Items in this collection
PublicationSeizing Opportunities of a Lifetime: The Timor-Leste Human Capital Review(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-11-17) Andrews, Kathryn; Teixeira, Janssen; Meidina, Ilsa; Nagpal, SomilTimor-Leste is facing a human capital crisis. Children born in Timor-Leste today will be less than half as productive as adults as they could be if they enjoyed complete education and full health. Moreover, the Petroleum Fund, the main driver of the economy since the country’s independence in 2002, risks being depleted within a decade, threatening the sustainability of Timor-Leste’s economy, as well as health, education, and social protection systems. The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified and accelerated these challenges and deepened socioeconomic and geographic inequalities across the country. To be ready for a future that will be primarily driven by the country’s human capital assets, the time available to Timor-Leste is limited and the task at hand an enormous one. Despite this daunting outlook, there are opportunities of a lifetime that need to be seized now to address this crisis. The country’s population is primarily young, and a rapidly closing window of opportunity exists to build high levels of human capital through quality education, health, nutrition, and social protection. By capitalizing on the youth bulge and translating it into a demographic dividend, the people of Timor-Leste can become the drivers of the country’s economic growth. Eight key messages can be distilled from the 2023 Timor-Leste Human Capital Review (HCR). These messages serve as a common reference point for the Government of Timor-Leste (GoTL) and other stakeholders active in human development to identify short- and medium-term priorities for investment in health, education, and social protection. Together, these can yield individual-level and macro-level economic benefits and improve development outcomes. PublicationThe Brazil of the Future: Towards Productivity, Inclusion, and Sustainability(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-11-13) World Bank GroupIn 2022, Brazil celebrated its 200th anniversary. What will Brazil celebrate at its 220th anniversary, in 2042? Following the recent elections there is a window of opportunity for reforms that will shape Brazil’s development over the next decades. “The Brazil of the Future: Towards Productivity, Inclusion, and Sustainability” takes a long-term perspective on Brazil’s development, exploring how prudent actions today can generate opportunities for a more prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable society over the next 20 years. The report aims to stimulate public debate about a virtuous cycle for 2042, illustrated by four alternative future scenarios. With the right reforms Brazil can become an economic powerhouse that offers opportunities for all. A more inclusive social contract can facilitate critical reforms. PublicationAdaptation of the Calculator of Social and Environmental Impacts from Small-Scale Gold Mining in the Amazon: Application in Frontier Regions between Brazil, Colombia and Peru(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-11-09) World BankOver the past decade, illegal gold extraction has increased significantly in the Amazon region, partly due to the high international prices of this mineral, the less stringent attitude of some countries in relation to the environment and the pursuit of immediate economic opportunities. Furthermore, this illicit activity is closely intertwined with other illegal practices, such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, and the trafficking of endangered species. This has repercussions not just for the region's ecological wealth, but also for the physical well-being of those safeguarding their lands and the health of communities living in proximity to the extraction zones due to the contamination of their rivers and, consequently, their primary sources of food, such as fish. Despite the international effort to recognize the socio-environmental repercussions of this activity, there are still gaps on this issue, mainly due to the economic losses that this activity represents. PublicationMaking Teacher Policy Work(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-11-08) World BankThis report zooms into what lies behind the success or failure of teacher policies: how teachers experience these policies, and how systems scale and sustain these policies. The report argues that for policies to be successful, they need to be designed and implemented with careful consideration of the barriers that could hinder teachers’ take-up of the policy (individual-level barriers), and the barriers that could hinder the implementation and sustainability of policies at scale (system-level barriers). Teacher polices too often fail to yield meaningful changes in teaching and learning because both their design and implementation overlook how teachers perceive, understand, and act in response to the policy and because they miss what is needed at a system level to achieve and sustain change. To avoid this, policymakers need to go beyond what works in teacher policy to how to support teachers in different contexts to adopt what works, while making sure it is implementable at scale and can be sustained over time. This requires unpacking teacher policies to consider the barriers that might hinder success at both the individual and system levels, and then putting in place strategies to overcome these barriers. The report proposes a practical framework to uncover the black box of effective teacher policy and discusses the factors that enable their scalability and sustainability. The framework distills insights from behavioral science to identify the barriers that stand in the way of the changes targeted by the policy and to develop strategies to overcome them. The framework is used to examine questions such as: What changes are required at an individual level to achieve the specific goals of a given teacher policy What barriers constrain the adoption of these changes How can the policy be better designed and implemented to tackle these barriers Moreover, the report draws on evidence from quantitative and qualitative studies on successful and failed teacher policies to examine the factors that make teacher policy operationally and politically feasible such that it can work at scale and be sustained over time. PublicationDistributional Impacts of Brazil’s Tax Reform: scenarios regarding Cesta Básica exemption(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2023-10-31) Vale, Ricardo; Lara Ibarra, Gabriel; Fleury, Eduardo; Trzcinski, KajetanA consumption tax reform in Brazil has been recently approved by the House of Representatives, providing a full tax exemption for the yet undefined ‘National Basic Basket’ of goods (cesta basica nacional), alongside a cashback scheme that is yet to be determined. This note simulates the distributional impacts of different fiscally neutral scenarios of reduced rates and exemptions. The authors show that the exemption of taxes for food and personal care goods (such as those suggested by Law 10,925) would benefit the most vulnerable. Nonetheless, overall