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Towards a better life? A cautionary tale of progress in Ahmedabad

In the western Indian state of Gujarat, where Ahmedabad is located, the urban poverty rate declined from 28% in 1993-94 to 10% in 2011-12. Trade unions, such as the Self-employed Women’s Association, founded in Ahmedabad in 1972, have played a key role in organising and empowering informal workers. By 2001 Ahmedabad was already above both state and national urban averages in the coverage of drinking water, and progress has continued. The municipal government has introduced specific programmes to improve access to public utilities – water, sanitation and electricity – for slum dwellers irrespective of tenure status. Additionally, the city stands out for its ‘smart growth’ through proactive planning for urban expansion, enabling a compact urban area while allotting spaces to house poor families. However, gaps have remained and relations between communities and the government have become strained in recent years. Significant sections of the population continue to lack access to good quality services, and Ahmedabad has evolved into a city segmented by class, caste and religion. Further, across much of urban India there has been a shift in the conception of development from inclusive growth to the creation of ‘global cities’ marked by capital-intensive projects. As a result, dialogue has decreased, becoming increasingly confrontational, and the availability of public funds has diverted focus away from flexible local programmes built on a collaborative model of development. While urbanisation has been recognised as key to India’s future, the experience of Ahmedabad provides key lessons – both positive and cautionary – relevant to urbanisation both nationally and globally.

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On the path to progress: improving living conditions in Peru’s slum settlements

This study explores the improvements in living conditions in slum settlements located in the outskirts of cities in Peru from 1990 to 2010. This period saw significant progress in access to utilities in these areas. Positive changes were recorded in water piped directly to households, and in access to sanitation (piped sewage systems), the share of slum households with electricity and dwellings made of durable housing materials. These improvements were the result of action at different levels: political will to increase public provision of water, sanitation and electricity (financed with contributions from multilateral banks and donor resources, but increasingly with governments’ own resources); continuous pressure from community organisations; and investments in housing upgrades by households themselves. The case study offers a number of useful lessons for other countries, particularly on the fact that improving the living conditions of existing settlements is a necessary but not sufficient condition to deal with increasing urban populations; urban planning and the provision of affordable housing (ownership and rental) needs to take place in tandem with slum upgrading.

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Mind the gap? A comparison of international and national targets for the SDG agenda

The stretch required for low-income countries (LICs) to achieve SDG targets is generally greater than for middle-income and high-income countries (MICs and HICs). The gaps identified indicate where most work is needed to alter political priorities in order to realise the SDGs. Most hard work will be needed in areas that are highly politically contentious (climate policy) or expensive (secondary education, electricity and sanitation). This has implications for how governments structure a review process and how resources are mobilised for the post-2015 sustainable development agenda. The report also found a great deal of variation in the approach to measuring targets at the national level. A standardised approach would make comparisons easier and hold governments more readily to account.

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Low-carbon development in Sub-Saharan Africa: 20 cross-sector transitions

Sub-Saharan Africa is at a critical point, experiencing rapid population growth, particularly in urban areas, and a young and growing workforce. At the same time, the growing risk of catastrophic global climate change threatens to weaken food production systems; increase the intensity and frequency of droughts, floods, and fires; and undermine gains in development and poverty reduction. Although the region has the lowest per capita greenhouse gas emission levels in the world, it will need to join global efforts to address climate change, including through actions to avoid significant increases in emissions. This report reviews agriculture, forestry, energy, transport, extractives, construction and manufacturing, based on their importance to countries' economic development and their contribution to current and future greenhouse gas emissions. Based on this sector-specific analysis, we identify 20 cross-sector transitions that can be undertaken to promote low-carbon development in the region.

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Building electricity supplies in Africa for growth and universal access

Although Africa has enormous energy resources, more than half of the continent’s population do not have any access to electricity and generation is often unable to meet the demand of those who do. Growth and poverty reduction will be constrained if this deficit continues. The purpose of this paper is to outline the nature of the opportunities and challenges for expanding the supply of electricity to meet development objectives, taking into account recent reductions in the costs of renewable energy. The two challenges of expanding electricity generation and distribution for economic growth, and extending electricity supplies to those who do not yet have access, are inter-related but require different policies and interventions.

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Piecing together the MDG puzzle: domestic policy, government spending and performance

Policy-makers in most of the developing countries surveyed report that the MDGs were influential in setting priorities domestically. Analysis of the education and health sectors suggests these statements are not merely tokenistic as countries reporting high influence saw increases in budget allocations. However while many countries experienced increases in government spending in social sectors over the MDG period, the majority still spend less than the recommended international benchmarks. Significant increases in government allocations will therefore be required to match the ambition of the SDGs. Recommendations for the SDG period include ensuring better data on domestic use of targets, government spending and performance are available to better assess their influence over the next 15 years and ensure the 'leave no one behind' agenda will be fulfilled.

