healthcare in mauritaniaThe Islamic Republic of Mauritania is a vast desert country with a significant nomadic population. These facets of Mauritania’s geography present challenges for creating healthcare infrastructure. In particular, physical distance and large rural populations make distributing care a massive undertaking. Accordingly, there are only 0.19 practicing physicians per 1,000 people in Mauritania. Here are five facts about healthcare in Mauritania.

5 Facts About Healthcare in Mauritania

  1. A lack of proper infrastructure devastates public health in rural, vulnerable regions. Problems stemming from poor sanitation and a lack of clean water plague Mauritania. Many areas of Mauritania go completely without consistent water sources due to geographic barriers. Overall, the capital city of Nouakchott is the only region with adequate water supply and treatment. This lack of water leads to serious consequences for healthcare in Mauritania. According to the World Health Organization, 2,150 Mauritanians die from diarrheal disease per year. Ninety percent of these deaths are linked to a lack of sanitation and insufficient access to clean water. In addition, droughts and desertification are preventing rural populations from accessing water at all. This is yet another challenge to improving healthcare in Mauritania.
  2. Many political barriers inhibit attempts to improve healthcare in Mauritania. The country suffers from a shortage of doctors and treatment facilities in rural areas of the country. While there are potential avenues for funding expansion, the Mauritanian government tends to keep infrastructure projects centralized to the capital region. Although the capital is the largest city and presents the most promise for economic growth, this neglects rural citizens. For example, the national insurance program prioritizes a portion of the urban population, as it only covers government officials and those who are formally employed. Poverty-stricken people are further disadvantaged by the astronomical cost of healthcare without any insurance. Thankfully, groups like the Institute of Tropical Medicine are working to provide a concerted effort to expand healthcare in Mauritania.
  3. Mauritania struggles with reproductive and neonatal care. According to the World Bank, Mauritania has a birthrate of 4.62. Combined, the birthrate and lack of adequate neonatal care lead to high infant and maternal mortality. However, the International Development Association is dedicating $23 million to expanding the reach and quality of maternal, neonatal and reproductive healthcare in Mauritania. The initiative also aims to combat childhood malnutrition by investing in further healthcare and nutrition services for children. These efforts, part of the Mauritania Health System Support project, aspire to alleviate issues in healthcare beyond the capital city. This will provide much-needed relief to rural and refugee populations.
  4. International aid is going toward healthcare in Mauritania. The International Development Association of the World Bank is providing funds to help local governments build sanitation and water treatment infrastructure. These funds will address the gross centralization of public utilities and expand access to water and sanitation services into rural areas. With tools to manage public services provided through the Decentralization and Productive Intermediate Cities Support project, localities will have the means to create a substantive foundation for healthcare in Mauritania.
  5. The Institute of Tropical Medicine is also promoting healthcare in Mauritania. In her 2018 article for the Institute of Tropical Medicine, public health expert Kirsten Accoe details how the ITM intends to establish a local health system team in the country. This team would tackle healthcare on the district level in conjunction with centralized efforts to improve healthcare. The initiative aims to create sustained quality care by increasing the retention of healthcare workers in each district, which has previously been an issue due to lack of funding, equipment and trained personnel. ITM’s effort can therefore allow more to people get the relief they deserve.

Improving healthcare in Mauritania is certainly a complex task. But the government and aid organizations can come together to cultivate a coordinated effort to improve infrastructure, assist healthcare professionals at the district level and expand the reach of care. In doing so, they will begin to create an equitable healthcare system and provide all Mauritanians with the care they deserve.

Olivia Bielskis
Photo: Flickr

Healthcare in Burundi
Burundi is a landlocked country in East Africa with a dense population of 11.89 million people. Due to overpopulation, an ongoing humanitarian crisis and more than 73% of the population in poverty, healthcare in Burundi is unstable, and the people of Burundi are highly susceptible to the wide variety of diseases that are plaguing the country. 

Current Health Risks in Burundi

Accessibility to healthcare in Burundi continues to be an issue for civilians, shown through the rise in deaths that diseases and epidemics caused. COVID-19 has affected the country as a whole and posed a threat to the already fragile healthcare system with records of 104 cases and one death as of June 16, 2020, although the need for more resources and vaccines was already in question long before this specific virus. Without proper treatment or preventative care, diseases like measles, malaria and many other infectious diseases put the population at risk.

