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The World Bank's shared history with Singapore

Jordan Z. Schwartz's picture
The 50th birthday of the nation this year has given Singaporeans a chance to look back with pride at the achievements over the course of one generation—as a country, as an economy and as a people.
But it is not only Singaporeans who have a vested interest in understanding the causes of their economic growth and vast improvements in quality of life over this past half-century.
For those of us in the field of economic development, who advise and invest in emerging markets and developing economies so they might alleviate poverty and grow equitably and sustainably, we view these ingredients of success as critical to our mission.
If only we could reverse-engineer the magic elixir, the recipe for success could then be applied to other countries still struggling to improve health outcomes and reduce illiteracy, to offer their populations reliable and affordable basic services, good jobs and better lives.

Social welfare programs in Mongolia - are they helping the poor?

Junko Onishi's picture
Also available in: Mongolian

Mongolia’s current economic situation is characterized by a combination of falling commodity prices and slowing growth. This heightens the need for the country’s social welfare system to protect the poor and the vulnerable from the threatened fall in incomes.

To assess how well the system is performing, it is necessary to consider Mongolia’s spending on social welfare - whether it is directed towards poor and vulnerable households, and if the benefits provide effective and adequate protection.

Staying the course on the Mindanao peace process

Axel van Trotsenburg's picture

It has been 18 years since the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) started peace talks intended to end decades of violence in Mindanao that caused widespread poverty and suffering.

Seventeen months ago, the government and MILF signed a peace agreement aimed at creating a fully autonomous Muslim homeland, the Bangsamoro.

The Mindanao Trust Fund in the Philippines: still hopeful after 10 years

Roberto B. Tordecilla's picture
Since 2005, the Mindanao Trust Fund (MTF) has worked to build the capacity of the Bangsamoro Development Agency through the “learning-by-doing” approach. Over half a million people in 214 villages across 75 municipalities have benefited from the multi-donor trust fund.

I started working with the World Bank in 2005. I worked first with the ARMM Social Fund Project (ASFP), then with the Mindanao Trust Fund (MTF) about a year later. The ASFP, already at its mid-term, was in support of the 1996 peace agreement and thus the context was post-conflict. The MTF was in support of an on-going peace process and operated in the context of confidence-building.

Working first in the ASFP was a very useful preparation for my MTF work. The two projects were situated in the same geographic and socio-cultural context and had similar operational challenges (e.g., low capacity of staff, governance issues, etc.).

Flood risk in dry Ulaanbaatar of Mongolia? Really? Really

Artessa Saldivar-Sali's picture
Also available in: Mongolian
Making Ulaanbaatar More Resilient to Floods

After growing up in Manila, one of the densest and most cyclone-prone cities in the world, I expected my first visit to Mongolia to be filled with vast plains and blue skies. The plains and skies did not disappoint – but I quickly learned that Ulaanbaatar, the country’s capital, is a city that is rapidly becoming like many other cities where I have lived and worked.
There is the unmistakable buzz of a place that is growing, and growing fast.  People move to Ulaanbaatar from the countryside for the opportunities that open up to them, with the city now home to nearly half the country’s population. It is becoming more cosmopolitan every time I go – there is even a Cuban restaurant with a Cuban chef. And, like many other cities in Asia, Ulaanbaatar has floods.
Out of the 34 floods recorded from 1915-2013, about 60% occurred from 2000-2009. The 1966 flood stood out in collective memory as being the last “big one.” Yet in 1966, Ulaanbaatar only had a population of over 200,000, now it has over 1.3 million people.  

East Asia’s challenge: ensuring that growth helps poor

Axel van Trotsenburg's picture
Also available in: 中文 | 한국어

Unprecedented economic growth in the last three decades propelled East Asia into an economic powerhouse responsible for a quarter of the world’s economy.

Hundreds of millions of people across the region, including in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, lifted themselves out of extreme poverty and enjoyed greater prosperity, largely because of more labor-intensive and inclusive growth.

The success didn’t come without challenges. As of last year, 100 million people in East Asia still live on $1.25 a day. About 260 million still live on $2 a day or less, and they could fall back into poverty if the global economy takes a turn for the worse or if they face health, food and other shocks at home. Their uncertain future shows the increasing inequality of East Asia’s galloping growth.

In Mongolia, better provider payment systems help maintain universal coverage and improve care

Aparnaa Somanathan's picture
Co-authored with Cheryl Cashin, Senior Program Director, Results for Development
In the early 1990s, after 70 years of a socialist system, Mongolia transitioned to a market economy and embarked on reform across all sectors, including health. Since that time, the health system has gradually moved from a centralized “Semashko-style” model to a somewhat more decentralized financing and service delivery, with a growing role for private sector providers and private out-of-pocket financing.