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National MDG implementation: lessons for the SDG era

As we approach the deadline for the expiration of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and the start of the Sustainable Development Goals, at the end of 2015, this paper asks: how did governments respond at the national level to the set of global development goals in the form of the MDGs? Using five case study countries: Indonesia, Turkey, Mexico, Nigeria and Liberia, to reflect a mix of regions, income classifications and MDG performance, the paper draws out common trends and suggests five lessons for the post-2015 era.

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Bricks and dollars: improving public investment in infrastructure

The world is hungry for infrastructure investment. In 2014, the IMF declared 'the time is right for an infrastructure push'. Yet the development community has been here before. There have been earlier periods of infrastructure enthusiasm, with the white elephants to show for it, but precious little growth. How can governments avoid the mistakes of the past? What institutions and processes are needed to invest in infrastructure, and to invest well? The 2015 CAPE conference paper discusses what it takes to invest in infrastructure, and to invest well.

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Disentangling transit costs and time in South Asia

Under the overarching research theme of the impact of regional infrastructure for trade facilitation on growth and poverty reduction, this study attempts to identify the trade barriers that impede the trade flow of Nepal and Bhutan through the gateways ports of Kolkata and Haldia in India. This case study focuses on the impact of transit regulations and agreements on the cost of services required to transit goods between the ports and Bhutan or Nepal.

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Projecting progress: the SDGs in Latin America and the Caribbean

This paper presents Latin America and the Caribbean’s (LAC) likely progress across the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda, if trends continue on their current trajectories. There are significant disparities across the globe in progress both between and within countries; LAC is no exception. There are a number of disparities across sub-regions and there are disparities within countries – ethnicity, for example, is a crucial factor in determining whether someone is likely to benefit from development gains. During the Millennium Development Goals era considerable gains were made in a number of countries in LAC. However, already strong outcomes in some areas compared with other developing regions will make continued progress towards the new goals difficult.

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Ghana's construction sector and youth employment

Ghana’s construction sector is a growth industry with potential to address youth unemployment. This paper identifies opportunities for young people to access jobs within the sector, as well as barriers preventing their participation. Low-cost housing is found to be the most promising sub-sector for young people to access employment. However, this requires government land and finance policies that create demand for and supply of affordable housing. Bottlenecks faced by young people in accessing jobs in construction include the quality of training, problems accessing land, and corruption and payment delays on government contracts. For young women, the fact that construction is considered ‘man’s work’ is a considerable additional barrier.

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A thirsty future: water strategies for Ethiopia's new development era

This report discusses the costs and benefits of investments in water resources management to sustain Ethiopia’s economic growth, while ensuring that no-one is left behind. Our research shows that investments in infrastructure development to harness the potential of water resources and mitigate against climate risks need to go hand in hand with investments in institutions, the rules of the game, that set out the terms and conditions under which different groups can access and use water. Water scarcity resulting from over-exploitation and pollution risks otherwise reducing the profitability of investments and leading to competition between sectors and users, as it is the case in the Awash River Basin. Only with better, sustainable and inclusive water resources management can Ethiopia can continue to harness its water for the new development era.

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Africa’s new climate economy: economic transformation and social and environmental change

Africa’s 'growth miracle' in the 21st century has reversed a long-standing narrative of pessimism about the region. GDP growth reached around 5% annually from 2001-2014. Rates of extreme poverty fell substantially. Yet big challenges remain. Growth slumped in 2015 and 2016. The region lags far behind on most measures of human development. Climate change is also taking an increasing toll on many countries: the region is warming faster than the world as a whole, and many areas will experience more frequent and intense droughts and floods. The economic impacts of climate change are expected to be severe, with agriculture and poor people especially at risk. This report lays out five key action areas for economic transformation and social and environmental progress in Africa: 1) getting the fundamentals right; 2) transforming agriculture and land use; 3) diversifying into manufacturing and other high-productivity sectors; 4) unleashing the power of urbanisation; and 5) fostering a modern energy transition.

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Finding the pipeline: project preparation for sustainable development

Delivering the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and achieving the Paris Agreement objectives will require increased investment in socially, economically and environmentally sustainable infrastructure. The main barrier to investment of the kind needed is not the lack of available finance, but rather a lack of well-prepared and investment-ready 'bankable' projects. Whether or not a project is bankable – i.e., attractive enough for investors to decide to invest – depends on a number of factors including the policy and regulatory environment, consultations with relevant stakeholders, capacity to engage with investors and manage transactions, quality of project documentation, and economic development issues such as creditworthiness and willingness to pay. The international community has launched numerous capacity building and technical assistance initiatives to address these factors, but greater effort will be needed to mobilise public and private investment in developing and emerging economies for sustainable infrastructure. This report considers the complexities that underpin efforts to attract investment into sustainable infrastructure with a focus on project preparation. It reflects on experiences with project preparation support for infrastructure and potential shifts in approach needed to deliver the scale of investment required in sustainable infrastructure to achieve the SDGs and fulfil the goals of the Paris Agreement.

