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Fighting corruption: the importance is crystal clear

Kristalina Georgieva's picture
© Katie Stevens/Shutterstock
© Katie Stevens/Shutterstock

My parents didn’t know that the name they chose for me meant “transparent” in Spanish. But they did know the importance of transparency, honesty and integrity, and passed on to me these values when I was growing up in Bulgaria. I hold them dear in my work at the World Bank. 

A lack of transparency fuels corruption, a corrosive force that hits the poor and the vulnerable the hardest. Its effects are very real. Corruption stops medicine and drugs from reaching the sick, stops schools from being built, leads to roads washing away in the rain, and empties the public coffers. In the most fragile corners of the world, corruption undermines work to bring stability or prevent violence and extremism from taking root. 

Paris Peace Forum - Preventing conflict in 2018, 100 years after the Armistice

Franck Bousquet's picture
Also available in: العربية
Paris Peace Forum. © Ibrahim Ajaja/World Bank
Paris Peace Forum. © Ibrahim Ajaja/World Bank

This week marks 100 years since the end of World War I. One hundred years since an armistice encouraged battling sides to lay down their arms and usher in peace. Many of us – the lucky ones – still enjoy peace. We go to work, to school, to the playground, to shops and restaurants all with a sense of safety and security. But that is not the case for many people around the world. Wars still rage in Syria, Yemen and Iraq, and violent conflict mars communities in every region of the globe.
 
Also this week, world leaders are in France – site of the 1918 Armistice signing – for the Paris Peace Forum. They are marking the occasion, but also working to address the international tensions that cause unrest in our day and age, and the initiatives aimed at preventing them: cooperation to fight climate change, resource scarcity, globalization and technological disruptions; institutions to channel power rivalries and administer global public goods; justice to assuage grievances and frustration, regulation to address inequalities and abuses of power; and peacebuilding and security.
 
I participated in the Forum yesterday with other colleagues from the World Bank and highlighted the plight of one group for whom conflict and fragility make worse an already tenuous situation: the world’s poor.

Tackling gender inequality through investments in health equity

Kristalina Georgieva's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français | Español
© Dominic Chavez/Global Financing Facility

Still today, in almost all societies around the world, women are less well-off than men. Women are still paid less than men; they are less represented in business, politics and decision-making. Their life chances remain overwhelmingly less promising than those of men. 
 
This inequality hurts us all. The world would be 20% better off if women were paid the same as men. Delaying early marriage in the developing world by just a few years would add more than $500 billion to annual global economic output by 2030. 
 
But this is more than a problem of lost income. For women and girls in poor countries, it cuts life short before it can flourish.  
 
Today, 830 women will die from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth. This month, 450,000 children under the age of five will die. This year, 151 million children will have their education and employment opportunities limited due to stunting. If current trends continue, 150 million more girls will be married by 2030.
 
Clearly, we need to accelerate progress so that no woman or child is left behind.

To build human capital, we need more and better-targeted investments in health – The GFF provides an innovative path

Jim Yong Kim's picture
Also available in: العربية | Español | Français
 
© Dominic Chavez/Global Financing Facility
© Dominic Chavez/Global Financing Facility

​When countries invest in people—particularly young people—they're investing in the future and giving the next generation an opportunity to achieve their dreams. 

 But every year, in countries across the world, too many dreams are cut short: more than 5 million mothers and children die from preventable causes. Globally, nearly a quarter of children under 5 are malnourished and 260 million are not in school.

In this age of rapidly advancing technology, where there is a growing demand for complex cognitive skills and problem-solving, this crisis should be a wake-up call. 

With half of the world’s population still lacking access to basic health services, we urgently need more and better financing for health, especially in developing countries where health and nutrition needs are greatest.  

We need to step up our efforts to end poverty in all of its dimensions

Jim Yong Kim's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية | Español
© Dominic Chavez/World Bank
© Dominic Chavez/World Bank

Each year on October. 17, we mark End Poverty Day at the World Bank Group to celebrate the progress we’ve made toward our twin goals: to end extreme poverty by 2030; and to boost shared prosperity among the poorest 40 percent around the world. But more importantly, we use this day to take stock of how much further we have to go.

