The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $100 million local currency equivalent loan to help expand the lending operations of the Housing Construction Savings Bank of Kazakhstan (HSCBK), the main institution implementing government housing finance programs in the country. This will allow more than 3,000 women, particularly in the rural areas, to have access to affordable housing finance.
“Women account for a significant portion of Kazakhstan’s labor force and are a major contributor to the economy, but they still find it difficult to access affordable, long-term, fixed-rate mortgage credit,” said ADB Country Specialist for Kazakhstan Mr. Mirzo Iskandar Gulamov. “ADB, through the loan to HSCBK, is committed to empowering women and increasing their awareness and access to finance, which can help them become more productive.”
Although 4.4 million out of the 9.1 million women in Kazakhstan are in the labor force and about 51% are the head of their households, women are still paid on average one-third less than men. Lower income levels mean they also find it more difficult than men to obtain affordable mortgage finance.
As well as providing long-term affordable mortgage financing to more than 3,000 eligible women, the Promoting Gender Equality in Housing Finance Project will also ensure that gender inclusiveness is integrated in the banking sector’s housing finance operations. The project will support HSCBK’s adoption of a gender policy and the implementation of three nationwide public awareness campaigns on housing finance products for women.
Over 60,000 of HSCBK’s borrowers are women, of which 64% are located outside the country’s two largest cities of Nur-Sultan and Almaty. More than 60% of ADB’s loans to HSCBK will be allocated to women in rural areas, while at least 20% will be earmarked for low-income women borrowers.
In addition to the loan, ADB will also implement a $620,000 technical assistance grant to strengthen the operational capacity, quality, and reach of HCSBK in relation to the low- and middle-income female population in Kazakhstan, with a focus on financial inclusion and poverty reduction.
Rwanda: Boosting Exports Through Technology, Innovation, and Trade in Services
Released today, the new Rwanda Economic Update finds that, after a strong economic recovery last year, Rwandan GDP growth is expected to be moderate in 2022 due, in part, to the effects of the war in Ukraine and the persistent risk of the COVID-19 pandemic in major economies.
According to the 19th edition of the Rwanda Economic Update (REU19) titled Boosting Exports Through Technology, Innovation, and Trade in Services, GDP growth is projected at 6% for 2022, after reaching 11% in 2021. Inflation continues to mount as increases in international commodity prices and the disruption of global supply chains have led to substantial increase in energy, transport, and food prices.
“The mounting inflation in Rwanda, which comes at the time when employment has not yet recovered to its pre-pandemic level, has the potential to undo hard-won achievements in terms of poverty reduction and human capital development. Government interventions to protect the most vulnerable, building on the country’s social safety nets continue to be critical,“ said Rolande Pryce, World Bank Country Manager for Rwanda.
In its special focus on trade, the report gives an insight into Rwanda’s export performance. The REU19 notes that Rwandan firms have increased their participation in international trade (particularly in services) over the last decade, to levels exceeding that of regional and continental peers. Discussing the main drivers of trade performance, the report highlights that securing a certification for an international quality standard, such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certificate, is a critical factor in facilitating firms’ participation in international trade. Firms with ISO certification are 36% more likely to be exporters. However, this remains a major challenge for Rwanda as only 3% of Rwandan firms had obtained ISO certification in 2019.
The REU19 also shows a significant correlation between the adoption of e-commerce in Rwanda and the participation in international trade and noted its limited use by Rwandan firms.
“The strong link between e-commerce and exporting, and the lack of information regarding foreign markets regularly cited by firms in Rwanda, suggests investment in internet infrastructure can provide isolated enterprises, such as those in rural and underdeveloped urban areas, low-cost connectivity to markets and customers, and increase local firms’ participation in international trade,” said Calvin Djiofack, World Bank Country Economist .
According to the REU19, Rwanda has placed great emphasis on services development to raise employment, income, and export earnings. Yet, the country is facing a skills deficit that, if not addressed, will constrain potential growth for high-skill services exports.
One of the measures the report recommends to boost openness to trade in services, is for Rwanda to address its skills shortage in the short-run by recognizing qualifications of regional professionals, and abolishing work-permit regimes for them.
YouTube for business: how to be successful and grow your audience
When should you start using YouTube for your business? Right now! If you see this article, it’s a sign for you that it is your time to enter this social network and get the most out of it! Buy 500 views to begin building the brand presence on YouTube and make a difference in your industry. This platform holds second place for daily visits, people spend lots of time there and of course, they would like to see brand content of high quality. In this article, you will find effective tips for brand promotion on YouTube.
To attract the right audience to your videos you have to name them properly. Make your video titles inviting and promising, yet don’t make them look like clickbait that doesn’t refer to the actual content. Give your viewers a hint on what your video is about and how the information is presented, and that will be your success. Of course, your titles have to be keyword-rich to use all the power of YouTube categorizing algorithms. We recommend keeping your video title around 50 characters for the sake of it being completely visible on the web and mobile interface.
