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.
Read More »
Minister of Community Development, Mother and Child Health – Hon. Emerine Kabanshi, Hon. CSO Director, Mr. John Kalumbi, Senior Government Officials. Members of the Media, Distinguished Guests, Ladies... Show More + and GentlemenFirst, let me take this opportunity to thank the Zambian Government for the ongoing collaboration in our common agenda to uplift the lives of Zambians and promote economic growth. The World Bank’s current commitment to investment operations in Zambia amounts to US$570 million. This financing is complemented by analytical and advisory work, and other global knowledge that helps Government in making decisions on policies, programs and reforms.This report on Mapping Subnational Poverty in Zambia is an example of work that we do to help Government make informed decisions. Last year, the Government of the Republic of Zambia through the Central Statistical Office (CSO) and the World Bank embarked on a poverty mapping project aimed at creating poverty estimations up to the lowest administrative levels in the country using the 2010 Census of Population and Housing, and the Living Conditions Monitoring Survey of 2010. Hon. Minister, at the outset, I really would like to commend Government for this type of collaboration. It makes working on development such a pleasure as we think through challenges together using the same information basis.Through this report we are launching today, we now know that some of the poorest wards in Zambia are concentrated in the Western, North Western, and Luapula provinces, while the largest concentrations of the poor population are in some of the wards in the Lusaka, Eastern, Central, and Northern provinces. We also learn that those wards with highest poverty rates are also those with lower rates of household education, higher numbers of individuals employed in the agricultural sector, farther average distances to primary and tertiary roads, and lowest concentrations of rainfall precipitation.As you see, the whole exercise of mapping poverty is important for enhancing current understanding of the country’s distribution of poverty and the geographic and biophysical conditions where the poor live. Honorable Minister, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is our view that this information will assist policy makers, Development Partners and other stakeholders in designing interventions to reduce poverty. Such information is even more critical now considering that Zambia’s recent economic growth of above 6% has not improved living conditions for the poor. I’m here thinking of people in places such as Kapiri Mposhi, and Mansa in Central and Luapula Provinces respectively, which have very high concentrations of poor populations not yet enjoying the economic growth rates and Zambia’s status as a lower middle income country. Such people must be reached.Perhaps, the most significant and immediate impact of the information contained in this report is the shift towards an evidence-based approach to policy making and resource allocation in the areas that need them most. Information on poverty at constituency and ward levels can be compared against access to amenities such as markets, schools and health facilities to derive plans for a faster and better access to such amenities. Such information could also be contrasted with job growth poles and local agriculture development.Hon. Minister, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to share with you a very practical example of how the Kenya Constituency Development Fund uses poverty estimates at subnational levels to allocate part of its resources to cater for poorer constituencies. The Kenya CDF targets development projects at grassroots level in constituencies. Part of the resources of the CDF are divided equitably among Kenya’s 210 constituencies, whilst the remaining portion is divided based on a poverty index to cater for poorer constituencies. This has helped to achieve equitable distribution of development resources across regions, and to control imbalances in regional development brought about by partisan politics.Zambia also has a Constituency Development Fund. The estimates of poverty ranges at the constituency level could be a powerful tool for allocating transfers in the Zambia CDF. Such an approach could facilitate the putting up of new water, health and education facilities in remote areas of the country that would otherwise get overlooked during funds allocation in national budgets.Honorable Minister, we are aware of the Government’s commitment towards reducing poverty and in particular the expansion of its safety net system through programs such as the Social Cash Transfer Scheme and the preparation of the Rural Women Empowerment Project. This effort is commendable as it will make a dent on poverty if well implemented. While there is a need to be judicious about the information constraints to undertake some of these tasks, it is clear that using the subnational poverty estimates obtained in the report would be extremely helpful in improving the geographic allocation of resources to the poor as part of these interventions.Honorable Minister, CSO Director, Ladies and Gentlemen, let me conclude by confirming that the World Bank is indeed fully committed to a continued partnership with Zambia as it strives toward lessening poverty. The mapping report we are launching today attests to this, and further, we are already supporting the CSO to conduct the next round of the Living Conditions Monitoring Survey this year. The new survey will provide vital baseline information for National Development Plans, and for us all to measure and rethink results for Zambia’s development.I thank you for your attention. Show Less -
Thailand Economic OutlookThailand has made an impressive transition from a low income country in the 1980s to an upper-middle income country by 2011. How can Thailand grow even faster and become a hig... Show More +h income country?Countries that have made that jump into the high-income-country league in the last few decades, such as South Korea or Taiwan, China, sustained growth averaging above 5% per year for 20 or more years. Can Thailand follow suit? That’s the million dollar question. In fact, it’s the first of three questions I would like to pose today.The second key question is: how can Thailand’s growth continue becoming more inclusive? Poverty in Thailand has fallen. In 2000, 20% of Thais spent less on their basic daily needs than the national poverty line. In 2010 only 10% of Thais lived below the poverty line. And inequality has fallen too. More and more Thais are benefiting from economic growth. The Gini measure of consumption inequality in Thailand fell over the last 20 years, from 42 percent in 1994 to 39 percent in 2010. This is good news.The challenge is that inequality remains high, almost 40 percent consumption inequality is high by international standards. And