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Afghanistan: Learning from a decade of progress and loss

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: دری | پښتو
Afghanistan: Learning from a decade of progress and loss


In Afghanistan, the past decade saw remarkable progress, as well as reversals and lost opportunities.

The overall macroeconomic and security context in Afghanistan since 2007 can be broken into two distinct phases, pre- and post- the 2014 security transition, when international troops handed over security responsibilities to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).
 
The pre-transition phase was marked by higher economic growth (GDP per capita grew 63 percent relative to its 2007 value) and a relatively stable security situation.

Since 2014, growth has stagnated, falling below rates of population growth, and the security situation continues to deteriorate. With the withdrawal of most international troops and the steady decline in aid (both security and civilian aid) since 2012, the economy witnessed an enormous shock to demand, from which it is still struggling to recover.

Similarly, welfare can be characterized into two distinct phases.

Finishing the job of ending poverty in South Asia

Hartwig Schafer's picture
This Bangladeshi woman was born in poverty. With the right kind of education, life in poverty quickly became a story from the past for her. Credit: World Bank

"I have a four-year-old son back in my village. I want to make a better life for him,” says Sharmin Akhtar, a 19-year-old employee in one of Dhaka’s many flourishing garment factories.

Like thousands of other poor women, Sharmin came down to Bangladesh’s capital from her village in the country’s north to seek a better job and create a more prosperous future for her family—leaving behind a life of crushing poverty.

Today, as we mark End Poverty Day 2018, it’s important to note that Sharmin’s heartening story is one of many in Bangladesh and the rest of South Asia, where economic growth has spurred a dramatic decline in extreme poverty in the last 25 years.

And the numbers are striking: In South Asia, the number of extreme poor living on less than $1.90 a day dropped to 216 million people in 2015 from 275 million in 2013 and 536 million in 1990.

Even more remarkable, South Asian countries experienced an increase in incomes among the poorest 40 percent of 2.6 percent a year between 2010-2015, faster than the global average of 1.9 percent.

On a global scale, the highest concentration of poor shifted from South Asia to Sub-Saharan Africa in 2012. And India is likely to be overtaken, if it has not already been, by Nigeria as the country with the most people living in extreme poverty.

It’s worth thinking about how far South Asia has come – but remaining clear-eyed about how far we must go to finish the fight against extreme poverty.

Indeed, it is increasingly clear that poverty is more entrenched and harder to root out in certain areas, particularly in rural areas and in countries burdened by violent conflict and weak institutions.

Estimates for 2015 indicate that India, with 176 million poor people, continued to have the highest number of people in poverty and accounted for nearly a quarter of the global poor.

True, the extreme poverty rate is significantly lower in India relative to the average rate in Sub-Saharan Africa. But because of its large population, India’s total number of poor is still large.

And while there has been a substantial decline in the numbers and rate of people living below $1.90 in South Asia, the number of people living on less than $3.20 has declined by only 8 percent over 1990-2015 because of the growing population.

In 2015, 49 percent of the population of South Asia were living on less than $3.20 a day, and 80 percent were living on less than $5.50 a day.

چگونه از پیشرفت ها و ناتوانایی های یک دهه گذشته در افغانستان آموخت

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: English | پښتو
چگونه از پیشرفت ها و ناتوانایی های یک دهه گذشته در افغانستان آموخت


افغانستان در یک دهه یی گذشته شاهد پیشرفت های زیاد بوده اما در عین زمان با عقب گرد های نیز رو برو شده و فرصت های را نیز از دست داده است.
 
در کل، وضعیت اقتصاد بزرگ و امنیت افغانستان از سال ۲۰۰۷ میلادی به بعد را میتوان به دو مرحله متمایز تقسیم کرد: قبل و بعد از انتقال مسولیت های امنیتی در سال ۲۰۱۴، زمانیکه نیرو های بین المللی مسوولیت های امنیتی را به نیرو های امنیتی ملی افغانستان سپردند.
 
مرحله قبل ازانتقال مسولیت های امنیتی شاهد رشد بلندتر اقتصادی (در سال ۲۰۰۷ تولید ناخالص سرانه ۶۳ درصد رشد نمود) وضعیت امنیتی نسبتاً پایدارتر بود. از سال ۲۰۱۴ به بعد رشد اقتصادی رو به رکود بوده که پایین تر از میزان رشد جمعیت در این کشور است و همچنان وضعیت امنیتی با گذشت هر روز وخیمتر گردیده است. بعد از خروج بخش بزرگی از نیروهای بین المللی و کاهش دوامدار کمک ها در بخش امنیتی و ملکی بعد از سال ۲۰۱۲، وضعیت اقتصادی ضربه محکم و بزرگی را متحمل شد که  اکنون تلاش ها برای بیرون رفت از آن آدامه دارد.
 
