen civil and environmental engineering students are female.

As Egypt drafts its new Constitution, no room for error

Khaled Sherif's picture
Kim Eun Yeul | 2011In Egypt, we have a tendency to do things in reverse order.  For example, a red traffic light can actually mean go depending on the time of day, or we can chose to elect a Parliament before we have a viable constitution that defines their executive powers.  The plebiscite held last fall, for which a majority of Egyptians voted yes, gave the ruling military body (SCAF as they are known) the OK to proceed with Parliamentary elections before the post revolution constitution was rewritten.  But, the vote on proceeding with Parliamentary elections before the rewriting of the constitution also had a few hidden clauses. 

SEZs in Africa: Putting the Cart in Front of Horse?

Douglas Zhihua Zeng 曾智华's picture

Africa has launched a new wave of special economic zone or industrial park initiatives in recent years.  Countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Zambia, Mali, Botswana, etc., either have built some SEZs or are in the initial stages of building SEZs at various scales. While this seems to be an exciting development, it has to be dealt with great caution as well.