Syndicate content

April 2012

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.

Should, Could, Would. The Lens Matters.

Philip Levy's picture

In this interview, Philip Levy, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute’s Program in International Economics. discusses the potential for a global competition for jobs. Economic analyses can tell you whether a country ‘should’ intervene, international agreements determine what ‘could’ or could not be done – and politics affects whether countries ‘would’ want to risk heightened tensions with trade partners over the issue.

Apps For Climate: Public Voting Now Open

World Bank Data Team's picture

Apps For Climate enters a new phase this week. Over 50 apps met the eligibility criteria and are now on display on the competition website. For those who have been watching the competition and wondering what developers might cook up, now comes the fun part: trying out the dozens of interesting apps and voting for your favorites. Check them out, using the instructions below.

More Higher Education May Not Be the Right Approach to the Youth Unemployment Problem

Klaus Zimmermann's picture

What if it turns out that developing countries, from China to Chile, have chosen the wrong approach to a vital part of their youth development policy? Largely under the aegis of the U.S. example, there has been a strong emphasis on churning out university graduates. In a growing number of countries, this goal has been achieved by vastly expanding the number of universities, increasingly relying on private-sector institutions, and raising student fees (and, hence, often family debt). It is time to consider a different, more pragmatic approach.

The potential perils of blogging about ongoing experiments

David McKenzie's picture

One of the comments we got last week was a desire to see more “behind-the-scenes” posts of the trials and tribulations of trying to run an impact evaluation. I am sure we will do more of these, but there are many times I have thought about doing so and baulked for one of the following reasons: