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Research Roundup (2009-2012): Environment and Energy in Sub-Saharan Africa
September 2012

ssa map small

This roundup features research on unifying the regional economic space in East Africa, effective and efficient water policies, how increases in biofuels production will affect both land use and food supply, electricity reform needed to mitigate unsustainable groundwater use in agriculture, incentives to cooperate on bilateral water treaties, increasing access to electricity in Africa, climate change and agriculture adaptation strategies, how regionalizing African infrastructure can bring substantial economic gains, coastal risks from sea-level rise and storm surges
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Research Roundup (2008-2011): Environment, Energy, and Sustainable Development
January 2012

The roundup features research on energy, environment, water, climate change, as well as cross-cutting issues like urban-regional development and infrastructure within the larger context of environmental sustainability and economic efficiency in advancing growth and poverty reduction.


How Global Biofuel Expansion Could Affect the Economy, Environment and Food Supply
June 27, 2011

  • National targets would contribute to rapid biofuel expansion in the next 10 years.
  • Reaching those goals would have a limited impact on the global economy
  • Some countries would be affected. significantly, with higher cost of food imports.

Featured Article 


"Where is the Wealth of Nations?" Kirk Hamilton, October 26, 2010
If you have ever had a conversation with a finance minister couched in terms of hectares of forestland or tons of greenhouse gases, then you appreciate one of the central problems of environment and development. It tends to be a short conversation, and for good reason – talking about the environment and natural resources this way simply doesn’t fit the model used by economists. More >>


Where is the Wealth of Nations? Measuring Capital for the 21 Century
Washington, DC: World Bank, December 2006
This book estimates total wealth for nearly 120 countries, using economic theory to decompose the wealth of a nation into produced capital, natural resources, and human resources. The wealth estimates aims to provide a unique opportunity to look at economic management from a broader and comprehensive perspective. The book's basic tenet is that economic development can be conceived as a process of portfolio management, so that sustainability becomes an integral part of economic policy making.
Order | Download 

Paper on Country Stakes in Climate Change Wins a Prize
December 2010

cover climate change journal small

The first annual prize for excellence was awarded by the journal Climate Policy with support from TerraCarbon, Joanneum Research, and Climate Strategies. In announcing the award of the inaugural 2010 Schlamadinger Prize the panel of judges cited the paper’s innovative focus on developing countries; construction of a comprehensive geo-referenced database of indicators; thorough analysis; and timeliness as an input for international negotiations on carbon emissions mitigation and adaptation assistance. The authors are donating the prize money (1,000 euros) to Solar Aid, an NGO that promotes rural solar power development in East and Southern Africa.

Country Stakes in Climate Change Negotiations: Two Dimensions of Vulnerability
Piet Buys, Uwe Deichmann, Craig Meisner (World Bank); Thao Ton That (UNEP/GRID Geneva):
David Wheeler (Center for Global Development)
Climate Change 9(3): 288-305 (2009).


Knowledge in Development Notes 
December 2009
Background on current development issues based on research from inside and outside the World Bank.
arrowhighlight.gif Climate change & development 
arrowhighlight.gif Tropical deforestation & biodiversity 
arrowhighlight.gif More KinD Notes 

Toxic Waste from Obsolete Pesticides—A Growing Threat in Developing Countries 
November 2009
Abandoned pesticide stockpiles pose a growing threat to people and ecosystems in developing countries. A geo-referenced method developed for policy makers in Tunisia is also being presented to Mali and other African countries to prioritize stockpile clean-up as inventories become available.
Research Brief 

Climate and Agriculture: An Economic Analysis of Global Impacts, Adaptation and Distributional Effects 
October 2009
This book examines how agriculture can adapt under a variety of climate change conditions for 22 countries across four continents, including both developed and developing economies.
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A Changing Climate for Development
September 2009
Developing countries are highly vulnerable to climate change | Climate change complicates efforts to reduce poverty and promote prosperity | A “climate smart” world is possible if we act now, act together, and act differently | An equitable, efficient climate deal that recognizes the needs of developing countries is critical.
Featured Article | World Development Report 2010 


Climate Change: Likely Impacts on African Crops, Livestock & Farm Types
June 2008 
Setting the stage for climate change adaptation policies in Africa | Africa's future distribution of crops | How climate change can affect livestock decisions | Will the distribution of farm types change? | Future research directions
Featured Article 

