A survey of 93 leaders, representing a wide range of
organizations working to advance human well-being and economic development,
reveals a global development sector in transition and perhaps even turmoil.
Ending extreme poverty is no longer the defining lens through which development
is viewed: State fragility and climate were mentioned nearly three times more
often than poverty, and migration was mentioned more than twice as often.
Leaders worry that responses to these and other global challenges are
inadequate. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
The economic consequences of large-scale disease outbreaks
can be enormous: pandemics could cause $570 billion per year in average
economic losses over the coming decades. Health security threats have an
especially destructive impact on development investments and GDP in low-income
and lower-middle-income countries (LICs and LMICs): the 2014-2015 Ebola
outbreak in West Africa wiped out nearly five years of existing investments in
the region, gravely setting back the region’s future development prospects. By
contrast, upgrading countries’ preparedness is relatively inexpensive and
affordable; recent data demonstrates most countries would need to spend
approximately $0.50-$1.50 per person per year to get an acceptable level of
The financing gap for preparedness is one of the starkest
problems in health security, especially among LICs and LMICs. That gap is
estimated at $4.5 billion per year. Investments in preparedness are
cost-effective and affordable, but low-income and lower-middle-income country
governments continue to underinvest at dangerously low levels. These governments
bear lead responsibility for addressing financing gaps, but external funding
can be catalytic. At present, there is no financing mechanism and no adequate
incentive structure to motivate governments in high-risk countries to invest in
preparedness, particularly when those investments compete with more visible
priorities such as education, housing, transport infrastructure, and other
pressing health needs. As a consequence, countries remain ill-prepared and
vulnerable to the persistent threat of pandemics and large-scale disease
The World Bank Group’s International Development Association
(IDA) replenishment takes place every three years and presents a choice
opportunity to make adjustments that reflect important emerging priorities. In
the current IDA19 replenishment, stakeholders can take a major step towards
closing the preparedness financing gap by incentivizing $1 billion or more per
year in preparedness investments in LICs and LMICs. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
The U.S. leads the global landscape in technology
innovation. The country’s competitive edge, according to the World Economic
Forum’s 2018 Global Competitive Index, is due to its business dynamism,
strong institutional pillars, financing mechanisms, and vibrant innovation
ecosystem. Innovation is a trademark feature of American competitiveness and
has powered its global dominance since the post-World-War industrial
revolution. Countries that lead the world in generating advanced technologies
and leveraging the full productive capacity of their digital economies can gain
a strategic competitive advantage. [Note: contains copyrighted
The fourth industrial revolution is underway, and
technological changes will disrupt economic systems, displace workers,
concentrate power and wealth, and erode trust in public institutions and the
democratic political process. Up until now, the focus has largely been on how
technology itself will impact society, with little attention being paid to the
role of institutions.
The relationship between societies and their institutions is
changing, and countries will have to strengthen their capacities to avoid
heightened social divisions. They must build resilience through gradual and intentional
interventions designed for long-term, sustainable development. It is also
essential that institutions work hard to build credibility and use available
development tools, such as development finance institutions and foreign aid, to
mitigate the risks of disruption.
Countries and other stakeholders must pioneer these
initiatives to successfully navigate the disruptions stemming from the fourth
industrial revolution. The revision of existing models of education, skill
development and investment and the integration of different stakeholders into
the conversation will be critical in helping institutions play a productive
role in rebooting the innovation agenda. This new report, Rebooting the
Innovation Agenda, analyzes the need for resilient institution and the role
they are expected to play in the fourth industrial revolution. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Worries about ISIS and North Korea persist, as fears about American power grow
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report last year expressing serious concerns about the possible impacts of climate change, both in the near and distant future. Broadly speaking, people around the world agree that climate change poses a severe risk to their countries, according to a 26-nation survey conducted in the spring of 2018. In 13 of these countries, people name climate change as the top international threat. But global warming is just one of many concerns. Terrorism, specifically from the Islamic extremist group known as ISIS, and cyberattacks are also seen by many as major security threats. In eight of the countries surveyed, including Russia, France, Indonesia and Nigeria, ISIS is seen as the top threat. In four nations, including Japan and the United States, people see cyberattacks from other countries as their top international concern. One country, Poland, names Russia’s power and influence as its top threat, but few elsewhere say Russia is a major concern. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
At first, technologists issued dystopian alarms about the power of automation and artificial intelligence (AI) to destroy jobs. Then came a correction, with a wave of reassurances. Now, the discourse appears to be arriving at a more complicated understanding, suggesting that automation will bring neither apocalypse nor utopia, but instead both benefits and stress alike. Such is the ambiguous and sometimes disembodied nature of the “future of work” discussion. Hence the analysis presented here. Intended to bring often-inscrutable trends down to earth, the following report develops both backward and forward-looking analyses of the impacts of automation over the years 1980 to 2016 and 2016 to 2030 to assess past and upcoming trends as they affect both people and communities in the United States. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
There is a lot we don’t know about what automation will mean for jobs in the future, including its impact (if any) on gender inequality. This note reviews evidence and forecasts on that question and makes four main points:
Past automation has been (broadly) positive for women’s average quality of life, economic empowerment, and equality.
Forecasts of the gendered impact of automation and AI going forward based on the current distribution of employment suggest considerable uncertainty and a gender inequality of impact that is marginal compared to the potential impact overall.
The bigger risk—and/or opportunity—is likely to be in the combined impact of automation, policy, and social norms in changing the type of work that is seen as male or female.
Minimizing any potential aggravating impact of automation and AI on inequalities in economic power in the future can best be achieved by maximizing economic equality today. [Note: contains copyrighted material].