Author Archives: WorldBankBlogs

In Ethiopia, a safety net program helps improve gender roles

Abebech, a single mother of three, in Arsi Negelle district in Ethiopia heads out for another shift at the construction site for gully embankments, part of a public works program offered by the Government of Ethiopia to address food insecurity.  Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP) reaches an estimated 9 million people across the regions of Amhara, Oromiya, Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region, Tigray, Afar, Somali, Dire Dawa, and Harar.  Food or cash payments are provided to very poor households. Payments are made in return for community work known as ‘public works’ – with participants working on soil and water conservation, construction of schools, health posts, childcare centers and road building. The work is scheduled usually after harvest season to ensure food security and enough money to carry through seasonal food shortages.

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​Putting ourselves in women’s shoes: Experiences from rural Bolivia

I recall a visit to a Bank-funded project in a rural Bolivian community. An enthusiastic Quechua woman was proudly telling me that she was about to undertake the 3-hour journey to Sucre with her “wawa” (baby) to get the three price quotes she needed to purchase wire for the community fences. She was participating in one of over 600 investments designed to help vulnerable rural communities in Bolivia lift themselves out of poverty, within the scope of the Community Investment in Rural Areas Project (PICAR) executed by the Ministry of Rural Development of Lands.       “You just have one wawa, right?,” I asked. She replied: “Well, this is the youngest of six children; the others will stay home.

Posted in Aid & Development, Poverty, Women & Children | Comments closed

Why poaching is not “a poverty problem”

The World Bank’s vision is a world free of poverty. As this statement suggests, it is rare that we tackle a problem that is not grounded in poverty. Today, on World Wildlife Day, it is our imperative to draw attention to one such issue, an issue that does not stem from poverty but rather comes from greed and neglect. Today, we take on poaching. The illegal capture and killing of wildlife takes place primarily in developing countries but it is not an issue born out of poverty.

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Big Data in Davos

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Last week I was invited to speak at the Annual Conference of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.  

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Making Research Relevant to Avoid a Megadisaster

Credit: Earthquakes from Roger Bilham (Science, 2006); population 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

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Innovations in Big Data and Analytics for Development

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My colleagues and I have been thinking and talking about the relevance of big data analytics from the international development point of view for some time now. We have been inspired by the work of the United Nations Global Pulse initiative and wondered whether and how the World Bank Group should engage.

Posted in Aid & Development, Delivery, Featured Content, Technology | Comments closed

Ebola-Stricken Countries Appeal for Help as Nations Gather for Annual Meetings

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Continue reading here: Ebola-Stricken Countries Appeal for Help as Nations Gather for Annual Meetings

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Let’s not Reinvent the Flat Tire: Thoughts on Poverty, Adaptation and Scaling-up

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I’ve been thinking about scale a lot lately and I’m increasingly skeptical that it is the right way to get greater development impact. Let me explain. On the one hand, how can you not ‘think big’ when there are still nearly 2.4 billion people living on less than $2 per day? But is a cookie-cutter solution to eliminating poverty feasible given the complex factors that cause poverty and the vested political interests that sustain it?

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2014 Annual Meetings Guide to Webcast Events

How can economic growth benefit more people? What will it take to double the share of renewables in the global energy mix? Will the world have enough food for everyone by 2050? You can hear what experts have to say on these topics and others, ask questions, and weigh in at more than 20 webcast events from Oct. 7 to 11. That’s when thousands of development leaders gather in Washington for the World Bank-International Monetary Fund Annual Meetings.

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“No Food, No Peace”

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There’s been a lot of talk about food riots in the wake of the international food price hikes in 2007. Given the deaths and injuries caused by many of these episodes, this attention is fully justified. It is quite likely that we will experience more food riots in the foreseeable future—that is, if the world continues to have high and volatile food prices. We cannot expect food riots to disappear in a world in which unpredictable weather is on the rise; panic trade interventions are a relatively easy option for troubled governments under pressure; and food-related humanitarian disasters continue to occur. In today’s world, food price shocks have repeatedly led to spontaneous—typically urban—sociopolitical instability.

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Floods in The Balkans

Ellen Goldstein, The World Bank’s Regional Director for Eastern Europe, talks about the Bank’s response to devastating floods in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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Economists Supply It on Demand

This is for anyone who ever found themselves frustrated by numbers — myself included. Right before college, I remember my parents asking me what degree I wanted to pursue. Vaguely, I answered “Anything without math.” Even during my post graduate studies, I consciously picked a degree with less mathematics in its curriculum. The irony is, I now work in the World Bank Group and numbers is its core language. But there is good news, not only for rookies like me, but for everyone – numbers can be fascinating, insightful and even fun.

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The Poor, the Bank, and the Post-2015 Development Agenda

Something Is Changing Fifteen years ago, the international community designed the Millennium Development Goals, including that of halving extreme poverty, through a process that mostly took place in New York, behind closed doors. A few years earlier, the World Bank had developed the guidelines of the Poverty Reduction Strategy for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries from Washington, D.C. in a similar fashion. Fortunately, this approach has changed. Today, the process of identifying and consulting on the post-2015 development agenda has been opened to the general public including, importantly, those whom the goals are expected to serve.

Posted in Aid & Development, Poverty, Social, WASH | Comments closed

The Longer World Waits to Address Climate Change, the Higher the Cost

In September, the world’s top scientists said the human influence on climate was clear. Last month, they warned of increased risks of a rapidly warming planet to our economies, environment, food supply, and global security. Today, the latest report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) describes what we need to do about it. The report, focused on mitigation, says that global greenhouse gas emissions were rising faster in the last decade than in the previously three, despite reduction efforts.  Without additional mitigation efforts, we could see a temperature rise of 3.7 to 4.8 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times by the end of this century. The IPCC says we can still limit that increase to 2 degrees, but that will require substantial technological, economic, institutional, and behavioral change

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