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The global commodities outlook in nine charts

John Baffes's picture
Prices for most industrial commodities, notably energy and metals, continued on a strengthening trajectory in the first quarter of 2017 while agriculture prices remained on a steady path. Those trends – rising energy and metals prices, stable ag prices – are expected to continue through 2017. 
 
Commodity Price Indices, Monthly

Building a more resilient Afghanistan

Ditte Fallesen's picture
Helping Afghanistan Become More Resilient to Natural Disasters


This blog is part of a series highlighting the work of the Afghanistan Disaster Risk Management and Resilience Program

During the almost 4 years I spent in the World Bank office in Kabul, I experienced frequent earthquake tremors and saw the results of the significant reduction in winter snow, which severely impacts the water available for agriculture during spring and summer.
 
While limited in scope, my first-hand experience with natural disasters adds to the long list of recurring hazards afflicting Afghanistan. This list is unfortunately long and its impact destructive.
 
Flooding, historically the most frequent natural hazard, has caused an average $54 million in annual damages. Earthquakes have produced the most fatalities with 12,000 people killed since 1980, and droughts have affected at least 6.5 million people since 2000.

Climate change will only increase these risks and hazards may become more frequent and natural resources more scarce. Compounded with high levels of poverty and inadequate infrastructure, the Afghan population will likely become more vulnerable to disasters.

Risk information is critical to inform development planning, public policy and investments and over time strengthen the resilience of new and existing infrastructure to help save lives and livelihoods in Afghanistan.

Going beyond basic indicators: A new tool to measure education service delivery

Angela Demas's picture
 Bart Verweij / World Bank
A new tool is aiming to provide comprehensive data to better understand the complexities of an education system. (Photo: Bart Verweij / World Bank)

When it comes to evaluating education systems, we have available basic high-level indicators such as a country’s GDP allocated to education, national learning levels, enrollment and completion rates, and data on teachers. But “What is going wrong?” and “Where is it going wrong?” are more difficult questions to answer.

Learning for all: shared principles for equitable and excellent basic education systems

Raja Bentaouet Kattan's picture
More than 200 participants – including government officials, policymakers and education experts from over 20 countries gathered in Jakarta, Indonesia, for the global conference Learning for All: Shared Principles for Equitable and Excellent Basic Education Systems.

The conference addressed themes related to improving learning outcomes for all students, including how to support effective teaching and early childhood development, balancing school autonomy and accountability, and how education systems can build the skills needed for the 21st century.   
 



For the host country, Indonesia, the forum provided a valuable chance to look more closely at issues facing its education system.

The art of laying bricks: infrastructure as an asset class

Morten Lykke Lauridsen's picture



There is a famous saying that a successful person can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.

In real life however, the art of building a firm foundation is not always that simple. Waiting for others to simply throw bricks at you is not enough when the grand task is transforming infrastructure into an asset class. There is a need for a skillful bricklayer—and this is the role we see for the multilateral development banks (MDBs).

To meet this challenge, our two institutions – the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) – co-hosted a session moderated by AIIB’s Vice President Joachim von Amsberg at the recently-held 2017 Global Infrastructure Forum. The objective was precisely to discuss how to construct and promote infrastructure as a tradable asset class.

Maximizing potential for healthy rivers and low-carbon energy

Michelle Lakly's picture
Photo: Carlton Ward Jr.

As the global population climbs toward 9 billion, rivers will experience tremendous pressure. To provide the necessary resources for our growing communities, more river flows will be diverted for agriculture and industry, stored for drinking water, and harnessed to meet rising energy demands.

Global forecasts suggest a doubling of renewable energy sources by 2030, and hydropower currently offers nearly twice the generation of all other renewables combined. Hydropower contributions will grow as the world commits an estimated nearly US$2 trillion of investment between now and 2040.

Media (R)evolutions: The video streaming boom continues

Darejani Markozashvili's picture
New developments and curiosities from a changing global media landscape: People, Spaces, Deliberation brings trends and events to your attention that illustrate that tomorrow's media environment will look very different from today's, and will have little resemblance to yesterday's.

It is estimated that online video will be responsible for much of the increase in Internet traffic, which is projected to grow by 260% until 2018. According to a report by Cisco, video traffic accounted for more than half of all mobile data traffic (60 percent of total mobile data traffic) in 2016. The same report also stated that “More than three-fourths of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video by 2021, with a 9-fold increase between 2016 and 2021, accounting for 78 percent of total mobile data traffic by the end of the forecast period.”
 
 

Note: Figures in parentheses refer to 2016 and 2021 traffic share.

Source: Cisco VNI Mobile, 2017

The Internet continues to have a huge impact on distribution and consumption of media, as global media consumption preferences are shifting toward digital formats. With increase in access and speed of Internet the upward trend of online video streaming services such as Netflix, N Play, Hulu, Apple TV, Roku, Boxes, and Amazon videos continues. Not only do streaming services offer ease of access to consumers with no storage requirements, they are also better suited to consumer demand and preference. The video streaming boom will likely continue as these companies expand globally and tap into new markets. Most recently Netflix announced that it will introduce original content in China via a licensing deal with iQiyi.com, one of the largest video streaming services in China.

Money for her or for him? Unpacking the impact of capital infusions for female enterprises

Markus Goldstein's picture
In a 2009 paper, David McKenzie and coauthors Chris Woodruff and Suresh de Mel find that giving cash grants to male entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka has a positive and significant return, while giving the same to women did not.   David followed this up with work with coauthors in Ghana that compared in-kind and cash grants for women and men.  Again, better returns for men (with in-kind working for some

Sri Lanka needs critical minds for critical times!

Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough's picture

Every year, May 3rd is marked around the globe as World Press Freedom Day. This year UNESCO has declared the theme “Critical Minds for Critical Times”. Recently, Sri Lanka joined the ranks of nations that have taken progressive steps in making information available to the public by unveiling its own Right to Information (RTI) law. This is an important first step for the country. Experience from different parts of the world suggests that opening up access to information is an ongoing process that requires patience and perseverance to bring the full benefits of disclosure to a large number of stakeholders including, citizens, private sector and government.

women working on computers 

The World Bank unveiled its own policy on the disclosure of information in 2002. The Bank felt compelled to do so as knowledge sharing is an integral part of its development mission.  Moreover, the Bank needed to share information in order to get a better pulse from its stakeholders on how its services were performing; how it could improve but also to serve an increasing demand for its information and data.  In 2010 this policy was revised through a series of public consultations. Even so, the document is still evolving with constant feedback from our clients and citizens from countries we serve.
 
Opening up the institution has also meant exposing our staff and projects to public scrutiny. When I joined the World Bank in 1995, it was a very different institution; most information was restricted. Our journey from a closed institution to an open one has not been easy. We have learnt that merely implementing a policy is not enough to achieve the real reason for opening up; allow people to review, analyze and make informed judgements based on concrete information and data.  But more importantly we now know better that how staff perceive the increased access and its impact is the biggest challenge and yet also an opportunity.

How the real-time tracking of market prices in Somalia helps us respond to drought

Utz Pape's picture

Over half of the 12 million people living in Somalia are acutely food insecure. This adds to the development challenge for Somalia after more than two decades of civil war and political instability. In particular, the urgent need for humanitarian assistance bears the risk of fostering aid dependency. To embark on a sustainable pathway toward development instead, intervention should rely on markets (whenever possible), and react dynamically to changes in market equilibria.

Therefore, we started to monitor 14 Somali markets and publish the data in near real-time using something similar to what we use for South Sudan, the innovative survey and analysis methodologies.


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