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Share your views on Sri Lanka’s Vision to End Poverty: The Road to 2025

Mariam Yousef's picture


October 17, 2017
– Today marks the 25th anniversary of the United National declaration of the International Day to End Extreme Poverty. Compared to many other countries in the world, Sri Lanka has done well in ending extreme poverty. Between 2002 and 2012, extreme poverty in Sri Lanka decreased from 8.3% to 1.9% while the national poverty level fell from 22% to 6.7% during the same period. Read the latest poverty brief and the two-part series on understanding poverty in Sri Lanka to learn more.

The big picture of poverty in Sri Lanka may be different when we zoom in on individuals and communities. In order to understand individual perspectives and opinions, this year we have opened up an opportunity for Sri Lankans to share their views on Sri Lanka’s Vision to End Poverty. We welcome your views in the form of a short blog post on why you believe #itspossible to end poverty in Sri Lanka. Below are some questions to get you thinking. You need not capture all of them, or be restricted to answering just these questions, but we are interested in hearing from you on these themes. 
  • Do you feel that you have more opportunities than your parents did at your age? Why or why not?
  • How could more openings be created for you and your peers?
  • Do you believe that the future will provide more prospects than the present?
  • What are you most excited about and most discouraged by in terms of available opportunities in Sri Lanka?
  • Do you think it is possible to end poverty in Sri Lanka? As individuals, can we contribute to making this goal a reality?
  • How do you think the reforms listed in Vision 2025 can contribute to ending poverty in Sri Lanka?
How it works:
  • All participants must be registered with us through the online form available here. Follow the submission instructions detailed there.
  • You will be requested to provide a short biography and profile picture which will become your profile, and accessible from the article(s) you write if selected by the panel of editors.

Bicycles can boost Bangladesh's exports

Nadeem Rizwan's picture
Bangladesh is the 2nd largest non-EU exporter of bicycles to the EU and the 8th largest exporter overall
Bicycles are the largest export of Bangladesh’s engineering sector, contributing about 12 percent of engineering exports. Credit: World Bank
This blog is part of a series exploring new sources of competitiveness in Bangladesh

Did you know that Bangladesh is the 2nd largest non-EU exporter of bicycles to the EU and the 8th largest exporter overall?

Bicycles are the largest export of Bangladesh’s engineering sector, contributing about 12 percent of engineering exports.
 
This performance is in large part due to the high anti-dumping duty imposed by the EU against China.
 
Recently, the EU Parliament and the Council agreed on EU Commission’s proposal on a new methodology for calculating anti-dumping on imports from countries with significant market distortions or pervasive state influence on the economy.
 
This decision could mean that the 48.5 percent anti-dumping duty for Chinese bicycles may not end in 2018 as originally intended. China is disputing the EU’s dumping rules at the World Trade Organization.
 
As the global bicycle market is expected to grow to $34.9 billion by 2022, Bangladesh has an opportunity to diversify its exports beyond readymade garments. Presently, Bangladesh is the 2nd largest non-EU exporter of bicycles to the EU and the 8th largest exporter overall.
Bangladesh is the 2nd largest non-EU exporter of bicycles to the EU and the 8th largest exporter overall
EU27 bicycle imports in 2016 (Million $). Bangladesh is the 2nd largest non-EU exporter of bicycles to the EU and the 8th largest exporter overall. Source: UNComtrade through WITS

However, if the EU anti-dumping duty against China is reduced or lifted after 2018, Bangladesh’s price edge might be eroded.
 
Bangladeshi bicycle exporters estimate that without anti-dumping duties, Chinese bicycles could cost at least 10-20 percent less than Bangladeshi bicycles on European markets. And Chinese exporters can ship bicycles to the EU market with 35-50 percent shorter lead times.
 
So, how can Bangladeshi bicycles survive and grow?

Sri Lanka, you have a right to know!

Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough's picture
Sri Lanka's Right to Information act (RTI) can help citizens hold governments accountable and encourage citizens to participate actively in their democracy.
Sri Lanka's Right to Information act (RTI) can help citizens hold governments accountable and encourage citizens to participate actively in their democracy.


