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April 2012

Defining our path to the 'Rule of Law'

Lisa Bhansali's picture

Strengthening the Rule of Law (ROL) has been and remains an important element of the Bank's development agenda in response to the needs of our clients and beneficiaries. Unlike in years past, today, the Bank is being called on to support ROL in many different contexts and for different reasons.{C}

Tourism: For those looking for shovel ready projects

Omer Karasapan's picture
World Bank | Dale Lautenbach | 2012Tourism is one of the world's largest and fastest growing sectors, making up 5% of the world's GDP and 30% of the global export of services (over $1 trillion). In 2010 alone, there were some 1 billion tourists worldwide, 60 million of whom traveled to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. International Tourism receipts amounted to $900 billion - MENA's share making up roughly 6% of the total, around $50 billion. Overall, MENA tends to underperform slightly, not only in terms of the number of visitors and monetary inflows, but also in its potential to generate employment.   

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.


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