Investment in the rural economy reduces pressure to migrate internationally

 

In a world characterized by high country income differentials, rising food insecurity, and the proliferation of conflicts, international migration is viewed by many as the path to a (better) life. Unsurprisingly, concerns are also rising in destination countries about an undue influx of migrants, especially economic migrants, fuelling antimigrant sentiment and policies.

A paradoxical narrative is further taking hold that development, and by extension development assistance, would increase (as opposed to reduce) migratory pressures, at least in first instance, and that the effect of development aid on migratory pressures has been small at best.

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Food Security

 
 

 

Latest Update – December 19, 2022

Domestic food price inflation remains high around the world. Information between August to November 2022 shows high inflation in almost all low-income and middle-income countries; 88.2% of low-income countries, 90.7% of lower-middle-income countries, and 93% of upper-middle-income countries have seen inflation levels above 5%, with many experiencing double-digit inflation. The share of high-income countries with high food price inflation has risen to 81.8%. The countries affected most are in Africa, North America, Latin America, South Asia, Europe, and Central Asia.

Download the latest brief on rising food insecurity and World Bank responses

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A transformed fertilizer market is needed in response to the food crisis in Africa

One clear message from my dozen meetings last week with African leaders who were in Washington for a summit with the U.S. government was that fertilizer prices are out of reach for most farmers, putting the crop cycle and rural stability at risk. Across 45 countries globally, 205 million people are in acute food insecurity, meaning they have so little access to food that their lives and livelihoods are in danger.  One key obstacle to food production in many developing countries is access to fertilizers, which enrich the soil with the nutrients needed for healthy crops. Sufficient primary raw materials – nitrogen, potash, phosphate, and natural gas – and fertilizer production facilities are essential to farmers across the developing world, but high fertilizer prices are blocking the 2023 and 2024 crop cycle.

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Journey into the Congo Basin – The Lungs of Africa and Beating Heart of the World

STORY HIGHLIGHTS congo-bassin-v3-780x439

  • Spanning over six countries, the Congo Basin is the world’s largest carbon sink.
  • In the run-up to the Africa COP-27, Central African voices are calling for adaptation. Listen to voices of local climate champions in an immersive VR journey into the Congo Basin.
  • Together with governments, regional initiatives such as Blue Fund for the Congo Basin, and partners such as the Central African Forest Initiative, Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, Forest Investment Program, Global Environment Facility, PROGREEN, and REDD+, the World Bank is committed to supporting forest-smart development in the Congo Basin, putting people at the center.

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Nature’s high returns

The mega-challenges engulfing the world today – from COVID-19 to climate change – have environment_hero.jpghighlighted the interdependencies between people, planet, and the economy.  As we chart a course to reignite global growth and drive green, resilient, and inclusive development, we must not ignore these interlinkages. Nature – meaning biodiversity and the services that healthy ecosystems provide – is central to this endeavor, especially in developing countries, where poor people in rural areas tend to rely heavily on nature’s services and are the most vulnerable to its depletion.

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Keeping Ukraine’s Private Sector Afloat—and Ready for Reconstruction

IFC’s Economic Resilience Action

In over a decade as a fitness instructor in Kyiv, Marina Smal has led nearly every kind ofphoto_2022-06-01_16-38-27-002-1280x960 workout, from kids’ yoga to power stretching to strength training.  At the fitness studio she and her partner established in 2019, she coordinated scores of classes and personal training sessions.  It was exactly the kind of hectic, rewarding schedule she envisioned when the couple decided to invest in their own business.

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Remittances are a critical economic stabilize

This piece originally appeared in Barron’s on December, 2  2022 remittances1440x600shutterstock_2083444420.jpg


At a time when the world faces an extremely challenging outlook, remittances are a vital lifeline for households in developing countries, especially the poorest.  Remittances are primarily money that migrants send home to support their family. They alleviate poverty, improve nutritional outcomes, and are associated with increased birth weight and higher enrollment rates for children in disadvantaged households. Studies show that remittances help recipient households build resilience, for example, through financing better housing and recovering from losses in the aftermath of disasters. 