Today, the world marks the International Day for the Universal Access to Information. Fittingly, we in Sri Lanka, celebrate 7 months since the Right to Information (RTI) Bill was enacted.  

The product of a slow and steady reform process, RTI is a milestone in Sri Lanka’s history.

Yet how many citizens know about its benefits?

As open access to information takes international center stage today, I’m hoping Sri Lanka’s Right to Information Bill, one of the world’s most comprehensive, will get the attention it deserves.

There is indeed much to celebrate.

Civil society organizations and private citizens are putting Sri Lanka’s RTI to the test. Diverse requests have been filed, from questions relating to how investments are made for the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) to how soil and sand mining permits have been allotted in districts like Gampaha.

Interestingly, people living in rural areas are more aware -- and vocal -- of their rights to know than people in urban areas.

The government is making steady progress. In the last six months, more than 3,000 information officers have been recruited. An independent RTI Commission enforces compliance and acts on those who do not follow the law. If, for example, an information officer refuses to release information pertaining to a citizen’s life, they must provide a valid reason or face legal penalties.

In the next few years, the Sri Lankan bureaucracy faces the huge task of revamping its record management, including its land registration system. This reform is an opportunity to live up to RTI’s ambitions of open governance and help citizens access land title information and records that give them a legal title to their property.

Afghanistan’s learning crisis: How bad is it really?

Anahita Hosseini Matin's picture
Also available in: دری | پښتو
Anahita Matin/ World Bank
Students at the Abdul Hadi Dawi school getting ready for class. Photo Credit: Anahita Matin/ World Bank

At the heart of Kabul City in Makroyan 3, lies the all-boys ‘Abdul Hadi Dawi’ school. Despite having 3,000 students, there are no latrines, only a remote plot of land dotted with containers for the students to use. The school is also located near the Supreme Court, an area with potential security risks.The Abdul Hadi Dawi School encapsulates many of the problems with the education system in Afghanistan.

There is little evidence of high-quality instruction or learning happening in the classroom. And neither were teachers being assessed on their performance nor the quality of their teaching.

Improving learning is a priority for Afghanistan. Therefore, the government of Afghanistan sought our support to document the reality of primary education in Afghanistan and identify bottlenecks in schools that impede the delivery of high-quality education.

Thirty-two schools participated in our pilot study in Kabul city in April 2017. Our findings break new ground and are based on SABER Service Delivery methodology already tested in the Africa region through the Service Delivery Initiative.

Our survey provides indicators necessary to track progress in student learning and inform education policies to provide high-quality learning environments for both students and teachers. The indicators are standardized, allowing comparisons between and within nations over time.

په افغانستان کې د ښوونې کړکیچ: آیا په رښتیا هم په دې هېواد کې د پوهنې وضعیت کړکیچن دی؟

Anahita Hosseini Matin's picture
Also available in: English | دری
Anahita Matin/ World Bank
د عبدالهادي داوي د لیسې د زده کوونکو انځور په داسې حال کې چې خپلو درسي خونو ته چمتو والۍ نیسي. انځور د: اناهیتا متین / نړیوال بانک

د کابل ښار په زړه په دریم مکروریان کې د عبدالهادي داوي د هلکانو لیسه کړکیچن وضعیت لري. که څه هم په دې لیسه کې څه باندې ۳۰۰۰ هلکان په زده کړو بوخت دي، خو دا لیسه مناسب تشنابونه نه لري او یوازې په دې لیسه کې یو شمېر ګرځنده کانتینرونه شته، څو زده کونکي د اړتیا پر مهال ورنه ګټه واخلي. همدارنګه دې لیسې ته څيرمه د افغانستان د سترې محکمې ودانۍ ده، چې دا اداره  له امنیتي ګواښونو سره هم مخ ده، له دې ادارې ګاونډیتوب د زده کوونکو ښوونیزو ټولګیو ته زیات ګواښونه رامنځته کړي دي.

