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World Bank published latest commodity prices: February 2017

John Baffes's picture
In January 2017, all commodity price indexes increased. Energy prices and non-energy commodity prices were up by 0.7% and 2.0%, respectively. Moreover, food and beverages prices increased by 2.2% and 1.6%, respectively. Raw materials also rose by 2.5%, and fertilizers by 4.3%. Likewise, metals and minerals increased by 1.2%, and precious metals by 3.0%.
 
To access recent and long-term historical prices and other commodity-related information, please click here.
 

Addressing inequality of opportunities can ensure equitable growth in Ethiopia

Olansis Mulugeta Wolde's picture
Farmers sort tomatoes in Ethiopia. Photo: Stephan Bachenheimer / World Bank


In 2016, World Bank Ethiopia launched a Blog4Dev contest inviting students to share their ideas for how Ethiopia can reach middle-income country status without leaving anyone behind. This is the third of three winning entries.
 

In the two past decades, Ethiopia has shown a remarkable performance in diversifying its economy and building essential infrastructures that helped the economy to boom. Ethiopia is now one of the fastest growing countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and the country has earned a fair amount of recognition from international organizations like the IMF and the World Bank.
 

Break it and see: norms of good governance and the wobbly protection of public opinion

Sina Odugbemi's picture

Events around the world (on this please see Freedom in the World 2017) are teaching us at least two astounding lessons. The first is that in liberal constitutional democracies good governance is far more dependent on norms, particularly constitutional conventions, than formal rules. This has serious implications. The second lesson is that when certain political actors choose to ignore the norms of good governance …and the details vary depending on the context…it is not at all clear that anything can stop them. Let’s take these two issues one by one.

Norms, conventions, formal rules

In his classic work, Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution the great English jurist, A.V. Dicey, introduced a distinction between what he called constitutional laws and the conventions of the constitution. Constitutional law, he pointed out, consists of rules that the courts will enforce. But there are other constitutional rules:

The other set of rules consist of conventions, understandings, habits, or practices which, though they may regulate the conduct of other officials, are not in reality laws at all since they are not enforced by the Courts. This proportion of constitutional law may, for the sake of distinction, be termed the ‘conventions of the constitution’, or constitutional morality.

8 key approaches to accelerate financial inclusion

Douglas Randall's picture



As World Bank staff working on financial inclusion, our days revolve around a critical question: what are the most promising ways to improve access to and usage of appropriate financial products for the underserved? A big part of our job is to track the wide range of experiences and learnings from around the world and incorporate them into our work advising policymakers and regulators. We thought it would be useful to share our current thinking, distilled into a list of the top eight approaches to accelerate financial inclusion. This list is from a policymaker perspective, and takes into account the fact that policymakers play a multi-faceted role in financial inclusion, balancing promotion, protection and stability.

First, two caveats. This is subjective list, drawn from our experience. We expect reasonable people to disagree with some of our choices and that’s OK – in fact, debate is welcome.

Second, country context plays a critical role in formulating appropriate approaches to financial inclusion. This list is meant as a general guide for what is impactful in most countries, most of the time.
 

Trade has been a global force for less poverty and higher incomes

Ana Revenga's picture

In the ongoing debate about the benefits of trade, we must not lose sight of a vital fact. Trade and global integration have raised incomes across the world, while dramatically cutting poverty and global inequality. 

Within some countries, trade has contributed to rising inequality, but that unfortunate result ultimately reflects the need for stronger safety nets and better social and labor programs, not trade protection.

From stadiums to gendarmeries: a new generation of public-payment PPPs in France

François Bergere's picture


The Stade Vélodrome in Marseille, France. Photo Credit: Ben Sutherland via Flickr Creative Commons

In June 2016, nearly 2.5 million enthusiastic spectators gathered in France to attend the Euro 2016 soccer tournament.

Those participating in matches in Lille, Bordeaux, Marseille or Nice would have noticed the brand new facilities and bold architectural design, but most probably didn’t realize these stadiums had been either constructed or modernized with financing through the relatively new “Contrat de partenariat” public-private partnership (PPP) scheme.

Weekly wire: The global forum

Darejani Markozashvili's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

Populists and Autocrats: The Dual Threat to Global Democracy
Freedom House
In 2016, populist and nationalist political forces made astonishing gains in democratic states, while authoritarian powers engaged in brazen acts of aggression, and grave atrocities went unanswered in war zones across two continents. All of these developments point to a growing danger that the international order of the past quarter-century— rooted in the principles of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law—will give way to a world in which individual leaders and nations pursue their own narrow interests without meaningful constraints, and without regard for the shared benefits of global peace, freedom, and prosperity. The troubling impression created by the year’s headline events is supported by the latest findings of Freedom in the World. A total of 67 countries suffered net declines in political rights and civil liberties in 2016, compared with 36 that registered gains. This marked the 11th consecutive year in which declines outnumbered improvements.

Financial Flows and Tax Havens: Combining to Limit the Lives of Billions of People
Global Financial Integrity
Global Financial Integrity (GFI), the Norwegian School of Economics and a team of global experts released a study showing that since 1980 developing countries lost US$16.3 trillion dollars through broad leakages in the balance of payments, trade mis-invoicing, and recorded financial transfers. These resources represent immense social costs that have been borne by the citizens of developing countries around the globe. Funding for the report was provided by the Research Council of Norway and research assistance was provided by economists in Brazil, India, and Nigeria. Titled “Financial Flows and Tax Havens: Combining to Limit the Lives of Billions of People,” the report demonstrates that developing countries have effectively served as net-creditors to the rest of the world with tax havens playing a major role in the flight of unrecorded capital. For example, in 2011 tax haven holdings of total developing country wealth were valued at US$4.4 trillion, which exacerbated inequality and undermined good governance and economic growth.

What’s behind poor education outcomes in Côte d’Ivoire?

Jacques Morisset's picture
Today, young Ivorian students spend on average only eight years in the classroom while pupils in emerging countries spend almost the double (14 years). As if this wasn’t worrisome enough, studies show that this gap has widened over time and that the quality of education has deteriorated. At the end of the primary school cycle, less than half of Ivorian students have the required reading or mathematics skills, as evidenced in the graph below. These statistics illustrate the extent of the effort needed to make up for lost time, a challenge that the Ivorian authorities are set on tackling as the country embarks on the path of emergence.
 
And for good reason. Countries such as South Korea and Malaysia have succeeded in transitioning to emerging market status thanks to their investments in building some of the best education systems in the world. For the Nobel Prize winner in economics, Robert Lucas Jr. and the  World Bank’s chief economist, Paul Romer, economic development depends above all on a country's ability to value its human capital. This not only allows the country to increase its current added value but also to create tomorrow’s technological innovations.
 
 Employment Benchmark, 2016.)
This graph presents a regional comparison of the acquisition of mathematics and French skills at the end of the primary school cycle.
(Source: World Bank, Côte d'Ivoire: Employment Benchmark, 2016.)

In Côte d’Ivoire, every story counts

Taleb Ould Sid’Ahmed's picture
 Taleb Ould Sid'ahmed/World Bank Côte d'Ivoire

I met Prince Brokou four years ago in 2013, when he joined a road maintenance group as part of the Youth Employment and Skills Development Project (PEJEDEC) funded by the World Bank. At the time, he was still living with his parents in Yopougon, a sprawling suburb of Abidjan.

Brokou performed labor-intensive public works such as clearing out detritus from clogged road gutters that result in flooding during Côte d’Ivoire’s rainy season. This short-term activity allowed him to earn a monthly salary of CFAF 60,000 (about $124) for six months, and receive training on how to set up a small business to ensure his transition to future employment. He was also able to benefit from classes on civics, community development, public health, HIV/AIDS, and the environment.

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