Shared Frustrations: How to Make Economic Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa More Inclusive

2017-04-15T14:16:51-04:00October 19, 2011|

Suddenly it's the thing everyone is talking about. Income inequality. In North Africa and the Middle East, jobless youth sparked the Arab Spring. In the United States, the growing gap between rich and poor is the “meta concern” of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Worldwide, frustrations appear to be on the rise. And, in sub-Saharan Africa, sustained economic growth may have produced tremendous advances, but a large proportion of the population is still living in poverty. Here, the underlying situation is a little more complex. In July, I wrote about the importance of inclusive growth and whether economic growth was a necessary or a sufficient condition for poverty reduction. Our latest Regional Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa takes that thinking a step further, with new analysis that looks at how living standards for the poorest households have actually been changing in some countries in the region.

Inflation in the Middle East—Looking at the Right Numbers

2017-04-15T14:21:58-04:00June 6, 2011|

Across the world, surging international food prices have become a major cause for concern and topic of debate. This is especially so in the Arab world, which is home to some of the largest food importers and where rising food prices have been one of the factors in recent political unrest. In the context of ongoing political developments, governments across the region are responding to the rise in commodity prices with hikes in fuel and food subsidies, civil service wage and pension increases, additional cash transfers, tax reductions, and other spending increases. These measures will help poor households maintain their purchasing power and limit further increases in domestic food prices.

Investing in a Rebalancing of Growth in Asia

2017-04-15T14:33:04-04:00October 25, 2010|

Continuing my travels through Asia for the launch of our latest Regional Economic Outlook: Asia and Pacific, I am writing to you today from Singapore. Last week, I wrote about the near-term outlook for Asia. Today, I turn to the key medium-term challenge—an issue emphasized by G-20 ministers over the weekend—the need to rebalance economic growth. For much of Asia, this means shifting away from heavy reliance on exports by strengthening domestic sources of growth. While much of the discussion on this issue has focused on ways to increase consumption, the role of investment is equally important and should not be overlooked.

Asia’s Corporate Saving Mystery

2017-04-15T14:49:53-04:00November 8, 2009|

As Asia starts down the path to recovery, it is going to have to tackle two issues which are constraining its long-term growth potential: firms that save but do not invest and wealthy households that are reluctant to consume.
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