د نړیوال بانک د یوې سروي موندنې ښيي، چې د عبدالهادي داوي لیسه له ګڼ شمېر ستونزو لکه د ګټور ښوونیز سیستم له نشتون سره مخ ده. د دې لیسې په ښوونیزو ټولګیو کې د ګټور او اغیزمن ښوونیز سیستم نښې نښانې ډیر لږ لیدل کیږي. سربېره پر دې د دې لیسې د ښوونکو ښوونیزې کړنلارې او تخنیکي وړتیاوې هیڅ ډول نه دي ارزول شوي.

د تنکیو او ځوانانو لپاره د ښوونیزو آسانتیاوو پراختیا د افغانستان دولت له مهمو لومړیتوبونو ګڼل کیږي. له همدې امله، د افغانستان دولت زموږ نه وغوښتل، څو د پوهنې له زده کوونکو څخه د لومړنیو ښوونو له څرنګوالي او همدارنګه هغه ټول خنډونه او ستونزې، چې د با کیفیته ښوونیزې او پوهنیزې آسانتیاوو ته د لاسرسي په موخه ورسره مخ دي، وپیژنو او د هغه راپور چمتو کړو.

په پایله کې موږ وتوانیدو، چې د ۲۰۱۷ زیږدیز کال د اپریل په میاشت کې، د کابل ښار د ۳۲ لیسو او لومړنیو ښوونځيو څخه د سروي او ارزونې بهیر پلي کړو. زموږ د سروي  موندنې د خدمتونو د وړاندې کولو «SABER» په میتود ولاړې دي، چې دا ارزونې میکانیزم د افریقايي هېوادونو کې د خدمتونو وړاندې کولو نوښت له لارې پلي شوي.

زموږ د سروي د موندنو پر بنسټ به یو شمېر برخو کي ځانګړتیاوې رامنځته شي، چې پر بنسټ یې د زدکوونکو لپاره د ښوونیزو آسانتیاوو د پرمختګ څرنګوالی مشخص کیږي او پایله کې د پوهنې پالیسي جوړونکي له دې معلوماتو څخه په ګټې اخیستنې، کولای شي، څو د زده کوونکو او ښوونکو لپاره یو با کیفیته ښوونیز او پوهنیز چاپیریال رامنځته کړي او له دې برخه ډاډ ترلاسه کړي. دا ځانګړتیاوې یو شمېر معیارونه لري، چې پر بنسټ به یې په بیلابیلو سیمو او ښارونو کې د په پرتلیز ډول د زده کوونکو ښوونیزه کچه تحلیل او ارزونه وکړي.
 

Reforms Sri Lanka needs to boost its economy

Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough's picture
 Joe Qian/World Bank
The Colombo Stock Exchange. Credit: Joe Qian/World Bank

Many Sri Lankans understand the potential benefits of lowering trade costs and making their country more competitive in the global economy. The majority, however, fear increased competition, the unfair advantage of the private sector from abroad and limited skills and innovation to compete.

Yet, Sri Lanka’s aspirations cannot be realized in the current status quo.  

While changes in trade policies and regulations will undeniably improve the lives of most citizens, I’m mindful that some are likely to lose. However, many potential gainers of the reforms who are currently opposed to them are unaware of their benefits.

Implementing smart reforms means that government funds will be used more effectively for the people, improve access to better healthcare, education, basic infrastructure and provide Sri Lankans with opportunities to get more and better jobs. Let me focus on a few reforms that I believe are critical for the country.  First, Sri Lanka needs to seek growth opportunities and foreign investment beyond its borders.    

First, Sri Lanka needs to seek growth opportunities and foreign investment beyond its borders.

Experience shows that no country in the world today has been able to create opportunities for its population entirely within its own geographic boundaries. To succeed in this open environment, Sri Lanka will need to improve its skills base, better understand supply and demand chains as well as produce higher quality goods and services

Experience shows that no country in the world today has been able to create opportunities for its population entirely within its own geographic boundaries. To succeed in this open environment, Sri Lanka will need to improve its skills base, better understand supply and demand chains as well as produce higher quality goods and services.

