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April 2019

Dead Branding Society: Is blockchain the death of food branding as we know it?

Randolph Kent's picture
© Flore de Preneuf/World Bank
© Flore de Preneuf/World Bank

One way or another blockchain, that distributed ledger technology we keep hearing and reading about, means greater traceability. And when it comes to agriculture, traceability allows us to learn about the origin and the characteristics of our food. Traceability is therefore not only seizing the day, but the future as well.
 
Experience shows that as we get richer we spend more on food because we care more about what goes into our bodies and associate food labels and their premium prices with higher quality. Data from the United States shows that the amount spent on food increased by 30 percent from 1959 to 2014 (Figure 1). Yet, grasping product origin and quality is inherently difficult. By the time the food gets to our local supermarket shelf, it has worked its way through what is arguably the largest and most complicated set of markets and middlemen that sit between the world’s producers and consumers, making traceability incredibly difficult.

Bricks-and-mortar learning is obsolete

Nhi Doan's picture
© pickingpok/Shutterstock
© pickingpok/Shutterstock

In Sociology, I took a sip of my future.

Outside the classroom, my digital native self was poised to go online. Hungry to explore Goffman’s concept of dramaturgy and the implications of deviance, I would dig up CrashCourse videos, The Atlantic articles, edX courses, and everything in between. In these endeavors, a curious mélange of theory and application was always to be found: long and short reads of various styles, pop quizzes, data visualizations, videos, and global discussion forums fused together to make a compelling narrative, which screams “you’re the special one!” Like fellows of my own cohort, I bounce back and forth between the real world and the data-saturated virtual world, being fueled with an insatiable zeal for knowledge that is new, egalitarian, and individually curated.

Inside, however, the axis was flipped. In temporarily tuning out of online information consumption, I tuned in to the intimate experience of being human — talking, collaborating, inquiring, creating, storytelling. If anything, this class instilled in me a sense of mental flexibility, such that I could navigate tomorrow’s uncertain world with almost everything unconceived.

The future is in the decisions we make now

Ishita Gupta's picture
© Alexander Supertramp/Shutterstock
© Alexander Supertramp/Shutterstock

Picture this. You are a student in the year 2030. School is completely different from what your parents remember.  Only attending school four days a week, most of your time is spent outdoor learning spaces. With the help of Blended E-learning, you can study on your own, focusing time on strategic topics through a plan personalized for you. Your AI learning assistant grades and offers feedback on your assignments, guiding you through difficult problems step by step, reteaching you concepts from scratch if necessary.
 
In geography class, you put on a virtual reality headset. Suddenly you are transported to the Andes in South America. Mesmerized by the colossal formations all around, you take notes on which materials constitute the vibrant spectrum of rock layers. History debates come alive as you and your classmates reimagine the Paris Peace Conference, sitting in the Palace of Versailles.
 
The possibilities are truly endless.

World Bank Group, Financial Times’ blog writing competition winners announced

Arathi Sundaravadanan's picture
World Bank Group and Financial Times’ blog writing competition winners Ishita Gupta from India and Nhi Doan from Vietnam at the World Bank Group headquarters in Washington, DC moments before receiving their award. © Bassam Sebti/World Bank
World Bank Group and Financial Times’ blog writing competition winners Ishita Gupta from India and Nhi Doan from Vietnam at the World Bank Group headquarters in Washington, DC moments before receiving their award. © Bassam Sebti/World Bank

In December we announced the World Bank Group and the Financial Times blog writing competition, ‘How Would You Reimagine Education?’ The competition closed on January 31st and we received almost 600 entries from more than 90 countries. This competition built on our Human Capital Project as well as the World Bank’s World Development Reports on The Changing Nature of Work and LEARNING to Realize Education’s Promise.

Several common themes emerged from the blog posts across cultures and continents. Despite the rising use of technology in classrooms, students said teachers and personal interactions would always remain valuable. They also highlighted that teaching methods have not changed for centuries and reviving that system to help students think critically, solve problems, and enhance their creativity would be crucial.

What happens when someone is unable to access health or education? These artworks confront these very questions

Juliana J Biondo's picture
Human Capital exhibition at the World Bank Group Visitor Center in Washington, DC. © Bassam Sebti/World Bank
Human Capital exhibition at the World Bank Group Visitor Center in Washington, DC. © Bassam Sebti/World Bank

What exactly is Human Capital? The phrase itself is only two words: “Capital” refers to an asset that improves one’s ability to be economically productive while “Human” refers to the individual as the very unit in which the asset comes. Taken together however, the phrase transforms to be about that which an individual human can harness within themselves to realize their full potential, and be the best contributor to society they can be. Human Capital is about the economic power which lays ready for realization inside every human; the ideas and talent imbued in every individual.

What can each individual harness to make the most for, and of themselves? This is the question that the contemporary visual art exhibition on view in the Gallery in the World Bank Group Visitor Center seeks to understand.

The World Bank believes that it is the health, knowledge, and skills which people accumulate through their lives that enable them to harness and realize their full potential as productive members of society. But, how can we ensure that every human being has access to those three things? What happens when someone is unable to access health, knowledge, skills - some, or all three? The artworks on view confront these very questions. 

Paying for development – Governments are sitting on a ‘goldmine’

Marco Scuriatti's picture
Shanghai at night, Huangpu River.  © Wu Zhiyi/World Bank
Shanghai at night, Huangpu River.  © Wu Zhiyi/World Bank

Four years have passed since the launch of the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Mobilizing the necessary resources remains central to its success. Investments in human, social, and physical capital are at the core of sustainable and inclusive growth – and represent an important share of national budgets.

At the World Bank Group we have been at the forefront of the so-called Financing for Development (FfD) agenda to leverage public, private, international, and domestic sources of capital to help reach the global goals.  A short primer on our efforts--which builds on the 2015 Development Committee paper Billions to Trillions - Transforming Development Finance--can be found in the brochure entitled Financing for Development at the World Bank Group.

Ultimately, countries own the responsibility for achieving the SDGs: raising more domestic revenue (and doing so more efficiently), addressing spending inefficiencies, and mobilizing private capital (as the world economy is facing potentially slower growth and political friction). These will not be easy challenges.  

Create your #PathToEndPoverty

Pabsy Pabalan Mariano's picture
Also available in: Español | Français | العربية

What’s most important to you in the fight against poverty? How do we create opportunities for everyone?  Who will create the greatest change? We may find similarities and differences in our responses to these questions when we reflect on our own interests, inspirations and commitments. But, what it all reveals is a very important shared purpose. 

 

As thousands of people across the globe attend the World Bank-IMF Spring Meetings, YOU can help us highlight our diversity and a united view towards our vision for a better world.
 
From April 10-13 attendees in Washington DC are invited to answer questions using colorful strings. When plotted on a giant wall, it reveals an easy-to-read visualization of the ways to end poverty and create opportunities for all.

Empowering women entrepreneurs to achieve the SDGs

Mahmoud Mohieldin's picture
© Photos courtesy of Vandana Suri (left) and Saida Yusupova (right).
© Photos courtesy of Vandana Suri (left) and Saida Yusupova (right).

Women are not just potential beneficiaries of efforts to achieve the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. They are also active participants in achieving them. That’s why we organized the SDGs and Her competition to highlight the efforts of women entrepreneurs to create jobs and help reach the global goals.
 
The 2030 Agenda cannot be realized without the participation of women, particularly those working in the private sector. Indeed, if women had the same lifetime earnings as men, global wealth could increase by $160 trillion—an average of $23,620 per person—in 141 countries studied by the World Bank.