Photo: paulisson miura | Flickr Creative Commons
It is well-established that the lack of infrastructure is one of the main problems facing developing countries. Good infrastructure is one of the most important drivers for development and competitiveness. The question that follows is straightforward: how can we mobilize private financing for high-quality infrastructure investment in these countries?
“We want teachers to come to school and educate our children.”
“When the Anganwadi worker doesn’t turn up for work, we don’t pay her salary.”
“I have set up a grievance redressal mechanism to make public services accountable to villagers.”
These were some of the statements made to us by Anita, a once-diffident village woman in rural Jharkhand. What struck us most was the confidence and deep sense of empowerment with which Anita spoke to us. She had started out as a member of a village SHG and now headed the Masaniya village Gram Panchayat (local government) where she worked with other women members to protect the interests of her community.
We - a World Bank team led by Junaid Ahmad the India country director - were visiting rural Jharkhand, one of the poorest parts of the country, to see the work done under the Bank-supported National Rural Livelihood Project (NRLP). As we listened with rapt attention, the women poured out their stories, telling us how their lives had changed thanks to the resolve and positivity that the project had instilled within them. Time and again we heard how it was now possible for them to think of escaping the clutches of poverty and chart out a new future for themselves and their families.
The story of a country’s economic development is often told through the lens of new roads, factories, power lines, and ports. However, it can also be told through the voices of everyday heroes, individuals who have taken action to improve their lives, and those around them. In this blog series, the World Bank Group, in partnership with the Ivorian newspaper Fraternité Matin and blogger Edith Brou, tells the stories of those individuals who, with a boost from a Bank project, have set economic development in motion in their communities.
Jacques Dongo, Inspector of Guidance Services in the Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training, proudly exhibits his loan certificate, the key to making some of his dreams come true. As we chatted with him in front of a counter in the Ministry of the Civil Service and Modernization of the Administration, he acknowledged the benefits of the new integrated civil service personnel management system (SIGFAE): “Before this system was set up, it was a game of cat and mouse between the ‘margouillats,’ or notorious intermediaries, and government departments to obtain documents. The introduction of the new system has completely changed this. It has taken me just 3 days to obtain this document once I fulfilled all the requirements.”
A Thai business owner in Chiang Mai might open a small resort serving local people as well as tourists. It would probably take him about two months to set up his business after finding the location, staff and getting the company registered. He would find it reasonably easy to start his business.
At the same time, a foreign investor living in Vietnam and considering whether to invest 3 million baht in Thailand to start a restaurant might have a different experience. She would likely find the process a bit complex and challenging. Most websites with the relevant information are written in Thai, the paperwork involved in registering a company can be pretty daunting for foreigners, and getting work permits and a business license can take longer than expected.
The explicit need of the hour is a significant increase of annual investments in energy access, renewables and energy efficiency – in the hundreds of billions of dollars’ range. So what role does open data play in such a scenario, you may wonder.
Each month People, Spaces, Deliberation shares the blog post that generated the most interest and discussion. For April 2017, the featured blog post is "Strengthening governance is top-of-mind for opinion leaders in developing countries" by Jing Guo.Capable, efficient, and accountable government institutions are essential for a country’s sustainable development. The most recent polls of opinion leaders in World Bank client countries confirmed that addressing governance is now at the top of countries’ development priorities.
The World Bank Group annually surveys nearly 10,000 influencers in 40+ countries across the globe to assess their views on development issues, including opinions about public sector governance and reform. In the past five years, the survey reached more than 35,000 opinion leaders working in government, parliament, private sector, civil society, media, and academia in more than 120 developing countries.
Data from the most recent 2016 survey indicate that public sector governance/reform (i.e., government effectiveness, public financial management, public expenditure, and fiscal system reform) is regarded as the most important development priority across 45 countries by a plurality of opinion leaders (34%), surpassing education (30%) and job creation (22%). (1)
The chart below shows that concerns over governance have grown substantially among opinion leaders since 2012.
The World Bank is releasing its first-ever comprehensive study of container ports in South Asia, examining the competitiveness of major ports across the region and suggesting ways they can work more efficiently to boost trade.
The report, to be formally launched on April 27, examines the performance of the ports, which handle about 75 percent of the region’s trade by value, and assesses the role that the private sector, governance, and competition have played in their development.
Trade has been key to South Asia’s remarkable economic average annual growth rate of about 6.7 percent since the beginning of the century, the second-highest in the world after East Asia.
By improving the transport infrastructure, including ports, and easing bottlenecks that hinder the flow of goods, the World Bank is helping South Asia lower its high logistics costs, capture a bigger share of the global market and create more jobs, supporting its progress toward becoming a middle-income region.
How can we provide employment to the 1.8 billion young people that live on this planet? Will we have enough jobs for all these young people? Will there be sufficient high-quality and high-productivity work, especially for women, who are often the most vulnerable when it comes to finding meaningful work?
The Public-Private Partnership Reference Guide has been downloaded more than 18,000 times since it was first launched in 2012. The Guide’s popularity reflects its value. The Guide offers:
- A solid overview of the core elements of public-private partnerships (PPPs); and
- A rich collection of references to the best-available PPP-related materials.
This version, however, offers several additions and improvements that add greater value to PPP practitioners:
- Version 3 is available online. Besides increasing accessibility, the online version allows new reference materials to be added as they become available. This makes the Guide a living document that is always up-to-date.
- A section on Stakeholder Communication and Engagement addresses an important element of PPP governance that is often overlooked.
- In response to growing demand, a new section, Environmental and Social Studies and Standards, has been included.
Going forward, we will publish monthly posts that highlight specific sections of the Guide, illustrating how seasoned practitioners and novices alike can use it to strengthen their knowledge of PPPs and apply it to real-world developmental challenges.
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People think fast and often automatically, respond strongly to social incentives, and use mental models or specific worldviews to interpret information and perceptions. So, shouldn’t we be taking into account their thinking and behaviors while designing policies?