In April 2019, the number of measles cases increased to 857 and refugees were reportedly spreading it to communities from refugee camps. Meanwhile, there were 504 cases as of March 2020. Out of the 18 provinces of Burundi, 63% of those districts face a high risk of infection. Low immunity and vaccination rates are two factors putting communities in compromising positions.

Malaria is an ongoing epidemic in Burundi that has claimed the lives of more than 3,170 people, and it continues to spread. Reports determine that the number of cases is 1.2 million, showing a slight decline in cases in comparison to the 1.7 million in 2019. Malaria is treatable and preventable through vaccination and the proper medication; however, access to these supplies and resources is scarce.

Focusing on the Issue  

The numbers on infection and mortality rates of treatable and preventable diseases in Burundi show a need for redirection. Seeing this need, various organizations have proposed ways to put a spotlight on the lack of funding for healthcare systems and supplies and provide the funding necessary to see progress. Here are a few ways organizations are addressing this:

  • In April of 2020, the World Bank and International Development Association (IDA) put into motion a $5 million grant to prevent and counter the spread of COVID-19 and reinforce the preparedness of the health care system of Burundi as a whole. These funds will assist the country’s healthcare system in receiving necessary testing and treatments for existing diseases and epidemics. In coordination with this, the World Bank will disburse $160 billion over the span of 15 months to “protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses and bolster economic recovery.
  • Dr. Norbert Mugabo, a medical officer from Cibitoke province, set out to vaccinate more than 17,000 children as part of a measles vaccination initiative in April of 2020. Dr. Mugabo hopes to reach children between the ages of 9 months and 15 years in light of the outbreak in November 2019.
  • The International Rescue Committee (IRC) set many goals to aid Burundi in 2020. It determined that its main avenue for providing all-around better healthcare is starting with the basics. For example, the IRC intends to rebuild hand washing stations, boosting hygiene and addressing sanitation issues. These small steps forward have the ability to make a big difference long term.

The healthcare system in Burundi lacks the resources and funding needed to help the overall population thrive. However, with the help of dedicated professionals such as Dr. Mugabo and organizations such as the World Bank and the IRC, change in a positive direction is right around the corner.

Katie Mote-Preuss
Photo: Flickr

10 Facts About Sanitation in Mozambique
Mozambique is a Sub-Saharan African country located on the Southeast coast of Africa bordering the Indian Ocean. The country has a population of nearly 28 million people and is both culturally and biologically diverse. Global statistics classify Mozambique as one of the world’s poorest countries with a national poverty average between 41-46%. Slow economic growth and informal government control have led to unhealthy and unstable living conditions. Issues regarding sanitation and water services are prevalent in the country. Here are 10 facts about sanitation in Mozambique.

