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March 2017

Special Issue of Food Policy Debunks Myths about African Agriculture

Vini Vaid's picture

In this era of alternative facts, the use of high-quality data to set the record straight is more important than ever. In Africa, there has been a pressing need to revisit the conventional wisdom on the region’s agriculture. However, relevant data—where available—have long been outdated and inadequate.

With this in mind, the World Bank’s Africa Chief Economist Office and its partners initiated the Agriculture in Africa– Telling Facts from Myths project. It explores the validity of the conventions surrounding Africa’s agriculture and its farmers’ livelihoods that experts and policymakers considered as self-evident truths. The impact of such stylized facts cannot be underestimated. They shape the policy debates and drive research agendas

Now, a Special Issue of Food Policy brings together 12 open-access articles based on the project, drawing mainly on data from the first rounds (2009–2012) of the nationally representative Living Standards Measurement Study-Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (LSMS-ISA). Four innovative features of the LSMS-ISA data—integration, individualization, ICT use, and intertemporal tracking—allowed for a more refined insight into African agriculture and rural livelihoods.

Campaign Art: #LetsTalk

Darejani Markozashvili's picture

People, Spaces, Deliberation bloggers present exceptional campaign art from all over the world. These examples are meant to inspire.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), globally more than 300 million people suffer from depression. However, less than half of these affected seek and get help. In addition to stigma surrounding depression, one of the biggest barriers why people are unable to seek and get help is the lack of government spending worldwide for mental health services. “According to WHO’s “Mental Health Atlas 2014” survey, governments spend on average 3% of their health budgets on mental health, ranging from less than 1% in low-income countries to 5% in high-income countries.”  

Mental health needs to be at the forefront of the humanitarian and development agenda, in order to achieve the set Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Governments around the world must scale up their investment in mental health services, as the current commitments are inadequate. The study published by “The Lancet Psychiatry” calls for greater investment in mental health services. “We know that treatment of depression and anxiety makes good sense for health and wellbeing; this new study confirms that it makes sound economic sense too,” said Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO. “We must now find ways to make sure that access to mental health services becomes a reality for all men, women and children, wherever they live.”

Profiles of the Diaspora: Mounir Beltaifa

Web Team's picture


It has been 34 years since Mounir Beltaifa left Tunisia for France, spending five of those years in Morocco. Beltaifa was born in Kalâa Kébira, Tunisia, in 1964, and attended primary and secondary school in Sousse, where he distinguished himself as a student. In 1981, he packed his bags for Paris, where he enrolled in preparatory courses for admission to the grandes écoles (France’s system of elite universities). He completed his academic curriculum and graduated from the civil engineering school, École des Ponts/ParisTech, in 1988.

10 journals for publishing a short economics paper

David Evans's picture
In the middle of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, I noticed that there were numbers being released on the number of orphans the outbreak was creating, but no transparent methodology for where those numbers were coming from. My colleague Anna Popova and I constructed numbers based on age- and gender-specific mortality and fertility rates, and we submitted the paper to the Lancet. It was a short but – we thought – useful paper.

Project Safety 101 for Kids in Tuvalu

Nora Weisskopf's picture



When I was in primary school, there was a large construction project happening on the road in front of our house. I remember it was loud, dusty and the subject of constant complaints from our neighbors. However, my most vivid memory is of all the shiny, majestic machinery being delivered by the workers in their bright orange uniforms.

There was an immediate fascination among the children with these powerful and temptingly dangerous machines. Of course our parents all drilled us with the same message – “Do not go near, do not touch, do not interfere with the nice men repairing the roads,” and so we abided, but the curiosity and thrill of potentially touching these metal monsters never entirely subsided. Luckily, working in the transport sector now I get to be around construction equipment all the time!

Measuring the environment for e-commerce: A new tool

Michael Ferrantino's picture
In order to promote e-commerce for development, policymakers and analysts increasingly want to know what the conditions are in their countries to support online business activity, and how their countries stack up against others. To this end, the multi-stakeholder eTrade for All initiative, an initiative launched in 2016 at the UNCTAD Ministerial Conference in Nairobi to improve the ability of developing countries and countries with economies in transition to engage in and benefit from e-commerce, has developed a new tool for assessing the e-trade environment at the country level. This tool was developed jointly by UNCTAD and the World Bank Group’s Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice and utilizes data from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), UNCTAD, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Universal Postal Union (UPU), World Economic Forum, and the World Bank Group.
 

Why we believe in Results-Based Financing

Jessica Lee's picture
 Minna Mattero / World Bank)
Results-based financing can force conversation to focus on developing a theory of change that starts with results. (Photo: Minna Mattero / World Bank)


We just got back from Nepal to see how results-based financing has, or hasn’t, changed the way their education system functions. Over lunch, we asked our counterparts at the Ministry of Education: “What’s been different since the introduction of results-based financing?” Their response: “Oh, we just pay more attention to the indicators.” While this may sound peripheral, it speaks to the power of RBF.

3 challenges Latin American economies must overcome to boost intraregional trade

Anabel Gonzalez's picture
In the latter part of the 20th century, trade integration helped drive economic growth in advanced and developing countries, lifting millions out of poverty.
 
Since the early 2000s, however, a slowdown in the pace of trade reform, a post-crisis uptick in protectionism, and risk of further reversals are taking a toll on trade, productivity and income growth. In this context, regional integration is increasingly seen as a powerful driver of growth and new opportunities.
 
Regional integration: a worldwide trend
 

How to speed up commercial cases in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Georgia Harley's picture


In Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), complaints about the business climate are pervasive – and many blame the courts. Evidence suggests that poor court performance affects the economy in BiH more than almost anywhere else in Europe and Central Asia, and likely beyond.  
 
By way of example, imagine you’re a local business and you have a dispute with a supplier worth less than 2,500 EUR. You’ll wait an average of 702 days before you hear your court decision...and that’s before the decision is even enforced!

So what can be done?

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