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July 2010

Gender and Marginalization

Nicole Goldstein's picture

This past spring, UNESCO published its 2010 Education for All Global Monitoring Report, which offered an in-depth look at the pressing need for countries and donors to focus on Reaching the Marginalized. 

Every year, millions of children are shut out of the classroom. Overwhelmingly, those left on the side lines are among society's most marginalized populations -- and in numbers, are disproportionately female.

Prospects Weekly: Global industrial production reaches inflection point

Global Macroeconomics Team's picture
This is the story of an idea. In fact, of a very simple and creative idea that is having huge impact on the way people move. This idea is helping reduce travel time, save money and increase the connectivity of big and small cities.
 
A map of South Korea's rest areas
and transfer points

So who is behind this brilliant idea? Actually, it is rather something that we all take for granted in developed countries, as well as some developing countries’ expressways or highways: the rest area.

We normally associate rest areas with a quick stop for food, gas or other necessities. But what if these rest areas could add even more value to transportation, and without huge expenses? This is precisely what the South Korean government did back in 2010 when it opened the first “Regional Buses to Regional Buses Transfer Centers,” utilizing rest areas along expressways. The idea was gestated at the Korea Transport Institute (KOTI), one of the partners of the World Bank’s Transport and ICT global practice.

Since 2010, rest areas have played an effective role as “sub-hubs,” or transfer centers for regional buses, which in turn have more than doubled the number of regional routes, increasing the accessibility to smaller cities, and all this without having to go through the capital Seoul, where there is often too much traffic and congestion.

We know that bus transport is a more effective transportation mode than individual cars, particularly in terms of moving more people and reducing congestion and pollution. But in Korea, as well as other countries, there are several reasons why bus transport is less favored than cars, but one of the most important is a lack of accessibility to smaller cities. That is to say, bus transport cannot provide door-to-door service. In fact, accessibility in regional bus transport is worse than within cities mainly because regional buses tend to operate mostly non-stop services between larger cities.

Prospects daily: U.S. GDP growth slips to 2.4% in second quarter

Global Macroeconomics Team's picture
Финансовый кризис 2008 года для многих учителей в США и Канаде стал своего рода «сигналом к действию». По мере того, как семьи теряли свои дома, а родители – работу, люди стали понимать, как важно, чтобы их дети, закончив школу, имели представление о мире финансов. При этом особенно важно, чтобы они понимали, как принимаются личные решения в этой области, и каким образом решения, которые принимает государство, непосредственным образом влияют на их жизнь и перспективы. 

Группа специалистов из Москвы и ещё пяти регионов Российской Федерации недавно посетила Канаду и США с ознакомительным визитом. Целью визита было получить представление об инициативах, осуществляемых в этих странах, и о том, как включить рассмотрение финансовых вопросов непосредственно в программу обучения, - так, чтобы сегодняшние учащиеся выросли активными и ответственными гражданами, способными принимать обоснованные решения, касащиеся их личных финансов, а также участвовать в обсуждениях государственных финансов от своего имени и от имени своих сообществ. 

Frank Talk About Social Accountability

Sabina Panth's picture

An important book has just been released by the World Bank: Demanding Good Governance: Lessons from Social Accountability Initiatives in Africa (edited by Mary McNeil and Carmen Malena). The book is important because the content is provided by practitioners in the field, who share real life examples from their firsthand knowledge and experiences.  This is likely to further South to South learning, and, therefore, a departure from the standard literature in the field.  
 

The book describes and analyzes the work of seven countries in Sub-Saharan Africa: Benin, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. The case studies were identified from multi-country social accountability stocktaking exercises commissioned by the World Bank Institute in view of representing a variety of approaches, strategies and objectives within a range of political, social, cultural and institutional context.  The analysis and descriptions of these seven initiatives are intended to serve as a resource for government and civil society representatives who are interested in exploring similar possibilities for their countries and for research communities and donors to promote and support enhanced social accountability and demand for good governance in Africa.  The following are some questions that the book attempts to answer:

The Africa of Tomorrow

Ryan Hahn's picture

Countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are a cauldron of wrenching social change. For years pundits have attributed the region's tense social fabric to relatively high population growth rates, a lack of economic diversity, autocratic governments, and, in many countries, on an over-reliance on oil.