expenditures on certain items that are being considered for inclusion in the cesta are relatively concentrated on households in the top decile of the income distribution. Thus, a blanket exemption on Cesta Basica items may benefit the richest more in absolute terms. If the list of items in the exempted Cesta Basica is shortened and the equivalent resources of the potential forgone revenues are returned into a targeted cashback scheme, a far less regressive indirect tax system could be achieved. PublicationMozambique Gender Assessment: Leveraging Women and Girls' Potential(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-10-13) World BankThis gender assessment has been prepared as an input for the preparation of the World Bank’s Country Partnership Strategy for Mozambique (2023–2027). However, this assessment is not limited to areas of the World Bank’s current country engagement; rather, it seeks to provide a general overview of the key challenges and opportunities facing Mozambican women and girls across different dimensions of their lives. The assessment adopts a life-cycle approach identifying key inflection points in the lives of women and girls that either limit or facilitate their empowerment.The assessment is based on a desk review of available studies, reports, and data from Mozambique, and draws on global evidence, largely from the Africa region. PublicationBrazil Systematic Country Diagnostic: Update(Washington, D.C., 2023-10-11) World BankThis Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD) update argues that development challenges identified in SCD1 remain relevant. Moreover, there is a renewed urgency to build the capacity of individuals to generate income and a reinforced need for timely action in a transition to a greener economy. The update builds on the evidence collected in a long series of recently published analytical reports to review the challenges identified in SCD1 and inform the definition of the update’s challenges. The first constraint is complemented by the definition of another challenge so that not only the need to have productive jobs is highlighted, but also the poverty‐reduction prerequisite of building the income‐generating capacity of all individuals (through human, natural, and financial capital) is explicitly stated. The third constraint is also expanded to underscore Brazil’s need to address increased exposure to climate change risks in a timely manner. The update identified four development challenges that must be overcome, which are linked to three desired high‐level outcomes (HLOs). These outcomes, reflecting transformative changes that are critical to achieving the twin goals, are defined as long‐term sustained improvements in the well‐being of the poorest and most vulnerable. The HLOs are: (i) increased access to high quality job opportunities; (ii) improved households’ accumulation and use of productive assets; and (iii) reduced vulnerability to climate shocks. PublicationLatin America and the Caribbean Economic Review, October 2023 - Wired: Digital Connectivity for Inclusion and Growth(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-10-04) Beylis, Guillermo; Maloney, William; Vuletin, GuillermoLatin America and the Caribbean continues to face adverse global headwinds: high interest rates, modest G-7 growth, soft commodity prices and uncertain prospects in China will all depress growth. Well-grounded policy responses have led to largely recovering employment and income losses from the pandemic and falling rates of inflation. However, the region faces the mutually reinforcing triple challenges of low growth, limited fiscal space, and citizen dissatisfaction. Expanding digital connectivity offers a possibility to make progress on all three fronts. To maximize the social benefits of connectivity as well as to ensure that it does not exacerbate spatial, educational, gender or racial inequalities, three challenges are important to address: first, expanding coverage to the remaining unconnected areas as well as improving the quality of service; second, increasing the productive use of existing infrastructure, and; third, as with any other infrastructure "hardware," investments in "software" - such as digital and traditional skills, managerial capabilities, supportive regulatory frameworks, and deeper financial markets are critical. PublicationWorld Bank Annual Report 2023: A New Era in Development(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-09-28) World BankThis annual report, which covers the period from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023, has been prepared by the Executive Directors of both the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA)—collectively known as the World Bank—in accordance with the respective bylaws of the two institutions. Ajay Banga, President of the World Bank Group and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors, has submitted this report, together with the accompanying administrative budgets and audited financial statements, to the Board of Governors. PublicationNavigating Education, Motherhood, and Informal Labor: The Experiences of Young Women in Luanda(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-09-26) World BankGender equality is a key foundation of inclusive and sustainable economic development that can translate into long-term and effective poverty reduction. While gender equality matters on its own as a human right, it also offers instrumental value for individuals, households, and societies at large. Global evidence consistently shows that empowering women and girls reduces poverty incidence and food insecurity, boosts economic growth and productivity, and enhances investments in children’s human capital. Angola, a country where a third of the population lives in poverty and economic output is heavily dependent on its oil sector, stands out in Sub-Saharan Africa for its particularly large gender disparities, especially when compared to countries of same income levels. Family formation, education, and labor market decisions are intrinsically interwoven and connected, which in the case of Angola leads to extreme demographic pressure on an already weak public service system. To begin tackling these significant gender disparities, well-designed and targeted policies are needed. But there are significant knowledge gaps when it comes to understanding the key barriers facing Angolan girls and young women in accessing education and transitioning to the labor market. This report presents insights gained from the voices of young women and girls, their parents, and key informants through a series of interviews carried out in Luanda, home to a quarter of the country’s population, in 2022. Based on these in-depth interviews with low-income young women in Luanda, this report points to the multiple challenges they face across their life cycle - challenges relating to the dimensions of education, family formation, and work. It also shows how those dimensions in a woman’s life are deeply interconnected - and how they are determined by structural constraints including poverty and vulnerability, gender norms, corruption and lack of transparency in access to services and opportunities, and violence in public and private spheres.