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Global Economy

The Commodity Markets Outlook in six charts

John Baffes's picture
Oil prices will moderate from their current highs and be lower on average in 2019 than in 2018 on slower-then-expected global growth and rising non-OPEC production, according to our latest . Metal, agriculture prices are on track to stage a partial recovery, with momentum likely to pick up in 2020.
 
Commodity prices reversed declines in early 2019

 
Most commodity prices accelerated up in the first quarter of 2019 following last year’s declines, and many have recovered from drops in the last quarter of 2018.
 

Supporting Vietnam’s economic success through greener, cheaper, and more efficient trucking

Yin Yin Lam's picture


Vietnam has become one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, with annual GDP growth averaging 5 to 8% over the last few decades. These impressive numbers are largely related to the country’s success in manufacturing and trading, which has lifted millions of people out of poverty.

The trucking industry has played a crucial role in the country’s economic transformation, and currently moves . Although in 2018, Vietnam jumped from 64th to rank 39th in the World Bank’s —many challenges persist.

At , logistics costs are a serious pain point that has been stifling the competitiveness of Vietnam’s exports.

The environmental impact of the sector represents another important concern. The Vietnamese fleet comprises mostly small and older trucks, with a significant impact on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and traffic congestion. Overall, the transport sector accounts for about 10% of GHG emissions in the country.

To address these issues, our team conducted the first-ever comprehensive study of Vietnam’s trucking sector, which drew on a nationwide survey of more than 1,400 truck drivers, interviews with 150 private and public stakeholders, and a detailed review of the key factors influencing logistics costs and emissions.
 

GovTech: Putting people first with simple, efficient and transparent government

Nicholas Nam's picture
Graphic by Nicholas Nam

Rapid technological change and growing expectations of citizens are elevating the importance of digital innovation for governments around the world. The World Bank Group, working together with other stakeholders, has a role to play in ensuring client countries have access to knowledge, the solutions, and the expertise required to bring about digital transformation of government services.

Paying for development – Governments are sitting on a ‘goldmine’

Marco Scuriatti's picture
Shanghai at night, Huangpu River.  © Wu Zhiyi/World Bank
Shanghai at night, Huangpu River.  © Wu Zhiyi/World Bank

Investments in human, social, and physical capital are at the core of sustainable and inclusive growth – and represent an important share of national budgets.

At the World Bank Group we have been at the forefront of the so-called Financing for Development (FfD) agenda to leverage public, private, international, and domestic sources of capital to help reach the global goals.  A short primer on our efforts--which builds on the 2015 Development Committee paper --can be found in the brochure entitled .

Ultimately, countries own the responsibility for achieving the SDGs: raising more domestic revenue (and doing so more efficiently), addressing spending inefficiencies, and mobilizing private capital (as the world economy is facing potentially slower growth and political friction). These will not be easy challenges.  

Empowering women entrepreneurs to achieve the SDGs

Mahmoud Mohieldin's picture
© Photos courtesy of Vandana Suri (left) and Saida Yusupova (right).
© Photos courtesy of Vandana Suri (left) and Saida Yusupova (right).

Women are not just potential beneficiaries of efforts to achieve the ambitious (SDGs) by 2030. They are also active participants in achieving them. That’s why we organized the competition to highlight the efforts of women entrepreneurs to create jobs and help reach the global goals.
 
The cannot be realized without the participation of women, particularly those working in the private sector. Indeed, if women had the same lifetime earnings as men,  by $160 trillion—an average of $23,620 per person—in 141 countries studied by the World Bank.

What’s behind South Asia’s low exports?

Hans Timmer's picture
South Asian countries’ exports are only one-third of what they should be, had they mirrored the experience of economies with similar characteristics. Without further integration into global markets, South Asia will not sustain its growth. Photo: Shutterstock 

This blog highlights the findings from the recent

Bela Balassa worked for the World Bank from 1966 till his death in 1991. Luckily, his insights on international integration, revealed comparative advantages, trade diversion, and natural progress toward political integration have outlived him.

