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How data can benefit Nepal

Ravi Kumar's picture

Thirty years ago, almost everyone in Nepal —except for a few professionals and business people—would have been classified as poor by any reasonable international standard.

In 2010, by contrast, 15 percent of Nepalis were considered poor.

Without a doubt, Nepal has made progress.

Now the 761 newly formed—local, provincial, and federal—governments in Nepal aim to provide all Nepalis access to essential public services, eliminate poverty, reduce gender and ethnic inequalities, and ensure environmental sustainability

The hope is that Nepal will reach middle-income status by 2030.

But tracking and monitoring progress against the goals articulated in Nepal’s development vision as well as the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) impose significant demands on the country.

Unfortunately, the absence of disaggregated data by geography, sex, age, social groups and sub-national level, and more poses an enormous challenge for all levels of governments to properly plan and budget.

As such, Nepal needs to urgently invest in its data and statistics capacity.

Data is the currency for decision making and helps us understand what works and what doesn’t.

For instance, let’s consider a province in Nepal that is keen to improve learning for its public schools’ students.

Without data on students, their gender, age, academic performance, or the number of schools and teachers, the provincial government cannot elaborate an informed plan for its students.

But were policymakers able to access timely and sufficient data, they could decide whether more teachers or more schools are needed. Without data, decisions are just like shooting in the dark and hoping for the best.   

Six ways Sri Lanka can attract more foreign investments

Tatiana Nenova's picture
In 2017, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into Sri Lanka grew to over $1,710 billion. But Sri Lanka still has ways to go to attract more FDI.
In 2017, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into Sri Lanka grew to over $1,710 billion. But Sri Lanka still has ways to go to attract more FDI. Credit: Shutterstock 


To facilitate Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), Sri Lanka launched last week an innovative online one-stop shop to help investors obtain all official approvals. To mark the occasion, this blog series explores different aspects of FDI in Sri Lanka. Part 1 put forth 5 Reasons Why Sri Lanka Needs FDI. Part 3 will relate how the World Bank is helping to improve Sri Lanka’s enabling environment for FDI.

Sri Lanka and foreign investments read a bit like a hit and miss story.

But it was not always the case.

Before 1983, companies like Motorola and Harris Corporation had plans to establish plants in Sri Lanka’s export processing zones. Others including Marubeni, Sony, Sanyo, Bank of Tokyo and Chase Manhattan Bank, had investments in Sri Lanka in the pipeline in the early 1980s.

All this changed when the war convulsed the country and derailed its growth. Companies left and took their foreign direct investments (FDI) with them.

Nearly a decade after the civil conflict ended in 2009, Sri Lanka is now in a very different place.

In 2017, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into Sri Lanka grew to over $1,710 billion including foreign loans received by companies registered with the BOI, more than doubling from the $801 million achieved the previous year.

But Sri Lanka still has ways to go to attract more FDI.
 
As a percentage of GDP, FDI currently stands at a mere 2 percent and lags behind Malaysia at 3 – 4 percent and Vietnam at 5 – 6 percent.

Five reasons why Sri Lanka needs to attract foreign direct investments

Tatiana Nenova's picture
Sri Lanka’s government has recognized the need to foster private-sector and beef up exports to attain the overarching objective of becoming an upper-middle-income economy.
Sri Lanka’s government has recognized the need to foster private-sector and beef up exports to attain the overarching objective of becoming an upper-middle-income economy.

To facilitate Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), Sri Lanka is launching this week an innovative online one-stop shop to help investors obtain all official approvals. To mark the occasion, this blog series explores different aspects of FDI in Sri Lanka. Part 2 will explore how the country can attract more FDI. Part 3 will relate how the World Bank is helping to create an enabling environment for FDI in Sri Lanka.

You may have heard that Sri Lanka is intent on drumming up more foreign direct investments up to $5 billion by 2020. At the same time, the government aims to improve the lives of Sri Lanka’s citizens by generating one million new and better jobs.
 
This isn’t a pipe dream. Thanks to its many advantages like a rich natural resource base, its strategic geographic position, highly literate workforce and fascinating culture, the island nation is ripe for investment in sectors such as tourism, logistics, information technology-enabled services, and high-value-added food processing and apparel.
 
What is foreign direct investment and why does Sri Lanka need it?
 
Very simply, foreign direct investment (or FDI) is an investment made by a company or an individual in a foreign country. Such investments can take the form of establishing a business in Sri Lanka, building a new facility, reinvesting profits earned from Sri Lanka operations or intra-company loans to subsidiaries in Sri Lanka.
 
