World Bank

  • World Bank urges benefit assessment of bio-fuel

    The World Bank, admitting the competition between food and fuel crops for land and water, has asked the national governments to carefully assess economic, environmental, and social benefits and the potential to enhance energy security. In its World Development Report-2008, it said: "The challenge for developing country governments is to avoid supporting bio-fuels through distortionary incentives that might displace alternative activities with higher returns - and to implement regulations and devise certification system to reduce environmental risks.' It suggested that the potential environmental risks from large scale bio-fuels production can be reduced through certification schemes for measuring environmentalaspects. It suggested a Green Bio-fuels Index of GHG reductions. The World Bank quoted that according to some available estimates, current bio-fuel polices the world over, can lead to a five-fold increase of the share of bio-fuels in global transport energy consumption - from 1% today to around 5% to 6% by 2020. "The grain required to fill the tank of a Sports utility vehicle with ethanol (240 kg of maize for 100 litre ethanol) could feed one person for a year, so competition between food and fuel is real,' the World Bank report said. It added that future bio-fuel technology may rely on dedicated energy crops and agricultural and timber wastes instead of food crops. "Technology to break cellulose into sugars distilled to produce ethanol or gasify biomass is not yet commercially viable - and will not be for several years. And some competition for land and water between dedicated energy crops and food crops will likely remain,' the report said. It further said that second generation bio-fuels using cellulosic technologies were likely to require even larger economies of scale, with investment costs in hundreds of millions of dollars just to build one plant. The report admitted that in industrial countries and till recently in Brazil, bio-fuel programmes were supported by high protective tariffs and large subsidies. These policies have caused land conversion away from food and led to an upward pressure on global food prices, severely affecting poor consumers. With a view to make bio-fuels compete with gasoline, industrial countries gave massive support and subsidies. According to recent estimates, more than 200 support measures costing around $5.5-7.3 billion a year in the US amount to $0.38-0.49 per litre of petroleum equivalent for ethanol and $0.45-0.57 for bio-diesel. In this context, the World Bank report questions - Are bio-fuels economically viable without subsidies and protection? It answers: "The breakeven price for a given bio-fuel to become economical is a function of several parameters. The most important determining factors are the cost of oil and the cost of the feedstock, which constitute more than half of today's production costs. Other often more cost-effective ways of delivering environmental and social benefits need to be considered, especially through improvements in fuel efficiency.

  • $62.6m IDA aid to revitalise agri technology

    Bangladesh yesterday signed a loan agreement with International Development Association (IDA) under which it will receive 62.6 million US dollar to improve agricultural productivity and farm income by revitalising the national agricultural technology system. Additional ERD Secretary Mohammad Mesbahuddin and World Bank acting country director Mohamed Alhousseyni Toure signed the agreement for their respective sides at the NEC auditorium. The National Agricultural Technology Project (NATP) is designed to promote generation, dissemination, adoption and use of appropriate agricultural technologies through a number of policy reforms, institutional development and investment to support agricultural research, extension and supply chain development. The development of supply chains will focus on strengthening farmer-market linkages, knowledge management and human resources development. The credit from the IDA, the World Bank's concessionary arm, has 40 years to maturity with a 10-year grace period and carries a service charge of 0.75 percent.

  • $62.6m IDA loan to give boost to farm sector

    Bangladesh on Thursday signed a loan agreement with International Development Association under which it will receive $62.6 million to improve agricultural productivity and farm income by revitalising the national agricultural technology system. The additional ERD secretary, Mohammad Mesbahuddin, and the World Bank acting country director, Mohamed Alhousseyni Toure, signed the agreement for their respective sides at the NEC auditorium. The National Agricultural Technology Project is designed to promote generation, dissemination, adoption and use of appropriate agricultural technologies through a number of policy reforms, institutional development and investment to support agricultural research, extension and supply chain development. The development of supply chains will focus on strengthening farmer-market linkages, knowledge management and human resources development. The credit from the IDA, the World Bank's concessionary arm, has 40 years to maturity with a 10-year grace period and carries a service charge of 0.75 per cent.

  • World Bank aid for Haryana forests

    The Haryana Minister for Forests, Tourism and Environment, Kiran Choudhry, said on Saturday that the World Bank and the Japan Bank of International Cooperation would provide financial assistance to Haryana worth about Rs.380 crore for different forest-related projects. Addressing a press conference here, Ms. Choudhry said a World Bank team would visit the State on March 10 for finalisation of a grant of Rs.230 crore. Team coming And a team of the Japan Bank of International Cooperation (JBIC) would be visiting Haryana shortly for a re-appraisal of the ongoing projects of forestation and poverty alleviation in 800 villages. She expressed hope that a grant of Rs.150 crore would be forthcoming from the Bank. About 500 officials of the Haryana Forests Department would be able to continue their jobs after this re-appraisal, she added. She disclosed that she had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh requesting him to notify the natural and reserved forest areas of the State as eco-zones.

  • New World Bank catastrophe loan

    WORLD Bank on Tuesday launched a new catastrophe loan facility and revised an existing contingency credit line designed to help increase its business with middle-income countries. The World Bank board on Tuesday approved the Catastrophe Risk Deferred Drawdown Option that will give middle-income countries access to emergency funds in the event of a natural disaster such as a hurricane or earthquake. Countries stricken by disaster will be able to access funding of up to $500 million once a state of emergency is declared. Countries may qualify for the loan facility if they have a hazard risk management programme already in place that is monitored by the World Bank. World Bank president Robert Zoellick said the facility was an example of how the institution could be useful to middle-income countries, a diverse group that includes fast-growing economic powerhouses like China. In September, Mr Zoellick cut the price the World bank charged on its loans and simplified a complex set of fees and waivers for emerging economies, which were increasingly tapping global capital markets for funding. "These financial product enhancements reflect the World Bank Group's commitment to using creative ways to expand resources for our country partners,' Mr Zoellick said. "As our client relationships with middle-income countries become more sophisticated, the World Bank is responding with development solutions that share knowledge, build markets and institutions, and provide capital,' he added. The World Bank board separately also approved changes to its existing Deferred Drawdown Option (DDO), a pre-approved line of credit for countries which do not immediately need the funding but have access to it in the future in case of an unforeseen event. Only two countries

  • The 2005 global report on purchasing power parity estimates: A preliminary review

    The fifth (2005) round of the World Bank's International Comparison Program, which produces estimates of the gross domestic product at purchasing power parity prices, has been the most extensive and

  • Punjab chief minister briefed about ongoing irrigation sector projects

    Provincial Irrigation Minister Senator Dilawar Abbas met Caretaker Chief Minister Punjab former Justice Ejaz Nisar at Chief Minister's Secretariat here Tuesday and gave him a detailed briefing regardi

  • Donors reject govt's claim on poverty reduction

    Contrary to official claims, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) say that poverty has increased in Pakistan since 2004 and the new government should take the issue seriously.

  • Assam in debt trap?

    While replying to a question in the Budget session of Assam Assembly on March 24, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi acknowledged that the per capita burden of the State's public debt now comes to Rs 6,806

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