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April 2012

Benefits of Land Registry Digitization

Aparajita Goyal's picture

It is increasingly recognized that well-defined property rights are crucial for realizing the benefits of market exchange and that such rights are not exogenously given but evolve over time in response to economic and political forces. The reduction of expropriation risk and the facilitation of market transactions are the two main categories through which property rights systems affect economic outcomes. However, the mechanisms by which these two categories affect outcomes differ in important ways.

Rwanda's Artful Path Toward Peace: Cultural Industries and Post-Conflict Reconciliation

Uwimana Basaninyenzi's picture

In my last blog, I wrote about a medium that plays a critical role in post-conflict reconciliation: art.  I argued that the cultural industries—film, music, crafts, architecture, and theater, among other art forms—provide important benefits to post-conflict societies; therefore, policies that encourage the development and growth of these industries should be a critical part of a country’s comprehensive post-conflict reconstruction plan. In a further reflection on these points, this blog examines the story of Rwanda, a post-conflict society that is using film, theater, music, and other creative industries in its journey toward reconciliation and rebuilding.

So-called natural disasters are not unpredictable

Niels Holm-Nielsen's picture

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No two earthquakes in the world cause equal damage, according to scientists. This is particularly true in Latin America, a land of contrasts.

Whereas in 2010, an earthquake measuring 7 on the Richter scale ravaged Haiti, claiming nearly a quarter of a million lives, a few weeks ago in Mexico, an earthquake of similar magnitude (7.4) caused only a few cracks and minor injuries.

We Need Your Support to Get Our Dignity Back

Yolande Coombes's picture

In 2007, when I started to work on rural sanitation in Tanzania,  I was intrigued to see the plethora of reports highlighting the ‘sanitation crisis’ in Africa. Of all the Millennium Development Goals, Africa was performing worst in meeting the sanitation target. This message was repeated during the International Year of Sanitation and through the eThekwini Declaration and Commitments in 2008, at AfricaSan3 in 2011, and in the WHO/Unicef Joint Monitoring Programme report on progress toward MDGs released last month. But progress is slow. It’s time for us to engage with other groups and sectors that are affected by inadequate sanitation – health, education, environment, and finance.

Going Digital

This post is part of our Closing the Gap: Financial Inclusion blog series, which shares the views of selected experts and practitioners on different financial inclusion topics.

Depending on where you start, in 500 BC for Coinage or in 1000 AD for paper money, cash has been the undisputed leader in how people pay and get paid.  Sure, there have been innovations with credit cards in the mid-20th century, and an ever growing portion of money supply is composed of electronic value, but for most of the world cash is still king. 

There are good reasons for this. Cash is simple, portable, anonymous, easily exchangeable at an agreed value by both buyer and seller and accepted nearly everywhere.  Yet, the physical nature of cash creates big transaction costs, and a wide range of security and transparency risks.

Digitizing financial transactions has big potential benefits to the poor. (Credit: Blatantworld, Flickr)For all its positive characteristics, cash is often in the wrong place at the wrong time, and it is surprisingly hard to hang onto for very long.   For half the world we manage these barriers through access to formal financial services.  Yet for half the world’s adults and nearly 78% of the world’s poor living on less than $2 a day, the costs of these services prevent them from having something as basic as a bank account. If the poor’s financial transactions were in digital form rather than cash, many more financial services would become affordable and available.

"One of the Most Beautiful Initiatives"

S. Vijay Iyer's picture

The title for this blog post comes from Mr. Amadou Cisse, Minister of Mines of Mali, who said that the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) “was one of the most beautiful initiatives that the World Bank has ever supported.” 

The Minister, along with many of his African peers, participated at the huge Investing in African Mining Indaba event, an annual gathering in Cape Town. Mr. Cisse went on to add that “if there is no transparency, there is no peace.”

Communities can be powerful stewards of spectacular marine life

Samia Al-Duaij's picture
Local communities around the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden understand better than anyone the value of their natural environment. This became very clear when we visited various marine protected communities in Sudan, Djibouti and Egypt: the inhabitants have real concerns for using marine resources sustainably and in a way that benefits all.The World Bank is piloting a new approach to marine management in one of the most biodiverse, underwater hotspots in the world, famous for its stunning corals, large number of endemic species, and attraction to tourists. The project aims to help the member countries of PERSGA to develop a more holistic management approach based on the ecosystem.


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