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Europe and Central Asia

Poland's regions: from lagging to catching up

Anna Wellenstein's picture
 
Rzeszow, Poland. Photo by Terra Libera via Flickr Creative Commons
Rzeszow, Poland. (Photo by Terra Libera via Flickr Creative Commons)


On May 31 we had the pleasure of presenting the first phase of the Poland Catching-up Regions Program, an initiative of the European Commission and the World Bank. In just over one year, this initiative has successfully addressed a number of key development challenges faced by two "lagging regions" in Poland – Podkarpackie and Świetokrzyskie.

The initiative's successes range from faster business registration in Rzeszow and Kielce (the capitals of the two regions, respectively) to the setting-up of a vocational education training system in Świteokrzyskie and design of a Technology Transfer Center in Rzeszow. Partnered with outstanding teams from the European Commission and Poland, the World Bank was able to support this progress by bringing together global expertise and hands-on collaboration in both design and implementation of policies. This is important for Poland and for the lessons it provides for other developing countries. 

Taking lessons from rural India to Azerbaijan

Ahmed Ailyev's picture

I have always believed that communities are like musical instruments. You need to tune them properly to hear their divine music. I actually heard this music from rural communities in India. And their song, which still resonates within me, is something I will now take back to my own country.
 
In May 2017, my colleagues and I from the World Bank’s Azerbaijan Rural Investment Project were on an exposure visit to India to see firsthand how self help groups and cooperatives were impacting the lives of rural people.
 

Kerala: AzRIP and Bank team at the Trade Fair of all SHG livelihood groups across Kerala organized by Kudumbashree at Kollam.

In my years of work in rural development, I have found that the unique feature we as human beings have is the ability to share  skills, values and experiences. As we travelled across six states, this proved to be true in all the people we met, be it in large commercial companies or in remote rural  communities.
 
The people told us that transparency and honesty were an essential factor in their success. I also found that the spirit of cooperation was clearly present. Cooperatives belong to all members, they said, and the managers were there to serve the members. The leaders of self help groups, producer organizations, cooperatives, and micro enterprise groups also told us that they must be party to the risk taken by the group, and should lead by example in order to motivate others.

Pandemics will strike but countries' preparedness is less certain

Prof. Dr. Recep Akdağ's picture



Turkey is a transcontinental country, with territory contiguously spanning two continents. It is bordered by eight countries and is circled by sea on three sides. The international airport in Istanbul is the 10th busiest airport in the world, and last year, in 2016, more than 60 million passengers went through it. Of these, two-thirds were international passengers. Yes, Turkey is very vulnerable to disease outbreaks. Indeed, all countries are.

An innovative student loan program in Azerbaijan

Jason Weaver's picture
 Simone D. McCourtie / World Bank
Developed in response to macro-economic changes in Azerbaijan, the MSLF student loan program is having a significant impact on recipients' lives. (Photo: Simone D. McCourtie / World Bank)

Twenty-four-year-old Narmina enrolled at the Azerbaijan University of Languages in September of 2012. In the last year of Narmina’s studies, her father, a war veteran, and mother encountered financial difficulties and were unable to pay Narmina’s tuition. Having dropped out or, more accurately, “stopped out” of her studies, Narmina applied to Azerbaijan’s newly established Maarifci Student Loan Foundation (MSLF) and was one of the first to be awarded a student loan. With the much needed financial support, Narmina has since completed her bachelor’s degree and now works at a local tourism company.

Global Economic Prospects in 10 Charts: June 2017

Global Macroeconomics Team's picture
Also available in: Chinese

The World Bank forecasts that global economic growth will strengthen to 2.7 percent in 2017 as a pickup in manufacturing and trade, rising market confidence, and stabilizing commodity prices allow growth to resume in commodity-exporting emerging market and developing economies.  Growth in advanced economies is expected to accelerate to 1.9 percent in 2017, a benefit to their trading partners. Amid favorable global financing conditions and stabilizing commodity prices, growth in emerging market and developing economies as a whole will pick up to 4.1 percent this year from 3.5 percent in 2016. Nevertheless, substantial risks cloud the outlook. These include the possibility of greater trade restriction, uncertainty about trade, fiscal and monetary policy, and, over the longer term, persistently weak productivity and investment growth.

Download the June 2017 Global Economic Prospects report.
 
Global growth is projected to strengthen to 2.7 percent in 2017, as expected. Emerging market and developing economies are anticipated to grow 4.1 percent – faster than advanced economies.
 
