On Feb. 18-19, 2013, the World Bank and World Health Organization held a joint meeting in Geneva to explore ways that countries are progressing toward universal health coverage.
· On the FAI blog, Jonathan Morduch discusses what’s next in microfinance, in terms of how experiments can move towards allowing greater external validity.
At the 9th South Asia Economics Students' Meet on Green Growth, participants shared their vision about South Asian cities of the future. These are their innovative ideas.
The creation and expansion of urban centers has been a hallmark of the development process. As per capita incomes in South Asia have increased, urbanization has expanded from 18% in the early 1970’s to 30% in 2010. This will continue to expand as people are drawn to cities for the opportunities to realize their aspirations.
These large urban communities, however, provide significant challenges, such as a high density, pollution and traffic congestion, all of which reduces the quality of life for its residents. By designing cities with the environment in mind, we will be able to reduce energy use and limit waste. Green growth in the cities of the future will minimize the ecological footprint and improve living standards
What will it take to make this dream a reality?
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What can be done to help African youth improve their prospects for a brighter future?
The first step might be to understand the challenges they face.
Recently, Microsoft Chairman and philanthropist Bill Gates wrote a terrific piece in the Wall Street Journal on why we need to measure the world’s problems to solve them. “You can achieve incredible progress if you set a clear goal and find a measure that will drive progress toward that goal…,” said Gates.
New debt statistics show that the composition of long term debt inflows in 2011 follows pre-crisis patterns.
Debt statistics are central to understanding the impact of the financial crisis; the World Bank's International Debt Statistics provides a detailed picture of debt flows of 128 developing countries. Now that the 2013 edition has been released, and as a member of the team that put it together, I thought I would look back at what the data tell us actually happened to international debt flows to developing countries before and after the recent financial crisis.
The extent to which local communities benefit from commodity booms has been subject to wide but inconclusive investigations. This paper draws from a new district-level database to investigate the local impact on socioeconomic outcomes of mining activity in Peru, which grew almost twentyfold in the last two decades. The authors find evidence that producing districts have better average living standards than otherwise similar districts: larger household consumption, lower poverty rate, and higher literacy. However, the positive impacts from mining decrease significantly with administrative and geographic distance from the mine, while district-level consumption inequality increases in all districts belonging to a producing province. The inequalizing impact of mining activity, both across and within districts, may explain part of the current social discontent with mining activities in the country, even despite its enormous revenues.
Read the working paper to know more.
The data are un-ambiguous: Kenya’s economy is starting to catch up with the rest of the world. But many of you probably wonder if that is really true, especially when observing the streets of Nairobi or the daily life in rural areas. In other words, is economic catch-up translating into social progress? Will today’s children live a better life than their parents? Will everyone enjoy decent social and infrastructure services in the new Kenya? Let’s zoom in on the case of health.
How healthy is Kenya today? Simply said, it could do better. This is important from an economic standpoint, because a population’s health is a key foundation for development. Healthy populations are more productive; they also save and invest more. On average and all other things equal, one extra year of life-expectancy is associated with an increase in a country’s GDP by 4 percent.
These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
“Mobile phones along with local knowledge and field support, can help to ensure the effective diagnosis and treatment of malaria in remote rural areas, according to a study in Bangladesh.
Researchers examined almost 1,000 phone calls to report suspected cases of malaria that were made over two years by inhabitants of a hilly and forested part of the country bordering Mynamar. This area, called the Chittagong Hill Tracts, has Bangladesh’s highest malaria rates.” READ MORE
Over the past few decades, there has been a global resurgence of large-scale immigration. In 2010, according to the United Nations, the number of immigrants worldwide reached a high of about 214 million people — which is about 3.1 percent of the world's population. The biggest flows have been from developing to developed countries, where immigrants now make up about 10.3 percent of the total population. Not surprisingly, one of the hottest topics these days is about which types of immigration policies make sense for a government as a whole even if some specific groups lose out in the process.
Find a good longread on development? Tweet it to @worldbank with the hashtag #longreads.
“Totally drug resistant” tuberculosis in South Africa became a hot topic on Reddit with the release of a new paper in Emerging Infectious Diseases, a journal published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The paper was cited in a popular US News and World Report story describing the struggle of health care providers to confront the problem, as well as one doctor’s personal battle with the bacteria. For more on the response angle, check out the Wall Street Journal’s story about a plan by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa to fight drug-resistant TB.