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January 2016

Creating a global learning commons for development knowledge: the Open Learning Campus

Abha Joshi-Ghani's picture
We have just launched the Open Learning Campus (OLC) with an event that blew my own expectations out of the water. As I reflect on the journey that brought us here I am impressed and inspired by the collaboration and partnerships we created along the way. The keenness of Bank staff and partners to share their knowledge and to learn. The conviction that we have to get what we know out there- among our clients.

Working from home: a Kyrgyz jobs diagnostic

Jennifer Keller's picture
We recently undertook a Jobs Diagnostic in the Kyrgyz Republic to help the country move away from a migration-led development model. The jobs challenge in the Kyrgyz Republic extends beyond creating more jobs.  The country also needs better jobs in terms of higher productivity and wages.  Many Kyrgyz have moved abroad to find jobs. The incomes of these migrants and the remittances they sent allowed the country to pull itself out of the deep economic collapse following independence. But the country now needs policies that allow these workers to stay home.

Four charts on gender gaps we still need to close

Tariq Khokhar's picture

The World Bank Group has just launched a new gender data portal that brings together sex-disaggregated and gender-relevant data on topics ranging from education, demographics, and health to jobs, asset ownership, and political participation. We’ve also just released the Little Data Book on Gender 2016 along with online tables that are linked to the latest data available in the World Development Indicators

Gender data are one of the most visited parts of our data site, and these new resources make it easier than ever to see our data’s gender dimensions. The country and topic dashboards give an overview of the distribution and trends in data across important themes, and the online tables and book are a useful reference for the most commonly accessed data. 

Below I’ve picked a few charts from the new portal related to the four pillars of the Bank Group’s new gender equality strategy. These aims focus on improving human endowments, through better access to health, education, and social protection; opening up more and better jobs by tackling issues such as skills gaps and care arrangements; expanding women’s access to and control over assets;  and enhancing women’s voice and agency, meaning their ability to make themselves heard and exert control over key aspects of their own lives.
 

Global economic prospects: sluggish emerging market activity to weigh on global growth in 2016

Carlos Arteta's picture

Global economic growth is projected to pick up modestly in 2016 to 2.9 percent after a disappointing 2015, the January 2016 Global Economic Prospects report says.  Growth slowed last year to a 2.4 percent rate, 0.4 percentage points below earlier projections, amid falling commodity prices and weak flows of trade and capital.

Growth is expected to edge up this year as advanced economies grow more solidly, commodity prices stabilize, China continues to gradually rebalance its economy and global financial conditions remain benign despite rising United States interest rates.  Even so, the forecast is lower than projections of six months ago, principally due to the simultaneous slowdown in major emerging market economies.
 

Global Weekly: Key Channels of Growth Spillovers from Emerging Markets

Global Macroeconomics Team's picture

A growth slowdown in emerging markets, in particular in one or several of the BRICS - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – could have significant spillovers to the rest of the world through trade and finance. Emerging markets have become major export destinations for the rest of the world as well as important sources of remittances, commodity supply and demand, foreign direct investment and official development assistance.

From method to market: Some thoughts on the responses to "Tomayto tomahto"

Humanity Journal's picture

In this final post, Deval Desai and Rebecca Tapscott respond to comments by Lisa Denney and Pilar Domingo, Michael WoolcockMorten Jerven, Alex de Waal, and Holly Porter.

Paktika Youth Shura Our paper, Tomayto Tomahto, is in essence an exhortation and an ethical question. The exhortation: treat and unpack fragility research (for we limit our observations to research conducted for policy-making about fragile and conflict-affected places) as an institution of global governance, a set of complex social processes and knowledge practices that produce evidence as part of policy-making. The ethical question: all institutions contain struggles over the language and rules by which they allocate responsibility between individual actors (ethics) and structural factors (politics) for their effects—this might be law, democratic process, religious dictate. In light of the trends of saturation and professionalization that we identify (and as Jerven astutely points out in his response, a profound intensification of research), is it still sufficient to allocate responsibility for the effects of fragility research using the language and rules of method?

The five responses to our piece enthusiastically take up the exhortation. A series of positions are represented: the anthropologist (Porter), the applied development researcher (Denney and Domingo), the anthropologist/practitioner (DeWaal), the practitioner/sociologist (Woolcock), and the economist (Jerven). They unpack the profoundly socio-political nature of the relationship between research and policy from a number of different perspectives: Porter’s intimate view from the field, Jerven’s sympathetic ear in the statistics office, Woolcock and Denney and Domingo’s feel for the alchemic moments when research turns into policy at the global level, and de Waal’s distaste for the global laboratories in which those moments occur, preferring the local re-embedding of research. These all, of course, spatialize the research-policy nexus, just as we do; however, all then ask us to privilege one space over the others.

Tunisia faces tough strategic choices as demand for energy begins to outstrip supply

Moëz Cherif's picture
Shutterstock l rj lerich

Tunisia faces some tough choices for meeting its future energy needs as the domestic production of gas is expected to start declining by 2020.  Should it import more piped gas from Algeria or liquid natural gas (LNG) from the international market? Should it build an electricity interconnector to Sicily that would enable it to tap into southern Italy’s power surplus? Or should it start importing coal for electricity production?

(Almost) middle class

Oscar Calvo-González's picture

The group of Latin Americans still vulnerable to fall back into poverty has moved tantalizingly close to middle class status in the past decade. The so-called vulnerable, who have escaped poverty but have not yet made it to the middle class, remain the largest socio-economic group in Latin America. In fact, their share of the population increased slightly (38 percent in 2013, up from 35 percent in 2003). But, importantly, their living conditions improved significantly in the same period. The incomes of the vulnerable are today much closer to those of the middle class – even if their growth in incomes was not enough to cross over to the middle class.

Source: SEDLAC (World Bank and CEDLAS). Note: The curves report the kernel density estimate of the logarithm of family per capita income. They are calculated using pooled harmonized data from 17 countries. In order to analyze the same set of countries every year, interpolation was applied when country data were not available for a given year. 

The "starchitect" of the poor: the keys to Alejandro Aravena's work

Luis Triveno's picture

Pritzker Prize winner Alejandro Aravena’s Elemental firm designed the “half a good house”, which includes gaps between the houses for residents to fill according to their own needs.
Cities are the world’s factories of progress and prosperity. Eighty-percent of all production takes place in our urban areas; it’s where most economic opportunities are. People know it, and this is why five million people migrate to cities all over the world. Every month.
 
The problem is that most cities are not prepared to absorb these numbers. The tragic result is chaos, inequality and environmental damage. One clear manifestation of the mismatch between people’s demand for opportunities to prosper and the inability of cities to maximize the benefits of agglomeration while minimizing the costs of congestion is the omnipresence of slums throughout the world. Today, one billion people live in slums; worse still, many of those settlements are in areas highly vulnerable to natural disasters. By 2030, this figure is expected to double.
 
To absorb this ever-increasing demand for affordable urban housing, would require creating, in effect, a new city capable of housing 1 million people – every week during the next 15 years. Governments are already overwhelmed. The private solution of reducing the size of dwellings and relocating them to the peripheries of cities has produced economic and social segregation, which has become a ticking bomb for unrest.
 
During the past 12 years, the Chilean architect, Alejandro Aravena, 48, has offered solutions to the global housing crisis that are so creative, speedy, budget-conscious and scalable that he has been awarded the 2016 Pritzker Prize, considered the Nobel for architecture. His work—and the prize—challenge architects to envision innovative buildings not just for businesses and other wealthy clients but for all the people.

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