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Poverty and inequality are harsh realities in Bolivia. In spite of targeted social programs, 59 percent of the indigenous and 62 percent of rural populations still live in extreme poverty.1 Looking to improve social programming for these groups, a special unit in Bolivia’s Ministry of Planning—Unidad de Análisis de Políticas Sociales y Económicas (UDAPE)—approached the World Bank for a knowledge exchange.

Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programs in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) have improved the lives of millions of poor households across the region by improving children’s education and health (human capital), reducing poverty, and ensuring a minimum income for the poorest households. Implementing CCT programs requires significant institutional capacity to coordinate work across social sectors, and to implement beneficiary targeting systems, management information and monitoring systems, and transparent operational and technical processes.

The Exchange gathered experts from Bhutan, Ecuador, and Mexico to share knowledge with Bolivian government officials on “measuring” the concept of buen vivir (literally, living well) across monetary and nonmonetary dimensions of social development. Approaches used included two conferences in La Paz Bolivia, and videoconferences among participating countries. Representatives from other countries, including Venezuela and Uruguay, also participated though without direct World Bank support.

The state of Himachal Pradesh in India recognized the need to design its development strategy that included policies for sustainable management of natural resources and inclusive economic growth. Mexico had experience with including green growth and managing climate change into their own development agenda. Himachal Pradesh officials engaged Mexican counterparts in a knowledge exchange that inspired them to benefit from the lessons learned by Mexico.


To ensure that Vietnam’s macroeconomic and structural policies could contribute to sustainable economic growth in the wake of the 2008-2009 global economic crisis, government officials participated in an exchange with Indonesia, Mexico, and Chile. Vietnamese officials learned how to institute practical reforms leading to better assessment of their banking system, and developed a policy reform agenda for preventative and corrective measures.


Bolivia recognized during the preparation and implementation of the National Population and Housing Census (NPHC) and the National Agricultural Census (NAC), that there was a need to strengthen its statistical and information systems for monitoring and accountability. With help from the World Bank an exchange was organized that focused on strengthening Bolivia’s statistical capacity and informational base for better evidence-based, decision-making practices.


Migration carries economic and social importance in the Philippines. Migrant remittances accounted for 10 percent of the GDP in 2010, and the number of Filipinos residing overseas is estimated to be 10 percent of the population. The migration destinations are diverse, ranging from the Middle East to the Americas, as are migrant occupations: workers may be domestic helpers, nurses, construction workers, or managerial workers.

Chronic malnutrition, or stunting, is a serious problem in Central America. Stunting rates in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama are greater than 20 percent and the cost of malnutrition in these countries is estimated to range from 2.3 to 11.4 percent of GDP.1  A growing number of studies show that community-based growth promotion (CBGP) programs can help reduce malnutrition rates.

Tanzania is highly vulnerable to climate shocks, and droughts, floods, and tropical storms are likely to become more intense and unpredictable as the earth warms. Current climate variability already inflicts significant economic hardship on Tanzania, which is largely dependent on agriculture. A devastating drought in 2005 and 2006 affected millions of people, particularly those who relied on subsistence crops for food and income, and resulted in high economic costs.