Howard Pack, eminent business and public policy Professor at the Wharton School, came to the World Bank earlier this week to share his views on the question of why MENA countries never came close to the equivalent of an East Asian miracle and how they might get on a more successful economic path.

How do we get the crowd-sorcerers and the muggles to work together?

Ryan Hahn's picture

Humanitarian aid is not a standard topic for the PSD Blog, but I ran across a post recently on the disaster in Haiti that cuts across a lot of themes. Over at iRevolution, Patrick Philip Meier discusses the tension between those who helped crowdsource information related to the disaster -- what he calls the crowd-sorcerers -- and the formal humanitarian aid organizations -- playfully called "muggles".

Social Media for Good Governance: No Silver Bullet Yet

Tanya Gupta's picture

In my last blog, I wrote about the potential of social media in promoting good governance, specifically participatory governance.   The example I talked about – participatory processes used in President Obama’s “Race to the Top” - was in the context of a mature democracy, with enabling institutions, infrastructure and an engaged civil society, all of which contributed to the success of “Race to the Top”.  However, even in an environment where these elements are not present, social media can still contribute to improved governance, although in a different and perhaps more limited way.  Despite the lack of strong institutions, rampant poverty, limited infrastructure, and the ever-present threat of censorship, social media (often fuelled by mobile technology) has played a role in countries such as Bangladesh and Iran.  
 

The Status of Bank Lending to SMEs in the Middle East and North Africa Region

Roberto Rocha's picture

Bike path in New York City

In 1993, when I was 10 years old, my family took a trip to Beijing, where the large boulevards provided us with an image that seemed reversed: bicycles everywhere, punctuated by the occasional car. The young and old rode nearly identical two-wheeled machines to get where they needed to, and the internal combustion engines were sidelined, weaving their way through an army of peddlers. At that time, writes Kristof in 1988, 76% of road space in China’s capital was taken up by bicycles – and one in every two people owned a bicycle (that’s 5.6 million bikes for 10 million people).

Fast forward 20 years: Beijing’s traffic patterns are impressive for a very different reason. Cars now clog the streets, slowing down rush hour traffic to 9 miles per hour, and bicycles have all but disappeared. Chinese consumers have overwhelmingly embraced the car - from 1990 to 2000, their number increased from 1.1 to 6 million (a 445% leap). The hunger for cars is growing; China is now home to over 78 million cars, of which 6.5 million are in Beijing alone.

Why Talking About Failure Matters?

Aleem Walji's picture
Guangzhe Chen, Senior Director, the World Bank’s Water Global Practice, 
speaks at the opening plenary of World Water Week 2017. Credit: Tim Wainwright

It was inspiring to see so many committed water practitioners at World Water Week in Stockholm the last week of August, coming together to share experiences and advance global action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of safe and accessible water and sanitation for all (SDG6) by 2030.  As we know, access to water and sanitation is key to thriving communities. It determines whether poor girls are educated, whether cities are healthy places to live, whether industries grow, and whether framers can withstand the impacts of floods and droughts.

Without it, we are limiting our full potential. In fact, today we face a “silent emergency”, with stunted grown affecting more than a third of all children under five in countries such as Bangladesh, Indonesia, Niger and Guatemala. This was presented in the new World Bank report WASH Poverty Diagnostics, provides new data on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) for 18 countries and finds that we get the biggest bang for the buck when we attack childhood stunting and mortality from many angles simultaneously, in a coordinated way. While improving water and sanitation alone does improve a child’s well-being, the impacts on child height are multiplied when water, sanitation, health, and nutrition interventions are combined. The report also pinpoints the geographical areas in a country where access to services are low or missing completely, and suggests that to move the needle on improving poverty indicators, policies need to be implemented and resources have to be better targeted to reach the most vulnerable.


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