Syndicate content

March 2019

How the new World Bank Group SDG Fund helps reach the Global Goals

World Bank Group SDG Fund Steering Committee's picture
A family submitting an application at the UNHCR registration center in Tripoli, Lebanon. © Mohamed Azakir/World Bank
A family submitting an application at the UNHCR registration center in Tripoli, Lebanon. © Mohamed Azakir/World Bank

World Bank Group SDG Fund Steering Committee members are Mahmoud Mohieldin; Karin Finkelston; Mamta Murthi; Robert Saum; Aradhana Kumar-Capoor; Ousseynou Nakoulima; Sebnem Akkaya 


We all want our work to have a positive impact on the people we serve, as reflected in national or global goals. The Sustainable Development Goals are one way to keep score on our progress, along with the World Bank Group Corporate Scorecard and other measures. But the SDGs are universally recognized as the global benchmark for progress.

As of yet, we haven’t done enough to show how the Bank Group’s contributes to the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda, but that is something that we’re working on.

That’s why we launched the World Bank Group Partnership Fund for the Sustainable Development Goals (WBG SDG Fund) which supports the growing demand for catalytic initiatives that can help countries strengthen implementation of the global goals.

How can we use analytical approaches to generate urban climate investments in Africa?

Prashant Kapoor's picture
As the world rushes to reduce the negative impacts of climate change, ambitious sub-national actors are rising to the fore. The recent One Planet Summit exemplifies this trend. Earlier this month, urban leaders joined CEOs, financial institutions, researchers, Heads of State, and more in the adoption of the Africa Pledge, calling for immediate voluntary actions and a specific commitment to invest in sustainable infrastructure across the continent. After all, the infrastructure investments we make today set the agenda for how cities will grow in the future.

For example, Sub-Saharan Africa is largely rural, but is also the region with the fastest urbanization rates. Currently, almost 40 percent of the people live in cities in Sub-Saharan Africa, but this is expected to grow to 60 percent or more by 2050. So while urbanization provides economic and social opportunity, it can overburden traditional municipal resource and service delivery approaches.
 
Figure 1: Urban and Rural Population Growth Rate - excluding high income countries (Source: World Development Indicators)

Keeping it clean: Can blockchain change the nature of land registry in developing countries?

Sebastian Kriticos's picture

The global economy is constantly exposed to disruptive technologies. Take the example of telecommunications: it was not long ago that everything revolved around landlines. Households would go to great lengths to ensure they were well-serviced with fixed-line infrastructure, while those left out endured long travel times for everyday activities like managing a business or connecting with family and friends. Those days are a bygone era. The mobile phone changed everything.  

Undernutrition in South Asia: Persistent and emerging challenges

Ashi Kathuria's picture
Indian Bengali tribal mother is feeding her baby on her lap in a rural background. Indian rural lifestyle
Indian Bengali tribal mother is feeding her baby on her lap in a rural background. Credit: Abir Bhattacharya/ Shutterstock

Childhood stunting—or being too short for one’s age—is one of the most significant barriers to human development and affects about 162 million children under five across the world.

The good news is that several countries in the region, Nepal, India and Sri Lanka, are progressing towards meeting the 2025 World Health Assembly target of reducing the number of stunted children.

But overall, South Asia remains home to about 62 million stunted children.

In this context, it’s critical to confront failures that impede progress toward better health and nutrition in the region. Even more so since some undernutrition challenges persist, and new ones are emerging.

One persistent challenge is the inadequate diets young children receive, especially in their first two years.

This starts early in a child’s life as breastfeeding rates remain low. Though early initiation of breastfeeding has more than doubled to 40 percent between 2000 and 2016, more than 20 million infants are still not being breastfed within the first hour of birth.

Progress is also uneven across the region: breastfeeding initiation ranges from 18 percent in Pakistan to about 90 percent in Sri Lanka.

Also worrisome is that exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of life has improved by a mere five percentage points to 52 percent across South Asia.

Further to that, the diets of infants over six months continue to be one of South Asia’s biggest and most persistent challenges.  

Only 12 percent of South Asian children receive the minimally acceptable diet they need to grow healthy.

Weekly links March 29: dynamic experimentation, making data accessible and transparent, summaries of a gazillion conference papers, assessing economic significance, and more...

David McKenzie's picture
  • Max Kasy blogs about his new work on designing multiple experiments for policy choice – “Trying to identify the best policy is different from estimating the precise impact of every individual policy: as long as we can identify the best policy, we do not care about the precise impacts of inferior policies. Yet, despite this, most experiments follow protocols that are designed to figure out the impact of every policy, even the obviously inferior ones.... The key to our proposal is staging: rather than running the experiment all at once, we propose that researchers start by running a first round of the experiment with a smaller number of participants. Based on this first round, you will be able to identify which treatments are clearly not likely to be the best. You can then go on to run another round of the experiment where you focus attention on those treatments that performed well in the first round. This way you will end up with a lot more observations to distinguish between the best performing treatments.” Sounds very cool, but it does depend on short-term outcomes being your main objects of interest.
  • Why researchers should publish their data – the J-PAL blog provides some stats on the increase in data sharing requirements and practices, and the intriguing claim that “papers in top economics and political science journals with public data and code are cited between 30-45 percent more often than papers without public data and code” – which is based on preliminary work that uses changes in journal data availability requirements to attempt to make this a causal statement.

