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    Recovering Growth: Rebuilding Dynamic Post‐COVID-19 Economies amid Fiscal Constraints
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2021-10-06) World Bank
    After its worst economic crisis in 100 years, Latin America and the Caribbean countries are emerging from the COVID‐19 pandemic. The need to recover dynamic, inclusive, and sustainable growth to redress both the legacy of the pandemic and long‐standing social needs has never been more acute. However, despite progress in some areas, the region is facing a weaker recovery than expected given the favorable international tailwinds and is likely return to the low growth rates of the 2010s. Moreover, growth could be further slowed by both internal and external factors: the emergence of a new variant of the virus, a rise in international interest rates to combat global inflation, and high levels of debt in both the private and public sector. Beyond offering the current macroeconomic outlook of the region and the near‐term challenges it faces, this report explores three broad areas where growth‐advancing policies and reforms could be undertaken within a constrained fiscal context: mobilizing sources of revenue that appear to be growth-neutral; improving public spending efficiency to free up resources for other purposes; and reallocating spending to areas with highest growth and social impact.
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    Will Every Child Be Able to Read by 2030? Defining Learning Poverty and Mapping the Dimensions of the Challenge: Definición de pobreza de aprendizajes y un mapeo de la magnitud del desafío
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-03) Azevedo, Joao Pedro ; Goldemberg, Diana ; Montoya, Silvia ; Nayar, Reema ; Rogers, Halsey ; Saavedra, Jaime ; Stacy, Brian William
    In October 2019, the World Bank and UNESCO Institute for Statistics proposed a new metric, Learning Poverty, designed to spotlight low levels of learning and track progress toward ensuring that all children acquire foundational skills. This paper provides the technical background for that indicator, and for its main findings—first, that even before COVID-19, 53 percent of all children in low- and middle-income countries could not read with comprehension by age 10, and second, that at pre-COVID-19 trends, the Learning Poverty rate was on track to fall only to 44 percent by 2030, far short of the universal literacy envisioned under the Sustainable Development Goals. The paper contributes to the literature in four ways. First, it formally describes the new synthetic Learning Poverty metric, which combines the dimensions of learning with schooling and thus reflects the learning of all children, and it presents, for the first time, standard errors associated with the proposed measure. Second, it documents how this indicator is calculated at the country, regional, and global levels, and discusses the robustness associated with different aggregation approaches. Third, it documents historical rates of progress and compares them with the rate of progress that would be required for countries to halve Learning Poverty by 2030, as envisioned under the learning target announced by the World Bank in 2019. Fourth, it provides heterogeneity analysis by gender, region, and other variables, and documents learning poverty’s strong correlation with metrics of learning for other ages. These results show that the Learning Poverty indicator, together with improved measurement of learning, can be used as an evidence-based tool to promote progress toward all children reading by age 10—a prerequisite for achieving all the ambitious education aspirations included under Sustainable Development Goals 4.
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    Mozambique Jobs Diagnostic: Volume 1. Analytics
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-08-16) Lachler, Ulrich ; Walker, Ian
    This report focuses on the challenge of Mozambique's jobs transition: how to accelerate the shift into higher value-added activities and better livelihoods. As Mozambique enters the next phase of the demographic transition, the working-age population (WAP) is growing rapidly. Education levels are also steadily improving. However, good jobs are not expanding fast enough to absorb the growing, better educated labor force. The risk is that many young people will end up doing the same jobs as their parents—and in similar levels of poverty. In this context, the challenge is to help the labor force (particularly young people entering the labor market) increase their earnings by creating opportunities for more productive work. Regardless of whether they are engaged in self-employment or in wage jobs, it is necessary to link them to sources of capital, technology and markets, and to give them access to scale and agglomeration economies. Otherwise, the demographic dividend will be squandered.