Last year, we sought inputs from the CSO/NGO community to strengthen the Global Monitoring Report (GMR) with stories that had a qualitative character of how people at community level had coped with the higher food prices due to recent food price spikes. The focus of the upcoming GMR, to be issued in April 2013, is on Rural-Urban Dynamics and the Millennium Development Goals. Clearly, domestic or in-country migration is a major contributing factor to urbanization. However, migrants’ expectations of better job opportunities or better quality and easier access to service delivery do not always materialize. Even though basic living standards, as measured by the MDGs, are often better in urban areas than in rural areas, this cannot be generalized for all residents of urban areas. Rural-urban migrants are quite often the ones who face a more challenging environment, particularly when expectations of finding a job are not fulfilled. Ensuring access to basic services, such as those defined by the MDGs, for everyone living in urban areas is one of the major challenges governments and citizens alike face during the urbanization process. GMR 2013 has set itself the task of bringing together a body of knowledge on this subject, i.e. how to make urbanization work for all.
"The biggest economy in the euro area, Germany's, is in a bad way. And its ills are a main cause of the euro's own weakness. [...] Thus the biggest economic problem for Europe today is how to revive the German economy."
This excerpt from The Economist in June 1999 illustrates that not so long ago, the "sick man in Europe" was Germany. The phenomenon of successive, recession-related waves of unemployment that ended up accumulating was considered to be a European problem, and Germany served as the prime example for the pattern of high and rising unemployment. The country faced severe problems in its labor market, which have often been linked to the high level of employment protection, high labor costs, and the strictly regulated labor market.
STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- I made a three-day trip to Sweden this week, meeting senior government officials in finance and development; addressing the Bank's Nordic-Baltic Governors and the Bank's Advisory Council on Gender and Development; and attending the Nobel Prize ceremony.
In this video, I reflect on the visit, the impact of the Nordic countries on global development, and the importance of promoting gender equality in the World Bank Group's work.
· Nice op-ed in the Washington Post by reporter Dylan Matthews calling for more testing of policy experiments
It is now 2050. Globally, we are 9 billion strong. Only 20% of us are directly involved in agriculture, and poor country economies have diversified. Yet we all have enough food. Technological innovation has played its part, but increased production has been largely driven by institutional reform. For example, industrialized countries have eliminated the subsidies that once undercut poor country agricultural production and exports. Land reform has spread in Latin America. Water reform has proceeded in Asia. Irrigation, which once constituted 70% of freshwater use, now consumes less than 50%. New agronomic practices are taking hold worldwide. The world is eating more healthily and locally. The sustainability of our agricultural systems is taken as non-negotiable by the world’s politicians.
The key? Institutional reform. And the key to institutional reform has been placing citizens and primary producers in more central oversight and ownership positions, with governments stepping back and taking more responsibility for managing at watershed and ecosystem levels.
What percentage of Sub-Saharan women under age 30 with a formal account use a community-based group to save? The answer is 26 percent, but until today you would have had difficulty finding that statistic. Not anymore. Today, the Development Research Group is publishing the complete micro dataset of the Global Financial Inclusion (Global Findex) dataset. This translates to over 150,000 individual-level observations, representing adults in 148 economies and 97 percent of the world’s adult population. Users can download the complete worldwide dataset, or datasets by country.
- Global Findex
It’s raining data. Financial inclusion data, that is. The Development Research Group has published the complete micro dataset of the Global Financial Inclusion (Global Findex) dataset on the Open Data Microdata Library. We’re talking over 150,000 individual-level observations, representing adults in 148 economies and 97 percent of the world’s adult population. Users can download the complete worldwide dataset, or datasets by country.
These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
Africa's digital election trackers
“Harry Kargbo barely slept the night before Sierra Leone's recent election for president. "I was so excited," he said. “I was up until 1 AM the night before. I was thinking, 'What will happen tomorrow? What will tomorrow look like?'"
Four hours later, Kargbo was up and out the door. Armed with nothing more than a mobile phone, he spent the next 10 hours navigating his way through a vehicle ban and police checkpoints, observing voting at polling stations around this West African country's capital, Freetown, and reporting on what he saw using the basic text messaging function on his phone." READ MORE
Who uses formal financial services? What policies are associated with greater use of accounts among the poor and rural residents? And why do certain segments of the population remain unbanked? Is it by choice or is it due to barriers such as high costs or large distances to the nearest bank branch? In a new paper we co-authored with Franklin Allen and Sole Martinez Peria, we explore these questions using an exciting new micro-dataset from the Global Financial Inclusion (Global Findex) database. This dataset, based on interviews with over 150,000 adults in 148 countries, lets us identify account ownership, the use of an account to save, and whether an account is used frequently, defined as three of more withdrawals per month. (For a detailed description of the data, see our earlier paper, Demirguc-Kunt and Klapper, 2012). Figure 1 shows summary statistics of our financial inclusion measures.
Although regional economic activity is expected to accelerate in 2012, growth is expected to retreat slightly in 2013. The single biggest risk to this forecast is prolonged political and policy uncertainty, which is a key constraint to private investment and trade, particularly trade in services, while political and social unrest are serious downside risks to the outlook.