Pakistan

Achieving results against the odds in violent contexts

Achieving results against the odds in violent contexts

Afghan children walk pass a bombed bus in 2016, Mohammad Ismael/ REUTERS


In Afghanistan violence is a daily fact of life. The United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan released their 2016 Annual Report on Protection of Civilians in Afghanistan in February, which documented 11,418 casualties in 2016, a 3% increase since 2015, including 3,498 deaths. Child casualties rose by almost a quarter (24%)—to 923 killed and 2,589 wounded. As a result, there are always lots of questions about how you deliver services in parts of the world like Afghanistan that are affected by ongoing, day to day violence.

Increasingly we live in a world where poverty and violence are deeply interconnected, and if we are to affect the former we have to deal with the latter. But both services and violence come in so many different forms that disentangling the relationship is tough. What works in one context may not work in another. It is too easy to say that nongovernmental organizations are best at delivering services in situations where state authority is contested, just as it may be false to suggest that state delivery of services is always likely to build state legitimacy in the eyes of citizens. The relationships between service delivery and violent conflict are more nuanced than this on the ground and require context-specific analyses that try to understand the nature of the political settlements around conflict, what drives violence and what is the nature of the bargains being struck by local and national elites that either allow or block service delivery.

Well, we have recently tried to do this in a new publication which has just come out, called “Social Service Delivery in Violent Contexts: Achieving Results Against the Odds”.  The report tries to disentangle what works and what doesn’t based on research in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nepal. It probes how social service delivery is affected by violent conflict and what the critical factors that make or break successful delivery are. 

by · Monday, 19 June 2017 · Afghanistan, Nepal, Pakistan
Pakistan bridges the gender divide by embracing a digital economy

Pakistan bridges the gender divide by embracing a digital economy

Registration at the Digital Youth Summit. DYS is an age and gender-inclusive diversified digital platform.
Photo Credit: World Bank

Standing in line to sign up for the Digital Youth Summit in Peshawar this May, I struck up a conversati…

by · Friday, 16 June 2017 · Oman, Pakistan
Improving Pakistan’s fiscal resilience to natural disasters

Improving Pakistan’s fiscal resilience to natural disasters

Women in Balochistan learn safety measures in case of disasters. Photo Credit: World Bank 

by · Tuesday, 13 June 2017 · Pakistan
Improving Pakistan’s fiscal resilience to natural disasters

Improving Pakistan’s fiscal resilience to natural disasters

Women in Balochistan learn safety measures in case of disasters. Photo Credit: World Bank 

by · Tuesday, 13 June 2017 · Pakistan
Improving Pakistan’s fiscal resilience to natural disasters

Improving Pakistan’s fiscal resilience to natural disasters

Women in Balochistan learn safety measures in case of disasters. Photo Credit: World Bank 

by · Tuesday, 13 June 2017 · Pakistan
Six innovations from the Digital Youth Summit that inspired me

Six innovations from the Digital Youth Summit that inspired me


What do speakers say about the Digital Youth Summit?

What foreign speakers say about DYS17!

Foreign delegates to Digital Youth Summit 2017 reflect on their experiences, and the bright minds of youth in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Many thanks to all the foreign delegates for visiting Peshawar from May 5-7, 2017!
#DYS17 #KPITB #KPGoesTech #KPWentTech

Imran Khan (official)Shahram Khan Tarakai Official Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Technology Board – KPITB World Bank South Asia Jazz USAID Pakistan UNDP Pakistan Gloria Jean’s Coffees Pakistan Anna O’Donnell Sam Bretzfield Iliana Montauk Justin Wong Alexander Ferguson Max Krueger Nicola Magri

Posted by Digital Youth Summit on Thursday, May 18, 2017

Entrepreneurs and technologists from Pakistan and around the world converged last week at the Digital Youth Summit (DYS) in Peshawar to share their knowledge, inspire local talent, and bring digital investments.

Over four days, 4,000 attendees, some as young as age 10, interacted with industry leaders, engaged in technology demonstrations, and benefitted from hands-on training. Everyone learnt a lot about digital entrepreneurship and was inspired by many cutting-edge innovations.

