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How many companies are run by women, and why does it matter?

Masako Hiraga's picture

Happy International Women’s Day! This is an important year to celebrate – from global politics to the Oscars last weekend, gender equality and inclusion are firmly on the agenda.

But outside movies and matters of government, we see the effects on gender equality every day, in how we live and work. One area we have data on comes from companies: what share of firms have a female CEO or top manager?

Only 1 in 5 firms worldwide have a female CEO or top manager, and it is more common among the smaller firms. While this does vary by around the world – Thailand and Cambodia are the only two countries where the data show more women running companies than men.

Better representation of women in business is important. It ensures a variety of views and ideas are represented, and when the top manager of a firm is woman, that firm is likely to have a larger share of permanent female workers.

Announcing Funding for 12 Development Data Innovation Projects

World Bank Data Team's picture

We’re pleased to announce support for 12 projects which seek to improve the way development data are produced, managed, and used. They bring together diverse teams of collaborators from around the world, and are focused on solving challenges in low and lower middle-income countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia, Latin America, and South Asia.

Following the success of the first round of funding in 2016, in August 2017 we announced a $2.5M fund to support Collaborative Data Innovations for Sustainable Development. The World Bank’s Development Data group, together with the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, called for ideas to improve the production, management, and use of data in the two thematic areas of “Leave No One Behind” and the environment. To ensure funding went to projects that solved real people’s problems, and built solutions that were context-specific and relevant to its audience, applicants were required to include the user, in most cases a government or public entity, in the project team. We were also looking for projects that have the potential to generate learning and knowledge that can be shared, adapted, and reused in other settings.

From predicting the movements of internally displaced populations in Somalia to speeding up post-disaster damage assessments in Nepal; and from detecting the armyworm invasive species in Malawi to supporting older people in Kenya and India to map and advocate for the better availability of public services; the 12 selected projects summarized below show how new partnerships, new methods, and new data sources can be integrated to really “put data to work” for development.

This initiative is supported by the World Bank’s Trust Fund for Statistical Capacity Building (TFSCB) with financing from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), the Government of Korea and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Ireland.

2018 Innovation Fund Recipients

Over 1.25 Million People are Killed on the Road Each Year

David Mariano's picture
 kafeinkolik l Shutterstock

The Syrian Civil War is entering its sixth year with no resolution in sight: Even February’s truce may be collapsing as the battle for Aleppo intensifies. There will be more refugees and casualties as civilians flee the violence. With its aerial bombings, car bombs, chemical warfare, the unparalleled brutality of Islamic State, and unrelenting trauma of urban warfare, Syria’s war has seen half a million deaths, over 4 million refugees, and some 7 million internally displaced peoples (IDPs). 

Chart: 100 Million People Pushed into Poverty by Health Costs in 2010

Tariq Khokhar's picture

Universal health coverage (UHC) means that all people can obtain the health services they need without suffering financial hardship. A new report produced by the World Bank and the World Health Organization, finds that health expenditures are pushing about 100 million people per year into “extreme poverty,” those who live on $1.90 or less a day; and about 180 million per year into poverty using a $3.10 per day threshold.

You can access the report, data, interactive visualizations, and background papers at:

Five years of investments in open data

Tim Herzog's picture
Loay Malahmeh, a co-founder of 3D Mena

تعمل شركة ريفوجي أوبن وير "Refugee Open Ware" على تمكين اللاجئين من خلال منحهم إمكانية الوصول إلى التكنولوجيا  الحديثة ، مثل الطباعة ثلاثية الأبعاد. يقول لؤي الملاحمة، الشريك المؤسس في الشركة الأردنية مينا للطباعة ثلاثية الأبعاد والشريك في شركة ريفوجي أوبن وير، " نسعى إلى رفع مستوى الوعي بشأن ما يمكن للطباعة ثلاثية الأبعاد أن  تقدمه ومع التركيز على أنه هذه التقنية لا تقدم حلولاً للمشاكل الصعبة فحسب،  بل ويمكنها أيضاً إطلاق العنان لإمكانات هائلة غير مستغلة".

Chart: It's Never Been Faster to Start A Business

Tariq Khokhar's picture

Con ocasión del Día Internacional de la Mujer, hicimos una pregunta muy simple a las mujeres que trabajan en el Grupo del Banco Mundial: “¿De qué manera acabar con la pobreza e impulsar la prosperidad compartida empoderará a las mujeres en todo el planeta?” Esta es una muestra de las respuestas alrededor del mundo.

