Bank Ready to Help China Earthquake Victims,
Bank President Robert B. Zoellick said the institution was ready to help the victims of China’s earthquake as he expressed his condolences following the disaster that hit the province of Sichuan on May 12, killing about 15,000 people.
Zoellick said the Bank Group would draw on its considerable expertise in catastrophe management and reconstruction. Bank representatives held detailed discussions on possible technical support for the recovery effort with officials of the Chinese government.
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HIV Epidemic Still Africa’s Leading Cause of Premature Death
A Bank report says Sub-Saharan Africa remains the global epicenter of HIV/AIDS. It says that for every infected African starting antiretroviral therapy (ART) for the first time, another four to six become newly infected, even though regional figures show falling prevalence in countries such as Kenya, and parts of Botswana, Côte d’Ivoire, Malawi, and Zimbabwe. The report “The World Bank’s Commitment to HIV/AIDS in Africa:
Our Agenda for Action, 2007–2011,” says that about 22.5 million Africans are HIV positive, and AIDS is the leading cause of premature death, especially among productive young people and women. As a result, some private firms in Southern Africa recruit two workers for every job in anticipation of losing staff to the disease.
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Greenhouse Gas Projects Face Carbon Market Bottlenecks
As climate change concerns rose globally in 2007, a pioneering market-based effort to regulate and reduce greenhouse gases chalked up its best year ever – some US$64 billion in trades.
But this success masked a looming challenge: how to ensure developing countries as well as wealthy ones benefit from the carbon market? Bank experts say developing countries have sought approval for more than 3,000 projects ranging from wind farms to landfill gas capture projects, but the system has been unable to handle this extraordinary response. Some 2,000 projects are still waiting to be accredited, and many are facing a two-year delay, they say.
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Mobile Banking to Transform Microfinance
With the right market conditions, mobile banking could reach large numbers of poor people who are outside the formal financial system, predicts a new report from CGAP, the global microfinance body. A conference on mobile branchless banking in Cairo, Egypt was based on the research and observations of CGAP’s work in technology and microfinance published in the report “The Early Experience with Branchless Banking”. The report finds customers use payments and transfers rather than more complex banking services, such as credit and savings, in part because providers focus their marketing efforts on payments and transfers.