Tier I : Development Context

What is the development progress in Bank client countries as a group?

Tier I indicators of the Corporate Scorecard show the long-term development outcomes that countries are achieving and provide the context and direction for the Bank’s work. These high-level outcomes cannot be attributed directly to the Bank, because they reflect multi-sector interventions, actions, and policy decisions of countries and their development partners.

Growth, Poverty Reduction and Shared Prosperity. Countries continued to make progress on development priorities. Average  annual GDP per capita in developing countries continued to grow,  reaching $2,723 (constant 2005 US$) in 2012, fueled by, among other things, private sector investments, with domestic credit to the private sector increasing to 81 percent of GDP in 2012. The percentage of the population in the developing world (IBRD and IDA eligible countries) living on less than $1.25 a day declined from  43 percent in 1990 to 20.9 percent in 2010. As a result, the first MDG target of halving the 1990 poverty rate by the year 2015 has been achieved. Still, some 1.2 billion people continue to live on less than $1.25 a day, and an additional 1.2 billion live on $1.25-2.00 a day. The 2011 employment to population ratio of 61.3 percent is lower than the 2005 level; youth unemployment is a particular challenge. To combat poverty, GDP growth needs to be complemented by rising incomes for the poorest segments of the population.

Progress on the MDGs. With the acceleration of economic growth since the late 1990s, sizeable global progress was made toward meeting the MDGs before the food, fuel, and financial crises of 2008-2011 disrupted positive trends.  Nonetheless, four MDG targets have been met ahead of schedule, including halving extreme poverty, halving the proportion of population without access to safe water, improving lives of slum dwellers, and reaching gender parity in primary education. This progress has been uneven, however, and large disparities remain across and within countries.
The proportion of people without access to improved drinking water has been more than halved, from  28 percent  in 1990 to 13.1 percent  in 2011, but the MDG target  of halving the proportion of population without access to basic sanitation is unlikely to be attained. Only 57.4 percent of people had access to improved sanitation facilities in 2011, up from 53.2 percent in 2005. Gender parity in primary education has been achieved, and gender parity in both primary and secondary education is close to being on track, having reached 96.8 percent in 2011.  However, about 60 million primary school-age children are still out of school, and the goal to provide education to every child is unlikely to be attained.

Progress has also been slower in reducing child and maternal mortality and reducing malnutrition. The under-five mortality rate fell from 67 per 1,000 live births in 2006 to 57 in 2011, but the rate of progress is insufficient to meet the MDG target of cutting the under-five mortality rate by two-thirds. The prevalence of children under age 5 who are underweight declined from 20.4 percent in 2005 to 16.6 percent in 2011, a slower pace than needed to meet the target.  The MDG target of reducing the maternal mortality ratio by three-fourths is equally unlikely to be met, even though the rate of progress across the globe has doubled between 2005 and 2010, resulting in the reduction of maternal deaths from 290 to 230 per 100,000 live births.

Progress in Institutions and Governance. Effective institutions and good governance are essential for the efficient, adequate, and sustainable provision of public services, while checks and balances help ensure that governments are held accountable to the public. Measuring governance, however, is not easy, and progress in institutional strengthening and governance takes time. The three databases used in the Corporate Scorecard  to measure  progress in this area— the Bertlesmann Transformation Index, Freedom  House's Countries at the Crossroads  survey,  and the Global Integrity Index— show only marginal improvements at the global level, but may conceal changes realized at the country level.

As part of its diagnostics on institutions and governance, the Bank also monitors progress in building statistical capacity as a step for greater transparency and evidence-based decision making. Availability of reliable data is a condition for more open societies and more effective governments. Statistics provide the evidence needed to improve decision making, document results, and heighten public accountability. The Level of Statistical Capacity Index (0-100)—which assesses country capacity in areas such as statistical methodologies and data sources, periodicity, and timeliness—improved marginally from 67 in 2005 to 68 in 2012 at the global level, with stronger progress in IDA countries, which improved from 60 to 63.

Progress in Sustainable Development, Trade, and Private Sector Development. Sustainable development will require improved access to infrastructure and increased agricultural productivity and food security, while addressing climate change and environmental degradation. Despite significant achievements in increasing mobile telephone subscriptions (81 per 100 people in 2011) and improvements in access to water, sanitation, and electricity, key infrastructure bottlenecks remain, such as insufficient power generation capacity and transport links—for example, only 48.6 percent of roads are paved.

Private sector development and trade are important drivers of growth in developing countries. Inadequate logistics continue to be a significant barrier to increased trade in the developing world, although the overall perception of a country’s logistics, as measured by the Logistics Performance Index (1-5), improved slightly from 2.4 to 2.6 between 2007 and 2012. There are some signs that the investment climate has been improving at the global level; for example, the time required to start a business fell from 50 days in 2007 to 34 in 2012.

Agriculture plays a key role for food security and poverty eradication, as three out of four poor people in developing countries live in rural areas with agriculture as the main source of income and employment. The agriculture value added per worker continued to increase from $856 in 2006 (constant 2005 US$) to $912 in 2011, with cereal yield also increasing.

Between 2005 and 2009, CO2 emissions intensity of GDP declined from 0.65 kg CO2/$ to 0.61 kg CO2/$ (measured in 2005 PPP$ of GDP). Yet as GDP has risen significantly, total emissions have increased so that global warming continues to pose a threat to sustainable development and poverty reduction, particularly since the distribution of its impacts is likely to disproportionately affect many of the world's poorest regions. Deforestation rates have declined, but are still at high levels, while the protected terrestrial areas have not been expanded, and ecosystems are still under pressure.