Global Growth

Перспективы мировой экономики в 10 диаграммах: июнь 2017 года

Global Macroeconomics Team's picture
Всемирный банк прогнозирует повышение темпов роста мировой экономики в 2017 году до 2,7 процента по мере возобновления роста в странах с формирующимся рынком и развивающихся странах, относящихся к экспортерам сырьевых товаров, благодаря оживлению промышленного производства и торговли, росту уверенности участников рынка и стабилизации цен на сырье.
В развитых странах ожидается ускорение экономического роста до 1,9 процента в 2017 году, что благотворно скажется на положении их торговых партнеров. На фоне благоприятных глобальных условий финансирования и стабилизации цен на сырье экономический рост в странах с формирующимся рынком и развивающихся странах, в целом, достигнет в этом году 4,1 процента по сравнению с 3,5 процента в 2016 году. Вместе с тем, эти перспективы омрачаются серьезными факторами риска, к числу которых относятся возможность ужесточения торговых ограничений, неопределенность в области торговой, налогово-бюджетной и кредитно-денежной политики, а в более долгосрочном плане – хронически низкие показатели производительности и прироста инвестиций.

Скачать доклад «Перспективы мировой экономики» за июнь 2017 года (на английском языке).

В 2017 году темпы роста мировой экономики должны повыситься до 2,7 процента, как и прогнозировалось ранее. В странах с формирующейся рыночной экономикой и развивающихся странах (СФРРС) экономический рост, как ожидается, будет заметнее, чем в развитых странах, и составит 4,1 процента.
 
Рост мировой экономики

Evolving infrastructure models in the UK -- one step forward, two steps back?

Michael Walker's picture


Photo: Jonathan Meddings | Flickr Creative Commons

The United Kingdom has been a leading player in the development of Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) since the inception of the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) in the early 1990s. PFI is a structure that introduced project finance into UK public services for the first time. Under PFI, a private sector consortium builds public assets and services them over a term of 25 to 30 years in exchange for an availability payment. Successive governments have taken full advantage of the policy’s ability to leverage private finance and thus generate additional infrastructure investment, beyond typically constrained capital budgets.

An often under-reported feature of the UK’s PPP policy is the variety of approaches it takes.

Armenia’s future – imagined in drawings and words

Vigen Sargsyan's picture


As the Armenian-American writer and humanitarian William Saroyan (1908-81) once said, children are “the only race of the earth, the race of man.” Indeed, young children exude a sincerity and innocence when expressing themselves – often captured so well in their drawings and paintings. They can be extremely creative – whether at painting, drawing, music, or performance – and especially before the age of 10 to 11 years, according to tutors.
 
Therefore, as part of our broad public consultations in designing the World Bank’s upcoming Systemic Country Diagnostic for Armenia, we decided to hold a creative contest for young Armenians.
 
First, we went to Yerevan’s School No. 19 and asked fourth and fifth graders to describe for us how they envisioned their “future Armenia”. To our great delight, the kids submitted over 100 drawings for consideration by a jury composed of their tutors.

It’s no surprise that kids’ drawings are often used in psychology as a tool to measure such things as emotional intelligence, confidence, and identity. Indeed, their drawings can be candid reflections of life as they see it, incorporating their unique observations of the world around them. Each drawing, it seems, is like a snowflake – no two are alike.

Who shares in the European sharing economy?

Hernan Winkler's picture
Data on the sharing economy (Uber, Airbnb and so on) are scarce, but a recent study estimates that the revenue growth of these platforms has been dramatic. In the European Union (EU), the total revenue from the shared economy increased from around 1 billion euros in 2013 to 3.6 billion euros in 2015. While this estimate may equal just 0.2% of EU GDP, recent trends indicate a continued, rapid expansion.

This is important, as the sharing economy has the potential to bring efficiency gains and improve the welfare of many individuals in the region.

This can also generate important disruptions.

While online platforms represent a small fraction of overall incomes, the share of individuals participating in these platforms is large in many European countries. For example, roughly 1 in 3 people in France and Ireland have used a sharing economy platform, while at least 1 in 10 have in Central and Northern Europe (see figure below).

At the same time, the share of the population that has used these platforms to offer services and earn an income is also significant, reaching 10% or more in France, Latvia, and Croatia. This means that at least one out of every ten adults in these countries worked as a driver for a ride-sharing platform such as Uber, rented out a room of his or her house using a peer-to-peer rental platform such as Airbnb, or provided ICT services through an online freelancing platform such as Upwork, to name a few examples.

Confessions of an Armenian (aspirational former) smoker

Vigen Sargsyan's picture
no smoking Armenia
First confession: I am a seasoned smoker.

Next confession: I have long dreamed of adding “former” to that status. From time to time, my inner struggle reaches a crescendo, but then the momentum vanishes until the next wave of self-examination.
 
Smoking is the worst, if not the most stupid habit I have. I definitely understand that the damage caused to my health from smoking cannot be undone. I suspect my habit is a bit generational: my father was a smoker – until the doctors came up with a verdict – and the smell of smoke has been at home since my childhood. My son picked it up too, unfortunately. The only change between the generations is that my dad smoked at the table; these days we lean on the balcony.

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