Here are six of them that struck a high note with me:

Most sessions at #DYS17 were livestreamed by Jazz xlr8 and OurKPK. Photo Credit: Joe Qian/World Bank
  1. Sessions on Facebook Live. Did you miss the summit, want to learn more about digital entrepreneurship, or simply want to relive highlights of DYS? Jazz xlr8 and OurKPK livestreamed many sessions at DYS. Inspired to start or grow your own business after watching the sessions? There are also resources to support you at the National Incubation Center and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Youth Employment Program!
     


    Travel Across Pakistan

     

  2. Travel Startups that made me want to travel across Pakistan. Let’s face it, I have a serious case of wanderlust and few things make me happier than going to new places, connecting with people, and gaining insights and perspectives I was unaware of before. For people outside of Pakistan may know of it as a country full of beauty and tourism potential. However, two of the winners of DYS’s Startup Cup in which budding companies presented their products and services to prospective investors changed my perspectives. Watch these two videos made by travel platform Find My Adventure and home-sharing company Qayyam and tell me if they also inspire you to travel across Pakistan!

by · Monday, 22 May 2017 · Pakistan

Learning from our global benchmarking reports: A day in Singapore

Global benchmarking reports are great conversation starters. Here in Singapore, a nation defined by its drive for excellence, these benchmarking reports are held as evidence of the country’s development success.  From topping the global education index PISA, the Global Competitiveness Index, and the Leading Maritime Capitals of the World Report, Singapore takes great pride in being first, in Asia if not globally.  
 
An important global ranking for Singapore is the Doing Business survey, a ranking the island nation topped for many years, indicating the ease with which business can be done in the little red dot.

Global benchmarking surveys are powerful tools to engage in a policy dialogue. However, given that they are global in nature, there are a set of assumptions and limitations in methodology which are partly determined by the huge variations in data availability across countries. Methodologies of these surveys are continually updated to reflect nuances in context that may lead to a different but more comprehensive set of analysis and conclusions.
 
One of our priorities here at the World Bank Group is to continue our dialogue with all our stakeholders, to see what we are getting right in these surveys and how we can do better.  We have a particularly unique opportunity in Singapore, where both government agencies and the private sector work hard to stay on top. Singapore is anything but complacent, and that makes for a rich discussion about how our surveys may be improved.
 
Indeed, a recent visit to Singapore by Augusto Lopez Claros, who led the Doing Business report team, enabled us to discuss in-depth the findings and methodology of the report with a wide variety of stakeholders – and all within a 24-hour window. The conversations were instructive, and keep us in tuned with our audience and how our work helps theirs.
 
We identified five different audiences for the one-day visit – an ambitious number in any context. Our first interaction was with our main counterpart: the government. A meeting hosted by the Ministry of Trade & Industry gathered all the relevant agencies that deal with the 11 Doing Business indicators. Some officials sought feedback on a number of very relevant questions on methodology and approach; for example, differentiating countries versus regional blocs for the Trading Across Borders indicator. These questions reflect the forward looking thinking of the concerned government agencies, and provides us with a different perspective to the indicators.
 
Following the meeting with the government, we moved on to one hosted by the Singapore Business Federation, the country’s leading private sector association, which again attracted an impressive list of participants. Some of the world’s leading firms mobilize their operations across Asia from Singapore. These firms refer to the Doing Business report quite extensively in the context of exploring investment locations. There was a great deal of interest in understanding better how these indicators are put together.
 
We also met with academic community – professors, students, and development partners at the public lecture hosted by the National University of Singapore (NUS). The questions posed at this were more broad, and a great reminder of the public’s great interest in the cutting edge research at the Bank and its role in shaping policies for economic development. Students from developing countries posed some particularly thought-provoking questions, on how high rankings on global benchmark reports may not necessarily reflect shared prosperity in a country.
 
We also hosted a virtual but very engaging discussion of the DB report with our clients – through video conference – with government clients joining us from across the East Asia and South Asia region, including Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Brunei, Thailand, and the Philippines. This was a virtual peer to peer learning event, and particularly helpful in enabling our counterparts to learn from the issues other countries are dealing with. Apart from the methodology related issues, we were also able to share some of the lessons from Singapore’s own DB reform experience. The Singapore Hub serves well as a laboratory for connecting a range of good practices to our clients across Asia.
 