هم  زمان با این، رفاه عامه را نیز میتوان به دو بخش متمایز دسته بندی  کرد.

څنګه په افغانستان کې د تیر یوه لسیزی د لاسته راوړنې او تللې فرصتونو څخه زدکړو

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: English | دری
څنګه په افغانستان کې د تیر یوه لسیزی د لاسته راوړنې او تللې فرصتونو څخه زدکړو


افغانستان په تېره یوه لسيزه کې د پرمختګونو شاهد و خو په ورته مهال د شاتګ ځيني موارد يې هم درلودل او فرصتونو يې هم له لاسه ورکړي دي.
 
په ټوله کې، کولاۍ شو د افغانستان ستر اقتصادي او امنیتی وضعیت له ۲۰۰۷ کال راهيسې پر دوو پړاوونو و ویشو:  ۲۰۱۴ کال کې د امنیتي مسوولیتونو له لېږد څخه وړاندې او وروسته، کله چې نړیوالو ځواکونو په افغانستان کې امنیتي مسوولیتونه افغان ځواکونو ته وسپارل.
 
د امنيتي مسوولیتونو له لېږد وړاندې پړاو کې د لوړې اقتصادي ودې شاهدان وو (۲۰۰۷ کال کې د يو کس ناخالص عاید ۶۳ سلنه وده وکړه) امنیتي وضعیت په نسبي ډول پایدار و. خو له ۲۰۱۴ کال نه راهيسې اقتصادي وده مخ پر ځوړ وه چې د دغه هېواد د وګړو د ودې له کچې څخه هم ټيټه ده او همداراز د هرې ورځې په تېرېدو امنيتي وضعیت ترینګلی کېږي.
 
له افغانستان څخه په زیاته کچه د بهرنيو نړیوالو ځواکونو وتل او ۲۰۱۲ کال کې په پوځي او ملکي برخو کې په دوامداره توګه د مرستو کمښت،  اقتصادي وضعیت له سخت حالت سره مخ کړ چې تر اوسه يې د ژغورولو لپاره هڅې روانې دي.
 
په ورته مهال، عامه سوکالي هم کولی شو چې پر دوو جلا برخو یې ډلبندي کړو.

Afghanistan’s prosperity rests on investing in its people

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: دری | پښتو
Afghanistan’s prosperity rests on investing in its people
Primary school students are attending their class in northern Balkh Province. Photo credit: Rumi Consultancy/ World Bank

Today, the World Bank Group released the first Human Capital Index (HCI), a new global indicator to measure the extent to which human capital in each country measures up to its full potential.
 
The HCI is part of the World Bank Group’s Human Capital Project intended to raise awareness about the critical role human capital plays in a country’s long-term growth and to galvanize the country’s will and resources to accelerate investments in its people as its most important asset.
 
Afghanistan’s overall HCI indicates it fulfills only 39 percent of its full potential, conceptualized as 14 years of quality education and survival until age 60
 
As dire as this may sound, the overall HCI score places Afghanistan just around a place where it is expected given its income level—in fact, slightly higher than an average low-income country.

د افغانستان سوکالي پر خلکو پانګونې سره تړلې ده

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: English | دری
Afghanistan’s prosperity rests on investing in its people
د بلخ ولایت په یو ښوونځی کې د زده کوونکو حضور. انځور: د رومي مشورتي شرکت/ نړیوال بانک

د نړيوال بانک ګروپ، پر خلکو د پانګونې څرنګوالي په تړاو نن خپل لومړنی راپور خپور کړ، دا نوی راپور په نړۍ کې د هر تن له وړتيا څخه په بشپړ ډول د استفادې پر بنسټ د پانګونې د نړيوالې ځانګړنې کچه ښيي.

پر وګړو د پانګونې ځانګړنى راپور(HCI)، پر وګړو د پانګونې پروژې يوه برخه ده چې د نړۍ په هر هېواد کې د نړيوال بانک ګروپ له لوري د پانګونې د اوږدمهالو پرمختګونو په اړه د خلکو پوهاوي او عامه ذهنيتونو روښانتيا لپاره ترسره کېږي.
د دې پروژې پر بنسټ به هر هېواد و هڅول شي، چې له شته سرچينو څخه ګټه واخلي او دا ګام  به پرخلکو د پانګونې  برخه کې مهم نقش ولوبوي.

د دې راپور د موندونو له مخې، افغانستان پر خپلو وګړو د پانګونې د ځانګړتيا له اړخه يوازې ۳۹ سلنې وړتيا ته رسېدلی دی، چې تر ۱۴ پورې د نيمه لوړو زده کړو تحصيلي درجه او تر ۶۰ کلونو پورې د ژوند کچه ښيي.

