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July 2016

Why The First 1,000 Days Matter Most

Roger Thurow's picture



This blog first appeared in the New York Times on June 20, 2016.

Nutrition is not only fundamental to an individual’s cognitive and physical growth, it is also the cornerstone of all development efforts, whether improving education, health, income or equality, at home or abroad. And the most important time for good nutrition is in the 1,000 days from the beginning of a woman’s pregnancy to the second birthday of her child. What happens in those first days determines to a large extent the course of a child’s life – his or her ability to grow, learn, work, succeed – and, by extension, the long-term health, stability and prosperity of the society in which that child lives.

Market impacts of patent reforms in developing countries

Aparajita Goyal's picture

Intellectual property (IP) protection is a heavily debated issue particularly in the developing world, as many formerly poor countries have experienced rapid economic growth and now represent potentially profitable markets for innovating firms. Partly because of this growing importance, members of the World Trade Organization were required to adopt the Trade Related Intellectual Property Standards (TRIPS) intended to establish uniform IP standards including a product patent system in all fields of technology. Many developing countries such as India, China, and Brazil have recently begun creating these systems (and these policies are currently being considered in many African countries). As a result, little is known about the effects of these policies in the developing world.

Can we quantify learning globally to measure progress on SDG 4?

Husein Abdul-Hamid's picture

This is a companion blog to the series of blogs from the 2016 Edition of World Development Indicators. This blog draws on data from the World Bank’s EdStats database.

Many countries are struggling to improve national learning averages in core subjects such as reading, mathematics and science. While the majority of students reach the lowest international benchmark level in core subjects by the age of 14 or 15, a significant proportion do not. For those that fail, they are unlikely to be able to master these skills by the end of their schooling. This will impact on their ability to join the labor force and have productive jobs. Sustainable Development Goal 4 looks to “ensure inclusive and quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” in an attempt to widen the talents of a country’s future workforce and set the stage for increased economic growth. Education assessments, while not wholly comparable, shed light on countries’ achievements or gaps in the provision of a high quality and effective education system.
 

China: how have farmers benefited from the World Bank Integrated Modern Agriculture Development Project?

Alessandra Gage's picture
 Alessandra  Gage/FAO
Evergreen Cooperative member, Photo: Alessandra Gage/FAO
On a warm, rainy day in Shantian Village of Luo Fang Town in Jiangxi Province, farmer Liu Jian, along with five other locals, welcomed our World Bank mission team, including technical experts from the Investment Centre of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), into his home.

All six have benefited from the Integrated Modern Agriculture Development Project  (IMAD)  Project since 2014, when implementation began by the County Office for Comprehensive Agriculture Development.

Argentina’s chance to leap ahead

Sri Mulyani Indrawati's picture

View from Villa 31 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. © Mary Stokes/World Bank

So far, 2016 has been a year filled with challenges and uncertainties. Global economic growth is weak, commodity prices remain low, and international trade isn’t picking up. In fact, voters around the world are questioning long-held beliefs in open markets, and populists are exploiting their fears by suggesting divisive policies and promising easy solutions to complex issues. Against this backdrop, it would seem that staying afloat is already a remarkable feat by any country.
 
But to make progress in the fight against poverty and to reactivate economic activity to provide opportunities for all, countries have to do much more. They have to tackle necessary and sometimes difficult reforms, deal with tradeoffs, but most of all, they need to stay focused on what is good for most people in the long-term.

START-Ups and SCALE-Ups in Western Europe and the World

Simon Bell's picture



At a recent European Commission SME Envoy meeting in Ljubljana, Slovenia, the European group responsible for advising on policy and strategic directions for SME support in the EU discussed options for the way forward. 

Battered by continued anemic growth since the 2008 global financial crisis, hit with a flood of Middle Eastern refugees, and (in early June) facing the possibility of Brexit, the mood was anything but upbeat and the future of “Project Europe” seemed to hang in the balance.

SMEs in most Western European countries represent over 95% of all registered firms, account for 60% of jobs in many countries, and supply as much as 50% to national income. All of this makes SMEs’ contribution to the economy crucial.  Yet, since the financial crisis, banks in many countries haven’t managed to bring their SME lending portfolios back up to pre-crisis levels. Many are deleveraging out of riskier lending such as SME loans. Venture capital in Europe remains well below its levels of 8 years ago. And SME capital markets and SME securitization of loans continue to be severely battered by the continent’s ongoing economic malaise.

Interview with Cecilia Lerman on internet policy in Latin America

CGCS's picture

In this interview, Celia Lerman, professor and researcher of Intellectual Property at the Universidad Torcuato Di Tella law school, discusses her path to internet governance work and her recent publication on internet policy in Latin America, “Multistakeholderism and Internet Governance".  Lerman reflects on the crucial role of multistakeholderism in the movement for open democracy and the broader issues facing the implementation of a successful model of internet governance. 

How did you first become interested in internet governance and multistakeholderism?

I became interested in internet governance early in my career when I was working as an intellectual property lawyer in Buenos Aires, working with international domain name disputes. The procedures for solving these disputes caught my attention: it seemed so strange to me that the domain name disputes I was working on had to be submitted to a panel based in Geneva and hold the procedure in English, even when both parties were based in Latin America and spoke Spanish as a first language. That sparked my interest in exploring better rules and solutions for Latin American internet users relating to their rights on the Internet.

Soon after I started working in academia in 2011, I participated in my first ICANN meeting as a fellow in Dakar, Senegal, and in the Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest organized by American University. Both meetings were incredible windows to internet governance and policy discussions for me.
 

What overlap is there between the fields of internet governance and your other expertise, such as intellectual property law?

The overlap between internet governance and intellectual property law is feared and loathed by many, especially when IP laws are used to restrict the sharing of content over the internet and jeopardize freedom of expression. But the intersection is not necessarily negative. Interestingly, IP laws are uniquely helpful to think through novel issues of internet policy and governance, and what the rules about intangible property should be like. This may be why many IP scholars are increasingly involved in the field of internet policy.

Quote of the week: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Sina Odugbemi's picture

“I think I’d rather you not engage [with Africa] than engage in a way that is patronising. It comes from a sense of superiority; it comes from an ignorance that refuses to acknowledge itself."

- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a Nigerian writer. She is the author of three novels, Purple Hibiscus (2003), Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), and Americanah (2013) and a short story collection, The Thing around Your Neck (2009). She has received numerous awards and distinctions, including the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction (2007) and the MacArthur Genius Grant (2008).  In her writings, Adichie explores the intersection of the personal and the public by placing the intimate details of the lives of her characters within the larger contemporary social and political forces of their countries. Dividing her time between Nigeria and the United States, she is widely appreciated for her unimpeded yet balanced depiction of the post-colonial era of Nigeria and of racial divides in the United States.

Chart: The World's Youngest Populations Are in Africa

Tariq Khokhar's picture

A third of the world’s population is under 20 years old. But some countries are younger than others. In around 40 African countries, over 50% the population is under 20. By contrast, in 30 richer countries, less than 20% of the population is under 20.

Conditional on your parents, does your country matter for early childhood human capital? Surprisingly no!

David McKenzie's picture
There is a large literature that emphasizes the importance of investments made in early life for lifetime outcomes. Does growing up in a poor, conflict-afflicted country have a negative impact? There are many reasons to think yes, including the disease environment, quality of medical facilities, availability of nutrition, quality of early-childhood education facilities etc.

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