The Caribbean has been at the forefront of the resilience-building agenda. For countries in the region, most of them Small Island States located in the path of strong and recurrent hurricanes, climate change adaptation is a matter of survival. The passage of Hurricane Dorian in 2019 is a stark reminder of this vulnerability.
But their location and size can also be turned into an advantage. In the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) countries, with population raging from around 5,000 to around 180,000 people, and being in close proximity to North American markets, economic transformation through digital technology can be quickly turned into a reality.
Relying on the warm weather and paradisiac beaches that make them popular tourist destinations, these islands enjoy upper middle-income status despite pockets of poverty and high climate vulnerability. However, the ECCU countries are lagging on key dimensions of the digital economy,...
The gender gap in literacy rate is declining for all regions. However, while Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and Caribbean, and East Asia and Pacific have nearly closed this gap, other regions are far behind. South Asia has the largest gender gap (17 percentage points) with an adult male literacy rate of 79 percent, and adult female literacy rate of 62 percent. Sub-Saharan Africa and Middle East and North Africa lag only marginally behind with a gender gap of 15 percentage points and 14 percentage points, respectively. However, Sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest level of adult female literacy at 57 percent.
Achieving gender parity in literacy is critical for women to effectively compete in the labor market and in turn help lift communities out of poverty. Find more information related to trends in gender and education on the World Development Indicators website.
Indigenous Peoples tend to have less access to and poorer quality of education than other groups. Their education often does not incorporate curricula and teaching methods that recognize their communities’ histories, cultures, pedagogies, traditional languages and traditional knowledge. Today is the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. It is an opportunity to recognize the contributions and achievements of the world’s 370 million Indigenous people from over 90 countries. This year’s theme is Indigenous languages, which is inextricably linked to their right to quality education.
According to the UN, Indigenous Peoples make up approximately 5 per cent of the world's population, but account for 15 per cent of the poorest. They represent 5,000 different cultures and speak a majority of an estimated 7,000 languages worldwide. Forty percent of these are at risk of disappearing, which jeopardizes the cultures and...
At the individual level, education coupled with behavioral change can improve resilience to extreme heat. Appropriate communication about extreme heat dangers, along with appropriate provision of food, clothing and housing, can reduce heat risk, while home remedies and medical care can effectively treat those who are affected.
As some vulnerable groups may need additional support, communities can work to help each other. Additionally, tree planting or water conservation initiatives can unite government and individuals in curbing heat threats.
Governments can support multinational climate agreements, enforce national building policies, workplace safety standards, labor laws, and public outreach campaigns, and support research. They should also make developing heat action plans for the most vulnerable areas a priority.
From hurricanes to devastating floods and heat waves, the headlines about recent weather events make it hard to ignore the reality of climate change. To tackle the growing climate crisis, leaders from government, the private sector, and civil society will gather at the United Nations Climate Action Summit on September 23, 2019 to coordinate and scale up efforts toward a low-carbon future.
This coincides with an important date for the Sustainable Mobility for All initiative (SuM4All). Three years ago, at the 2016 Climate Action Summit, the World Bank proposed the creation of a global coalition of transport stakeholders to transform the future of mobility. The case for action was clear: with about a quarter of energy-related GHG emissions coming from transport, the sector had a key part to play in the success of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, but had been struggling to speak with one voice and lay out a coherent agenda for the sustainable mobility. The idea...
Countries with strong institutions prosper by creating an environment that facilitates private sector growth, reduces poverty, delivers valuable services and earns the confidence of their citizens—a relationship of trust that is created when people can participate in government decision-making and know their voices are heard.
The International Development Association (IDA) helps build the systems that make assistance more effective by strengthening institutions and improving governance. IDA works with ministries, agencies, and departments on managing public institutions and finances. On broader governance issues, IDA works with the legislative and judicial branches and other institutions that promote public accountability and greater engagement with society. (In pdf: EN | AR | ES | RU | ZH)
More effective policy implementation, better management of resources, strengthened service delivery, and greater openness and...
Updated country income classifications for the World Bank’s 2020 fiscal year are available here.