Today, we released the latest Poverty and Shared Prosperity Report, which shows that we have never been closer to realizing those goals. The percentage of the global population living in extreme poverty has dropped from 36 percent in 1990 to 10 percent in 2015, the lowest it has ever been in recorded history. During that time, more than 1 billion people lifted themselves out of poverty. About half of the world’s countries have reduced extreme poverty below 3 percent – the target we set for the world to reach by 2030. 

Accelerating progress towards human capital and financial inclusion

Jim Yong Kim's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français | Español | 中文
© World Bank
© World Bank

Last week, more than 11,000 delegates from the World Bank Group’s member countries –public and private sector attendees--gathered at our Annual Meetings in Indonesia this month to discuss how we can accelerate progress toward our twin goals: to end extreme poverty by 2030 and boost shared prosperity among the poorest 40 percent around the world.  

Disruptive technologies create opportunities for development but they also put those goals at risk. Our discussion this past week focused on the changing the nature of work – the topic of our World Development Report this year. While technology and automation are doing away with some jobs, innovation is also creating new occupations, and launching career fields that didn’t exist a few years ago. Those who are prepared for this future will have many opportunities to achieve their aspirations. Those who are not will be left behind. 

Technology fair brings innovation to the heart of the 2018 Annual Meetings

Donna Barne's picture
© World Bank Group
© World Bank Group

The World Bank Group, the International Monetary Fund, and the Government of Indonesia jointly organized the first-ever Innovation Showcase to highlight advancements in health, education, and fintech during the 2018 Annual Meetings in Indonesia.

The Showcase featured innovators from around the world to demonstrate the powerful role that technology can play in spurring development, strengthening financial development and inclusion, and improving health and education outcomes.

Planet of the Apps: Making small farms competitive

Julian Lampietti's picture
Also available in: Français
 
Photo: Shutterstock

Apps have revolutionized everything from getting to work, keeping in touch with faraway friends, and dating (though the jury’s still out on this one). Can apps be the salvation of the world’s farms that are under two hectares in size – a group that most people think is going the same way as humans in Planet of the Apes?

Economies of scale in agriculture (or any other sector) occur when the average cost per unit of production decreases as farm size increases and conventional wisdom suggests that farms need to get bigger to be competitive. And this is exactly what is happening in richer countries, though the trend is less clear in poorer countries.

Giving people control over their data can transform development

Nandan Nilekani's picture
Suguna, one of the many women who has benefited from Aadhaar– her digital identity. © Bernat Parera
Suguna, one of the many women who has benefited from Aadhaar– her digital identity. © Bernat Parera

In Para village of Rajasthan, India, Shanti Devi’s livelihood depends on wages earned through MNREGA (India’s rural employment guarantee program) and a pension for her and her disabled husband. Eight years ago, a postman would deliver this cash to any household member he found. Sometimes she did not receive the full amount because a relative would claim her money. Even when she did, women like Shanti Devi did not have a secure way to save it because she was unbanked. Opening a bank account needed an individual identification card which many women lacked.

Today, Shanti Devi’s life has changed because of Aadhaar – her digital identity. All of her cash benefits are transferred directly into her bank account, which she was able to open with her Aadhaar number and her fingerprint. She can make and receive digital payments, with any person or business, even without a smartphone. With her ID, she is now fully empowered to exercise her rights, access services and economic opportunities. Most of all, she is afforded the dignity to assert her identity.  

Disaster risk finance: Being better prepared

Ceyla Pazarbasioglu's picture
Also available in: Español | Français | العربية
Community meeting discussing the reconstruction of a village hit by a volcanic eruption, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. © Nugroho Nurdikiawan Sunjoyo/World Bank
Community meeting discussing the reconstruction of a village hit by a volcanic eruption, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. © Nugroho Nurdikiawan Sunjoyo/World Bank

Over the past two weeks, the world has been monitoring the tragic impact of the tsunami in Sulawesi--a powerful reminder of the risks many communities and countries need to be prepared for every day. The scale of this disaster is apparent and shows the need for: immediate relief for those affected, international coordination and a continued investment in disaster resilience to protect lives and livelihoods.
 
In the face of devastation, Indonesia mobilized quickly—demonstrating   the country’s experience dealing with disasters.  For many countries, however, the impact of disasters can be much more devastating.  An effective strategy to managing climate and disaster shocks calls for resilience, risk financing instruments and institutional capacity that empowers early response and gives teeth to recovery and reconstruction plans.

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