The private sector continues to be a critical driver of job creation and economic growth. However, several factors can undermine the private sector and, if left unaddressed, may impede development. Through rigorous face-to-face interviews with managers and owners of firms, the World Bank Group’s Enterprise Surveys benchmark the business environment based on actual experiences of firms.
This blog focuses on Ghana, where 720 firms were surveyed covering six business sectors—(i) Food, (ii) Chemicals, Plastics, & Rubber (iii) Basic Metals, Fabricated Metals, Machinery & Equipment (iv) Other Manufacturing (v) Retail (vi) Other Services.
Use of financial services for investments and working capital on the rise
According to the 2012 Ghana Enterprise Surveys (ES), 21% of firms used banks to finance investments (vs. 16% in 2007) and 25% used banks to finance working capital (vs. 21% in 2007). However, while access to financial services has improved, it is still lower compared to the average for around 135 countries with ES data. The corresponding global averages for bank finance for investments and working capital are 25% and 30%, respectively. Moreover, in Ghana, 23% of the firms surveyed had a bank loan or line of credit, compared to the global average of 34%.
When discussing openness and transparency in government, it would be easy to imagine countries like India and Ukraine have more differences than similarities. India is often described as the world’s largest democracy with a federalized government system that gives financial and legislative rights to regions, while Ukraine is a former Soviet Union state with a historically centralized power system.
Source: World Development Indicators and World Health Organization (WHO) Global Health Estimates Note: Causes of death by communicable diseases and maternal, prenatal and nutrition conditions are grouped together by WHO.
As Emi Suzuki wrote last week, the causes and patterns of death rich and poor countires vary and they're changing. But what about the gender dimension?
. Globally, women's life expectancy remains about 3 years longer than men's, and you see the data for different countries in the interactive chart below:
According to the World Health Organization, about 85% of the world's children received a measles vaccine by their first birthday in 2014 - up from 73% in 2000. Between 2000 and 2014, measles vaccination prevented an estimated 17.1 million deaths making it one of the "best buys" in public health.
The incidence and patterns of serious diseases in rich and poor countries differ and they’re changing. In low-income countries more than half the population dies from communicable diseases, or maternal, prenatal, or nutrition conditions. In middle- and high-income countries more than two-thirds die from noncommunicable diseases. However, as health care and targeted medicine in poorer countries improve, the incidence of diseases such as malaria and HIV are starting to fall, whilst deaths due to heart attacks and strokes are on the increase.
Sustainable Development Goal 3 looks to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all ages. One of its aims is to reduce deaths and adverse consequences of non-communicable diseases and injuries—for example, by halving the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents by 2020. Traffic injuries caused 27 deaths per 100,000 people in low-income countries in 2013, three times more than in high-income countries. Rates in middle-income countries are also high.
A fifth of the world's electricity production in 2012 came from renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, and hydropower. The International Energy Agency estimates this could rise to a quarter of the world's production by 2020.
Note: I picked "over 80%" just for emphasis - I was surprised by the countries in Sub-Saharan Africa such as Zambia where hydropower is a big part of the energy generation mix. You can see a map with values for all countries with available data here.
With over 1 million downloads last year, WDI is the most widely used dataset in our Open Data Catalog and it provides high-quality cross-country comparable statistics about development and people’s lives around the globe. You can:
- Download the full publication (PDF: 7Mb) & highlights featuring the SDGs (PDF: 6Mb)
- Download or query the database
- Access the statistical tables
- Browse the full list of WDI products
update the WDI database quarterly and make historical versions available, this annual release of a new edition is an opportunity to review the trends we’re seeing in global development and discuss updates we’ve made to our data and methods.While we
The WDI team aims to produce a curated set of indicators relevant to the changing needs of the development community. The new edition includes indicators to help measure the 169 targets of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - these build on the 8 goals and 18 targets of the Millennium Development Goals we focused on in previous editions, but are far wider in scope and far more ambitious. A complementary Sustainable Development Goals data dashboard provides an interactive presentation of the indicators we have in the WDI database that are related to each goal.
For each of the 17 SDGs the World View section of the publication includes recent trends and baselines against key targets. Data experts in the World Bank’s Data Group and subject specialists in the Bank’s Global Practices and Cross Cutting Solution Areas teamed up to identify new and existing indicators and assess key trends for each goal and for three cross-cutting areas: statistical capacity; fragility, conflict and violence; and financial inclusion.