10 Facts About Sanitation in Mozambique

  1. According to WaterAid, 14.8 million people in Mozambique do not have access to clean water, which is over half of its population. High levels of poverty make building and maintaining services difficult, or even unattainable. The government of Mozambique needs funding to make commitments to its citizens, but in 2016 following a drop in commodity prices, donors like World Bank halted all aid—furthering the economic crisis.
  2. Water is an essential daily resource for all people including those in Mozambique. People in Mozambique use it for direct consumption, cooking, irrigating fields and sanitation. Rural communities often have to obtain their water from natural sources like rivers, hand-dug wells or ponds.
  3. UNICEF identified that in rural areas, one in five people use surface water as their primary drinking water source. Water from rivers, lakes, ponds and streams can contain bacteria, parasites, viruses and possibly other contaminants. To make surface water fit to drink, treatment is necessary. In fact, UNICEF has taken efforts to improve water services in the form of implementing Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) in Mozambique.
  4. The World Bank allocated a $75 million International Development Association (IDA) grant to Mozambique in June 2019 to help with water services and institutional support projects. The grant will fund water production, expansion and refurbishment on wellfields, water treatment facilities and intake to improve all water services, as well as building the country’s resilience to droughts.
  5. WaterAid stated that three in four people in Mozambique do not have a decent toilet, amounting to 21.4 million people. Access to proper sanitation leads to the ability to have good hygiene that affects livelihood and sustainability. Citizens have to travel even a few days to find a decent toilet or care for older relatives, so they are unable to work or attend school. Women and girls often suffer the most due to this as it can impact their ability to garner an education, as well as their health and personal safety.
  6. Mozambique has one of the highest open defecation rates in Sub-Saharan Africa at 36%. Nine million Mozambicans use unsanitary or shared latrines and have no latrine at all, defecating in the open. The poorest quintile is four times more likely to practice open defecation than the richest.
  7. As many as 76% of the population do not have or use improved sanitation facilities, with the rate being 88% in rural areas compared to 53% in urban and peri-urban areas. Citizens need access to improved water supply or better sanitation but often cannot obtain the necessities if they live in low-income, informal or illegal settlements or on the outskirts of cities.
  8. Poor sanitation costs Mozambique $124 million (US), yet eliminating the practice would require that the country build two million latrines. Mozambique loses $22 million per year due to open defecation. People that practice open defecation spend 2.5 days out of a year on average looking for a private location, which often leads to economic losses. The country also experiences a $22 million loss due to health care costs relating to open defecation illnesses. Additionally, the country spends $79 million due to premature death costs.
  9. WaterAid identified that over 2,500 children under 5-years-old die every year from diarrhea due to dirty water and poor toilets. Fragresse Finiassa, a mother of six, obtained training from UNICEF’s WASH Program. Finiassa stated that “We used to suffer a lot from diarrhea. When we had severe diarrhea, we would have to walk five hours to the health center for treatment.” The lack of a toilet meant that “At night, our shoes would often get dirty, because we couldn’t see where we were treading, and my children would also get scared to go out in the bush (to defecate) in the dark.” However, that all changed in 2016 when her community learned the dangers of open defecation and received training for toilet construction. Men in the community learned how to build latrines and covered them with concrete slabs for proper defecation and contribute to improved health.
  10. According to UNICEF, 246 of every 1,000 children born in Mozambique die within their first five years, with 13% of deaths directly due to a lack of access to proper sanitation and clean water, and poor hygiene practices. Cholera infection is the most common waterborne illness that citizens face due to stagnant water sources. Reports determined that there was a cumulative total of 6,382 cases and eight deaths as of April 2019.

These 10 facts about sanitation in Mozambique have shown that it may be able to eradicate poverty through improved sanitation and management of water resources, as these could foster economic growth.  Access to proper sanitation could greatly improve Mozambique’s economy and start to lift the country out of poverty.

– Anna Brewer
Photo: Flickr


poverty in Bangladesh
About one in four Bangladeshis live in poverty, making poverty in Bangladesh an ongoing fight for the nation. However, there has been significant economic growth and improved education and infrastructure. With international development assistance, poverty in Bangladesh is on a downward trajectory, especially in rural areas. These seven facts about poverty in Bangladesh show the country’s improvements.

