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May 2012

Do Investment Promotional Agencies Leave Investors Out in the Cold?

Paul Barbour's picture

This week, the World Bank Group’s Investment Climate Department hosted a stimulating discussion on the credit: Johanna Ljungblomeffectiveness of Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs). The panel discussion coincided with the launch of the Investment Climate Department’s report on IPAs across the globe.  MIGA co-sponsored the report and pioneered its methodology. 

First, the bad news. This report makes for quite depressing reading for this startling finding: overall, the responsiveness of investment promotion intermediaries to investor inquiries is low, with 80% of IPAs not responding to sector-specific investor inquiries. This means that 80% of these organizations did not return a phone call or email from a foreign direct investment (FDI) “mystery shopper.” This translates to missed investment opportunities that are particularly needed now as the competition for FDI is so fierce.

How do we manage revisions to GDP?

Soong Sup Lee's picture

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) estimates are some of the most heavily requested and used data published on  And as many users notice, the estimates are sometimes revised, occasionally  resulting in large changes from previously published values. Why do revisions happen, what information do we publish about those revisions, and where do you find it?

Jobs and skills: more answers to your questions

Lars Sondergaard's picture

(Last week, I posted: “Wanted: Jobs and your questions about how to find them” on this blog. We received dozens of questions back through social media. Lars Sondergaard, a World Bank expert on education, answered some of them in a video and now he gets to a few more here. He throws out some questions of his own and would love to hear back from you. — Anne Elicaño)

Anonymous asked through the blog: I was wondering about job outlook for chemical and mechanical engineers in the future”

If you are just about to graduate as an engineer and worry whether you will be able to find a job, I have some good news: in most countries, too few students study engineering relative to the jobs available with the results that engineering graduates tend to have an easier time finding employment than their peers. A lot is written about this vibrant demand, check out this article in Forbes about the demand for engineers  (or the World Bank’s “Putting Higher Education to Work: Skills and Research for Growth”)

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Cities

Dan Hoornweg's picture
  1. Number SevenBe Proactive. There’s much any city can do today. Even without sufficient budget or authorization from ‘senior levels’ of government, every city has a full menu of things that can be carried out immediately, generating positive momentum and goodwill. Business rewards the active entrepreneur, and the public desperately wants active cities. The rewards are great.
  2. Plan – Plan Right. All cities carry out master plans for their key services, long-term infrastructure needs, and land use planning. Before starting these plans, the end needs to be clear. They are guidance documents, aspirational, and ways to rally supporters and give fair hearing to opponents. But a plan, no matter how good, can never be seen as a finished product. Before starting the plan an agreement is needed that the city is moving forward on this issue: the plan is the vehicle to bring along as many supporters as possible and identify potential potholes and trouble en route. Like a city, good plans are living documents. 

Weekly Wire: the Global Forum

Kalliope Kokolis's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

A Working Definition of "Open Government"

"I’ve been spending a non-trivial amount of time lately watching and pondering the explosive uptake of the term "open government." This probably isn't too surprising given Global Integrity’s involvement in the nascent Open Government Partnership (OGP). As excited as I've been to witness the growth of OGP, the continued progress of the open data movement, and the emerging norms around citizen participation in government internationally, I've also been worrying that the longer we allow "open government" to mean any and everything to anyone, the risk increases that the term melts into a hollow nothingness of rhetoric.

My most immediate concern, which I've been chronicling of late over on this Tumblr, has been the conflation of "open data" with "open government," an issue well-explored by Harlan Yu and David Robinson in this paper. I've also been publicly concerned about the apparent emphasis put on open data - seemingly at the expense of other open government-related priorities - by the current UK government, which is slated to take over the co-chairmanship of OGP shortly. (An excellent unpacking of those concerns can be found in this letter from leading UK NGOs to the government.)" READ MORE

It’s Time to Collaborate to Tackle the Jobs & Youth Agenda

Anushka Wijesinha's picture

“While unemployment is around 5% in Sri Lanka, youth unemployment is nearly 3 times that. Youth unemployment is a critical challenge for us right now”, I said, in my remarks on Sri Lankan perspectives at a South Asian youth dialogue on the sidelines of the World Bank–IMF Spring Meetings last month. “Hey, what are you complaining about? Youth unemployment is almost 50% in Greece right now!”, was the immediate response I got from a World Banker in the audience. I was taken slightly aback, but it made it very clear to me - the youth unemployment issue is a gripping issue for many of the world’s economies right now, and even if the numbers may not always be on the same scale and each country has different reasons for why it’s a high-priority policy issue right now.

The last year and a half has seen everyone sit up and take notice of youth unemployment like never before – either because of the Arab Spring or protests by discontent educated youth in European capitals. The attention of economists and governments alike is on it – how did it become such a challenge? How can we address it?

Focusing on Job Quality and Youth

Jürgen Zattler's picture

Germany is one of the world's largest foreign aid donors, but like most countries the recent financial crisis poses challenges both at home and abroad. We spoke with Juergen Zattler – the Deputy Director General for Multilateral and European Policy in the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development – about how the ministry approaches job creation in developing countries and whether any lessons could be drawn from Germany’s own recent labor market experience.

Three Kids in a Garage

Aleem Walji's picture

Last week, Aleem Walji participated in GE’s global conference, ‘Disrupt or Be Disrupted’. He has written an entry that is being featured in The World Bank's "Let's Talk Development" blog. Below is an excerpt:

Photo credit: Let's talk Development BlogHow do you ‘disrupt’ your business from the core by building on your strengths and leveraging your assets? Jeff Immelt, GE’s CEO talked about the fear of losing too many engineers and scientists who don’t ‘fit corporate culture’ but proceed to found billion dollar businesses (Sergei Brin started at GE). It reminded me of a session at the Indian School of Business led by a senior Google Executive where he said that it’s not Microsoft, Facebook, or Twitter that keeps him up at night, it’s ‘three kids in a garage’. Hewlett Packard, Apple, Google, and Groupon, all started small, learned fast from failure, took risks nobody was willing to take, and then fundamentally disrupted business models and industries.

For the full blog entry, click here.

Follow Aleem Walji on Twitter!

Three Kids in a Garage

Aleem Walji's picture

Last week, I participated in GE’s global conference, ‘Disrupt or Be Disrupted’. The theme of the event was simple. As barriers to entry fall in nearly every industry, no company is safe or immune from being disrupted in a fundamental way. It’s no longer uncommon that industry leaders lose their edge in months, and wither to irrelevance in record time. Unless corporates have the courage to embrace and empower their ‘creatives’ they don’t stand a chance in sustaining their competitive advantage.