Fresh thinking on economic cooperation in South Asia

Nikita Singla's picture
 Aamir Khan/ Pakistan, Sreerupa Sengupta/ India, Sanjay Kathuria/ World Bank, Mahfuz Kabir & Surendar Singh/ Bangladesh) Photo By: Marcio De La Cruz/ World Bank
Young Economists sharing the stage with Sanjay Kathuria, Lead Economist and Coordinator, Regional Integration (Left to Right: Aamir Khan/ Pakistan, Sreerupa Sengupta/ India, Sanjay Kathuria/ World Bank, Mahfuz Kabir/Bangladesh & Surendar Singh/ India). Photo by: Marcio De La Cruz/ World Bank


That regional cooperation in South Asia is lower than optimal levels is well accepted. It is usually ascribed to – the asymmetry in size between India and the rest, conflicts and historical political tensions, a trust deficit, limited transport connectivity, and onerous logistics, among many other factors.

Deepening regional integration requires sufficient policy-relevant analytical work on the costs and benefits of both intra-regional trade and investment. An effective cross-border network of young professionals can contribute to fresh thinking on emerging economic cooperation issues in South Asia.

Against this background, the World Bank Group sponsored a competitive request for proposals.  Awardees from Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan, after being actively mentored by seasoned World Bank staff over a period of two years, convened in Washington DC to present their new and exciting research. Research areas included regional value chains, production sharing and the impact assessment of alternative preferential trade agreements in the region.

Young Economists offer fresh thoughts on economic cooperation in South Asia

Mahfuz Kabir, Acting Research Director, Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies and Surendar Singh, Policy Analyst, Consumer Unity Trust Society (CUTS International) presented their research: Of Streams and Tides, India-Bangladesh Value Chains in Textiles and Clothing (T&C). They focus on how to tackle three main trade barriers for T&C: a) high tariffs for selected, but important goods for the industries of both countries; b) inefficient customs procedures and c) divergent criteria for rules of origin classification.

Sreerupa Sengupta, Ph.D. Scholar at Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi discussed Trade Cooperation and Production Sharing in South Asia – An Indian Perspective. Reviewing the pattern of Indian exports and imports in the last twenty years, her research focuses on comparing the Global Value Chain (GVC) participation rate of India with East Asian and ASEAN economies. Barriers to higher participation include a) lack of openness in the FDI sector; b) lack of adequate port infrastructure, and long port dwell times; and c) lack of Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs).

Aamir Khan, Assistant Professor, Department of Management Sciences, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Islamabad presented his work on Economy Wide Impact of Regional Integration in South Asia - Options for Pakistan. His research analyzes the reasons for Pakistan not being able to take full advantage of its Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China, and finds that the granting of ASEAN-type concessions to Pakistan in its FTA with China would be more beneficial than the current FTA arrangement. The work also draws lessons for FTAs that are currently being negotiated by South Asian countries.

Education is the way forward for Afghanistan

Mohammad Homayoon Rahmani's picture
Also available in: دری | پښتو
The Education Quality Improvement Program provides block grant support to the construction of school buildings and other facilities such as laboratories, libraries and computer labs. This improved studying environment has encouraged almost all families to send their children to schools in many districts of Balkh province. Photo Credit: Fardin Waezi/ World Bank


Someone wise once said that education is the foundation of a country’s progress. As every Afghan knows and feels, after four decades of conflict and violence, progress is exactly what this country needs to get back on its feet.
 
I have always had a deep interest in making my social context better and this is the reason why I joined the Education Quality Improvement Program (EQUIP), which aims to improve access and quality of education for Afghans. I joined the EQUIP team in the program’s second phase, which started in January 2008.
 
Through EQUIP, we have been working with communities to change their views and perceptions on education, especially in villages. I remember when I joined the team in 2010, many people would come and tell us they did not want to send their girls to school. But slowly EQUIP won them over.
 
Now, we can proudly say that we have the full support of communities everywhere in Balkh Province. For example, we have never had to buy land to construct a school in any district in Balkh. Every single time, it has been the people who bought or donated land and invited us to construct the building, even in the poorest regions.