 7 Facts About Poverty in Bangladesh

  1. International Assistance. The International Development Association (IDA) has been a large part of Bangladesh’s success in education, health and infrastructure. Funded by member countries, IDA coordinates donor assistance. Additionally, IDA also works to provide development assistance to countries around the world. Bangladesh is one of the largest recipients of IDA funding, with its program totaling $11.3 billion. Multilateral organizations, like the Asian World Bank and the United Nations, have worked with the IDA to lower poverty in Bangladesh.
  2. Economic Growth. Through sustained economic growth in recent years, Bangladesh has made strides in alleviating poverty. Steady growth in its GDP allowed Bangladesh to reach lower-middle-income status in 2015. Bangladesh remains one of the fastest-growing economies among developing nations, and its GDP in 2018 was $274.02 billion, a 9.73% increase from 2017. With these steady increases, the GDP should grow another 8% in 2020.
  3. Education. Bangladesh has seen an increase in education enrollment and more girls are going to school. Enrollment rate at the primary school level increased from 80% in 2000 to above 90% in 2015, and from 45% to 62% at the secondary school level. Bangladesh has also achieved gender equality in education enrollment; it sent almost 6.5 million girls to secondary school in 2015. This makes the nation a frontrunner among developing countries to achieve gender parity in education.
  4. Health. Bangladesh has made important progress in its health indicators over the past few decades. This includes improvements in maternal and child health. There was a 40% reduction in maternal mortality, from 320 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2000 to 194 deaths in 2010. USAID has worked with local groups to provide high-quality reproductive services and bring integrated health care to Bangladeshis as well.
  5. Agricultural Growth. The agriculture sector is essential to Bangladesh, and its growth has been among the highest in the world for the past 25 years. Through IDA, more than 1 million households have modernized food practices and 500,000 households have increased grain reserve. Natural disasters are a primary threat to Bangladesh’s success in agricultural production. IDA is also financing almost $1.5 billion in aid to Bangladesh’s resistance against natural disasters. This leads to further increases in agricultural production and promoting food security.
  6. Sustainable Development Goals. According to the United Nations Development Programme, Bangladesh is making strides in attaining the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty and improve quality of life. For example, Bangladesh is well on its way towards reaching the access of 100% of households to electricity by 2025, which is SDG 7. Bangladesh has also seen improvements in sanitation and access to clean water, which the SDGs also include. In 2019, 87% of the population had access to clean water and access to sanitation increased by 26%.
  7. Rural Infrastructure: Efforts to alleviate poverty in Bangladesh have occurred in rural areas, and IDA has provided support to build roads and increase access to water in these areas. According to the World Bank, 1.1 million people in rural areas now have access to clean water, and support measures have led to the paving of 800 kilometers of new roads in these areas. This infrastructure allows for easier transportation to school and the creation of jobs for men and women, improving the quality of life in several rural areas.

These seven facts about poverty in Bangladesh show that efforts to alleviate poverty in the country have been remarkably successful in the past few decades. Still, much work remains essential in order to alleviate poverty in urban areas and bring about continued growth in Bangladesh’s economy, infrastructure and access to food security. However, with continued international assistance and Bangladesh’s commitment to reducing poverty, there is hope that Bangladesh will continue to be a global model for poverty reduction.

– Anita Durairaj
Photo: Wikimedia

The Women Entrepreneurship Development ProjectThe Women Entrepreneurship Development Project (WEDP) aims to provide more opportunities for female entrepreneurs. The International Development Association (IDA) of the World Bank is continually funding more than $2 million to women in Ethiopia looking to start or improve their businesses.

The program’s contributions are improving the Ethiopian economy and the empowerment of women. It is one of the only women-focused lines of credit operations in the world and has been the most effective.

Signs of Progress

To date, more than 12,000 female entrepreneurs have received loans from the IDA. Of this, 66 percent are first-time borrowers; yet, 99.1 percent of the loans have been repaid.

Additionally, 16,000 women have participated in business training thus far. On the other hand, firms participating in the WEDP are experiencing growing incomes. In comparison to those not working with the program, income has increased by 40.77 percent. With increasing profit, these firms are able to expand employment by 55.73 percent.

Giving Women Entrepreneurs a Feasible Option

The Women Entrepreneurship Development Project’s success can largely be accredited to having “missing middle” loans. In many instances, banks require a minimum of a $50,000 loan and microfinance options are at most $5,000. These requirements make it nearly impossible for female entrepreneurs to get a loan suitable for their business.

The WEDP provides an average loan of $12,500 and has successfully reduced the collateral from 200 percent to 125 percent. The IDA saw an untapped market and is now profiting off of the potential for these entrepreneurs to expand their businesses.

Project Initiatives

Another reason why the Women Entrepreneurship Development Project is succeeding is due to the specific and goal-oriented plan of the World Bank. The objective in Ethiopia is to improve both earnings and employment of female-owned Micro and Small Enterprise’s (MSE).

The most common obstacle businesses face in Ethiopia is access to finance. In fact, only 40.4 percent of these owners have access. As a result, the project focuses on ensuring easy finance options and offering unique financial instruments that fit the needs of each business.

It is also useful that the project offers programs to teach entrepreneurial and technical skills. The World Bank aims for access to microfinance and a dedicated line of credit, development of entrepreneurial skills, technology and cluster development and, project management, advocacy and outreach, monitoring and impact evaluation.

Partnerships and Impacts

Without partnerships with the Department for International Development (DFID), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the U.K., Italy and Japan, the success of the WEDP would not be possible. Many countries and agencies have offered financing or other assistance contributing to the rise of female-owned business in Ethiopia.

