This is the leading ICT-connected country in Central and Western Africa

1_dD1b0L4owjraFCKySAW-LA.pngIt is impossible these days to drive around the cities of Gabon without noticing the large billboards promoting internet access at rates that were unimaginable only a few years ago.

This is a wonderful development for Alphonse, a young, 34-year old public-sector professional. WhatsApp, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram are all applications that this ultra-connected young man uses on his telephone for both work and pleasure.

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How can we help cities provide the building blocks for future growth?

Basic infrastructure makes all the difference in the lives of people. Sometimes a road is all it takes… Access to clean drinking water and sanitation can improve children’s health,childrens_play_ground_in_a_public_park_-_by_ngoc_tran-shutterstock-resized reduce waterborne disease, and lower the risk of stunting. Street lighting can improve the safety of a community, reduce gender-based violence, and add productive hours for shops and economic activities, which can help people escape poverty.  A paved road can lead to a world of possibilities for small business owners, increasing access to additional markets and suppliers, as well as opportunities to grow their businesses.

The urban infrastructure finance gap
Cities already account for approximately 70-80 percent of the world’s economic growth, and this will only increase as cities continue to grow. In the next 35 years, the population in cities is estimated to expand by an additional 2.5 billion people, almost double the population of China. As a vital component for connectivity, public health, social welfare, and economic development, infrastructure in all its forms – basic, social, and economic – is critical for the anticipated urban growth.

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ICYMI: Call to join the Young Professionals Program (YPP)

The application for the 2019 Selection Process for the Young Professionals Program will be open from June 14 to July 31, 2018 (midnight EST).

WebThe Young Professionals Program (YPP) is a starting point for an exciting career at the World Bank Group.

It is a unique opportunity for younger talent who have both a passion for international development and the leadership potential to grow in fascinating top technical and managerial roles in the World Bank Group (WBG). The program is designed for highly qualified and motivated individuals skilled in areas relevant to WBG technical/operations such as economics, finance, education, public health, social sciences, engineering, urban planning, agriculture, natural resources and others.

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Building Back Better: How to Cut Natural Disaster Losses by a Third

DgnheipUwAETCjh.jpgWASHINGTON, June 18, 2018When countries rebuild stronger, faster and more inclusively after natural disasters they can reduce the impact on people’s livelihoods and well-being by as much as 31 percent, potentially cutting global average losses from $555 billion to $382 billion per year. That’s the conclusion of a new report from the World Bank and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), released today.

The report, Building Back Better: Achieving resilience through stronger, faster and more inclusive post-disaster reconstruction, assesses socioeconomic resilience and the impact of disasters on people’s well-being. It covers 149 countries, including 17 small island states, representing 95.5 percent of the world’s population.

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Achieving Financial Inclusion: Fintech, account usage, and innovation

Submitted by H.M. Queen Maxima of The Netherlands on June 14, 2018

For almost a decade, the global community and national governments have made concerted efforts to expand financial inclusion—creating a financial system that works for all and opens the doors to greater stability and equitable progress.

madagascar_0This has been a demanding challenge. At the start of our engagement on financial access back in 2013, we said that having a real target with an end date would keep us focused and give us a benchmark against which we could measure progress.

Last month we learned that we have made strong and consistent progress—a real cause for celebration. According to the Global Findex database, more than half a billion people gained a financial transaction account over the last three years, thanks to a combination of technology, private investment, policy reforms, and support from the global community. Since 2011, the share of adults with formal accounts has risen from 51 percent to 69 percent, and financial access has expanded to include an additional 1.2 billion people.

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eC2: Zambia Off-grid Information Portal

Deadline: 29-May-2018 at 11:59:59 PM (Eastern Time – Washington D.C.)  Energy India

IFC seeks to hire the services of consulting firm to design an online, publicly available, one-stop information hub for the off-grid energy space in Zambia, of relevance to a range of off-grid technologies and business models. The portal will provide information on Zambia’s off-grid opportunity (including GIS and other data); policy and regulatory environment, including permitting and licensing processes, the tariff framework, applicable standards and specifications; financing and support options; and procurement of off-grid solutions. IFC does not intend to host the information hub over the long-term, but will develop and transfer the hub to the appropriate governmental agency in Zambia to manage and update the information hub on a regular basis to ensure that it remains relevant and accurate.

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May 15-16: IFC Global Agribusiness Conference in The Netherlands

pexels-photo-264537.jpegIFC Global Agribusiness Conference, May 15-16 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

International Finance Corporation invites investors, private companies whose supply chains rely on smallholder farmers, organizations offering products and services, donors, and government officials to join its Global Agribusiness Conference.

The conference will focus on practical solutions to the challenges of building smallholder professionalism and closing yield gaps between commercial operations and smallholder farmers.

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eC2:SCOPING STUDY ASSESSING THE ENERGY ACCESS SPACE IN AFGHANISTAN AND DEVELOPING AN ENERGY ACCESS PROGRAM

Deadline: 07-Apr-2018 at 11:59:59 PM (Eastern Time – Washington D.C.) energy

Objective:   The objective of this study is to evaluate the potential to develop an energy access program exploiting renewable sources, focused on two market sectors: i) solar lighting devices (solar lanterns and solar home systems, SHS) and ii) solar water heaters (SWH) based on sound market intelligence. It includes development of an initial concept for a SHS program with the purpose of developing a functioning market for supply, after-sales service and financing of such systems for the electrification of off-grid areas in Afghanistan. It is expected that the consultant will assess the current market conditions from the supply side (i.e. solar equipment and micro-finance providers) and the demand side, i.e. consumers. On the supply side, information should be gathered through stakeholder interviews and field visits whereas for the consumer side, a detailed market intelligence survey is expected to be conducted (household level, suggested 1,600 interviews). Based on the data collected, the consultant is expected to develop an initial concept for a SHS program.

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Closing the gap between policy and practice on women’s land rights

Let’s Talk Development. By: Chris Jochnick, World Bank, March 19, 2018

Momentum is building behind a land rights revolution. Last year, just prior to the World Bank’s Annual Land and Poverty Conference, I wrote about the many factors pushing land to the top of the global agenda.  To maintain this momentum we must pay greater attention to gender and women’s land rights.

Land is more than an important asset in the fight against global poverty and gender inequality. For most people living in poverty, it is an essential, indispensable means to leading a healthy, safe, and productive life. Despite this, hundreds of millions of people who depend on land around the world – especially women – lack access or secure tenure rights to it.

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Ec2: Mozambique – Preparation of a Least Cost Geospatial Electrification Plan

Deadline: 29-Jan-2018 at 11:59:59 PM (Eastern Time – Washington D.C.)

Objective: With 26% of electrification, and vast disparities on coverage between urban and rural areas, the provision of electricity access in Mozambique is key to promote a more equitable socioeconomic development and reduce extreme poverty. The Government of Mozambique (GOM), with Bank support, sponsored and hosted several consultations and workshops for internal and external audience to discuss sector challenges and principles for electrification. Based on this consultation process, the GOM is finalizing the preparation of a National Electrification Strategy that allows Mozambique to achieve full access by 2030, in line with the U.N. Sustainable Development Goal #7 Affordable and Clean Energy.

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