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Debt-Service Payments Put Biggest Squeeze on Poor Countries Since 2000

IDA Countries’ Debt-Service Payments Projected to Top $62 Billion in 2022

WASHINGTON, Dec. 6, 2022—The poorest countries eligible to borrow from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) now spend over a tenth of their export revenues to service their long-term public and publicly guaranteed external debt—the highest proportion since 2000, shortly after the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative was established, the World Bank’s new International Debt Report shows.

The report highlights rising debt-related risks for all developing economies—low- as well as middle-income economies. At the end of 2021, the external debt of these economies totaled $9 trillion, more than double the amount a decade ago. During the same period, the total external debt of IDA countries, meanwhile, nearly tripled to $1 trillion. Rising interest rates and slowing global growth risk tipping a large number of countries into debt crises. About 60% of the poorest countries are already at high risk of debt distress or already in distress.

At the end of 2021, IDA-eligible countries’ debt-service payments on long-term public and publicly guaranteed external debt totaled $46.2 billion—equivalent to 10.3% of their exports of goods and services and 1.8% of their gross national income (GNI), according to the report. Those percentages were up significantly from 2010, when they stood at 3.2% and 0.7% respectively. In 2022, IDA countries’ debt-service payments on their public and publicly guaranteed debt are projected to rise by 35 percent to more than $62 billion, one of the highest annual increases of the past two decades. China is expected to account for 66% of the debt-service payments to be made by IDA countries on their official bilateral debt.

“The debt crisis facing developing countries has intensified,” said World Bank Group President David Malpass. “A comprehensive approach is needed to reduce debt, increase transparency, and facilitate swifter restructuring—so countries can focus on spending that supports growth and reduces poverty. Without it, many countries and their governments face a fiscal crisis and political instability, with millions of people falling into poverty.”

On the surface, debt indicators seem to have improved in 2021, the report shows. As economic growth resumed following the global recession in 2020, public and publicly guaranteed external debt as a share of GNI returned to pre-pandemic proportions. However, this was not the case for IDA countries, where the debt- to-GNI ratio remained above the pre-pandemic level at 25%. Moreover, the economic outlook has deteriorated considerably.

In 2022, global growth is slowing sharply. Amid one of the most internationally synchronous episodes of monetary and fiscal policy tightening the world has seen in 50 years, the risk of a global recession next year has been rising. Currency depreciations have made matters worse for many developing countries whose debt is denominated in U.S. dollars. The 2021 debt-to-GNI improvement, as a result, is likely temporary.

Over the past decade, the composition of debt owed by IDA countries has changed significantly. The share of external debt owed to private creditors has increased sharply. At the end of 2021, low- and middle-income economies owed 61% of their public and publicly guaranteed debt to private creditors—an increase of 15 percentage points from 2010. IDA-eligible countries owed 21% of their external debt to private creditors by the end of last year, a 16-point increase from 2010. Also, the share of debt owed to government creditors that don’t belong to the Paris Club (such as China, India, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and others) has soared. At the end of 2021, China was the largest bilateral lender to IDA countries, accounting for 49% of their bilateral debt stock—up from 18% in 2010. These developments have made it much harder for countries facing debt distress to quickly restructure their debt.

The rising debt vulnerabilities underscore the urgent need to improve debt transparency and provide more complete debt information to strengthen countries’ ability to manage debt risks and use resources efficiently for sustainable development. 

“Poor debt transparency is the reason so many countries sleepwalk into a debt crisis,” said Indermit Gill, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank Group. “Complete, transparent debt data improves debt management. It makes debt sustainability analyses more reliable. And it makes debt restructurings easier to implement, so that countries can return quickly to economic stability and growth. It is not in any creditor’s long-term interest to keep public debt hidden from the public.”

The new International Debt Report reflects an advance in debt transparency. It draws from the World Bank’s International Debt Statistics database—the most comprehensive source of comparable cross-country information on the external debt of low- and middle-income countries. It improves on the earlier International Debt Statistics reports by adding substantive analysis and expanding both the breadth and specificity of the data in it.

Over the past five years, the International Debt Statistics database has identified and added $631 billion of previously unreported loan commitments, and an additional $44 billion were identified in 2021. The total of these newly documented additional loan commitments over the past five years is equivalent to more than 17% of the total outstanding public and publicly guaranteed debt stock in 2021.

 
PRESS RELEASE NO: 2023/035/DEC