And what Bela is best-known for—and rightfully so—is the Balassa-Samuelson effect.

Put simply, this effect explains why a haircut or a restaurant meal is much cheaper in poor countries than in rich countries whereas the price tag for a car or a television is almost the same everywhere.

What’s behind this phenomenon is simple and can be summed up in three parts.

First,

Second, the prices of non-tradable goods like haircuts can differ.

And third, the difference in productivity across countries is much more significant in tradable goods than in non-tradable goods. For example, a barber in Dhaka needs roughly the same amount of time as a barber in New York to cut my hair.

But manufacturers or farmers in Nepal need more labor to produce the same output than their counterparts in Germany.

.  

In Pakistan, tech-savvy youth reinvent government

Emcet O. Tas's picture
Fellows of the KP Government Innovation Fellowship Program
Digital fellows visiting historic sites in Peshawar, Pakistan. Credit: KPITB.



 


These early efforts later morphed into an even closer partnership that aims to foster hundreds of digital jobs for youth and kickstart infrastructure projects to attract technology investments across the province.
 
One outcome of this partnership is the successful which is co-sponsored by .

Since 2014, . Twenty fellows divided into five teams join each cycle of the program.

Based on their host agency’s needs, each group may bring expertise in web or mobile app development, graphic design, content, user experience, or networks.
 
Next, they propose solutions and develop prototypes, which they then test and deploy in the final two months.

During their tenure, fellows actively collaborate and train government staff to ensure their solutions are properly used and sustained.
 
To date, four fellowship cycles have produced 70 graduates, who earned great experience within the government.

3 ways to follow World Bank Group activities at the 2019 Spring Meetings

Bassam Sebti's picture
© Dominic Chavez/World Bank
© Dominic Chavez/World Bank

Our 2019 Spring Meetings is just around the corner and it’s time to get organized. Mainstage speakers include representatives from top-notch institutions and organizations such as the United Nations, National Geographic, World Trade Organization, Bloomberg, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, among others.
 
The  is an event that brings together central bankers, ministers of finance and development, private sector executives, representatives from civil society organizations and academics to discuss issues of global concern, including the world economic outlook, poverty eradication, economic development, and aid effectiveness.

This year's events will take place in Washington, D.C., April 8-14, 2019.

The Middle East and North Africa cannot miss the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Ferid Belhaj's picture

The traditional route of industrialization for developing countries may no longer be available for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. This should not be a source of regret, as the aspirations of the region’s young and well-educated population extend far beyond auto assembly lines. Furthermore, the repetitive work of an assembly line will increasingly be performed by machines rather than people. The rapid pace of technological change that is propelling this process, dubbed the "Fourth Industrial Revolution," offers new opportunities for developing countries. Opportunities the MENA region cannot afford to miss. 

Skilling up Bangladeshi women

Tashmina Rahman's picture
Learning new skills for better jobs in Bangladesh: Meet Kamrul Nahar Omi




Non-garment industries such as leather, furniture, hospitality and Information & Technology (IT) are also poised to grow.

But how can we , the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day? 

Female participation in the workforce has been increasing but remains less than half of male participation rates across primary working ages.

Of those females joining work, over 80 percent are engaged in low-skilled, low-productivity jobs in the informal sector with little opportunity for career progression.

.  



Yet, Bangladesh still has a long way to go with female share in enrollments around 25 percent in TVET programs.

In fact, a  identifies some keys areas of intervention for improving female participation in technical diploma programs:

  1. creating a gender-friendly environment in polytechnics and workplaces;
  2. developing more service-orientated diploma programs;
  3. developing a TVET awareness campaign for females;
  4. (supporting a career counseling and guidance system for females;
  5. improving access to higher education;
  6. providing demand-stimulating incentives; (vii) generating research and knowledge;
  7. leveraging partnerships to promote opportunities for females and
  8. generating more and better data to track progress and inform policy and operations for female-friendly TVET. 

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Annette Dixon
World Bank Vice President, Human Development

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