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February 2013

Longreads: Can Graphene Drive the Green Economy?, Women and Mobile Financial Services, With River Blindness ‘You Never Sleep’

Donna Barne's picture

Find a good longread on development? Tweet it to @worldbank with the hashtag #longreads.

 

LongreadsA video about a “scientific accident that may change the world (or at least your battery life)” went “viral” in February.  Researchers at University of California, Los Angeles, found a way to make a “non-toxic, highly efficient energy storage medium out of pure carbon using absurdly simple technology,” says ReWire. The “graphene” battery is being touted as capable of “super-fast charging of everything from smartphones to electric cars,” according to ReWire. Responding to Climate Change (RTCC) asks whether the technology holds promise as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “Replacing heavier materials in vehicle manufacture with graphene, particularly in aircraft can lead to substantial fuel savings,” says RTCC.  Gizmodo anticipates how graphene could transform the gadgets of the future.

Making Open Data Work for Citizens: Four Lessons from Code4Kenya

Christopher Finch's picture

Code4KenyaEighteen months ago we watched President Kibaki launch the Kenya Open Data Initiative (KODI) to broad acclaim and fanfare.  All our initial expectations were very high. Some expected that Kenya’s vibrant ICT community would rapidly embrace open data, that there would be a rapid outpouring of open data sets from government agencies, and that open data would drive more informed development decision making.

However, although Kenya has a strong ICT sector, skilled development professionals, high cell phone penetration, a relatively open media and active CSOs, open data uptake has not been as rapid as some  expected. Traffic to Kenya’s open data portal has been consistent, with the Government’s portal generating around 100,000 page views a month, mostly from Kenya. The number of datasets on the portal has doubled from the initial 200 to more than 400 today, but still represents a tiny fraction of the data in Kenya.

So even in a country like Kenya with a dynamic ICT sector, simply making data available is only one step in a longer process.

Quick Guide to International Women’s Day: Live Chat, Data, a Contest, Videos and More

Donna Barne's picture

International Women’s Day 2013 comes at a time of heightened concerns globally about women’s safety in society—hence the day’s  theme: “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women.”  World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim addresses the issue in a Huffington Post blog, and invites feedback from the public on ways to accelerate progress for women and girls.  You can ask questions and weigh in on the factors driving women’s empowerment in a live chat March 6 in English, French, and Spanish with Sustainable Development Vice President Rachel Kyte, and World Bank gender experts.  Find a complete list of World Bank International Women’s Day 2013 resources.

Participate

March 6 Live Chat: What Drives Empowerment?
11 a.m. EST (DC time), 16:00 GMT (Convert Time)

Post questions ahead of the chat for Sustainable Development Vice President Rachel Kyte, Gender and Development Director Jeni Klugman and other experts. Follow on Twitter with hashtag #WBLive.

Longreads: ‘Totally Drug-Resistant’ TB, Freshwater Losses in Middle East, Solar Wi-Fi in Kenya, Women’s Access to Justice

Donna Barne's picture

Find a good longread on development? Tweet it to @worldbank with the hashtag #longreads.

 

Longreads“Totally drug resistant” tuberculosis in South Africa became a hot topic on Reddit with the release of a new paper in Emerging Infectious Diseases, a journal published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The paper was cited in a popular US News and World Report story describing the struggle of health care providers to confront the problem, as well as one doctor’s personal battle with the bacteria.  For more on the response angle, check out the Wall Street Journal’s story about a plan by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa to fight drug-resistant TB.

NASA image
Source: NASA

Talking to the UN Security Council about Climate Change

Rachel Kyte's picture

Flags at the United Nations. UN Photos

This morning, I had the honor of speaking to the UN Security Council about an increasingly dangerous threat facing cities and countries around the world, a threat that, more and more, is influencing everything that they and we do: climate change.

World Bank President Jim Kim is in Russia right now talking with G20 finance ministers about the same thing – the need to combat climate change. Every day, we’re hearing growing concerns from leaders around the world about climate change and its impact.