The hope is that these investment inflows will bring good jobs and higher wages for Sri Lankan workers, increase productivity, and make the economy more competitive.  
 
Sri Lanka’s government has recognized the need to foster private-sector and beef up exports to attain the overarching objective of becoming an upper-middle-income economy.
 
Attracting more FDI can help achieve that goal and fulfill the promise of better jobs.
 
Here are five reasons why:

The latest poverty numbers for Afghanistan: a call to action, not a reason for despair

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: دری | پښتو

The just-released Afghanistan Living Conditions Survey (ALCS) paints a stark picture of the reality facing Afghanistan today. More than half the Afghan population lives below the national poverty line, indicating a sharp deterioration in welfare since 2011-12.[1]  The release of these new ALCS figures is timely and important. These figures are the first estimates of the welfare of the Afghan people since the transition of security responsibilities from international troops to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in 2014.

While stark, the findings are not a surprise

Given what Afghanistan has gone through in the last five years, the significant increase in poverty over this period is not unexpected. The high poverty rates represent the combined effect of stagnating economic growth, increasing demographic pressures, and a deteriorating security situation in the context of an already impoverished economy and society where human capital and livelihoods have been eroded by decades of conflict and instability.

The withdrawal of international troops starting in 2012, and the associated decline in aid, both security and civilian, led to a sharp decline in domestic demand and much lower levels of economic activity. The deterioration in security since 2012, which drove down consumer and investor confidence, magnified this economic shock. Not surprisingly, Afghanistan’s average annual rate of economic growth fell from 9.4 percent in the period 2003-2012 to only 2.1 percent between 2013 and 2016. With the population continuing to grow more than 3 percent a year, per capita GDP has steadily declined since 2012, and in 2016 stood $100 below its 2012 level. Even during Afghanistan’s years of high economic growth, poverty rates failed to drop, as growth was not pro-poor. In recent years, as population growth outstripped economic growth, an increase in poverty was inevitable.

په افغانستان کې د فقر په هکله د وروستیو ارقامو او شمېرو خپراوی: د عملي او مخنیوونکو اقدامونو لپاره خبرتیا، نه د ناهیلۍ رامنځته کول

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: English | دری

د افغانستان د احصائيي مرکزي ادارې لخوا په افغانستان کې د ژوند د وضعیت د څېړنې سروې موندنې په دغه هېواد کې د شته واقعیتونو به هکله یو مشرح انځور څرګند کړی. ترلاسه شوي معلومات دا څرګندوي، چې د افغانانو له نیمایي څخه زیات نفوس د فقر د کرښې لاندې ژوند کوي، چې دا حالت د ۲۰۱۱ – ۲۰۱۲ زېږدیز کلونو[i] په پرتله د ټولنیزې- اقتصادي اوضاع په لا خرابېدلو دلالت کوي. د دغې سروې د تازه ارقامو او معلوماتو خپراوی په ډېر مناسب وخت کې ترسره کېږي، ځکه چې دا ارقام او اړونده تحلیلي ټولګه ېې د افغانستان د خلکو د هوساینې وضعیت وروسته له هغه چې په ۲۰۱۴ کال کې له نړیوالو ځواکونو څخه د افغانستان امنیتي ځواکونو ته امنیتي مسوولیتونو لېږد ترسره شو، په تفصیل سره څېړلۍ ده.
که څه هم د دغې سروې موندنې ناهیلۍ کوونکې دي، خو د حقیقت پربنسټ دي

دې حقیقت ته په پام سره، چې افغانستان په تېرو پنځو کلونو کې له زیاتو پېښو سره مخامخ شو او ډېرې لوړې او ژورې ېې تجربه کړې، نو ځکه په اوس وخت کې د فقر او بیوزلۍ د بې ساري زیاتوالي تمه هم کېدله. د فقر لوړه کچه د اقتصادي فعالیتونوله کمښت، د نفوس د زیاتوالي او د امنیتي وضعیت له خرابېدلو سره مستقیمه اړیکه لري. له بلې خوا د داسې یوې ټولنې جورښټ، چې اقتصادي بنسټونه ېې د اوږد مهاله جګړې او بحران له امله ویجاړې شوې وي او بشري ځواک او معیشتي برخې ېې د ټیکاو او امنیت د نه شتون له امله خورا زیانمنې شوي وي، پرته له کوم شک څخه، چې د فقر ټغر هم پکښې ډیر پراخ پاتې کېږي.

