IFPRI Central Asia Weekly News Digest (July 1 – July 7, 2020)


by Jarilkasin Ilyasov | July 8, 2020

World Bank Financing to Help Kazakhstan Unleash Full Potential of its Livestock Industry
This week the World Bank approved a $500 million loan for the Sustainable Livestock Development Program to develop Kazakhstan’s beef industry while remaining sensitive to environment, inclusivity, and competition. The funds will go towards improving veterinary services, agro-environmental policies, and service delivery for farmers. It is hoped that this initiative will increase connectivity between farmers and export value chains while supporting the country’s well-being as a whole. - World Bank

ADB's $30 Million Grant to Support Labor Migrants, Youth, and Women in Tajikistan
The Asian Development Bank has approved a $30 million grant to strengthen the skills of Tajikistan’s youth, women, and labor migrants. The Japan Fund for Information and Communication Technology will provide an additional $1.5 million. Tenets of the project include the building of three migration service centers and three job centers for tourism, energy, and agriculture respectively. The project is expected to reach its end in 2026. - ADB

Analysis & Related Information
COVID-19 Analyses: IFPRI Blogs
IFPRI is facilitating an ongoing blog series to discuss COVID-19 as it relates to food security and development at the global, regional, and country levels. Though some concern specific countries, the insights are applicable to others as the world collectively experiences the impacts of the pandemic. This week's blogs concern methods for ensuring healthy food systems during a long-term fight against COVID-19 and food supply chain innovations for achieving the same.

IFPRI Virtual Events
IFPRI has been hosting virtual events to discuss various issues related to food and agriculture policy. Videos like this will periodically be posted publicly after being streamed live, and will include presentations from researchers, discussion between researchers, and Q&A. While there will not be a new seminar this week, please visit the link to view past seminars. This week's seminars include "Hindsight is 2020: Reflecting on IFPRI's 2020 Vision Initiative" on July 8, and "Transforming Food systems for Affordable, Healthy and Sustainable Diets for All: A High-Level Discussion on Key Findings of the 2020 State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World Report" on July 14. Please visit this link to register.

Mobilization: Much Less than Meets the Eye
In the field of development economics, including in this news digest, the actions of development finance institutions are often reported on, particularly the millions and billions of dollars pledged to various projects around the world. The linked commentary brings attention to the ways in which such initiatives can be mischaracterized or misunderstood. The language used in reports of various initiatives can sometimes overstate the roles of the development finance institutions in partnership-oriented initiatives. While it is important to acknowledge the efforts of such institutions, stakeholders may benefit from understanding how certain initiatives and their results can be misrepresented. - Center for Global Development

Kyrgyzstan The Missing Link In China's Railway To Uzbekistan...And Beyond
A railway linking China to Uzbekistan via Kyrgyzstan was conceived of in the 1990s. Earlier this month, the first train made the journey, carrying millions of dollars worth of electrical appliances, and will bring hundreds of tons of cotton on the way back. While this may be seen as an encouraging sign of growing regional cooperation during a troubling time, it is unfortunate that Kyrgyzstan, a country that was originally meant to be a key stop on the route, was passed by. Kyrgyz officials are still hopeful that the railway will be fulfilled with its original intentions, but it could be many years until that happens. - RFE/RL

Publications & Reports
A worldwide analysis of trend in crop yields and yield variability: Evidence from FAO data
Arata, L. et al. 2020. Economic Modelling, Vol. 90. pp. 190-208. Early Online Version.

COVID-19 Age-Mortality Curves Are Flatter in Developing Countries
Demombynes, G. 2020. Policy Research Working Paper No. 9313. Washington D.C.: The World Bank.

Fair crop yield outlook for Russia and Kazakhstan
June 29, 2020. European Commission Report.

Impacts of climate change on key soil ecosystem services and interactions in Central Asia
li, J. et al. 2020. Ecological Indicators, Volume 116. Early Online Version.

Maritime transport and economic growth: Interconnection and influence (an example of the countriesin the Caspian sea coast; Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Iran)
Akbulaev, N., Bayramli, G. 2020. Marine Policy, Vol. 118. Early Online Version.

Useful Links & Commentaries on Research Methods, Data & Publications
Should Consumption Sub-Aggregates Be Used to Measure Poverty?
Luc Christiaensen, Ethan Ligon, & Thomas Pave Sohnesen. 2020. Policy Research Working Paper No. 9312. World Bank.

Insights and illusions of consumption measurement
Nandini Krishnan, Erich Battistin, & Michele de Nadai. 2020. Let's Talk Development. World Bank Blogs.

Events & Announcements
Virtual Seminars on Applied Economics and Policy Analysis in Central Asia
IFPRI, Westminster International University in Tashkent, and the Lebniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO) will continue to host weekly seminars on topics related to applied economics and policy analysis in Central Asia. They will take place on Wednesdays, at 7:30am EST, 2:30pm Moscow, 4:30pm Dushanbe & Tashkent, 5:30pm Bishkek & Almaty. For subscribers, registration information will be sent on the Monday before each webinar. For more information and to subscribe, visit the link. This week's webinar will be hosted by IFPRI's Dr. Shenggen Fan from China Agricultural University, who will present Economic Impact of COVID-19 and Policy Responses: Lessons for Central Asian Countries from East Asian Experience.

Virtual AFE Seminar Series
A virtual seminar series organized by John List of the University of Chicago Department of Economics and Robert Metcalfe of Boston University's School of Business is being hosted weekly on Zoom. Each seminar will include a research paper presentation and Q&A, starting at 12pm EST on Wednesdays. Follow the link to view the full schedule of presenters and to sign up for invitations to the live seminar. Presentations will also by uploaded to a YouTube playlist.

Online Agriculture and Resource Economics Seminar
Dr. Marc F. Bellemare and PhD candidate Jeff Bloem will be hosting a weekly (Wednesdays, 11am CST) online seminar to discuss various research topics related to agricultural economics, nutrition, and food security. For example, the next seminar on June 24 includes a presentation of the paper, "Are High-Interst Loans Predatory? Theory and Evidence from Payday Lending" by New York University's Hunt Allcott et al. Follow the link for registration information and a schedule of upcoming seminars.

Development Policy and COVID-19: eSeminar Series
The World Bank's Development Research Group is hosting an online seminar series for discussions on development policy as it relates to COVID-19. The seminars are completely public, do not require an application or sign-up, and will continue for the foreseeable future.




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The articles included in this news digest have been generated from online sources. Any opinions stated herein are not representative of, or endorsed by, the International Food Policy Research Institute or its partners.