Lastly, we also hosted a discussion on the Women Business and the Law report, with the Women CEO’s network in Singapore. We were heartened to see the impressive turnout:  27 participants from the private sector and also government, including the Senior Minister for Law and Finance, and the Deputy CEO of IE Singapore, the country’s investment promotion agency.  Triggering an animated discussion on the issue of women’s legal rights in Singapore as well as in other regions, and on the impact on female labor participation in those countries undertaking reforms, the meeting was another opportunity for the World Bank to learn how our research is influencing the shaping of policy.
 
So, in a span of 24 hours, we were able to gather important suggestions from our intended audience: policy-makers from across the region, businesses and entrepreneurs, scholars and academics. Not often do we have such a rich opportunity to receive – and respond to – feedback from so many parties.
 
Majulah Singapura – Onward Singapore!

Three key policies to boost performance of South Asia’s ports

Three key policies to boost performance of South Asia’s ports

In a previous blog we related how South Asia as a whole had improved the performance of its container ports since 2000 but had still struggled to catch up with other developed and developing regions. But within that picture, some ports did better than others. 

For example, Colombo in Sri Lanka, the fast-expanding Mundra and Jawaharlal Nehru Port in India and Port Qasim in Pakistan all improved the use of their facilities in the first decade of this century.  India’s Mumbai and Tuticorin were among those that fell behind. Colombo also improved its operational performance by almost halving the share of idle time at berth, while Chittagong (Bangladesh) and Kolkata (India) had the longest vessel turnaround times in the region.

Knowing how specific ports perform and the characteristics of ports that perform well and those of ports that perform poorly helps policymakers design interventions to support underperforming ports.

In the report “Competitiveness of South Asia’s Container Ports” we identified three interrelated policies to improve the performance of the container ports, a key element in one of the world’s fast-growing regions: increasing private participation in ports, strengthening governance of port authorities and fostering competition between and within ports: 

by · Thursday, 11 May 2017 · Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
Three key policies to boost performance of South Asia’s ports

Three key policies to boost performance of South Asia’s ports

In a previous blog we related how South Asia as a whole had improved the performance of its container ports since 2000 but had still struggled to catch up with other developed and developing regions. But within that picture, some ports did better than others. 

For example, Colombo in Sri Lanka, the fast-expanding Mundra and Jawaharlal Nehru Port in India and Port Qasim in Pakistan all improved the use of their facilities in the first decade of this century.  India’s Mumbai and Tuticorin were among those that fell behind. Colombo also improved its operational performance by almost halving the share of idle time at berth, while Chittagong (Bangladesh) and Kolkata (India) had the longest vessel turnaround times in the region.

Knowing how specific ports perform and the characteristics of ports that perform well and those of ports that perform poorly helps policymakers design interventions to support underperforming ports.

In the report “Competitiveness of South Asia’s Container Ports” we identified three interrelated policies to improve the performance of the container ports, a key element in one of the world’s fast-growing regions: increasing private participation in ports, strengthening governance of port authorities and fostering competition between and within ports: 

by · Thursday, 11 May 2017 · Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
Pakistan youth can be the future they want to see

Pakistan youth can be the future they want to see

The first day of the Digital Youth Summit in Peshawar saw corridors and rooms crowded with entrepreneurs and digital gurus from across the world looking to map out Pakistan’s digital future.

These young and enthusiastic innovators are helping to redefine the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) as an emerging technology hub, and providing substantive skills and resources for Pakistan’s youth to take advantage of digital opportunities. At the summit – sponsored by the World Bank with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa IT Board and many other partners — these students, entrepreneurs, enthusiastic young women and men are accessing trainings, announcements, and various forms of support to unlock new possibilities to realizing their potential.

The market for digital entrepreneurship is a multi-billion-dollar industry, growing at a rapid rate and is thirsty for young talent. These opportunities represent a shift in how we think of development—bringing the creativity and passion of tech-savvy young innovators to the forefront of social and economic change. The youth of Pakistani are well placed to be in the driver’s seat of this vibrant future.

by · Thursday, 4 May 2017 · Pakistan