If we needed any reminder of the immediacy and the urgency of the situation, Australia Foreign Minister Bob Carr and our good friend President Tong of Kiribati spoke by video of the security implication of climate effects on the Pacific region.

Shared Prosperity: What it Means in Russia

Jim Yong Kim's picture

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During my trip to Russia — I'm here to talk to government officials, civil society leaders, students, and attend the Group of 20 meetings — one of the major themes has been how an upper middle income country can boost shared prosperity among its citizens. How can Russia make sure that its growth includes women, young people and others, and how can it benefit future generations? Watch the video for more.

Speeding Up Budget Transparency

Lauren Clyne Medley's picture

international money and receipt

Last Tuesday, the World Bank Institute, or WBI, hosted a panel discussion on speeding up budget transparency efforts and supporting inclusive development around the world. The conversation highlighted the 2012 results of the International Budget Partnership's, or IBP's, Open Budget Survey.

During the event, IBP Director Warren Krafchik and WBI Vice President Sanjay Pradhan discussed the survey's results with high-level finance ministry officials from Afghanistan, Brazil, and Liberia.

World Bank Is Committed to Forest Communities

Rachel Kyte's picture

Read this post in Français

Curt Carnemark/World Bank

Here at the World Bank we believe that independent internal evaluation is central to strengthening our work. Rigorous, evidence-based evaluation informs the design of global programs and enhances the development impact of partner and country efforts.

The World Bank Group’s Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) has undertaken a review of the implementation of the 2002 Forest Strategy. The strategy emphasized the positive developmental benefits of forest conservation and management, while strengthening environmental and social safeguards.

The report confirms that the World Bank’s forest work has:

  • contributed substantially to positive environmental outcomes;
  • successfully reduced deforestation when forest protected areas are designed and managed by people who live in and around them;
  • improved livelihoods, especially through support for participatory forest management initiatives, which involve and empower local communities;
  • advanced the rule of law in a sector plagued by patronage, corruption, and rent-seeking by increasing transparency and accountability and by putting environmental standards in place.

But to be most useful, an evaluation must meet a quality standard.

While we agree with some of IEG’s findings, we – and our Board - strongly disagree with others.

Humility and the Power of Working Together

Jim Yong Kim's picture

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On Tuesday I traveled to the United Nations to talk to UNICEF's Executive Board and also to meet with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on moving forward with the important work that we do together. These meetings are key to delivering results because our UN colleagues and we are committed to working closely together. Making that happen requires many things, including a big dose of humility. Please watch the video for more on this.

Longreads: Rise of Middle Class Jobs, ‘Real’ Birth of the Solar Industry, Ecosystem Modeling, Stranded on the Roof of the World

Donna Barne's picture

Find a good longread on development? Tweet it to @worldbank with the hashtag #longreads.

 

LongreadsMiddle class gained on Twitter, with many people taking note of Thomas Friedman’s The Virtual Middle Class Rises. Friedman’s op-ed is about how cheaper computing is enabling people who earn only a few dollars a day to access the “kind of technologies and learning previously associated solely with the middle class.” Such access is driving social change and social protest, he says. It’s a trend also observed by sociologist and author Saskia Sassen in an interview with The Hindu, Why the Middle Class is Revolting, though Sassen’s vision is more pessimistic. Another trend—a  sharp, decade-long rise in “middle class” jobs in developing countries—is enlarging the middle class in the developing world and promises ultimately to drive global growth, says the International Labour Organization in a new study.  ILO says nearly 1.1 billion workers (42%) earn between $4 and $13 a day, which is middle class wages in the developing world.  The number of middle class workers in developing countries is expected to grow by 390 million to reach 51.9% by 2017.  The report notes, however, that “progress in poverty reduction has slowed” and the number of “near poor” is growing. Also check out the Guardian’s datablog on the report.

Workers by economic class, 1991-2011, developing world
Source: International Labour Organization