In April 2013, the World Bank set a new goal to end extreme poverty in a generation. Our target is to have no more than 3 percent of the world’s population living on just $1.25 a day by 2030.
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ChallengeIn 2011, prior to the start of this Non-Lending Technical Assistance (NLTA) program, the countries belonging to the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) faced a serious shortage of... Show More + poverty and socio-economic data and indicators; and lacked the basis to undertake evidence-based analysis of socio-economic conditions and, as a result, to adopt and monitor policies to reduce poverty and inequality effectively. The problem of household data availability and reliability has been a reflection of the larger problem of statistical scarcity and weak statistical institutions that characterize most Caribbean countries. In general, the collection of poverty and socio-economic data has received lower priority from the governments of the OECS and has largely been funded by external donors. In many instances the National Statistical Offices have contracted out much of the data collection and analysis due to limited capacity and resources.SolutionThis technical assistance project evolved in response to the above described challenges faced by the OECS member states. In particular, the medium term objectives of this NLTA can be classified into three categories: (1) to support the OECS in the production of harmonized regional household surveys representative at the national level, at regular intervals, and following best international quality standards; (2) to use these data to promote timely analyses of poverty and inequality in the OECS which are relevant for policy formulation and enjoy strong country ownership; and (3) to promote the creation of a regional statistical office, ideally within the OECS Secretariat, through analysis and discussion of the institutional and organizational issues involved.ResultsThe first objective of this NLTA was achieved through: (1) the conceptualization of a broad vision of a harmonized program of statistics and survey data embodied by the endorsement of the Sustainable Household Data Collection Program for the Measurement of Living Standards (SDP) by the six member states; (2) the support for the development of a Harmonized Labor Force Survey (LFS) for the OECS, which was first piloted in Grenada in 2010; (3) the piloting in St Lucia of the new Computer-Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) software for the harmonized LFS, which took place in March-April 2012; and (4) the Conceptualization of a regional Labor Market Information System (LMIS) in 2012.To achieve the second objective of this NLTA, the Living Standard Measurement Committee (LSMC), a body of statistical coordination and discussion, was successfully convened in October 2011. The LSMC is composed of key stakeholders, such as representatives of the OECS Secretariat, Directors of the National Statistical Offices (NSOs) from each of the member states, and development partners, who are invited to participate when pertinent. Moreover, NSOs were also empowered by capacity building efforts in the form of a series of technical trainings and workshops (listed below).Skills Assessment in OECS member states NSOs, January-February 2012, St Lucia, Grenada, St Vincent, St. Kitts, Dominica and AntiguaE-learning modules on statistical methods for household surveys, 2012, OECS Member States.E-learning modules on poverty and inequality measurement, 2012, OECS Member States.Face-to-face workshop -The Multi-Topic Household Surveys course, April 2012, OECS Member States. Face-to-face workshop - Poverty and Inequality Measurement, July 2012, OECS Member States.Participation in South-South knowledge exchange forum for poverty measurement, April 2012, OECS Member States.South-South Knowledge Exchange to Support to the Living Standard Measurement Committee, 2012, OECS Member States.Lastly, to achieve the third objective of this project, through a client-executed trust-fund (closed in 2012) this project supported the OECS Secretariat in the assessment phase of the Regional Strategy for the Development of Statistics (RSDS). Show Less -
Moving ForwardThe World Bank is currently concluding a new RAS agreement with Latvia for a follow-on study of promoting active aging. Latvia’s population is aging quickly and the study found significa... Show More +nt early labor market exit or low-quality employment among the older population. The World Bank will work with the Government on policy options for taxes and benefits, health policy, training and employment programs, and labor market legislation to keep older people working in rewarding jobs.Other European Union countries and the EC have expressed interest in replicating the Latvia study. Sharing the methodology and approach began with the other Baltic countries—Estonia and Lithuania—during country visits in March 2014. Show Less -
ChallengeA troubled past, persistent weak governance and civil unrest have resulted in staggering poverty rates in Haiti, very poor access to basic services, and low human development indicators. Data... Show More + availability in the country has been limited due to scarce resources and low capacity in the Haitian Institute of Statistics. As a result, knowledge on living conditions in the country has traditionally been limited. The only poverty rates available in Haiti date back to 2001 when poverty was measured using income and international poverty lines. However, income is widely recognized as a less optimal tool to capture welfare in a context like Haiti. SolutionIn the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, Haiti sought to conduct a living conditions survey. While part of the sampling work was already finalized by 2010, the survey preparation was delayed due to the disruption of the natural disaster and low capacity of the Government. In February 2012 a new team, supported by the World Bank, took over survey preparations and successfully fielded the survey six months later. Less than a year later, the data was available for data cleaning and the quality was found to be very high, with only a 1.4% non-response rate. This success can be contributed to quality preparatory work, which was supported by World Bank technical assistance to the Government throughout the activity, as well as to the adoption of an innovative use of tablets (instead of normal paper questionnaires) in the survey process. ResultsThe survey in general and the consumption data in particular will allow the establishment of a national poverty line for the country, and a series of baseline indicators to monitor poverty and shared prosperity in the future. The survey