Not only has the Women Entrepreneurship Development Project been hugely successful in Ethiopia, but it is also inspiring initiatives to finance female-owned companies in countries like Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Turkey, Mexico and Indonesia. Should these countries follow suit, the impact could be unprecedented.

Even though the project has a few more months until its completion, it is providing an opportunity for the government of Ethiopia to support the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) of women entrepreneurs.

– Jessica Haidet
Photo: Flickr

history of the World Bank
The history of the World Bank is one of change. As the world’s leading development finance institution, the World Bank has established a unique global role over its 75-year existence leading to its modern goal of poverty alleviation. Its longevity and evolution have fostered a bevy of admirers and critics, and its efficacy in achieving its goals has been a cause célèbre for members of the international development community.

How the History of the World Bank Began

The World Bank was formed in 1944 during and because of the ruin caused by World War II. Its original purpose was as a source of financing for the reconstruction of Western Europe, as countries such as France, the beneficiary of the bank’s first loan in 1947, were so devastated that no commercial lender would risk their own capital. As Europe gained its footing and could once again access capital markets, the bank shifted to a global focus including Latin America, Asia and Africa.

However, the history of the World Bank is one of not just an expanding geographical focus but of expanding policy focus. The bank’s initial projects in the 1950s-60s focused on infrastructure and reconstruction, but over the decades this mission has evolved.

The World Bank’s Growing Purpose

The creation of the bank’s International Development Association (IDA) in 1960, with a mission to provide concessional loans and grants to the world’s poorest countries, presaged a shift toward supporting the world’s least developed economies. Bank president Robert McNamara’s pivotal 1973 speech in Nairobi was considered a turning point toward what is thought to be the most important of its many modern mandates: poverty eradication. In 2013, current President Jim Yong Kim described the institution’s twin goals as eliminating extreme poverty by 2030 and promoting income growth among the poorest 40 percent of the world’s population.

To this end, the World Bank has continued to represent a formidable source of financing. Its 2017 annual report totaled commitments of $61.8 billion in loans, grants, equity investments and guarantees to partner countries. For perspective, this is 57 percent greater than the 2019 President Budget for the State Department and USAID of $39.3 billion. The annual report also highlights the diversity of its initiatives, with projects ranging from support of Syrian refugees to cash transfers and nutrition services in


Pushback Against the World Bank

However, for an institution committed to a goal as noble as poverty eradication, the World Bank has attracted its fair share of critics. This stems from both the consequences of the Bank’s projects and questions surrounding the relevance of its strategy.

High profile projects have come under fire for decades for their unintended environmental consequences, such as the displacement of more than 60,000 Brazilians after the construction of the Bank-financed Sobradinho Dam in the late 1970s. Bank defenders would acknowledge these failures, but also cite the many safeguards implemented over the years to manage such unintended risks.

Other critics question the Bank’s relevance: in a world where private investors willingly commit over $1 trillion a year to emerging markets, is the multilateral really needed as a backstop? In stark contrast to the 1940s, financing is abundant and capital moves freely in many parts of the world. However, defenders might argue that the World Bank continues to fill financing gaps, as certain arms of the institution, such as the IDA, offer grants and concessional loans to low-income areas that cannot attract private investors seeking a profit.

Criticisms are likely to continue, but among multilateral institutions the size and clout of the World Bank in financing poverty alleviation projects are unmatched. Given its shareholders’ recent approval of a capital increase, the Bank’s financial footprint looks set to continue growing in the near future. The history of the World Bank is one of evolution, and supporters of international development hope its positive influence will continue to shape the poverty eradication landscape.

– Mark Fitzpatrick
Photo: Google

China Poverty RateSeptember 27, 2017 marked the 68th anniversary of the formation of the People’s Republic of China. The China poverty rate has seen unprecedented lows both within China and across the world. As of 2017, the Chinese government can say they lifted over 700 million people out of poverty and facilitated an increase in GDP from $18.9 billion to $11.2 trillion since the formation of the republic.

By 2015, China had achieved all the Millennium Development Goals and had contributed to the achievement of the goals in other nations. Despite all this growth, however, China is still considered a developing country in need of reform. There are still 55 million people in poverty in rural parts of the country, and the rapid economic growth has actually caused a number of problems.