پر وګړو د پانګونې ځانګړتيا راپور له مخې، افغانستان په داسې موقعيت کې ځای لري، چې د دې هېواد اقتصادي وضعيت سره اړخ لګوي، دا په داسې حال کې ده، چې افغانستان د نورو لږ عايد لرونکو هېوادونو په پرتله څه ناڅه لوړه درجه کې ځای لري.

رفاه افغانستان مستلزم سرمایه گذاری بالای مردم است

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: English | پښتو
Afghanistan’s prosperity rests on investing in its people
حضورشاگردان در یکی از مکاتب ابتدایی ولایت بلخ.  عکس: شرکت مشورتی رومی/ بانک جهانی

گروپ بانک جهانی، امروز نخستین گزارش شاخص سرمایه گذاری بالای مردم را منتشرنمود. این گزارش جدید شاخص بین المللی میزان سرمایه گذاری را نظر به استفاده مکمل ظرفیت هر فرد در کشور های جهان نشان میدهد.

گزارش شاخص سرمایه گذاری بالای مردم (HCI) بخش از پروژه سرمایه گذاری بالای مردم میباشد، که توسط گروپ بانک جهانی بمنظور اگاهی دهی و روشن ساختن اذهان عامه درمورد نقش پیشرفتهای طویل المدت سرمایه گذاری بالای مردم در هر کشور رویدست گرفته شده است. این پروژه در راستای ایجاد تحرک در هر کشور بخاطر استفاده ازمنابع موجوده برای تسریع روند سرمایه گذاری ها بالای مردم نقش مهم ایفا خواهد نمود.

براساس یافته های این گزارش افغانستان صرف به ۳۹ در صد ظرفیت بل القوه خود در شاخص سرمایه گذاری بالای مردم رسیده، که نشاندهنده ۱۴ سال تعلیم و زنده گی تا سن ۶۰ سالگی میباشد.
 
افغانستان در گزارش شاخص سرمایه گذاری بالای مردم تقریبا در رده (جایگاه) قرار گرفته که کاملاً مطابقت به وضعیت عینی اقتصادی این کشور دارد. این در حالیست که این کشور در جایگای کمی بالا تر در مقایسه با سایر کشور های داری عاید پایین همچون افغانستان قرار گرفته است.

Announcing the winners of the 2018 #OneSouthAsia Photo Contest

World Bank South Asia's picture


Home to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, South Asia is one of the world’s most dynamic regions.

It's also one of the least integrated.

A few numbers say it all: Intra-regional trade accounts for only 5 percent of South Asia’s total trade; Intra-regional investment is smaller than 1 percent of overall investment.

Pulling out all stops: World Bank in Nepal

Faris Hadad-Zervos's picture

Nepal

Few countries in recent history have experienced change on a scale as sweeping as Nepal – that too, in the span of a single generation. The journey is ongoing as Nepalis continue to confront and challenge the conventional wisdom about Nepali statehood and chart a path towards a more inclusive, equitable and modern nation-state.

The new federal structure also redefines the World Bank Group (WBG)’s engagement with Nepal. This week, as the WBG’s Board of Executive Directors endorsed a new five-year Country Partnership Framework (CPF), Nepal’s Finance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada attended a series of Nepal Day events at the WBG headquarters in Washington DC. There, he unfurled the new government’s vision and development priorities and discussed approaches to address Nepal’s financing and knowledge needs in the WBG’s upcoming programme of assistance.

Finance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada's Vision for Nepal's Future


The CPF is designed to balance support to Nepal’s transition to federalism with its quest for higher growth, sustained poverty reduction and inclusive development. To that end, our strategy and approach seeks to support the authorities and engage with development partners in three transformative engagement areas: (i) public institutions for economic management, service delivery and public investment; (ii) private sector-led jobs and growth; and (iii) inclusion for the poor, vulnerable, and marginalised groups, with greater resilience against climate change, natural disasters, and other exogenous shocks. These focus areas were informed by extensive consultations and surveys across the country’s seven states with over 200,000 citizens, government, civil society organisations, the private sector, media and development partners.

In many respects, Nepal is starting from a clean state. While Nepal did practise a limited version of decentralisation in the early 2000s, the scope of devolution proposed by the 2015 Constitution is unprecedented.  Meanwhile, reforms promise to rid the country of a legacy of exclusion based on geography, ethnicity and gender.

Over the last decade, Nepal experienced frequent government turnover and political fragmentation with a considerable toll on development.  The 2017 elections mark a significant turning point, in that they offer higher hopes for political stability and policy predictability that remained elusive during most of Nepal’s recent past. This is a considerable achievement.

