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Think local, act local: Working with civil society for better development outcomes in Burkina Faso

Marcus Holmlund's picture

We love local. Whether it’s buying vegetables directly from your local farmer, frequenting a neighborhood business, or working as a community activist, many of us believe that solutions to some of our most pressing problems lie at least in part in a small series of actions taken from the ground up. This may be especially true in countries with limited state capacity, where community-based organizations (CBOs) are often among the highest-functioning entities at the local level. In some settings, producer cooperatives or savings and credit groups, for example, have stronger financial management capacity than local governments. Parent-teacher organizations, women’s associations, hometown associations, or other membership-based groups can be highly effective community mobilizers.

E-commerce for poverty alleviation in rural China: from grassroots development to public-private partnerships

Xubei Luo's picture
A young woman is selling products on-line. Photo: Xubei Luo/World Bank

China’s rapid development of e-commerce has begun to reshape production and consumption patterns as well as change people’s daily lives. In 2016, the World Bank and the Alibaba Group launched a joint research initiative to examine how China has harnessed digital technologies to aid growth and expand employment opportunities through e-commerce development in rural areas. The research seeks to distill lessons and identify policy options to enhance the positive effect of e-commerce on the reduction of poverty and inequality. Emerging findings from that research show that rural e-commerce evolves from grassroots development to become a potential tool for poverty alleviation with public-private partnerships.

E-commerce has grown quickly in China. Total e-commerce trade volume increased from less than 1,000 billion yuan (US$120.8 billion) in 2004 to nearly 30,000 billion yuan (US$4.44 trillion) in 2017. While e-commerce is more developed in urban areas, online retail sales in rural areas have grown faster than the national average. From 2014 to 2017, online retail sales in rural China increased from RMB 180 billion to 1.24 trillion, a compound annual growth rate of 91%, compared to 35% nationally.

Taking stock: Financing family planning services to reach Ghana’s 2020 Goals

Ibironke Folashade Oyatoye's picture

Ghana recently held a Family Planning (FP) 2020 stock-taking event as a countdown to the country’s FP 2020 goals and commitment made during the 2012 London summit. The conference, which brought together multi-sector stakeholders,  reviewed Ghana’s progress, challenges and options to accelerate achievement of the country’s FP 2020 targets and commitment.

With a high unmet need for family planning compared to many other early demographic dividend countries across lower-middle income countries, three in 10 Ghanaian women who want contraception to space or limit births currently lack access. Access to contraception is a key strategic lever for development – to empower women, improve investments in children, and ultimately contribute to poverty reduction. Unplanned pregnancies, including teenage pregnancy, perpetuated by lack of access to family planning are linked with higher risks of birth complications such as maternal deaths and early child deaths, and malnutrition in children under-five, particularly in the critical window of child development - the first 1000 days. Securing access to family planning services therefore remains a critical component of building human capital in Ghana.

Figure 1: Unmet need for Family Planning across early demographic dividend LMICs (source: Author's analysis of World Bank Health Equity and Financial Protection Indicators database)

Feeling Ambivalent on International Women’s Day

Haishan Fu's picture
Photo: Lakshman Nadaraja/World Bank

On the eve of International Women’s Day, I was at a UN WOMEN side event in NYC when my phone started buzzing with well wishes for a happy women’s day from my friends in Asia, filling me with — ambivalence. To be honest, the day always leaves me with mixed feelings: despite the great strides that the world has made in women’s rights in various ways, for me, it’s also a reminder of how so many women still don’t enjoy our basic human rights.

As we’ve returned from women’s day to what in many ways is still a man’s world, I wanted to share three thoughts about the intersection of women’s rights with our data world today.

Rising with rice in Côte d’Ivoire 2: More and better jobs by connecting farmers to markets

Luc Christiaensen's picture
Workers operating the rice thresher in the Lopé lowlands in the Hambol Region, Côte d’Ivoire. Photo by Raphaela Karlen / World Bank

In the first post of this blog series, we traveled to the center of Côte d’Ivoire during rice harvesting season and met two people whose livelihoods depended on the outcome: Sali Soro, a smallholder farmer and member of a regional rice cooperative, and Zié Coulibaly, director of the Katiola rice mill.

Their stories illustrate the challenges faced by local farmers and millers and show how the chain is not reaching its full potential in contributing to poverty reduction in Côte d’Ivoire.

How are trade tensions affecting developing countries?

Caroline Freund's picture
The trade war between China and the United States is hurting consumers and producers in both countries.  As two recent papers show, US consumers are facing significantly higher prices as a result of the tariffs. In addition, producers are losing foreign sales as demand for the targeted goods declines.  
 

How can countries better manage investment risks along the BRI?

Trang Tran's picture
Investors want to ensure that their investment will be subject to predictable and stable rules and are well-protected from arbitrary government conduct. One fundamental set of tools that governments often use is to provide explicit protection for investments through investment treaties and laws.

Learning for all: the essential role of teachers in inclusive education

Hanna Alasuutari's picture



Inclusive education has been a universally acknowledged goal for over two decades, since Salamanca Statement (1994). This goal has been further strengthened by the Convention on the Rights of persons with disabilities (2006) and the Sustainable Development Goals (2015), the former making inclusive education a fundamental human right and the latter tying it to a broader global development agenda. The central role of the teacher cannot be underestimated if we aim to provide universal and inclusive education for all.

Weekly links March 15: yes, research departments are needed; “after elections”, experiences with registered reports, and more...

David McKenzie's picture
  • Why the World Bank needs a research department: Penny Goldberg offers a strong rationale on Let’s Talk Development
  • On VoxDev, Battaglia, Gulesci and Madestam summarize their work on flexible credit contracts, which is one my favorite recent papers – they worked with BRAC in Bangladesh to offer borrowers a 12 month loan, with borrowers having the option to delay up to two monthly repayments at any time during the loan cycle. This appears to be a win-win, with the borrowers being more likely to grow their firms, and the bank experiencing lower default and higher client retention. However, although the post doesn’t discuss it, the product seemed less successful in helping larger SMEs.
  • Political business cycles in Africa – Rachel Strohm  notes a Quartz Africa story on a phenomenon that has held up a number of my impact evaluations – “Having contracts stalled and major projects abandoned is “very common”... The uncertainty is also magnified because newly-elected administrations could take months to form a cabinet and appoint heads of key agencies... as a bulk of voters travel to their ancestral homes to cast their ballot, businesses are forced to shutter or maintain skeletal operations... [this] has even made phrases like “after elections” a colloquial mainstay”.
  • The JDE interviews Eric Edmonds about his experience with the registered report process: “I thought I wrote really good pre-analysis plans and then I saw the template and realized, no, I write really bad pre-analysis plans too. I think just the act of providing that template to give some kind of standardization, is a great service to the profession... I think we need to be in a place where we have pre-analysis plans and we review them, and when we choose to deviate from them in our analysis, we're just able to be clear and to talk about why that is.” (h/t Ryan Edwards)

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