پوهنه د افغانستان د پرمختګ یوازینۍ لاره

Mohammad Homayoon Rahmani's picture
Also available in: English | دری
د پوهنې د کیفیت د لوړولو برنامې لخوا د اړتیا وړ پراختیایي مرستو په برابرو سره د ښوونځیو د ودانیو جوړولو ترڅنګ، له یو زیات شمیر نورو آسانتیاوو لکه د ساینسي لابراتوارونو، کابتونونو او کمپیوتري لابراتوارونو تجهیز څخه ملاتړکوي. د زده کړې چاپیریال د دغو بدلونونو په راتګ سره خورا ښه والی موندلي، د بلخ ولایت په بېلابېلو ولسوالیو کې کورنۍ هڅول شوي، ترڅو خپل ماشومان ښوونځیو ته راولیږې. انځور: فردین واعظي/ نړیوال بانک

زده کړه د افغانستان د پرمختګ لاره پرانیزي: د مشرانو مشهوره خبره ده چې وایې، ښوونه او رزونه د هر هېواد د پرمختګ بنسټ جوړوي. لکه څرنګه، چې له څلورو لسیزو جګړو او ناامنیو وروسته، اوس د هر افغان لپاره تر بل هر وخت ښه معلومات شته، چې په خپلو پښو د دې هېواد دریدل، پرمختګ ته اړتیا لري.

ډېر لېواله وم، چې خپل ټولنیز چاپيریال هر څه ښه جوړ کړم، تر څو له همدې لارې د خپلو ځوریدلو خلکو لپاره د خدمت مصدر وګرځم، له همدې امله، د پوهنې د کیفیت د لوړولو له برنامې سره مې کار پیل کړ، چې موخه یې په افغانستان کې د ښوونې او روزنې د کیفیت او ورته د لاسرسي لوړول و. کله چې مې په دغه برنامه کې کار پیل کړ،  نو د پوهنې د کیفیت د لوړولو برنامه په خپل دویم پړاو کې و، چې لا پخوا د ۲۰۰۸ کال د جنوري په میاشت کې پیل شوی و. د همدې برنامې له لارې، زموږ هڅه دا وه، تر څو په بېلابېلو سیمو په تیره بیا په لرو پرتو سیمو کې له کلیوالي خلکو سره ووینو کومو، چې د پوهنې په اړه ناسم لیدلوري او تعبیرونه لرل، تر څو له هغوۍ سره له نږدې کار وکړو او د پوهنې په اړه د هغوۍ ذهنیت مثبت اړخ ته را واړوو. ښه مې په یاد دي، کله چې مې په ۲۰۱۰ کال کې د پوهنې د کیفیت د لوړولو د برنامې له ټيم سره کار پیل کړ، نو یو زیات شمېر خلک موږ ته راغلل او ویل یې، چې هغوۍ هېڅ وخت دې ته چمتو نه دي، تر څو خپلې نجوني ښوونځي ته ولیږي. خو له ډېرو هلوځلو وروسته، بالاخره دا برنامه بریالۍ شوه.

اوس په پوره ډاډ سره ویلی شم، چې موږ د بلخ ولایت په ټولو سیمو کې له پوره ملاتړ څخه برخمن یو. د بېلګې په توګه، کله چې موږ د بلخ ولایت په کومه ولسوالۍ کې ښوونځي جوړو، نو د ځمکې اخیستلو ته اړتیا نه لرو. بلکې د هغې سیمې خلکو په خپله ځمکه اخیستي او موږ ته یې په اختیار کې راکړې ده. هغوۍ له موږ غوښتل، تر څو د دوی په ملکیت کې ورته ښوونځی جوړ کړو – هان چې ډېرو بېوزلو خلکو هم موږ سره داسې چلند کړی دی. کله چې د بلخ ولسوالۍ چهارسنګ کلي ته ورغلو، چې هلته هېڅ ښوونځی نه و، خو سره له دې، چې د دې کلي ټولو خلکو د بېوزلۍ تر کرښې لاندې ژوند لاره، سره را ټول شول او موږ ته یې د ښوونځي د جوړولو په خاطر ځمکه واخیستله. د پوهنې د کیفیت د لوړولو برنامه د هغه کلي د ماشومانو لپاره ښوونځی جوړ کړ او نن ورځ د هغه کلي ټول ماشومان په هغه ښوونځي کې درس وايي.