There are high levels of inequality, as well as a lack of environmental sustainability, that China needs to deal with quickly. They also face an aging population and other social concerns. The biggest challenge for China right now is balancing their economic growth with environmental protection and social issues. The World Bank Group’s Country Partnership Strategy, which was created to help China prioritize certain areas of growth, has three main areas of improvement. These are supporting greener growth, promoting more inclusive development and advancing mutually beneficial relations with the world.

The goals of the Country Partnership Strategy were aligned with China’s 13th Five-Year-Plan, which is a very positive step. Environmental policy has not been China’s strong suit, but the World Bank’s focus has shifted to about 70 percent environmental sustainability, forcing China to take certain steps in that direction.

China has been partnered with the World Bank since 1990, and was originally receiving money from the International Development Association (IDA), which is the Bank’s fund for the world’s poorest countries. In 1999, China “graduated” from IDA, and less than 10 years later began contributing to the fund to aid other poor countries. The partnership with the World Bank has been helpful not only for the China poverty rate, but particularly for cleaning up the environmental damage that was sustained through such vigorous industrial and economic growth. The Bank has successfully carried out projects with the government such as cleaning up China’s polluted rivers and creating eco-farms.

Ultimately, the World Bank cannot facilitate all the change China needs to see. Even more reductions in poverty need to be made and a lot of policy needs to be enacted in terms of environmental protection. China is on the right track and has seen some of the largest growth of all developing countries, but it is time for the country to focus less on economic growth and more on social and environmental issues.

Liyanga De Silva

Photo: Flickr

New World Bank Funding Structure Has Implications for U.S. Influence
One proposal in a recent Center for Global Development (CGD) report focuses on restructuring multilateral institutions to better suit developmental needs. A new World Bank funding structure presented at the organization’s most recent replenishment conference aligns with CGD directives.

As more nations climb out of extreme poverty, the capacity in which foreign aid is needed evolves.

Experts stated in the Multilateral Development Banking for This Century’s Development Challenges report that “almost all developing countries now rely primarily on domestic resources to manage public investment.” This evolution renders the foundation of World Bank funding, which has historically relied on capital market failure, incongruous with the reality of global development.

Another issue is that major donor countries have most heavily funded health and education initiatives in the recent past. CGD scholars suggest that countries such as the U.S. redirect foreign aid funds to the development of strategic partnerships with recipient nations.

Such redirection is predicated on a donor country’s willingness to overhaul foreign aid policy.

Perhaps more complicated is the fact that the U.S., once a World Bank powerhouse, is now waning in its contributions to the International Development Association (IDA). This indicates that heavy foreign aid revision in the World Bank’s favor is unlikely. Still, the nation continues to play a monumental role in deciding where IDA funds are spent.

According to Scott Morris and Madeleine Gleave of the CGD, the U.S. is often defensive in its appropriation of aid funds. This strategy has global implications. Policymakers in the U.S. have a history of swaying World Bank investment, avoiding nations like Zimbabwe and Iran for its own interests.

As Morris said in his recent report, “Historically, the United States (and often the U.S. Congress) has exerted its will on issues like these by using the threat of withholding its IDA contributions in any given year.” Three years ago, IDA pledges from donor nations accounted for two-thirds of all World Bank resources. Today, it is estimated that they make up less than half. Threats to withhold become obsolete as such pledges hold less weight.

For that reason, a new World Bank funding structure that deemphasizes public-sector donation in favor of affordable lending and private-sector investment is significant. This new methodology took center stage at the World Bank’s most recent replenishment conference.

Reinvigorated partnerships with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) and Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) are key. Such partnerships would allow the World Bank to leverage IDA funds more holistically. The goal is to lend money to more worthwhile causes in a way that’s free from donor country allegiances.

The next step is to incentivize private investors to contribute to infrastructure ventures, which focus on areas like climate and energy. CGD scholars suggest using MDB resources to decrease risk by bridging gaps between sovereigns and investors. Bridging those gaps could get subsidies and grants to developing nations in a system that does not force borrowers to bear full costs.

Many of these recommendations played into the replenishment, which resulted in some of the most dramatic financial reforms in World Bank history. By combining existing resources with donor funds and the capital debt market, the World Bank hopes to respond to developmental needs with greater agility.

