Most of us in the developed world don’t think twice about how we conduct our financial lives. Our paychecks appear automatically in our checking accounts; bills are paid with the tap of a few keys; we swipe our debit card and a barista hands us a cup of coffee. Simple. Convenient. Low cost. Digital. For people in the developing world, it’s another story. It’s much more complicated. It’s hardly ever convenient. And rarely digital.
I’m speaking at the Alliance for Financial Inclusion’s Global Policy Forum today to share the results of a new report from the Gates Foundation and McKinsey & Company, Fighting Poverty, Profitably: Transforming the economics of payments to build sustainable, inclusive financial systems, completed about payment systems around the world. We wanted to learn more about the costs associated with current payment systems and find ways to provide poor people in developing countries with affordable, efficient and secure ways to send and receive money.
The numbers are staggering. Almost one third of the populations of Algeria and Morocco are under the age of 15, with Tunisia following close behind. This ‘youth bulge’ is placing immense pressure on the education systems of the Maghreb.
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Education is one of the most important tools young people need to get good jobs. That’s why the Bank works with national governments, United Nations agencies, civil society organizations, and other partners in developing countries to ensure everyone has access to education.
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It is not often that you find Indigenous Peoples from around the world meeting in one of the most important baroque castles of Germany. Perched on a cliff, with a natural moat created by the river Lahn, the castle of Weilburg allows a bird’s eye view of the surrounding forest landscape.
These forests were not always lush and thriving. Centuries before, the construction of the castle led to massive logging in the adjacent forests and finally the ruling aristocrat ordered restricted use of timber for construction and introduced a new building code. As a result, Weilburg became the national center of a novel construction technique using clay and straw, which is now seen in towns across Germany.
Coincidently, a new approach to tackling deforestation is also what 80 Indigenous Peoples’ leaders, government representatives, civil society practitioners and international experts from 24 countries discussed this week at a three day workshop in Weilburg’s castle.
The central challenge was to identify practical approaches to ensure the full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples in REDD+, a performance-based mechanism for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. The meeting was jointly organized by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) and the UN-REDD Programme.
New estimates of child mortality were released today by the UN Inter-Agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UN IGME), and show the global child (under-five) mortality rate has dropped 47 percent since 1990 - from 90 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990, to 48 in 2012. This decline represents substantial progress, but the rate of decline remains insufficient to reach Millennium Development Goal 4 (MDG 4) of a two-thirds reduction in 1990 levels by 2015.
But a closer look at the data show that just looking at the average trend hides the accelerated decline in rates in recent years. The average decline in rates was just 1.2 percent per year between 1990 and 1995, but between 2005 and 2012 there has been average annual reduction in child mortality rates of 3.9 percent. This recent progress is close to the average rate needed to be “on track” to meet MDG 4, since under-five mortality rates needs to be going down by at least 4 percent annually.
The Yangon Circular Railway is the local commuter rail network in Yangon, Myanmar. In this recording, World Bank Country Manager Kanthan Shankar boards the train on a three-hour ride around the city. "You see a panorama of life unfolding before you and you feel a part of the picture," he says, reflecting on the daily lives of the people in Yangon, "There's a huge opportunity for commerce and private sector growth. Yangon and Myanmar is lucky that it has basic infrastructure in place. It's a matter of rehabilitating these and aiming for a smoother ride to pave the way for commerce,"