د ۲۰۱۲ زېږدیز کال په لومړیو کې د نړیوال ایتلاف د ځواکونو په تدریجي وتلو سره، او په ورته مهال د افغانستان د ملکي او پوځي څانګو د مالي مرستو کمېدل، د اقتصادي فعالیتونو او د خصوصي سکټور خدماتو لپاره د تقاضا کچه ېې په شدت سره زیانمنه کړې  ده. له ۲۰۱۴ کال وروسته د امنیتي وضعیت خورا خرابوالۍ د دې لامل شو، څو د پانګوالو او مستهلکینو باور په سیاسي اوضاع باندې را کم شي، او له دې امله یو ستر اقتصادي ټکان رامنځته شو. پرته له کوم شک څخه د افغانستان اقتصادي وده، چې له ۲۰۰۳ څخه تر ۲۰۱۲ کلونو پورې شاوخوا ۹،۴ سلنه وه، وروسته له هغه چېد ۲۰۱۳ تر ۲۰۱۶ کلونو په ترڅ کې امنیتي وضعیتخورا خراب شو، نو له امله ېې اقتصادي وده هم ۲،۱ سلنې ته را ټیته شوه. د نفوس د کچې د ۳سلنې، کلنۍ وده سره جوخت، د ناخالص کورني تولید په حساب د سرانه عاید کچه له ۲۰۱۲ کال راپدېخوا په دوام داره بڼه را ټيته شوې ده، څرنګه چې د ۲۰۱۲ کال په پرتله په ۲۰۱۶ کال کې د ۱۰۰ امریکايي دالرو په اندازه را ټیټه شوې ده. د یادونې وړ ده، چې حتي په هغو کلونو کې چې افغانستان یوه ښه اقتصادي وده لرله، د فقر او بېوزلۍ په کچه کې هراړخیز لږوالی رامنځته نه شو، ځکه، چې د اقتصادي ودې محور د هېواد په بېوزلو سیمو کې د فقر په کموالي تمرکز نه درلود. پر دې سربېره، په وروستیو کلونو کې له اقتصادي ودې څخه د نفوس د کچې د ودې چټکوالی، د دې لامل شوی، څو د فقر لمن نوره هم پراخه شي.

نشر آمار و ارقام اخیر پیرامون وضیعت فقر در افغانستان: هشدار برای اقدامات عملی و پیشگیرانه، نه ایجاد نا امیدی

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: English | پښتو

نشر سروی وضعیت زندگی درافغانستان توسط اداره مرکزی احصائیه یک تصویری کلی از واقیعت های موجود را در این کشور برملا میسازد. آمار و ارقام ارایه شده حاکی از آنست که بیشتر از نصف افغانها در زیر خط فقر زندگی مینمایند، که این حالت نشان دهنده تشدید وخامت اوضاع اجتماعی- اقتصادی نسبت به سالهای ۲۰۱۱-۲۰۱۲ میلادی[i] میباشد. نشر یافته ها و ارقام تازه این سروی در زمان مناسبی صورت میگیرد، چنانچه که این ارقام نخستین بسته معلومات تحلیلی پیرامون چگونگی وضعیت رفاه مردم افغانستان را پس از زمان انتقال مسؤولیت های امنیتی از نیروی های بین المللی به نیرو های امنیتی افغانستان در سال ۲۰۱۴ فراهم میسازد.

باوجود اینکه یافته ها این سروی نا اُمید کننده اند، اما مبتنی بر واقیعت اند

باتوجه به آنچه که در افغانستان در طی پنج سال گذشته اتفاق افتاده و این کشور مسیر پر فراز و نشیب پیموده، افزایش چشمگیر فقر در این مقطع زمانی دور از انتظار نبود. میزان بُلند فقر رابطه مستقیم با رکود فعالیت های اقتصادی، افزایش تراکم  نفوس و بدتر شدن وضعیت امنیتی دارد. از سوی دیگر ساختار های اقتصادی افغانستان طی سالیان متمادی در اثر جنگ و ناامنی از هم فروپاشیده و منابع بشری و معیشتی آن بنابر بی ثباتی و نا امنی به شدت آسیب دیده باشد، بدون شک که ریشه های فقر بستر گسترده دارد.