Interview with World Bank Country Director for Nepal, Qimiao Fan


Nepal has achieved a remarkable reduction in poverty in the last three decades, but the agenda remains unfinished. While the national poverty estimates await updating starting next year, at last count, poverty fell from 46 per cent in 1996 to 15 per cent in 2011 as measured by the international extreme poverty line. However, most of the poverty reduction resulted from the massive outmigration of labour, and a record increase in private remittances. Moreover, a significant disparity remains in poverty incidence across the country.

Compared to the average 4.5 per cent of GDP growth over the last decade, Nepal needs to achieve faster growth to meet its coveted goal of attaining middle-income status by 2030. Nepal needs to grow in the order of at least 7 to 8 per cent and shift from remittance-led consumption to productive investment. The economy also remains exposed to exogenous shocks like earthquakes, floods and trade disruptions. These long-standing economic vulnerabilities will require far-reaching but carefully-calibrated reforms.

Nepal now faces the daunting task of adapting to a three-tier structure in the face of nascent and often-nonexistent institutions at the sub-national levels. Immediate challenges include the need to clarify the functions and accountabilities of the federal, state and local governments; deliver basic services and maintain infrastructure development; enable the private sector; and ensure strong and transparent governance during the early years of federalism. Meanwhile, if left unmet or unmanaged, heightened public expectations of federalism could rapidly degenerate from anticipation to disillusionment.
 
Short Take: Nepal Country Partnership Framework (FY2019-23)

South Asia’s transport corridors can lead to prosperity

Martin Melecky's picture
 World Bank
Transport corridors offer enormous potential to boost South Asia’s economies, reduce poverty, and spur more and better jobs for local people, provided the new trade routes generate growth for all and limit their environmental impact. Credit: World Bank

This blog is based on the report The Web of Transport Corridors in South Asia -- jointly produced with the Asian Development Bank, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, and the Japan International Cooperation Agency

No doubt, South Asia’s prosperity was built along its trade routes.

One of the oldest, the Grand Trunk Road from the Mughal era still connects East and West and in the 17th century made Delhi, Kabul and Lahore wealthy cities with impressive civic buildings, monuments, and gardens.

Fast forward a few centuries and today, South Asia abounds with new proposals to build a vast network of transport corridors.
 
In India alone—and likely bolstered by the successful completion of the Golden Quadrilateral (GQ) highway system—several transport proposals extending beyond India’s borders are now under consideration. 
 
They include the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), linking India, Iran and Russia, the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor, and the Bangladesh, China, India, and Myanmar (BCIM) economic corridor.
 
The hope is that these transport corridors will turn into growth engines and create large economic surpluses that can spread throughout the economy and society.

Arguably, the transport corridor with the greatest economic potential is the surface link between Shanghai and Mumbai.
 
These two cities are the economic hubs of China and India respectively, two emerging global powers.
 
The distance between them, about 5,000 kilometers, is not much greater than the distance between New York and Los Angeles.
 
But instead of crossing a relatively empty continent, a corridor from Shanghai to Mumbai—via Kunming, Mandalay, Dhaka, and Kolkata—would go through some of the most densely populated and most dynamic areas in the world, stoking hopes of large economic spillovers along its alignment.
 
“Build and they will come” seems to be the logic underlying many massive transport investments around the world.
 
However, the reality is that not all these investments will generate the expected returns.
 
Worse, they can become wasteful white elephants—that is, transport infrastructure without much traffic—that would cost trillions of dollars at taxpayers’ expense.
 
So, how can South Asia develop transport corridors that have a positive impact on their economies and benefit all people along the corridor alignments and beyond?  
 
First, countries need to change the mindset that transport corridors are mere engineering feats designed to move along vehicles and commodities.
 
Second, sound economic analysis of how corridors can help spur urbanization and create local jobs while minimizing the disruptions to the natural environment, is key to developing successful investment programs.
 
Specifically, it is vital to ensure that local populations whose lives are disrupted by new infrastructure can reap equally the benefits from better transport connectivity.
 
The hard truth is that the development of corridor initiatives may involve difficult tradeoffs.
 
For instance, more educated and skilled people can migrate to obtain better jobs in growing urban areas that are benefiting from corridor connectivity, while unskilled workers may be left behind in depopulated rural areas with few economic prospects.
 
But while corridors can create both winners and losers, well-designed investment programs can alleviate potential adverse impacts and help local people share the benefits more widely.
 
In that vein, India’s Golden Quadrilateral, or GQ highway system, is a cautionary tale. 
 
No doubt, this corridor had a positive impact. 
 
Economic activity along the corridor increased and people, especially women, found better job opportunities beyond traditional farming.
 
But this success came at a cost as air pollution increased in the districts near the highway.
 
This is a major tradeoff and one that was documented before in Japan when levels of air pollution spiked during the development of its Pacific Ocean Belt several decades ago.
 
Another downside is that the economic benefits generated by the GQ highway were distributed unequally in neighboring communities.  

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