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Middle East and North Africa

Get smarter: A world of development data in your pocket!

Nagaraja Rao Harshadeep's picture
Many dinner conversations and friendly debates proceed in a data vacuum: “The problem is big… very big!” How big exactly? Most likely your friend has no idea. 

It is said that we often live in a new data age. Institutions such as the Bank, UN agencies, NASA, ESA, universities and others have deluged us with an overwhelming amount of new data obtained painstakingly from countries and surveys or observed by the increasing number of eyes in the sky. We have modern tools such as mobile phones that are more powerful than old mainframes I used to use in my university days. You can be in rural Malawi and still have access to decent 3G data networks.
Open data for sustainable development

Much ado about nothing? The economic impact of refugee ‘invasions’

Massimiliano Calì's picture
Stranded Refugees and Migrants camp in Hungary - Spectral-Design l

To those European Union citizens who think that the ongoing “refugee invasion” into the EU is quickly becoming economically unsustainable: If the experience of Syria’s neighbors is anything to go by, you may need to think again.

Record number of forcibly displaced people has reached 60 million worldwide, data show

Leila Rafei's picture

As we continue to see headlines and editorials almost every day about migrants and refugees, it's not surprising when UNHCR reports that the number of forcibly displaced people has reached 60 million worldwide for the first time since World War II. This figure includes internally displaced people, refugees, and asylum seekers.

While many are on the move as refugees, others migrate willfully at rates that have also reached unprecedented levels. Below, I've explored some trends in regional, country- and economic-level migration and refugee data. But first: What's the difference between a migrant and a refugee?

According to UNHCR, a refugee is any person who has been forced to flee their country of origin because of a fear of persecution. A migrant, on the other hand, is one who leaves their country voluntarily for reasons such as employment, study, or family reunification. A migrant is still protected by their own government while abroad, while a refugee lacks protection from their country of origin.

Does legal aid reduce poverty?

Paul Prettitore's picture
 Emad Abd El Hady l World Bank

Last week I attended a gathering of legal aid providers, a somewhat informal group mostly from rich countries but with a slowly growing number of developing country participants. Legal aid services—covering public information and awareness, group and individual counseling, and representation by a lawyer—are generally delivered free of charge to the poor and vulnerable, so they can better understand their rights and the procedures to enforce them, and improve their access to formal justice sector services (those provided by courts, other dispute resolution bodies, and lawyers). 

The road not shared: Turning to the arts to help increase pedestrian safety

Patrick Kabanda's picture

The Creative Wealth of Nations is a series of blogs related to Patrick Kabanda's forthcoming book on the performing arts in development.

It was a scene I still can’t forget.
A few years ago on a busy Kampala intersection, cars zoomed by while pedestrians braced themselves to cross a road. They lurched back and forth, like a fence being blown hither and tither by heavy winds. In frustration, a voice of a woman with a baby tucked on her back cried out: senga no wabawo atusasira. “I wish someone would be kind to us.”

Energizing our green future

Mafalda Duarte's picture
The CIF is a leader in driving global investments in CSP

​As world leaders come together at the UN General Assembly to adopt new sustainable development goals, climate change activists gear up for Climate Week in New York City and the Pope brings his message to the United Nations, a shared vision of our future is coming into clear focus. 

If we are to eradicate poverty, we need to tackle climate change.  And since 2008, the $8.1 billion Climate Investment Funds (CIF) has been showing it is possible for countries to pursue sustainable development in a way that does just that.

Why Fatima had to lose her house

Wael Zakout's picture
 Sarah Al Bayya l World Bank

I’ve just returned from a mission to Palestine. During the visit, I met Fatima. She was happily married until last summer, when suddenly she lost everything. 

Piles of garbage, blackouts, water shortages welcome students back to school

Dima Krayem's picture
John Donelly / World Bank

A dismal garbage disposal crisis, long, unregulated power cuts and water shortages, coupled with deepening financial hardship, have exposed a ruling political class as being too busy squabbling in their own, narrow self-interest to worry about the pressing needs of Lebanon’s other citizens. In despair, citizens have taken to the streets in protests to demand their basic rights—a myriad of social, political and financial suffering, topped by mounds of garbage. The protests have all but overshadowed another imminent crisis as the end of September’s “back to school” season looms, and the impact of about 1.5 million refugees—a third of them children and adolescents—poses yet another challenge.

Education in Egypt needs permanent solutions, not “band-aids”

Amira Kazem's picture

“Is this meant to be a band-aid?” one participant intervened. This intriguing comment, made during consultations held in Cairo on an education initiative by the World Bank Group and Islamic Development Bank, describes what many people think about past interventions in Egypt’s education system.