Thailand’s income inequality has fallen as well, but at 52 percent in 2010 remained the highest among East Asian countries.How can Thailand reduce inequality further so that all Thais benefit from economic growth? I believe that improving education and skills will be essential for higher and more inclusive growth in the long run. Let’s look at the PISA scores. These scores measure the reading, math, and science skills of 15 year old students and they are a key measure of education outcomes of countries around the world. Thailand’s PISA scores are below the scores of OECD countries, and that they have stayed low over the last 10 years.But the scores in Bangkok are comparable to those in the US. The key challenge is improving education outcomes outside Bangkok. In other words, it’s about education opportunities for all Thai students, especially those outside Bangkok. Over time, with improved, strong education outcomes, Thailand will be able to grow more rapidly.I will conclude with the third key long-term challenge we see for Thailand, and indeed for East Asia and the world – that of climate change and environmental sustainability. In Thailand, one key issue is the energy intensity of the economy, and especially Thailand’s transport sector. Thailand’s transport energy intensity is currently one of the highest in the world among non-oil producing countries. It is more than twice that of China and more than 3 times that of South Korea and Japan.One for the high energy intensity of Thailand’s transport sector is the heavy reliance on road transport. More than 85% of freight transport is by road while only 2% is by rail. Envisaged transport infrastructure investments such as in the dual track rail and mass transit for transportation in Bangkok could help reduce energy intensity. These investments are a major opportunity for Thailand.In closing, I would like to highlight that I see many opportunities for Thailand in this thriving region. Opportunities for faster growth, more inclusive growth with improved education and opportunities for all Thais, and environmentally sustainable growth.The World Bank is committed to being Thailand’s development partner as we have been for more than 50 years. We will be happy to work with Thailand and its people in the many years to come. Thank you very much. Kob khun krub. Show Less -
We are meeting at an extraordinary time. Three years ago, the developing world wasexperiencing its most rapid economic growth in four decades. We talked of the globaltransfer of skill-enhancing techno... Show More +logies, the powerful catalysts of trade, investment, andcapital flows, and whether the developing economies were decoupling from thedeveloped economies.Three crises later, things are dramatically different. 60 million people remain trapped inextreme poverty (measured as living on under US$1.25 a day ppp adjusted), as a result ofthe food and fuel crisis, and the effects of the global slowdown from the financial crisisare only just beginning to be felt in low income countries.Every 1% decline in the average GDP gross rate for the developing world thrusts anadditional 20 million people into extreme poverty. For regions like Sub-Saharan Africa,with 54% of its population aged below 20, the impact can be devastating.Poverty numbers mask the true nature of poverty. Extreme poverty has the face of awoman and a child. It disguises the infant mortality, the hunger and malnutrition, thelack of access to health care and education, and it disguises the pain of social exclusion.It is a dangerous time. Governments in the developed world are absorbed with theirdomestic policy agendas. They have taken on new roles as investors and guarantors oflast resort, and are running government balance sheet risks and exposures that weresimply unimaginable.The poorest and most vulnerable on the planet are becoming politically and sociallydisenfranchised and disconnected from global society. Most of these people are born anddie without leaving a legal record or official trace of their existence. They hunger forinclusion, to belong, to have opportunities and access to services and property rights, andto feel empowered.In our past conferences, we have talked about how the work of developmentorganizations and faith-inspired institutions is linked. We share similar passions forsocial justice, good governance, and building hope for individuals and communities, withdignity and empowerment.Now is the time to strengthen the links between development organizations and faithinspiredinstitutions. Our partnership is needed more than ever.Your institutions make a tremendous difference to people’s lives. In many Africancountries, you provide 30 to 70% of the health services, and in post-conflict countries, themajority of primary education services. You deliver innovation and results, and youspeak courageously about ethical challenges, injustice, and failures in governance.You have enormous influence on family and individual’s beliefs, attitudes, andperceptions. You motivate and mobilize communities and influence decisions oneducation and health – decisions that have long term effects on personal development andopportunity. Your impact will become even more critical as official donors facedomestic pressures to focus more of their spending on their own citizens.In the Bank, we are strengthening our work on faith and development to better supportgovernment partners and faith-inspired organizations. Though our funding is channeledto governments, we can support your institutions by:expanding the dialogue between governments, development partners, and faithinspiredorganizations. We are seeing this in the international health partnershipwhere partners are emphasizing the value of civil society organizations andfunding their engagement;sharing successful experiences of faith-inspired organizations in delivering socialservices, e.g. our work with the World Council of Religions for Peace in creatinga directory of faith-inspired organizations in Central America, and our work withthe Fe why ALEGRIA Jesuit Movements in Latin America to draw insights onthe delivery of education services;supporting faith-inspired organizations through analytical work and capacitybuilding, especially on monitoring and evaluation by using household surveys tomeasure the quality and cost of services; andgiving a stronger voice to faith leaders as done in recent community developmentprojects in Togo.We have a unique opportunity and responsibility to work together to protect the mostvulnerable. Together, we need to advocate at local and global levels for better policiesand for more resources to help governments strive to meet the millennium developmentgoals.Over the next two days, we have a wonderful opportunity to share experiences and learnfrom each other. We need to value and respect our differences but, above all, we need tolearn more about how we can build stronger partnerships to provide hope and opportunityfor the poor. Show Less -