A global learning crisis threatens countries’ efforts to build human capital and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A new concept—learning poverty—aims to draw attention to this issue, and how to defeat it.
Between 2000 and 2015, the number of people living in extreme poverty declined by a total of 802 million in the 15 countries with the highest poverty-reduction rates, according to new analysis of World Bank poverty data. In each of these countries, an average of at least 1.6% of the population moved out of extreme poverty every year. While extreme poverty remains endemic in low-income and conflict-affected countries, seven of the top 15 countries are in Africa, and two are on the World Bank Group’s Harmonized List of Fragile Situations for FY19. Read More.
Some 53% of children in low- and middle-income countries experience “learning poverty” – meaning they are unable to read and understand simple text by age 10. To spur progress, the World Bank set a new target to cut “learning poverty” in half by 2030. Achieving this goal would require a “near tripling” of the current rate of progress and would still leave a learning poverty rate of 27%. But under a “business as usual scenario,” learning poverty would only fall to 43% by 2030, according to a new report, Ending Learning Poverty: What will it take? Read More.
The global forecast for oil production in 2019 has been repeatedly revised downward over the last year and a half amid weakening demand for oil. Growth in demand is now around 1%, or 1 million barrels per day – the weakest growth rate since 2012, according to the October 2019 Commodity Markets Outlook. Oil prices are projected to average $60/bbl in 2019 and are forecast to weaken to $58/bbl in 2020, $7/bbl lower than the previous forecast. The downward revision reflects the weaker outlook for global growth and therefore for oil demand. Oil consumption growth is expected to increase slightly next year at a level usually associated with global downturns. If economic growth deteriorates further, oil demand could be substantially weaker, says the report.
The cost of starting a business in low- and middle-income countries has fallen from 141.75% of per capita income in 1990, to 25.25% today, according to the World Bank’s Doing Business report, now in its 17th year. Since the report’s inception, 178 economies have implemented 722 reforms in the area of starting a business, reducing or eliminating barriers to entry. Despite such improvements, considerable gaps still exist between developed and developing economies on most Doing Business indicators. Read more.
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