Nepal’s promise and opportunities

Hartwig Schafer's picture
Nepal is in many ways emerging from that disaster as a new country
Photo: World Bank

Nepal is on the brink of a new era. Four years ago this April, the powerful Gorkha earthquake devasted parts of Nepal and shook Kathmandu to the core.

Today, Nepal is in many ways emerging from that disaster as a new country: It is young, with more than 40 percent of Nepalis in the 16-40 age group.  It is ambitious, with plans for new highways, new mass transit infrastructure, new airports, more trade, more energy, and growth.

And it is resilient. Last November, I watched people literally building back their lives from the ruins in Ramechhap, one of the earthquake’s hardest-hit districts. Much has been said about the strength of the Nepali people. I’m humbled to have witnessed it firsthand.

With each visit to Kathmandu, I’m increasingly impressed by the dynamism of the city and the aspirations of Nepal’s young people. They are eager for education, for opportunity. They shouldn’t have to leave Nepal to get it.

As investors gather for the Nepal Investment Summit, this is the perfect time for Nepal to send a message to the world -- that Nepal is back on its feet and looking ahead to a more prosperous future.

With a stable government and an ambitious economic plan, Nepal is, for the first time in decades, in a position to dream big and to carry out a long-term vision that includes more and better services and opportunities for people.

Things are moving in the right direction. Extreme poverty is expected to decline from 15 percent in 2010 to a 10 percent in 2019, based on a poverty line of $1.90 a day. Economic growth in the last three years has been robust

The goal of becoming a middle-income country by 2030 -- in just 11 years – is possible.

Getting the balance right: Minimizing food safety risks and facilitating trade in North Macedonia

Violane Konar-Leacy's picture
Many developing countries require technical inspections — by food and veterinary agencies (FVA) and phytosanitary agencies — to be carried out on all imported commodities. Inspections can be essential in preventing the entry of serious pests, diseases and toxins. However, the application of routine inspections for all imported agricultural commodities is often expensive and ignores the fact that commodities present differing risks for the movement of pests and diseases.

Evolution of school principal training: Lessons from Latin America

Melissa Adelman's picture
After teachers, principals are considered to be the most important school input to student learning. Photo: World Bank

Addressing the global learning crisis requires improving the experience of young students, to help them learn more and progress further in their education.  Principals are at the heart of shaping that experience – from the cleanliness of the building, to the way that students and teachers interact with each other, to the motivation and effort teachers make inside their classrooms.    So it is no surprise that, after teachers, principals are generally considered to be the most important school input to student learning (see here and here).  Yet principals – how they are selected, trained, supported, and incentivized – have only recently come to the forefront of education policy discussions in many middle and lower income countries. 

Cracking open the green bond market – What’s next?

Ruth Hupart's picture
From left to right, Jean-Marie Masse, Chief Investment Officer, IFC Financial Institutions Group, and Flora Chao, Global Head of Funding, IFC Treasury, and Frédéric Samama, Co-Head Institutional Clients Coverage, Amundi, at the Climate Bond Awards ceremony


“We need to see people cracking open this market like IFC did in 2013,” declared Sean Kidney, CEO of the Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI). He was referring to IFC’s issuance of two $1 billion green bonds as he set the scene for announcing CBI’s 'Green Bond Development Bank of 2018' award to IFC at a ceremony on March 5, 2019. IFC was recognized for its trailblazing work as issuer, investor and technical advisor. IFC was also recognized for its partnership with Amundi in creating the Amundi Planet Emerging Green One Fund. This is focused on green bonds in emerging markets and is the largest green bond fund in the world. 

Moonshot Africa and jobs

Pinelopi Goldberg's picture

Is new technology “transformative” or “disruptive”?  I’ve heard this topic hotly debated at meetings both within the World Bank and more broadly.  The issue is not just linguistic hair-splitting.  Technology optimists prefer the first term and see new technologies, digitization in particular, as an opportunity for low-income developing countries to leapfrog into the 21st century. Moonshot Africa, an ambitious World Bank initiative to connect individuals, firms, and governments in Africa to fast internet is inspired by this vision. Technology pessimists on the other hand emphasize the disruptive effects digital technologies are expected to have on labor markets. Concerns about robots and algorithms replacing human labor increasingly dominate the public debate not only in advanced economies, but also in emerging and developing economies. Against this background, it is natural to ask how these two views are compatible. To be more specific: How will Moonshot Africa create jobs on a continent where job creation is needed more than anywhere else in the world with Africa’s working-age population projected to rise by 70% in the next twenty years?


Pages