has quickly become one of the building blocks of the new poverty monitoring system for Haiti, which in turn is going to become a powerful evidence-based tool for policy-making.Furthermore, the activity was implemented in close collaboration with the Haitian Institute of Statistics. The Institute benefitted from significant technical assistance in survey design and management, including the use of new data entry techniques. Bank Group ContributionThe survey cost almost US$1.7 million to implement. The activity benefitted from several sources of financing including: US$400,000 from the Spanish Fund for Latin America and the Caribbean (SFLAC), which financed the technical assistance involved in the preparatory phase of the survey; US$850,000 from the World Bank’s Infrastructure and Institutions Emergency Recovery Project, which financed most of the survey costs; and US$463,000 from World Bank budget.PartnersSuccessful survey completion was the result of a partnership among three institutions: the Haitian Institute of Statistics (IHSI), the World Bank and DIAL, a French public research center. DIAL additionally contributed US$180,000 to the survey. Moving Forward The next steps to the survey have already been initiated: 1) a second wave of the survey was fielded 8 months after the initial wave; 2) a national poverty line was developed with the Government of Haiti using the data 3) a multi-sectorial poverty assessment was launched based on the new evidence and is scheduled to be delivered in 2015/16.Beneficiaries The direct beneficiary of this project was the IHSI, which benefited from extensive technical assistance and the reliable data resulting from this survey. By extension, the Haitian Government will benefit from this activity, as decision makers will be able to base their policies on sound evidence. Finally, in the long term the people of Haiti will benefit from this activity, particularly if it contributes to a new culture of monitoring and evaluation and evidence-based policy making. Show Less -
ChallengeThe Dominican Republic sustained strong economic growth over the past two decades, making it one of the fastest growing economies in the region. Between 2001-11, the economy grew annually by ... Show More +5.3 percent on average, surpassing the growth rate of the region (3.4 percent). Income per capita also increased between 2000-10 by 45 percent, from USD $2,793 to USD $4,049.Assessing the impact of this economic growth on poverty was difficult due to the lack of an official poverty measurement methodology. A high-quality methodology to measure household wellbeing is key for evidence-based policy making as it helps identify the magnitude of poverty (i.e. how many people live below a poverty threshold) along with characteristics (i.e. who is poor, where they live, if poverty affects genders, ethnicities, regions, etc. differently). Instead of using one consistent methodology to determine poverty estimates, the country was simultaneously following several methodologies developed by different international institutions. This often resulted in estimates that were not comparable, moved in opposite directions and painted vastly different pictures of poverty in the country. Overall, key stakeholders and the public generally distrusted the poverty numbers which were perceived to lack credibility and believed to sometimes be influenced by political interests over policy objectives.SolutionDrawing from past experiences, the World Bank proposed that the government convene an inter-institutional technical poverty committee to gather key domestic and international institutions to define the country’s new poverty measurement methodology in a transparent and participatory way. Both domestic and international institutions were included to ensure buy-in and ownership from the government while also providing a seal of approval from the international community.The poverty committee was a three tiered structure. At the highest level was a small group of high-level officials whose role was to review and endorse the recommendations coming out of the poverty committee. This helped ensure that the technical poverty committee did not operate in isolation from the rest of government. The second tier was the core technical working group where all topics and aspects of the poverty measurement methodology were debated and finalized for high-level review and endorsement. The third tier was comprised of the technical and analytical team responsible for responding to committee demands for modeling different scenarios, providing technical inputs, and testing results. This group began as a separate tier, but was later incorporated into the second tier given their technical expertise and perspectives.ResultsThe grant objectives were to:(1) Establish a poverty committee as a forum for discussing poverty issues;(2) Identify and provide technical inputs and analytical work for developing the poverty measurement methodology to ensure comparability of poverty numbers between 2000-11 and poverty diagnostics (poverty profiles, micro-simulation analysis, etc.); and(3) Build technical capacity in domestic institutions working on poverty measurement, monitoring and analysis.In regards to the first objective, the poverty committee successfully convened an influential and collaborative committee with a range of key domestic and international institutions working on poverty measurement.To achieve the second objective, all inputs to the methodology were validated with consensus in poverty committee discussions and the high-level officials subsequently endorsed and legitimized the process and results. The new methodology and poverty numbers for the period 2000-11 were officially launched at an event chaired by the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Development (MEPyD) and the Director of the National Statistics Office (ONE) at the National Palace on July 30, 2012.The last objective was achieved, first, by empowering national institutions not previously involved in poverty measurement and diagnostics (such as ONE) by giving them a seat at the table. Second, capacity building and knowledge dissemination efforts were also successful through a series of technical trainings for those within the poverty committee institutions and also for those in the greater poverty community.Bank Group ContributionThe IBRD supported the Dominican Republic through a USD $250,000 Institutional Development Fund grant. World Bank also staff participated in poverty committee meetings and provided technical support when needed. The World Bank also participated in dissemination workshops and was in charge of a microsimulations workshop aimed at assessing the impact of different policies on poverty.PartnersThroughout this