The World Bank classifies the world's economies into four income groups — high, upper-middle, lower-middle, and low. We base this assignment on Gross National Income (GNI) per capita (current US$) calculated using the Atlas method. The classification is updated each year on July 1st.
The classification of countries is determined by two factors:
- This story is part of a month-long series focusing on adaptation and resilience. Around the world, climate change is already impacting lives and livelihoods, especially in the world’s poorest countries. The World Bank Group is committed to boosting support for adaptation and resilience, including through its first-of-a-kind Action Plan on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience.
In the developing countries of the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) more than 60% of the population lives in urban areas. At the same time, poor people are disproportionately concentrated in rural areas (figure 1). For example, according to the World Development Indicators, 40% of Morocco’s population in 2013 lived in rural areas, while 79% of poor people (defined using the national poverty line) lived in rural areas. What this shows is that to reduce poverty in MENA countries, we need to pay close attention to rural areas.
Investing in the agricultural sector and improving agricultural productivity is key to eradicating poverty, hunger, and malnutrition. However, in MENA, which is one of the most land- and water-constrained regions in the world, the potential for agriculture might be limited. Diversifying out of agriculture into non-farm activities in rural areas may be another pathway to reduce poverty. Indeed, the...
- A five-day workshop on an island in the Maldives used soccer training, along with classes and discussions, to empower 21 young girls to challenge gender stereotypes and rethink their perceptions of their future. Led by trainers from the Maldivian women’s national soccer team, along with community facilitators, the workshop was a successful pilot program for what is envisioned as a long-term approach to changing the trajectory of women’s lives.
For too long the narrative surrounding Africa’s agri-food sector has been one of limited opportunity, flat yields and small farms. It’s true that Africa is still producing too little food and value-added products despite recent efforts to increase investment, and that agricultural productivity has been broadly stagnant since the 1980s as shown in the 2018 African Agriculture Status Report.
At the same time, climate change impacts mean that food insecurity is becoming a bigger challenge, especially in hot spots such as the Sahel, the Great Lakes region, and the Horn of Africa. But we’re also seeing evidence of agricultural transformation due to rising food demand, increased urbanization of the continent and an emerging middle-class in search of new investment opportunities. Some of the transformative trends I’m especially excited about include: rapid growth in per-capita income in Sub-Saharan Africa, Africa’s agricultural growth rate averaging out to an impressive 4.6%...
Globally, the vast majority of increases in output have been precisely through increases in Total Factor Productivity rather than expanding use of land or inputs. This is increasingly true for developing countries as well. However, this progress has been uneven across the different regions of the world. In particular, productivity growth has been low in some of the poorest regions, i.e. South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Hence, understanding the determinants of productivity growth becomes central. One school of thought views the rural small holder sector as inefficient in resources use, a drag on development, and, hence, prevented from moving to more productive jobs by compromised factor markets. Harvesting Prosperity presents evidence that the gains from reallocating land and labor are probably smaller than often thought, but that there are great gains to be had from investments in the generation and diffusion of knowledge. It shows that a common,...
Once upon a time, the CEO of a public bank which was also the Treasury’s financial agent, visited the Minister in charge of Treasury. He told the Minister that the Treasury needs to double the balance of its bank account in a couple of days to make sure that salaries of the civil servants can be paid. Otherwise, there will be a default. The CEO also pointed out that interest rates in the markets were increasing rapidly and the difference between the market rates and subsidized credits should be transferred to the Bank, in order to keep government’s lending program working. “What happens if you continue to keep interest rates low?” the Minister asked. The CEO explained that then the Bank had to cover the cost of subsidy which results in losing money. The Minister seemed astonished and couldn’t make an immediate decision. (Excerpt from “Stories on Bureaucracy and Banking that I told my Father” by Osman Tunaboylu)
Indeed, the CEO wouldn’t have had to visit the Treasury and...
The world faces an invisible crisis of water quality. Its impacts are wider, deeper, and more uncertain than previously thought and require urgent attention.