A series of blogs will look further at data and the SDGs, and review some of the measurement challenges. To give you an idea of how interesting some of the trends are, here are four charts we found striking:
While undernourishment has been halved globally since 1990, over a quarter of the population in low-income countries still can’t meet their dietary energy requirements.
Good records of births and deaths are key to delivering government programs and services, but in Sub-Saharan africa, fewer than half of children’s births were recorded in 2011.
While some regions have increased forest coverage, Latin America and the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa lost 97 and 83 million hectares respectively since 1990.
Since the 1980s there has been a dramatic rise in aquaculture - fish, shellfish, and seaweed farming. We now farm as much fish as we catch. (The resemblance between this chart and the shape of a fish is pleasing, but coincidental!)
Download the World Development Indicators from the Bank's Open Knowledge Repository
Last November, Tariq Khokhar and Umar Serajuddin asked the question: “Should we continue to use the term ‘developing world?” The conclusion was that it’s becoming less relevant, and with the focus of the SDGs on goals for the whole world, we should start phasing out the term “developing world” in our data publications and databases.
The recent global financial crisis was closely followed by a trade collapse. Global trade plunged by 23% in 2008-2009. Despite a rebound in 2010-2011, trade growth has been almost stagnant ever since and is predicted by the WTO in its April 7 2016 press release to remain sluggish, a grim outlook compared to the expansions in pre-crisis times (Constantinescu et al., 2015). What were the underlying micro sources of this trade collapse: were exporters’ ability to participate in foreign markets or their pace of growth most hurt? Evidence from high-income countries shows that declines in the intensive margin—average exporter size—explain most of the decline in global trade, compared to the fall in the extensive margin—the number of exporters. But what about developing countries?Download and query Exporter Dynamics Database indicators
The recently released Exporter Dynamics Database (EDD) version 2.0 with its indicators on both margins of trade at a micro level for 70 countries (of which 56 developing countries) can help answer this question. The EDD can be downloaded in bulk from the World Bank Microdata catalog and now it is also available for customized queries in the World Bank Databank. The EDD indicators for developing countries show that a decline in the average size of exporters was the key factor behind the decline in total exports resulting from the global financial crisis.
Globally, over 90% of children complete primary school and over 70% complete lower secondary school. However, completion rates are much lower in low-income countries, and large gaps remain between boys and girls.
You can find more data on education at our new beta open data site and also access the data from the chart above.
The growth of the middle class has been one of the first casualties of the economic slowdown in the Latin America and the Caribbean region. In 2014, the share of Latin Americans that were middle class was almost the same as in 2013 (35 percent of the population, up from 34.8 percent; see the World Bank’s LAC Equity Lab). This almost negligible increase of the middle class contrasts with the trend that had marked the decade up to 2012. During that golden decade, the middle class grew at a brisk pace and every year over 1 percent of the population moved up to the middle class. It may not sound like much but put it this way: during the ten years before 2012 over ten million Latin Americans joined the ranks of the middle class every year. In 2014, barely a third of that figure –three and a half million– achieved that feat.
Until recently, Latin America was well on its way to becoming a middle class region. Had the trend of the golden decade continued, the middle class would have become the largest group of Latin Americans by next year. Unfortunately, as shown in the chart below, based on current trends it is unclear when such a milestone could be reached. In addition, other social gains have also slowed down. For example, the economic downturn has been accompanied by a lower income growth for the bottom 40 percent of the population—we examine this in the latest Poverty and Inequality brief
Note: Data from World Health Organization Global Health Estimates and as noted in their methodology (PDF) they use the World Bank's Income Classification as of 2014.
Worldwide, the leading causes of death are changing, and they vary between rich and poor countries. In low-income countries, deaths from communicable diseases such as malaria and HIV/AIDS have fallen, while deaths from non-communicable diseases such as stroke and diabetes are on the rise.
While explanations for these changing causes vary, my colleague Patricio Marquez recently wrote about the global rise in the number of overweight people and people with diabetes. Patricio notes that this is not only a problem of the rich - or the rich world; about 80% of people with diabetes live in low- and middle-income countries. Shifts in society are behind these changes: urbanization is changing traditional diets and lifestyles; and the aging of the population results in the natural deterioration of multiple organ systems which contributes to the onset of diabetes.
You can explore the data further in this interactive data visualiztion: