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How much does it cost to pay?

Massimo Cirasino's picture

 Retail payment systems are important to the smooth functioning of an economy. Inefficiencies in the retail payments market can have significant negative effects throughout the economy. Retail payments are defined as regular payments of relatively low value that are not time critical and where the payer and/or the payee is not a financial institution.

Cost efficiency has been at the forefront of arguments for moving from paper-based to electronic payment instruments. Studies have shown that significant savings can be achieved in the transition from cash and paper-based to electronic payment instruments.

However, inefficiencies persist, with cash still being “king” in many countries. Among the non-cash payment instruments, the check is still dominant in lower-middle-income and low-income countries and check processing can be cumbersome and costly.

Media (R)evolutions: Digital companies don't need to 'own' anything when they can share

Roxanne Bauer'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.

Traditionally, those with the largest empire or who controlled the most resources were considered to be the most powerful and successful. However, recent developments in digital technology have spawned a new breed of enterprise that dominates their respective industries without actually “owning” tangible assets.

The world's largest accommodation provider, Airbnb, doesn't own real estate. Alibaba, the world's leading e-commerce company, doesn't have any inventory. Facebook, the most popular media owner worldwide, doesn't create its own content. And Uber, the largest taxi company in the world, does not own any vehicles.

Nowhere is the sharing economy more disruptive than in rental/leasing services. This graphic, from PricewaterhouseCoopers in the UK, illustrates the expected growth of various rental sectors within the sharing economy.  These sectors are likely to grow much quicker than traditional rental sectors, and "the least developed sectors today, such as P2P finance and online staffing, could grow the quickest of all."

PWC Sharing Economy graphic

From Gigabytes to Megawatts: Open Energy Data Assessments for Accra and Nairobi

Anna Lerner's picture
Doing homework at night using power generated by human movement during recess earlier in the day.
This play-powered light is offered by Empower Playgrounds.  (http://www.empowerplaygrounds.org/

A new assessment of energy use in  Nairobi and Accra shows that measuring and sharing data would improve life for people in both capitals by increasing energy access and  efficiency. 
 
The key is access to information. Releasing energy information such as data on power networks, energy usage and on the potential to switch to renewables could mean more efficient development and improved services for consumers.  Access to data could bring many positive changes. It could speed up private sector and civil society engagements in the energy sector. For example, wind power companies could benefit from digital power network and wind resource data to find new markets. Or NGOs providing solar lamps for students could better target their operations by getting access to maps of off-grid communities and schools. 
 
When I started working on energy access and biomass in Mozambique in 2007, the concept of “open data” wasn’t even  on my radar.  But the  practical implications of not having that information was an everyday frustration.  My colleagues in the Ministry of New and Renewable Energies and  I would spent days searching for numbers we needed on basic trends, like key information on charcoal prices,  with little success. For urgent needs,  we would spend considerable amounts of time visiting line-ministries and other partners to see if we could pool our talents to come up with somewhat accurate data.  And this was for truly basic information, for a picture, say, of  biomass consumption in Sofala province, or a number for improved cookstoves in use across Mozambique. Back then, we couldn’t even imagine a national online portal that would publish all our missing data points in an easily accessible format. But the high cost of data gaps were apparent even then.
 

Transparency, efficiency and quality in infrastructure projects is only a ‘click’ away

Christophe Dossarps's picture
Transparency. Efficiency. Quality. If you work with infrastructure projects, as I do, these are words you will hear all the time. Unfortunately, these concepts are familiar to us because so many projects lack them – often realized during a “lessons learned” recap of what not to do next time.

But with the new International Infrastructure Support System (IISS) - a digital platform that supports project preparation -achieving transparency, efficiency and quality in infrastructure PPPs, and traditional procurement, is within our reach.  I’ve been involved in IISS’s development for last six years and I’m inspired by this platform’spotential to transform the way infrastructure projects are prepared, financed and delivered.  Through it, we will be able to deliver more quality-infrastructure faster and improve people’s quality of life across the globe.
 
An Introducation of International Infrastructure Support System - Video produced by the Sustainable Infrastructure Foundation

 

Back to the future: An ancient Roman rhetorician’s views on education

Jeffrey Waite's picture
Students sitting on the site of ancient Roman ruins. Photo by Penn State / CC BY

Browsing in my local second-hand bookstore over the end-of-year holidays, I came across “Institutes of Oratory”, written by Marcus Fabius Quintilianus around 90 C.E.  In reading the first chapters of this work, I was struck by the number of precepts concerning education that are still very relevant to today’s school systems.
 

Sao Paulo’s Innovative Proposal to Regulate Shared Mobility by Pricing Vehicle Use

Georges Darido's picture
Taxi drivers in Sao Paulo recently protesting the regularization of TNCs such as Uber.
Photo by: Diego Torres Silvestre / Flickr

How to regulate and manage the emerging services of shared and on-demand mobility? This was a topic of much debate during the most recent Transforming Transportation event, a major global conference of transport professionals organized by the World Bank and the World Resources Institute in Washington DC in January 2016. 

One recent development from Sao Paulo stands out as a worthwhile effort to balance the objectives of promoting innovation by Transportation Network Companies (TNCs, such as Uber, Lyft, EasyTaxi, 99Taxi, and others) and ridesharing services (such as BlablaCar, Caronetas, Tripda and others) with the interests of the city and its residents. 

The Municipal Government of Sao Paulo has published for public comments until January 27, 2016  a draft decree to charge TNCs an upfront fee based on an estimate of vehicle-kilometers, also referred to as “credits”, to be used by its fleet of passenger cars in a two month period, plus a surcharge if credits are exceeded.   The idea is that any registered TNC could bid in an online public auction to purchase credits periodically and with certain limitations to ensure competition.  This approach would create a market for these credits and be aligned with the principle commonly known in the vehicle insurance industry as “pay-as-you-drive”, and would allow the city to receive a fee from TNCs for the commercial use of its public road infrastructure, which can then be used to better manage and maintain it.   The decree would exempt free ridesharing services which the city believes would help reduce the total number of vehicle-kilometers on its congested road network.

Just across the Mediterranean – The Transition from COP21 to COP22

Jonathan Walters's picture
Rabat, Morocco - Arne Hoel l World Bank

France has just hosted COP21 to a very successful conclusion: the 2015 Paris Agreement. This achieved consensus among 196 countries on the most complex and challenging global issue of our time – climate change. It reconciled the widely different perspectives and interests of developing and developed countries, the North-South divide which has been at the heart of the failure to reach climate change agreement for twenty years. It makes global trade negotiations look easy by comparison. France should have every confidence in its diplomatic and political ability. Chapeau!

Resolving minor disputes matters big-time for the poor

Georgia Harley's picture
So a man walks into a lawyer’s office looking for help with a minor dispute – one he’s sure he can win...
 
- "Can you tell me how much you charge?" he inquires.
- "Of course", the lawyer replies, "I charge $500 to answer 3 questions."
- "Don't you think that's a lot of money to answer just 3 questions?"
- "Yes it is!" answers the lawyer, "What's your third question?"

A PPP Encore in Brazil: Two healthcare partnerships boost Bahia’s ability to care for citizens

Tomas Anker's picture

 Sometimes, the most persuasive case for a PPP is the success of a past partnership in the same sector . That’s been true in the State of Bahia, Brazil, following the Hospital do Suburbio project, which closed in 2010 with help from IFC’s PPP advisory services and has been providing people in one of the State’s poorest suburbs with access to high quality healthcare. Based on the success of the PPP in meeting state government goals for improving local health services, Bahia government officials approached IFC again to discuss a new initiative – a partnership to offer imaging and diagnostic services and facilities across the state , including to rural communities.

Just as the Hospital do Suburbio emerged from great need, people in Bahia faced a shortage of high quality and complex imaging equipment and tests. Some of these were as basic as X-rays and mammography; others demanded state-of-the-art machines and services for CT Scans and MRI tests. This fed into the Bahia’s larger public health challenges, which included low bed turnovers and overcrowded hospitals.

The partnership with the private sector was created to solve this “package” of problems.  It was undertaken in partnership with the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which together manage the Brazil PSP Program fund, a project that fosters the development of infrastructure and services in Brazil in partnership with the private sector.

Chart: the future price of oil?

Tariq Khokhar's picture

The World Bank's forecast for the average oil price in 2016 is $37 per barrel. Commodity Markets Outlook provides a quarterly analysis of international commodity markets, and the oil forecast reflects factors including a slowing global economy, high oil inventories and unchanged OPEC policy prioritizing market share.
 


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