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China and Africa: an emerging partnership for development? - an overview of issues

China’s phenomenal growth offers an opportunity to boost development in African countries. Moreover, China’s loans and concessional assistance financed a wide range of development projects. China also is reaping significant benefits from this relationship, through access to raw materials, expanded markets for exports of manufactures, the establishment of investment relationships which could generate significant profits over time and diplomatic influence. But leadership from African governments, particularly to strengthen domestic policies and governance and to harmonize regional policies so as to improve the continent’s bargaining position with China, are required to ensure that the China-Africa relationship contributes to sustainable growth and poverty reduction. The twin goals of this paper are to summarizes the analysis on the economic exchange between China and Africa, and to outline policy recommendations to improve the benefits to both parties.

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China’s manufacturing and industrialization in Africa

While a succession of Asian countries have exhibited dramatic growth over the last thirty to fifty years, Africa has largely stagnated. This Asian expansion has been driven by manufacturing exports to the US in particular, and enabled through an overall constructive policy package that opened markets, implemented favourable trade and exchange rate policies, and provided a sound and stable government that inspired investment and secured property rights. Conversely, Africa has been unable to put the full package in place, and this has resulted in a manufacturing sector whose contribution to both GDP and export shares is significantly below the continents’ developing country peers. Growth in natural resource-rich developing countries in general has lagged behind those with a manufacturing focus, and this is especially the case in Africa with its poor linkages into unskilled labour and its appetite for rent seeking activities. Africa’s industrial base is not as robust as theory suggests it should be. Using the continent’s export profile to the US 90 percent or more is either a dominant mineral fuel or precious minerals for those African countries with significant exports. Other than South Africa, manufacturing exports are notably absent, with only textiles and clothing featuring in those countries where manufacturing also features. Importantly Africa has difficulty to capitalise on its significant tariff preferences into the US, and we examine the thesis that China is making it harder for Africa to diversify away from its natural resource-based export profile.

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Inequality, economic growth, and poverty in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

In this paper, we have presented the patterns of inequality, growth and income inequality in the MENA region. Using a cross-sectional time series data of MENA countries for the period 1985-2009, we have also investigated the effect of income inequality on key societal development, namely economic growth and poverty, in the region. Our empirical results show that income inequality reduces economic growth and increases poverty in the region. Other factors having significant negative effect on economic growth in the MENA region include previous growth rate, exchange rate, government consumption expenditure or government burden, initial per capita GDP, inflation, and primary education. On the other hand, variables positively and significantly associated with MENA’s economic growth are domestic investment rate, urbanization, infrastructure development, and mineral rent as a percentage of GDP. In addition, apart from income inequality, other factors increasing poverty in the region are foreign direct investment, population growth, inflation rate, and the attainment of only primary education. Poverty-reducing variables in the region include domestic investment, trade openness, exchange rate, income per capita, and oil rents as a percentage of GDP. The policy implications of these results are discussed.

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An integrated approach to infrastructure provision in Africa

This document outlines the need for a strategic vision for the infrastructure agenda in Africa and examines the infrastructure agenda in urban and rural settings. It also looks at the financing of the region's infrastructural development in a 2-tiered market, and ends off by setting out the role of the African Development Bank in the strategic vision.

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Clean energy development in Egypt

Once an exporter of oil and gas, Egypt is now struggling to meet its own energy needs. The growth in energy consumption is a response to the country’s economic expansion, industrialization, and change in people’s life style. Although all energy forms have been subject to high growth, electricity consumption has increased substantially causing serious concerns over the power sector’s fuel mix, heavier reliance on fuel oil, and an unaffordable burden on the government budget. As a result the government is determined to diversify the energy mix and to improve the efficiency of electricity consumption. It has also recognized that energy diversification and efficiency can impart other benefits such as cleaner environment, transfer of advanced technologies, and possible new areas of manufacturing and services. This report reviews the opportunities and challenges involved in improving energy efficiency, developing renewable energy resources and promoting the local manufacturing of the corresponding equipment in Egypt.The aim of this study is to review the outstanding issues in the development of clean energy in Egypt. Its specific intention is to arrive at recommendations regarding: (a) improving energy efficiency; (b) promoting the development of renewable energy resources; and (c) facilitating the development of local manufacturing of solar and wind power equipment.

