The Eurozone sovereign debt crisis, triggered by the 2008–09 global financial crisis, exposed macroeconomic imbalances in member countries that had accrued gradually following the advent of the euro in 1999. The growing current-account deficits in the Eurozone periphery and surpluses in the core were a main symptom of these imbalances (Figure 1).1 These patterns of intra-Eurozone current-account imbalances led to the accumulation of large external debts in the Eurozone periphery, matched by growing claims held by commercial banks in the core.
What we found from this survey stunned us: most Roma women answered that they were “happy” or “very happy” and the majority of Roma men had circled the sad face. We did not expect this outcome. In fact, we had expected to find the exact opposite.
On the surface, our research confirmed several common perceptions – especially concerning gender norms.
So why, then, do Roma women seem to be much happier than Roma men?
It was once called “the Burned School” and children weren’t able to attend classes. Just like many other things affected by years of conflict in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, Nahid Shahid School was the victim of violence that destroyed many aspects of the country.
"You can’t feed a cat with cream and food in the kitchen and expect him to go catch mice."
- Olav Thon, a Norwegian real estate developer and billionaire, who worked his way from being a poor farm boy to Norway’s wealthiest resident. He is listed in the Forbes list of billionaires as the 198th richest person in the world and is nicknamed "the fox."
Credit is actively used by only about 8 percent of people in developing countries and about 14 percent in developed countries (World Bank Findex). The observed gaps in financial inclusion thus suggest that greater access to credit is warranted.
However, finance can be a double-edged sword. Rapid financial development and deepening can cause accumulation of systemic risk and lead to costly financial crises (Reinhart and Rogoff 2009). Banking crises in Thailand (1997), Colombia (1982), and Ukraine (2008), for example, were preceded by excessive credit growth of 25 percent, 40 percent, and 70 percent per year, respectively. Providing the right amount of credit—not too much and not too little—is thus a major concern for countries and their policy makers.
When credit provision becomes excessive or insufficient is judged against an unobserved benchmark known as equilibrium credit. Estimating equilibrium credit is one of the most challenging tasks of determining excessive or insufficient credit provision.
- WDR 2014
In some respects, the Middle East and North Africa region has a very strong record in the area of education. For example, if we rank countries by increases in the average number of years of schooling between 1980 and 2010, nine of the top twenty are from the MENA region. This good performance in the quantity of education stands in sharp contrast to the comparatively weak performance of the region in sustaining high economic growth over the last three decades.
Lessons from the recent history of Central Europe and the Baltics
Economic growth has returned to Central Europe and the Baltics. With the exception of Slovenia, all countries are expected to see positive growth in 2014 - ranging from a tepid 0.8% in Croatia, to more respectable growth rates of 2.2% in Romania and 2.8% in Poland, to highs of 3-4.5% percent in the Baltic Republics. Europe, more broadly, is also turning the corner and is expected to grow at around 1.5%.
Amidst this much welcome growth, however, one question remains: will economic growth be good for the bottom 40 percent and can they expect to see their incomes grow?
The children entering school in 2014 will start working in about 2030. One can safely assume that the world then will rely even more on information and communications technologies. After all, technology is already transforming agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare, financial services, and more.