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Global poverty is decreasing, but billions of people still do not have the resources they need to survive and thrive. Economic growth can reduce poverty, but it can also drive inequality that generates social and economic problems. And efforts at domestic resource mobilization through taxation, though critical to funding the SDGs, can negatively impact the poor. In this work, CGD experts offer suggestions to improve how the world tracks and tackles poverty and the inequities the international global system creates.
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The World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects 2018 recognizes that the global economy is enjoying a long-awaited broad-based cyclical recovery. In this favorable environment, the Bank expects growth in emerging and developing countries to continue during the next couple of years. But this is no time for complacency. Forces depressing potential output growth will continue unless countered by structural policies. While most commentators focus on the recent cyclical upturn, the new World Bank report presents a sober analysis of long-term growth prospects. Director of the World Bank's Development Prospects Group, Ayhan Kose will give a brief presentation of the report and will then participate in the panel discussion, moderated by CGD president, Masood Ahmed.
What are the challenges and opportunities for growth in the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan and Pakistan (MENAP) region? In his presentation, Jihad Azour will present the IMF’s latest economic outlook for the MENAP region. He will argue that growth has not been fast enough and has not created sufficient opportunities to address high levels of unemployment. The presentation will be followed by a panel discussion on the main impediments to growth and highlight the policy priorities to durably increase it and make it more inclusive.
As Lant Pritchett reports, the World Bank has introduced two new poverty lines: $3.20 for lower middle income countries, and $5.50 for upper middle income countries. I’m with Lant that this is broadly a good thing. But the process by which the World Bank came up with its new poverty lines suggests it might be worth revisiting some of the pitfalls of income thresholds at the individual or national level.
In 1995, India’s Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) organized women waste pickers in Ahmedabad into a cooperative to improve their working conditions and livelihoods. Over time, this informal arrangement evolved into Gitanjali—a women-owned and -run social enterprise. With support from key partners, Gitanjali has generated social value, providing its members with safe and dignified work while increasing their earnings. While Gitanjali faces challenges in becoming a fully self-sufficient social enterprise, its experience offers insights for other initiatives seeking to provide opportunities for women to transition from informal to formal work.
Inequality and inclusive growth were high on the agenda of the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank earlier this month. We are glad about that, but the under-reported story here is that this prominence marks a dramatic shift in the IMF over the last two decades in the IMF’s approach to the relevant challenges for the poorest countries, including on the issue of social safety nets and social expenditures.
Last week we published a new paper, Can Africa Be A Manufacturing Destination?, that highlights the persistence of high labor costs in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa. This led to a lively debate on Twitter, initiated by Chris Blattman at the University of Chicago.