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Rising Financial Pressures from the East

Aurora Ferrari's picture
It’s hard to get a break in the Europe and Central Asia region, it seems – even a short one. Hit hard by the troubles in the Eurozone at the beginning of the decade, emerging and developing countries in Eastern Europe are, at the beginning of this year, contending with renewed fears. Meanwhile, external pressures have built up on the Central Asia side as well.

All eyes turned to Russia recently, when on 16 December the ruble plunged by more than 11 percent, despite the Central Bank of Russia’s last-minute interest rate hike of 6.5 percentage points to 17 percent. When it looked like Russia’s turmoil might spread to global markets, western economies sat up and paid close attention.

What may have gone unnoticed, however, is the ongoing impact on our client countries in the Europe and Central Asia region.

In Uncertain Economic Times, a Chance for Global Breakthroughs

Jim Yong Kim's picture
Also available in: Español | العربية | 中文 | Français
A shop in Sri Lanka is lighted by solar panels. © Dominic Sansoni/World Bank


​The global economy is growing, but a bout of New Year anxiety has taken hold, posing challenges to our global mission: boosting the prosperity of the bottom 40%, ending extreme poverty by 2030, and avoiding a climate meltdown.

A Year of Opportunity to Combat Climate Change — and Transform Economies

Jim Yong Kim's picture
Also available in: Français | Español | العربية | 中文
A glacier in Chile. © Curt Carnemark/World Bank


​Scientists declared this past year as the warmest year on Earth since record-keeping began in 1880, and a series of scientific reports found glaciers melting and extreme weather events intensifying. There can be no doubt that this year world leaders must commit to transforming their economies to combat climate change.

We Need a New Global Response to Pandemics

Jim Yong Kim's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية | Español
A family in Guinea. © UNICEF


​In a couple of days, I’ll join leaders from the worlds of business, governments, politics, arts, and academia at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The Forum is one of the premier events for discussing global risks. Many if not most of these risks are identified in the Forum’s annual Global Risks report.

What Does It Take For Turkey To Close The Regional Gap?

Can Selçuki's picture
Also available in: Türkçe
When our friends who are new to Turkey arrive in Istanbul, they are often surprised to find a developed country. Then they may be told that the west of the country is well developed, but there are regions in the east that are really lagging behind. However, upon a visit to Gaziantep or Kayseri, they realize that these cities are doing much better than they initially thought with developing industry and rapid urbanization.

So what  is the story about regional inequalities in Turkey?

Each Day I See Killing

Bassam Sebti's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français

The young boy stood before his father’s corpse, wailing. He could not believe that his father, who had gone out for breakfast, had ended up dead. He was blown up by a suicide bomber in one of Baghdad’s busiest restaurants in 2005.

I was covering the bombing attack for The Washington Post when I saw the boy becoming another digit in the count of war victims. In the news, he might be a number but in reality he became an orphan whose loss would add to the obstacles of achieving sustainable development.

When I was a reporter in my war-torn country of Iraq, I saw death every single day, in schools, markets, buses, and even worship areas. What is worse is that this is still happening, not only in Iraq but also in many other countries. Conflicts, wars, sectarianism, and racism have become a daily occurrence in the news, and it is just too disturbing.

TÜRKİYE’NİN BÖLGESEL FARKLILIKLARI KAPATMASI İÇİN NE YAPMASI GEREKİYOR?

Can Selçuki's picture
Also available in: English
Türkiye’yi daha önce tanımayan dostlarımız İstanbul’a geldiklerinde gelişmiş bir ülke ile karşılaşınca şaşırıyorlar. Bu durumda ilk aldıkları açıklama ülkede ikili bir ekonominin olduğu ve tipik olarak ülkenin batısının gelişmiş olduğu, ama doğuda gerçekten geri kalmış bölgelerin bulunduğu oluyor. Ancak, Gaziantep veya Kayseri gibi bir şehri ziyaret ettiklerinde, bu şehirlerin gelişmekte olan sanayileri ve hızlı şehirleşmeleri ile aslında düşündüklerinden çok daha iyi bir durumda olduklarını fark ediyorlar.

Peki, bunun ardında yatan hikaye nedir?

Will cheap oil lead to cheap food?

Juergen Voegele's picture
Also available in: 中文

The halving of world oil prices over the last six months raises questions about the implications for food prices and the welfare of poor people.
 
Do lower oil prices mean lower food prices? To a certain extent. But for low-energy cropping systems common in most developing countries, and in areas where food is not transported far, the impact will be dampened. For large oil exporters, however, food prices may increase. In general, lower oil prices should lower the cost of moving food from producers to consumers and reduce on-farm fuel and fertilizer costs. But a countervailing factor is that cheap oil may also induce people to drive more, and as fuel ethanol mandates link biofuel use to overall fuel use, ethanol use and the volume of maize used to produce it would also go up. In countries where oil is a large share of exports, real exchange rates may depreciate, which will disproportionately increase the price of traded goods like grains relative to other prices.
 
Is the downturn in agriculture commodity prices necessarily bad for farmers who produce food? A major downturn in commodity prices would not be great for farm incomes, and high crop yields would be needed to help dampen the effect on farm profits.  Lower fertilizer and transport costs may help mitigate any negative impacts.
 
How long will oil prices remain low? While there is no certainty in forecasts, current estimates suggest fuel prices will remain low for 2015, increasingly slightly in 2016. There are three main drivers of the oil price decline which are structural: Significant increases in US shale oil production, receding concerns of oil supply disruptions in the Middle East, and a change in OPEC policy to maintain rather than cut production.

Are women traveling into a safer 2015?

Priyali Sur's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français | Español
NEW DELHI—It happened outside a plush mall in Gurgaon, a booming financial and industrial hub just southwest of the Indian capital.  A 21-year old woman, a newcomer to the city, hopped into a shared taxi after finishing her second day at work. “Only when the driver started taking me through deserted streets did I realize that this was his personal car and not a shared taxi,” she tells me of that night two years ago. “He took me to a lonely place, hit me, threatened me, and raped me. I wish I knew it wasn’t a cab. I wish there was a safe way to travel.”
 

Making Research Relevant to Avoid a Megadisaster

Simone Balog's picture
 Earthquakes from Roger Bilham (Science, 2006); Population from Landscan (Oak Ridge Nat. Lab., 2004)
Graphic from Ross Stein (USGS, 2013) and Volkan Sevilgen (Seismicity.net, 2013); Earthquake data from Roger Bilham (Science, 2006); Population data from Landscan (Oak Ridge Nat. Lab., 2004)

Without concerted action, the world will one day see a megadisaster—a disaster resulting in over 1 million casualties.

The forces of population growth and rapid urbanization are dramatically increasing exposure to disaster risk. Over 600 million people, for example, live in the Ganges Basin of India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Due to the meeting of the tectonic plates with the Indian subcontinent shifting under the Eurasian continent, this area is at a large risk of seismic activity. And indeed, the Ganges Basin has seen earthquakes over magnitude 7.0 in the past 500 years, as illustrated by the graphic above.

As practitioners, we can help reduce disaster risk and build resilience to potential catastrophes through smart development practices. These practices, however, require targeted research that can inform which levers to move, and how to move them. Sadly, this kind of research is difficult to come by in the disaster risk management community, and harder still to communicate to those that need it most.

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