The WDR 2008 calls for placing the sector at the center of the development agenda if the goals of halving extreme poverty and hunger by 2015 are to be realized. The last time a WDR on agriculture was published was in 1982, making this a landmark report that comes when many are calling for an African agricultural revolution. While 75 percent of the world’s poor live in rural areas in developing countries, only 4 percent of official development assistance goes to agriculture. In Sub-Saharan Africa, a region heavily reliant on agriculture for overall growth, public spending for farming is also only 4 percent of total government spending and the sector is still taxed at relatively high levels. The report finds that for the, poorest people, GDP growth originating in agriculture is about four times more effective in raising incomes of extremely poor people than GDP growth originating outside the sector. The ,authors argue that a dynamic ‘agriculture-for-development’ agenda can benefit the estimated 900 million rural people in the developing world who live on less than $1 a day, most of whom rely on agriculture for a living. http://go.worldbank.org/ZJIAOSUFU0
Filed under: Uncategorized, Development, Development Policy, Poverty, Publications, Rural Economies
Between 50 and 80 percent of adults in many developing countries have inadequate access to financial services, finds a new World Bank policy research report entitled “Finance for All? Policies and Pitfalls in Expanding Access”. According to the report, failure to provide more households and small and medium enterprises with the financial services they need acts as a brake on development. While noting the microfinance industry’s progress in delivering credit to poor people, the report calls for a broader financial strategy that delivers services to all excluded people and firms. Inclusive financial systems ultimately benefit the poorest people and the smallest firms the most, by creating more jobs, raising incomes, and generating more opportunities for small businesses. The report says that governments should strengthen institutions and adopt new technologies to bring down transaction costs. Research suggests that governments should also encourage competition—including foreign bank entry—and provide the right regulatory incentives. In contrast, direct interventions by governments, such as through credit subsidies or government-owned financial institutions, can be counter-productive, reducing incentives for the private sector to deliver services to the poor.
Filed under: Uncategorized, Aid Efficiency, Business Environment, Development, Development Policy, Poverty, Rural Economies