معارف یگانه راه ترقی و پیشرفت افغانستان

Mohammad Homayoon Rahmani's picture
Also available in: English | پښتو
برنامه ارتقای کیفیت معارف از طریق پرداخت وجوه انکشافی مورد نیاز زمینه اعمار ساختمان های مکاتب و فراهم آوری سایر تسهیلات همچو تجهیز لابراتوار های ساینسی، تاسیس کتابخانه ها و تجهیز لابراتوار های کمپیوتر را حمایت مینماید. این تغیرات مثبت باعث بهبود فضای درسی گردیده، خانواده ها را در ولسوالی های ولایت بلخ بیشتر تشویق نموده، تا فرزندان شان را به مکتب بفرستند. عکاس: فردین واعظی/ بانک جهانی


تعلیم راه گشای ترقی افغانستان است: سخن معروف بزرگان است که تعلیم تهداب ترقی هر کشور میباشد. چنانچه بعد از سپری شدن  چهار دهه جنگ و نا امنی ها، اکنون برای هر افغان، بیشتر از پیش، معلوم و ملموس گردیده که برای خودکفایی این کشور نیاز به ترقی دارد.  

بسیار علاقمند بودم، تا محیط اجتماعی خود را بهتر سر و سامان دهم، تا از این طریق بتوانم مصدر خدمت به مردم رنج دیده خود گردم، به همین دلیل با برنامهٔ ارتقای کیفیت معارف، که هدف آن بهبود دسترسی و کیفیت تعلیم در افغانستان است، به کار آغاز نمودم. زمانیکه شامل کار با این برنامه گردیدم، برنامهٔ ارتقای کیفیت معارف در مرحله دوم فعالیت های خود قرار داشت، که قبلاً در ماه جنوری سال ۲۰۰۸ آغاز گردیده بود. از طریق این برنامهٔ،  تلاش ما این بود، تا با مردم در محلات مختلف مخصوصاً ساکنان روستاها که دیدگاه و تعبیرات نادرست در مورد تعلیم داشتند، از نزدیک کارنموده ذهنیت منفی آنان را نسبت به اموزش تغیر دهیم. درست به یاد دارم زمانیکه با تیم برنامه ارتقای کیفیت معارف در سال ۲۰۱۰ به کار آغاز کردم، تعداد کثیری از مردم نزد ما آمده، میگفتند که آنها هیچگاه حاضر نیستند، تا دختران شان را به مکتب بفرستند. بعد از سعی و تلاش زیاد، بلاخره  این برنامه موفق گردید.

اکنون به اطمینان کامل گفته میتوانیم که ما از حمایت کامل مردم در محلات در سراسر ولایت بلخ برخوردار هستیم. به گونهٔ مثال، در هیچ ولسوالی ولایت بلخ، به خریدن زمین که روی آن مکتب اعمار کنیم، مجبور نشده ایم. بلکه این اهالی منطقه بودند که هر بار قطعهٔ زمین را خریداری و یا هم در اختیار ما میگذاشتند. انان از ما میخواستند، تا روی ملیکت شان مکتب برایشان اعمار کنیم - حتی فقرترین اهالی منطقه نیز همین کار را میکردند. زمانی در ولسوالی بلخ  به قریهٔ  چهارسنگ برخوردیم که هیچ مکتبی در آن وجود نداشت. باوجودیکه اهالی آن قریه زیر خط فقر میزیستند ولی همهٔ شان گرد هم آمدند، تا قطعهٔ زمینی را برای اعمار یک مکتب خریداری نمایند. برنامه ارتقای کیفیت معارف برای اطفال اهالی آن منطقه یک باب مکتب را اعمار نمود، امروز تمام اطفال قریه متذکره به مکتب میروند.

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