While much attention has focused on water quantity – too much water, in the case of floods; too little water, in the case of droughts – water quality has attracted significantly less consideration. Quality Unknown shows that urgent attention must be given to the hidden dangers that lie beneath the water’s surface:
- Rethinking Power Sector Reform is a multiyear initiative to refresh the policy debate in the power sector by presenting a comprehensive picture of the reform experiences in developing countries since the 1990s
Sources: Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition: “The Cost of Malnutrition.” Technical Brief No. 3, 2016; Jaffee, et al. 2018: “The Safe food Imperative.” The World Bank, Washington, DC; Nkonya, et al. 2016: “Global cost of Land Degradation.” In Economics of Land Degradation and Improvement, IFPRI, Washington, DC. FAOSTAT, FAO (accessed 2019) and World Development Indicators, World Bank (accessed 2019). Cost estimates for malnutrition are estimated using percent GDP lost calculated by FAO for 2010. These percentages are applied to 2018 global GDP data to arrive at reported economic costs. Similarly, land degradation costs use percentages calculated by Nkonya et al. (2016) for 2007 and apply them to 2018 global GDP estimates.
Note that the huge costs associated with biodiversity and ecosystem losses are not fully accounted for in the table above. The loss of pollination services which are essential for nearly 70 percent of global food production...
I grew up in Singapore in the 1980s, and left for Perth, Australia in the early 2000s. Upon returning to Singapore again in the mid-2010s, I found that much of the city’s dynamism has remained, yet so much of the built environment has changed. With its constant urban renewal and redevelopment over the decades, I felt almost like a tourist in the city I grew up in.
Both Singapore and Perth are ranked as some of the most liveable cities in the world, and indeed both cities are wonderful places to live. However, what struck me the most was the difference in urban density between these cities. As such a small city state, Singapore would never have the luxury of being sprawling, yet the city was able to achieve liveability despite increasing density and population growth.
Density vs. Liveability
The Centre for Liveable Cities’ Liveability Matrix shows the correlation between density and liveability rankings. Based on the matrix,...
If a country announces a policy that it will pay teachers based on some measure of performance two main things could happen. One they would get different (maybe better, maybe worse) people applying for teaching jobs. And two, the teachers they hire could work harder. And either or both of these could translate into different learning outcomes for students.
These questions are at the heart of a neat new paper by Claire Leaver, Owen Ozier, Pieter Serneels and Andrew Zeitlin. They set up an experiment in partnership with the Rwanda Education Board and the Ministry of Education. It’s a two-tier experiment. In part 1, different labor markets for teachers (district-subject combinations) are randomized into either a fixed wage contract (a 20,000 RWF top up) or a pay for performance contract (P4P). The P4P contract gives a bonus of 100,000 RWF (or 15 percent of the annual salary) to teachers who score in the top 20 percent based on presence in the classroom, preparation...
The ability to move goods across borders rapidly, cheaply and above all, predictably, can be a make-or-break factor in the success of a business. In many countries, retail shipments of goods are held up in customs clearance processes, sometimes for days or even weeks.
Trade facilitation reforms—such as automation, streamlining of procedures, and process-oriented improvements at the border—can make trade less expensive and faster. When trade is more efficient, countries can do more of it. This in turn helps drive economic growth and creates jobs.
The event will explore how to best support teachers and drive the change needed to tackle the global learning crisis and eliminate learning poverty. Panelists will focus on the global learning crisis and the efforts to tackle it by increasing the quality of investments in people, with a special focus on the role that education, particularly investments in teachers, can play in these efforts.
Tackling plant health in trade: From a manual to automated process
Traditionally, phytosanitary certificates have been issued in the form of physical documents. In this scenario, exporters receive the phytosanitary certificate from the national authority then provide the paper to various intermediaries in the commodity’s chain of custody until the certificate reaches the importer. Importers then transfer the document to the country’s phytosanitary authority usually at the time of importation. This process is time consuming, costly and prone to the certificate being lost, damaged or fraudulently changed.
In recent years, many developed countries have automated the manual paper process and adopted the use of electronic phytosanitary certificates, called ePhyto, to facilitate trade. By removing the need for printing, reproduction, storage, filing, postage, and document retrieval along with administrative costs associated with these functions, businesses can...
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