One side effect of this new World Bank funding structure is, as Morris points out, a decrease in influence from countries like the U.S. and U.K. that have dictated spending in the past.

While greater multilateral investment from the world’s wealthiest countries would be ideal, this plan addresses the new reality of global development. The unprecedented move could be just what the developing world needs in a time of transition.

Madeline Distasio

Photo: Flickr

Growth and Job Creation in Sri Lanka
As of July 29, 2016, the World Bank has approved a $100 million credit from the International Development Association to support growth and job creation in Sri Lanka.

Francoise Culottes, the World Bank Country Director for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, stated, “The breadth and depth of the actions implemented signal the comprehensive approach and commitment of the government to tackle difficult reforms aimed at making growth sustainable and creating jobs.”

Despite a 30-year civil war that ended in 2009, the country has risen to the occasion and continued to work towards cultivating growth in the economy.

Currently, the country is described as a lower middle-income country that has become more urbanized with time. Extreme poverty remains low, as the poverty rate only decreased by half a point, from 2.4 to 1.9, between the years of 2009 and 2013. The economy transformed from being primarily rural-based to an urbanized sector that provides services.

The new government, in place since 2015, declared numerous times that it has plans to make the economy more included in the global economy. Growth and job creation in Sri Lanka hinges on the government’s desire to generate one million jobs, develop rural markets, increase income and create a strong middle class.

The Development Policy Financing (DPF) is defined as an IDA credit or grant that “provides support to governments or a political subdivision for a program of policy and institutional actions to help achieve sustainable shared growth and poverty reduction.”

The DPF’s plans are based on three distinct pillars. The first pillar will support the Government of Sri Lanka’s plan to enhance the competitiveness of the private sector and help the country’s ability to overcome obstacles within the trading industry. The second pillar wishes to establish a strong legal framework, encouraging transparency as a means to improve the business environment. The third and final pillar is an act in order to support fiscal sustainability and fix debt management.

The operations guaranteed in the DPF provide funding to the Sri Lankan government after policy packages have been completed. Although various Sri Lankan ministries and groups, such as the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs and the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, are in charge of overall implementation, the World Bank is there to support the reform methods when needed.

If the country continues to be supported by its government and focused on the tasks at hand to continue growing the economy, there should not be many problems. The Government of Sri Lanka must stay committed to its goal of economic growth as the country begins to face new challenges as it evolves into a middle-income country.

There is great promise for the country, though. With seven years of peace, and growth exceeding 6 percent, there should not be a lot of trouble for Sri Lanka, especially with the World Bank on its side.

Ashley Morefield

Photo: Flickr

Earlier this summer, the state counsellor and minister for foreign affairs  (also a Nobel Peace Prize winner) of Myanmar, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, spoke at the opening ceremony of an International Development Association (IDA) meeting held in Myanmar to spread awareness about conditions in her country.

IDA is a sector of the World Bank that aims to assist the world’s poorest nations. IDA is currently working towards a triannual replenishment initiative and Myanmar is one of the possible recipients. The recent meeting was the second of four talks about the replenishment plan in 2016.

While the meeting was held in a more urban area of the country, Suu Kyi urged attendees to consider sending aid to the rural villages of her country. According to Suu Kyi, these areas suffer from a lack of electricity, hunger, poor education, and a lack of jobs.

She told her audience, “We would like to work together with you to lift our people…out of a situation where they are dependent either on other institutions or on other people to survive. We want our people to feel that they are capable of carving out their own destiny.” While Myanmar has already received financial report from IDA, the country hopes to receive greater aid in the future.

While speaking, Suu Kyi organized her points to fit with the numerous themes of the meeting. She worked to highlight how each theme would impact the small nation. She also shared that two of the nation’s current goals include working towards national reconciliation and internal peace.

Suu Kyi does not wish to take aid away from other countries that may need it as much, if not more, than Myanmar, and acknowledges that she knows many other nations working towards development too.

She believes that Myanmar needs more material and logistical support from the IDA to address some of the current issues plaguing the country. In the words of Suu Kyi, “ending poverty is a difficult task, and we all have to join in.” Suu Kyi supports Myanmar, now it’s up to the IDA if they do too.

Carrie Robinson

Photo: Flickr