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Tanzania’s seaports and transport corridors as development opportunity for east and southern Africa

Favorable economic growth prospects for the East and Southern Africa region will result in increased trade flows. This puts significant pressure on Tanzania’s port and transport infrastructure, suggesting the need to address trade gaps through interventions, which need to balance between infrastructure investment and institutional reform aspects. Specific investments should prioritize port development and transport corridor infrastructure to facilitate regional trade connectivity. Institutional upgrades can contribute to improve coordination in the hinterland access regime and encourage efficiency-enhancing reforms.

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The role of road networks in addressing fragility and building resilience

This brief explores the importance of investments in roads - as the most important component of the transport infrastructure network in fragile states - to political stability, economic inequalities, and institution building, in light of the evolving understanding of fragility. Countries with a recent history of violent conflict face the most daunting challenges, as their (already modest) national infrastructure both suffers from destruction or dilapidation and exacerbates poor economic conditions and the fault lines that caused conflict in the first place (WB 2011). But even investments in stable countries need to be considered strategically to ensure those countries don’t become tomorrow’s fragile states. This brief draws on the examples of Liberia, Mali and China to propose a conceptual framework that can inform government policymakers, regional organizations, and development partners on how to address these challenges.

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Urban development strategy of the African Development Bank Group

This strategy builds on the achievements and lessons of experience of past African Development Bank Group efforts in urban development and emphasizes the need for coordinated and purposeful action. The Strategy recognizes that successful urban development requires coherent programs and efficient organization both within the Bank Group and in Regional Member Countries. Through this Strategy, the Bank will ensure that key policy themes, particularly infrastructure development, urban governance, private sector development and cross-cutting issues including gender, empowerment of vulnerable groups, regional integration, urban-rural linkages, environment and now increasingly climate change are taken into account during project design and implementation of urban projects. Moreover, the approach will ensure that the Bank’s policy and operational focus ultimately is on the building of viable, accountable and service-centered institutions at the sub-national levels, notably municipalities.

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AfDB Strategy for 2013–2022 - at the center of Africa’s transformation

This ten-year Strategy is designed to place the African Development Bank at the centre of Africa’s transformation and to improve the quality of Africa’s growth. The Strategy will focus on two objectives to improve the quality of Africa’s growth: inclusive growth, and the transition to green growth. It also outlines five main channels for the Bank to deliver its work and improve the quality of growth in Africa: Infrastructural development; Regional economic integration; Private sector development; Governance and accountability; Skills and technology. In implementing its ten-year Strategy, and as an integral part of the two objectives, the Bank will pay particular attention to fragile states, agriculture and food security, and gender.

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Feed Africa: strategy for agricultural transformation in Africa 2016–2025

There is a massive opportunity to reframe the current social and economic costs associated with the low productivity of the agricultural sector in Africa. What has — up till now — been an area of relative weakness for the African continent, can be recast as an area of strength and, more importantly, one of the fastest options for feeding, employing, and lifting millions of people out of poverty. Agricultural transformation has proven to be a complex endeavour, but is becoming increasingly understood as pockets of successful interventions spring up across the continent. New technologies — especially in the ICT realm — are bringing new ways of achieving and scaling success. Critical to realizing this opportunity will be shifting the development of the sector from ‘agriculture as a way of life’ to ‘agriculture as a business’. The public-sector has an essential role to play in fostering a private-sector led transformation of agriculture. Farmers, entrepreneurs, and investors alike will find a way to develop thriving agribusinesses if given the opportunity in the form of access to sufficient and affordable capital, access to markets and the right overall conditions in terms of policy and infrastructure.

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Innovation and productivity: empirical analysis for North African countries

This article highlights the key determinants of innovation and their impact on the performance of firms in three North African countries (Algeria, Egypt and Morocco) on the basis of World Bank survey data on the investment climate. Initially, our econometric approach consists of estimating the impact of the traditional determinants of innovation by underscoring the critical role played by human capital in technological ownership and absorption. We then estimate the relationship between innovation and productivity taking into account certain characteristics of the investment climate and the quality of infrastructure and public services. The main results suggest that, in North African countries, innovation is far from being the result of R&D and new technology creating activities alone. It also occurs by the adoption and adaptation of technologies created elsewhere through learning and assimilation-related mechanisms requiring more highly qualified human capital and improvement of the investment climate. We have also shown the weakness of the effect of technological externalities generated by export and foreign investment activities on innovation potential. The rigid structure of comparative advantages and the concentration of exports and FDI in activities with limited value addition which are poorly integrated in the local economy generate few upstream-downstream externalities.

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