Vi de primera mano cómo algo tan sencillo como una conexión de gas podía transformar las vidas de las personas. Una madre de cinco niños en Colombia me contó –con lágrimas en los ojos– cuánto había mejorado su calidad de vida y la de su familia. Sus hijos estaban más sanos y sufrían menos enfermedades respiratorias. Ella podía cocinar de manera segura y comenzar su propio negocio de venta de comida fuera de su casa. 
– Carmen Nonay, directora de programas de la Asociación Mundial para la Ayuda en Función de los Resultados.
Si eres una mujer pobre, no puedes tomar decisiones sobre tu vida y el futuro de tus hijos. Ni siquiera piensas en esas cosas tan importantes cuando estás sometida a las presiones cotidianas. Acabar con la pobreza e impulsar la prosperidad compartida permitirá que las mujeres tengan acceso a derechos humanos básicos,  transformen sus comunidades y contribuyan a cambiar el mundo. 
– Maria V. Handal, gerente de la Oficina de Yemen.
En muchos países de Oriente Medio y Norte de África, la tasa de matrícula femenina en las universidades está superando a la tasa masculina. Además, las niñas tienen mejores resultados de aprendizaje en matemáticas que los varones. Y, sin embargo, estas inversiones en capital humano no están siendo aprovechadas en su totalidad. Las mujeres pueden ayudar a aumentar la prosperidad de la región si se usa su potencial productivo y se reducen las barreras para su participación en la economía. 
– Tara Vishwanath, economista principal.

International Debt Statistics 2018 shows BRICs doubled bilateral lending commitments to low-income countries in 2016 to $84 billion

World Bank Data Team's picture
The 2018 edition of International Debt Statistics (IDS) has just been published.

IDS 2018 presents statistics and analysis on the external debt and financial flows (debt and equity) of the world’s economies for 2016. It provides more than 200 time series indicators from 1970 to 2016 for most reporting countries. To access the report and related products you can:

This year’s edition is released less than 10 months after the 2016 reference period, making comprehensive debt statistics available faster than ever before. In addition to the data published in multiple formats online, IDS includes a concise analysis of the global debt landscape, which will be expanded on in a series of bulletins over the coming year.

Why monitor and analyze debt?

The core purpose of IDS is to measure the stocks and flows of debts in low- and middle-income countries that were borrowed from creditors outside the country. Broadly speaking, stocks of debt are the current liabilities that require payment of principal and/or interest to creditors outside the country. Flows of debt are new payments from, or repayments to, lenders.

These data are produced as part of the World Bank’s own work to monitor the creditworthiness of its clients and are widely used by others for analytical and operational purposes. Recurrent debt crises, including the global financial crisis of 2008, highlight the importance of measuring and monitoring external debt stocks and flows, and managing them sustainably. Here are three highlights from the analysis presented in IDS 2018:

Net financial inflows to low-and middle income countries grew, but IDA countries were left behind

In 2016, net financial flows into low- and middle-income countries grew to $773 billion - a more than three-fold increase over 2015 levels, but still lower than levels seen between 2012 and 2014.

However, this trend didn’t extend to the world’s poorest countries. Among the group of IDA-only countries, these flows fell 34% to $17.6 billion - their lowest level since 2011. This fall was driven by drops in inflows from bilateral and private creditors.

Where does Chinese development finance go?

Tariq Khokhar's picture
Istanbul, Turkey - Creatista l

In Turkey, as in other countries, refugees are often seen as an unmitigated burden, taking jobs from locals, straining public resources, and stoking fears of rising crime and terrorism. Clearly there are significant costs and risks shouldered by host countries, but there is another side to the story—the contributions made by refugees as they bring new businesses, markets, and skills to their host communities. To the extent that countries focus on an enabling business environment and a modicum of protection for refugees working illegally, the positive side of the ledger can only grow.

A crisis in learning: 9 charts from the 2018 World Development Report

Tariq Khokhar's picture

There’s a crisis in learning. The quality and quantity of education vary widely within and across countries. Hundreds of millions of children around the world are growing up without even the most basic life skills.

The 2018 World Development Report draws on fields ranging from economics to neuroscience to explore this issue, and suggests improvements countries can make. You can get the full report here and to give you a flavor of what’s inside, I’ve pulled out a few of the charts and ideas that I found most striking while reading through it.

Each additional year of schooling raises earnings by 8-10 percent


The report sets out several arguments for the value of education. The clearest one for me? It’s a powerful tool for raising incomes. Each additional year of schooling raises an individual’s earnings by 8–10 percent, especially for women. This isn’t just because more able or better-connected people receive more education: “natural experiments” from a variety of countries - such as Honduras, Indonesia, Philippines, the U.S., and the U.K. - prove that schooling really does drive the increased earnings. More education is also linked with longer, healthier lives, and it has lasting benefits for individuals and society as a whole.

Chart: What Are the World's Wettest Countries?

Tariq Khokhar's picture

Africa has the world’s least developed weather, water, and climate observation network, with half of its surface weather stations not reporting accurate data. Hydrological and meteorological (“hydromet”) hazards are responsible for 90% of total disaster losses worldwide. Being able to understand, predict, and warn citizens about natural hazards and disasters drives the ability of governments to reduce economic risks and save lives.

The World Bank’s research shows that annually, countries can save US$13 billion in asset losses alone by investing in hydromet services. This week, Africa’s first-ever ministerial level Meteorology Hydromet Forum formally recognizes the role hydromet services play in development.