process, the World Bank played a key role in convening the committee and developing many partnerships. MEPyD was the key government counterpart on this project. Other domestic institutions on the committee included ONE, Central Bank, Ministry of Labor, Vice Presidency (Cabinet for the Coordination of Social Policies), and Ministry of Health. On the international side, participants included the World Bank, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and CEPAL which joined later in the process.Moving ForwardThe goal is that the committee will continue on as a space for national and international institutions to come together to discuss, monitor and debate the intricacies of poverty measurement in the Dominican Republic. The poverty committee remains informal and has not yet been institutionalized by the government, but discussions are currently underway regarding the preparation of a law or decree to formally institutionalize it. Additionally, as a result of the trainings, technicians both internal and external to government will continue to monitor the application and results of the poverty measurement methodology for years to come. Show Less -
In recent years, Ethiopia has been one of the fastest growing economies in Africa, averaging 9.9% per year between 2004 and 2012 compared to the regional average of 5.4%. This economic growth brought ... Show More +with it positive trends in reducing poverty, in both urban and rural areas. In 2005, 38.7% of Ethiopians lived in extreme poverty as measured by the national poverty line, of less than US$0.6 per day today, this figure has been reduced to29.6%.The International Development Association has helped the government of Ethiopia promote economic growth and address systemic poverty challenges across many sectors. Over the past decade, Ethiopia has registered impressive results in key human development indicators: primary school enrollments have quadrupled, child mortality has been cut in half, and the number of people with access to clean water has more than doubled.ChallengesThe main challenges for Ethiopia are to continue and accelerate the progress made in recent years toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and to address the causes of poverty among its population.The government is already devoting a very high share of its budget to pro-poor programs and investments. Large scale donor support will continue to provide a vital contribution in the near-term to finance the levels of spending needed to meet these challenges. However, even if donor support is increased, using aid effectively will require Ethiopia to improve governance, empower local authorities, and become more accountable to its citizens.Notwithstanding the progress in critical aspects of human development, Ethiopia also needs considerable investment and improved policies to achieve some of the MDGs by 2015, given the country’s low starting point.ApproachThe Bank’s Country Partnership Strategy FY13-FY16 (CPS) aims to help the Government of Ethiopia achieve a stable macroeconomic environment; increase agricultural productivity and marketing in selected areas; increase competitiveness in manufacturing and services, improve its infrastructure, improve the delivery of social services and develop a comprehensive approach to social protection and risk management. IDA will also assist the GoE to improve public service performance management and responsiveness; enhance the space for citizen participation in the development process as well as its public financial management and procurement systems.ResultsEducation: IDA’s support for the education sector—including through the General Education Quality Improvement Program (GEQIP) and the Protection of Basic Services project —has helped Ethiopia expand access to quality primary education over the last ten years. Total primary enrollment went from 8.1 million students attending primary school in 2001-02 to 17 million in 2011-12Roads: Ethiopia’s development has been held back by a large infrastructure gap. IDA has invested over US$1.5 billion since 1991 to address this challenge and helped to establish a road sector development project a dedicated road fund for financing maintenance work and build capacity at many levels. IDA helped increase both the size and quality of Ethiopia’s road network from under 20,000 km of roads in 1991 to over 63,000 km in 2012.Energy: IDA has committed close to $1.4 billion under seven active projects to support Ethiopia’s’ potential to be the electricity hub for East Africa. Assistance is also provided for exploration and production drilling activities in order to identify geothermal resources.PartnersThe International Development Association (IDA) is Ethiopia’s largest provider of development assistance. The Bank, with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is one of the rotating co-chairs of the Development Assistance Group (DAG), the main forum for donor coordination in Ethiopia. The Bank has taken the lead on developing a set of multi-donor instruments to reduce transaction costs, align support with the country’s decentralized model, and enhance the predictability of aid. These instruments allow for large-scale leveraging of IDA support.Moving ForwardThrough its country partnership strategy, IDA will continue supporting the government of Ethiopia to address ongoing challenges and assist in the implementation of Ethiopia’s Growth and Transformation Plan.BeneficiariesTen-year-old Senait who lives in Sele Kebele in the Oromia region is among the beneficiaries of the Protection of Basic Services Project.“Memar ewodalehu [I love to learn!]” she says with bright eyes. Going to school has become the highlight of her life. The ‘older’ classroom she studied in lacked proper light and ventilation. She was excited to start studying in her new classroom and was eagerly awaiting the completion of the facilities there. As a nationwide program, PBS has helped improve the lives of more than 70 million rural Ethiopians: not least among them are children like Senait who now have access to services denied to them before. Access to health services has also increased. Birhane Wolde Giorgis, 23, has worked as a Health Officer for the past year at the health center that serves the Debre Libanos woreda - consisting of about 50,000 people. On a very busy day, the health center receives as many as 40 patients. The new wing of the health center–which took five months to build with a Protection of Basic Services Project grant–provides basic maternal and childcare facilities. As a result of increased confidence in the services provided at the health center, the number of visitors has more than doubled from 200 cases per month two years ago to over 500 visitors currently. Show Less -