با شروع تدریجی خروج نیرو های بین المللی در اوایل سال ۲۰۱۲ میلادی، و کاهش همزمان کمک های مالی به بخش های نظامی و ملکی، میزان عرضه و تقاضا به خدمات و فعالیت های اقتصادی و سکتور خصوصی نیز به شدت کاهش یافت. بدترشدن اوضاع امنیتی پس از سال ۲۰۱۴؛ باعث کاهش اعتماد سرمایه گذاران و مسهلکین نسبت به اوضاع سیاسی گردید و این وضعیت بالنوبه یک شوکه اقتصادی بزرگ را ایجاد کرد. بدون شک میزان رُشد اقتصادی افغانستان که طی سالیان ۲۰۰۳ الی ۲۰۱۲ همه ساله در حدود ۹،۴ درصد بود، در اثر بدتر شدن اوضاع امنیتی در جریان سالهای ۲۰۱۳ الی ۲۰۱۶ به ۲،۱ درصد کاهش یافته است. همزمان با رُشد ۳ درصدی میزان نفوس در سال، میزان درآمد سرانه به حساب تولید ناخالص داخلی از سال ۲۰۱۲ بدینسو به طور دوامدار کاهش یافته است، چنانچه که  در سال ۲۰۱۶ به اندازه ۱۰۰ دالر امریکایی کاهش در مقایسه به سال ۲۰۱۲ گزارش گردیده است. شایان ذکر است که حتی در طول سال های که افغانستان رُشد اقتصادی مطلوب را تجربه کرد، کاهش قابل ملاحظۀ در میزان فقر رونما نگردید، زیرا محور رُشد اقتصادی در کاهش فقر بر محلات فقیر این کشور متمرکز نبود. رویهمرفته با پیش افتادن افزایش رُشد نفوس از رُشد اقتصادی در طی سال های اخیر، افزایش میزان فقر غیر قابل اجتناب بود.

Sri Lanka at 70: Looking back and forward

Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough's picture
A view from the Independence day parade.At 70, Sri Lanka has accomplished a lot in its seven decades as an independent nation.
A view from the 2018 Independence Day parade. At 70, Sri Lanka has accomplished a lot in its seven decades as an independent nation. Credit: World Bank

Like many Sri Lankans across the country, I joined Sri Lanka’s 70th Independence Day festivities earlier this month. This was undoubtedly a joyful moment, and proof of the country’s dynamism and stability. At 70, Sri Lanka has accomplished a lot in its seven decades as an independent nation.
 
The country’s social indicators, a measure of the well-being of individuals and communities, rank among the highest in South Asia and compare favorably with those in middle-income countries. In the last half-century, better healthcare for mothers and their children has reduced maternal and infant mortality to very low levels.
 
Sri Lanka’s achievements in education have also been impressive. Close to 95 percent of children now complete primary school with an equal proportion of girls and boys enrolled in primary education and a slightly higher number of girls than boys in secondary education.
 
The World Bank has been supporting Sri Lanka’s development for more than six decades. In 1954, our first project, Aberdeen-Laxapana Power Project, which financed the construction of a dam, a power station, and transmissions lines, was instrumental in helping the young nation meet its growing energy demands, boost its trade and develop light industries in Colombo, and provide much-needed power to tea factories and rubber plantations. In post-colonial Sri Lanka, this extensive electrical transmission and distribution project aimed to serve new and existing markets and improve a still fragile national economy.
 
Fast forward a few decades and Sri Lanka in 2018 is a far more prosperous and sophisticated country than it was in 1954 and, in many ways, has been a development success story. Yet, the island nation still faces some critical challenges as it strives to transition to another stage of its development and become a competitive upper middle-income country.
 
Notably, the current overreliance on the public-sector as the main engine for growth and investment, from infrastructure to healthcare, is reaching its limits.  With one of the world’s lowest tax to gross domestic product (GDP) ratios -- 12% in 2016, down from 24% in 1978 —Sri Lanka’s public sector is now facing serious budget constraints and the country needs to look for additional sources of finance to boost and sustain its growth.
 
As outlined in its Vision 2025, the current government has kickstarted an ambitious reform agenda to help the country move from a public investment to a more private investment growth model to enhance competitiveness and lift all Sri Lankans’ standards of living.
 
Now is the time to steer this vision into action. This is urgent as Sri Lanka is one of the world’s most protectionist countries and one of the hardest to start and run a business. As it happens, private foreign investment is much lower than in comparable economies and trade as a proportion of GDP has decreased from 88% in 2000 to 50% in 2016. Reversing this downward trend is critical for Sri Lanka to meet its development aspirations and overcome the risk of falling into a permanent “middle-income trap.”

What does risk management have to do with Sri Lankan families?

Ralph van Doorn's picture
While the number of Sri Lankans living under the poverty line has decreased tremendously, many still live right above it and can fall back into extreme poverty if they experience a shock such as a natural disaster. Photo Credit: Lakshman Nadaraja 


Imagine there is a small fire in your house: someone forgot to put out a cigarette stub and accidentally set your rubbish bin on fire. You will need just one bucket of water to put it out.
 