Determinants of a Digital Divide in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Spatial Econometric Analysis of Cell Phone Coverage 
March 2008
Africa exhibits great disparities in coverage by cell telephone systems and in this research, the authors investigate the determinants of these disparities with an econometric model that employs locational information for cell-phone towers across Sub-Saharan Africa.
Research Brief 

WB Research on the Challenges of Adapting to Climate Change 
December 2007 
The World Bank conducts rigorous research on climate change to guide its operational strategies and offer better advice to member countries. An important aspect of this research agenda is its focus on adaptation to climate change – an issue that has received increasing attention since Kyoto. For most UNFCCC parties with relatively low emissions, adaptation is the critical challenge in framing policies that respond to climate change.
Featured Article 
Country Stakes in Climate Change Negotiations
October 2007 
Using a comprehensive geo-referenced database of indicators relating to global change and energy, a set of composite measures were derived to gain insight into countries’ likely attitudes toward international treaties that regulate carbon emissions. When countries are classified according to source and impact vulnerability using these composite measures clear differences emerge in the factors that determine likely negotiating positions. Successful negotiation of a global protocol will likely require compensation and cross-subsidy mechanisms that reflect, at a minimum, the dimensions of vulnerability considered in this study.
Research Brief 
Climate Change: The Final Blow for Agriculture in Africa?
August 2007
A recent cross-country study using the Ricardian approach shows that the effects of climate change on the African continent may force large regions of marginal agriculture out of production by the end of this century, while helping others. The study highlights the importance of equipping millions of agriculture-dependent and water-deprived Africans in the most vulnerable countries with the information, technologies, and supporting institutions they need to adapt to further climate deterioration.
Research Brief 
Will Markets Direct Investments under the Kyoto Protocol?
Summer 2007 
Political aims and cultural ties may influence the placement of emission reduction projects under the Kyoto Protocol.
Research Digest
Climate Changes and Impact on Coastal Countries: Risk of Sea-Level Rise: High Stakes for Developing Countries
February 2007
The impact of sea level rise from global warming could be catastrophic for many developing countries. The World Bank estimates that even a one meter rise would turn at least 60 million people in the developing world into environmental refugees. This is the finding of a new World Bank working paper, "The impact of sea level rise on developing countries: a comparative analysis."
Featured Article 
Toxic Pollution from Agriculture: Costs and Remedies 
November 2006 
In recent decades, the indiscriminate use of agricultural pesticides has created very serious health and environmental problems in many developing countries. One to five million farm workers are estimated to suffer pesticide poisoning every year (WHO, UNEP) and at least 20,000 die annually from exposure, many of them in developing countries.
Featured Article 

Road Upgrading and Trade Expansion in Sub-Saharan Africa
December 2006 
Improving transport infrastructure in the land-locked interior of Africa is a high priority of the World Bank’s Africa Action Plan. A new research study investigates the likely trade benefits of investing in upgrading and maintaining a trans-African highway network. The estimated benefits are significant. On the road from Bangui in the Central African Republic to Kisangani in Congo DR, for instance, the increase in trade volume is estimated at 793 percent.
Research Brief 
Toxic Pollution from Agriculture: Costs and Remedies 
November 2006
In recent decades, the indiscriminate use of agricultural pesticides has created very serious health and environmental problems in many developing countries. One to five million farm workers are estimated to suffer pesticide poisoning every year (WHO, UNEP) and at least 20,000 die annually from exposure, many of them in developing countries.
Featured Article 
Saving the Forests (Policy Research Report)
October 2006
Preserving the world’s rapidly shrinking tropical forests and improving the economic prospects of millions of poor people requires an urgent strengthening of national forest governance. Globally, this calls for strong financial incentives, says a new World Bank policy research report, "At Loggerheads? Agricultural Expansion, Poverty Reduction and Environment in the Tropical Forests."
Featured Article 

Disclosing Emissions Information Helps Check Pollution in Asia
April 2006

Public disclosure of emissions information has proved very useful in developing countries with obvious regulatory problems, as in joint program with EcoWatch in the Philippines where compliance has increased 50 percent in over 45 rated factories between 1997 and 1998. New research on environmental pollution and health, focusing on implications for people has become part of a broad research program for the World Bank.
Featured Article 

Do Roads Bring Jobs to People? Lessons in Economic Geography
January 2006 -
Authorities need to better understand the factors that influence location decisions for manufacturing firms, and also need to view the outcomes of potential policy interventions, such as investment in transport infrastructure to imrpove market accessibility of lagging regions, in a new ‘economic geography’ context. 
Featured Article  

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