But up the ante, and it is no longer possible for an individual to handle it. For instance, if your entire house was on fire, you would need to call your local fire station for help.
 
Now, go up one more level. You live in a thickly wooded part of a district like Badulla, and a forest fire covering hundreds of acres is threatening homes and businesses—then it would take the resources of the country, and maybe even aid and support from international allies, to battle the fire and help people recover.
 
I am telling you this story to illustrate how there are levels of risks—and responses—to consider when discussing a subject like integrated risk management.
 
As part of our work on the recently released Sri Lanka Development Update (SLDU) we considered the risks and opportunities facing Sri Lanka, beginning from the smallest unit of the household and building up to the country, as represented by the public sector.
 
There’s been a lot of talk about the macro-economy and national level reforms and policy initiatives. However, in this blog I wanted to focus on your families. What does integrated risk management mean for households?
 
The poorest Sri Lankan families are vulnerable to shocks

More qualified procurement personnel will strengthen Afghanistan’s reform efforts

Anand Kumar Srivastava's picture
Also available in: دری | پښتو
With support from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund, the Afghan government is taking steps to professionalize procurement and improve capability in ministries and other government institutions.
With support from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF), the Afghan government is taking steps to professionalize procurement to improve the capability of ministries and other government institutions. Photo Credit: NPA/World Bank

Recruiting the right people for the right jobs is the drive behind the first mass recruitment carried out by the Government of Afghanistan to improve public services. The process is currently underway as part of the government’s civil service and procurement reforms to improve capacity in ministries. Almost 700 highly qualified women and men are expected to be recruited by the end of 2017.

The ongoing recruitment, led by the Independent Administrative Reform and Civil Service Commission (IARCSC), is in tune with the government’s efforts to professionalize procurement and improve capability in ministries and other government institutions.
 
Candidates are undergoing a rigorous selection process, including a mass examination, which saw about 7,800 people take the exam. IARCSC is working closely on this initiative with the National Procurement Authority (NPA), which is providing technical support, and the Ministry of Higher Education, which is facilitating the examination process.

استخدام کارمندان مجرب و متخصص باعث تقویت تلاش ها و گسترش روند اصلاحات در عرصه تدارکات میگردد

Anand Kumar Srivastava's picture
Also available in: English | پښتو
With support from the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund, the Afghan government is taking steps to professionalize procurement and improve capability in ministries and other government institutions.
با حمایت صندوق بازسازی افغانستان، دولت افغانستان اقدامات لازم را بخاطر ارتقای ظرفیت کارمندان تدارکاتی ادارات و وزارتخانه ها رویدست گرفته است. عکس: اداره تداکارت ملی/ بانک جهانی

پروسۀ استخدام اشخاص واجد شرایط به اساس مهارت های مسلکی (تحصیل، تجربه و سایر مشخصات کاری) در عرصه های مختلف محیط کاری به مثابۀ یک اصل عمده در راستای عملی ساختن برنامۀ استخدام کتلوی دولت به منظور ارائۀ خدمات ملکی محسوب میشود. تطبیق این پروسه در حال حاضر به مثابۀ یک بخشی از برنامۀ اصلاحات خدمات ملکی و تدارکات دولتی به منظور تقویت ظرفیت سازی در وزارتخانه ها و ادارات دولتی جریان دارد. توقوع میرود که در نخستین مرحلۀ تطبیق این برنامه، حدود ۷۰۰ تن زنان و مردان واجد شرایط الی ختم سال ۲۰۱۷ میلادی استخدام شوند.

پروسۀ کنونی استخدام، که توسط کمیسیون مستقل اصلاحات اداری و خدمات ملکی، پیش برده میشود، در مطابقت و هماهنگی کامل با تلاش های دولت در راستای استخدام حرفوی و بهبود ارتقای ظرفیت وزارتخانه ها و دیگر ادارات دولتی میباشد.

انتخاب کاندیدان واجد شرایط بخش تدارکات از طریق یک پروسۀ دقیق و شفاف پس از سپری نمودن امتحان جمعی انجام میشود، که در این پروسه ۷۸۰۰ کاندید اشتراک نموده بودند. کمیسیون مستقل اصلاحات اداری و خدمات ملکی به طور همه جانبه خدمات تخنیکی را به منظور تطبیق پروسه استخدام با اداره ملی تدارکات انجام میدهد و همچنان وزارت تحصیلات عالی این اداره را در راستای تسهیل پروسه اخذ امتحان کمک مینماید.

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