YouTube is connected with Google, and it’s not a surprise that videos from this platform appear in Google search results. The task for you here is to make your video a perfect match for certain keywords that users type in when they look for something online. For example, if you sell clothes, you need to create a set of keywords, tags, and other data that will refer to your brand. For the industry mentioned, you would be likely to choose terms that are naming your items and related to fashion in general.
Pro tip: for a better result, you should also include the most relevant keywords verbally in your video. The scenario for it that is filled with industry terms that describe your brand, will for sure increase your rating in search results.
To gain popularity and promote your product successfully on YouTube you have to find out what users want and expect to see. Take a good look at the prominent industry influencers on YouTube and examine user behavior. Pay close attention to comments and reaction balance. With this simple research, you will understand where you must start, but for better performance, you must monitor your progress constantly, to make quality improvements. YouTube has analytical tools that are built into its basic functionality, however, using some additional tools will be a good idea if you want to dive deeper into your research.
The factor that makes social media so extremely addictive for users (and effective for businesses) is the possibility to socialize. What a surprise, huh? And being social is a way to win the attention of many customers. Responding and liking the comments is basic, and you must do more for an astonishing result. Use all forms of interacting with users and motivate them to engage with your content actively, so the algorithms will rate your content higher. Engagement and user activity are vital for growth, so you should concentrate your efforts on improving them if you want faster and more stable growth on YouTube. Establishing strong and loyal relations with your audience is a key to better visibility of your brand.
This small picture is the first visual hook to catch your potential viewers and customers on. You will be surprised to find out how effective custom thumbnails can be. Never use the default option for thumbnails – it simply takes a random screenshot from the video, and this is in no way engaging. Luckily you can upload your thumbnails and impress your potential viewers from the start. Also, making custom thumbnails shows your professionalism and devotion to the content quality.
- Don’t make too detailed and complicated designs
- Aim for fewer details that are distinctly visible minding the real size of YouTube thumbnails
- Add a short text, which must be keyword-rich
- Provide a similar recognizable design for all your pictures.
The design of your channel and your videos must correspond to the branding that you have. All visual features that you can upload on YouTube have to make your brand easy to remember and recognize later. So, develop a set of details that will mark your content and underline your brand. Logo and basic colors, and minimalism in general work the best, because this way the content is not overloaded with distractions. However, you should add a pinch of your personal charm to it, especially if your brand is strongly biased toward your personality. Another good option is to mark your industry. For example, if you knit or crochet, adding thematic illustrations can be complementary to your blog, and the same can be applied to any other industry.
With time, video topics can overlap, so it can be wise to give users the opportunity to discover more details about the niche. The easiest way to improve your statistics on YouTube is to offer people to check it out. Cross-promote your older content with the end screen, or link in your video description, and also give viewers a verbal reminder about other vids for a similar topic. This works well if you don’t have enough content to unite in a playlist, or if you have a lot of cross-related videos. Avoid promoting content that is not relevant anymore – in the short term it will give you an increase in your view statistics, but in the long term, it will cause irritation and loss of trust to you.
Materialistic motivation is a bald way to drive attention to your brand. People like free stuff and presents, and they also like participation in various activities like contests and giveaways. Give them what they want! Set simple rules that don’t require too many actions. For example, you can make a contest where users can vote for the funniest comment or so… Basically anything that comes to your head! Offer a decent prize and with a statistical increase, you will also raise the loyalty of your audience.
A call to action, or CTA, is a simple yet effective way to increase engagement on your profile. Yes, sometimes you have to ask people to do things, especially at the beginning of your career. People often forget to like or comment on the video even if they intended to do that. So, dropping a small reminder is totally a thing. Use calls to action somewhere around the first 5 minutes of your video. The only type of call to action that can be effective at the end of the video is offering more content to check out.
Promotion of a brand on YouTube requires time and devotion. But being patient and working tirelessly on your content quality, offering real value and entertainment to the audience will pay off with their attention and popularity. Experiment with your strategy and watch your statistics constantly and closely – the recipe of perfect content making will come to you soon.
Additional World Bank Financing to Strengthen Social Programs in Buenos Aires Province
The World Bank Board of Directors approved a US$ 50 million loan to support social safety net programs in Buenos Aires Province. These include the electricity social tariff and food assistance programs, which reach over 1.7 million people.
“The approval of this new program is crucial for strengthening support to contain vulnerable sectors in Buenos Aires Province. The cycle of recession, pandemic and war has greatly impacted the province and requires a variety of support measures,” said Sergio Massa, Argentina’s economy minister.
“Strengthening food security and access to electricity helps reduce the vulnerability of the poorest households. This new project is part of the World Bank’s comprehensive assistance to Argentina, which, with financing of US$ 2 billion, contributes to government efforts to reduce the impact of the crisis,” said Jordan Schwartz, World Bank Director for Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.
The project will finance the Más Vida food program, created during the Covid-19 pandemic, which provides direct cash transfers through debit cards to vulnerable populations and those with pre-existing health conditions. Currently, this program reaches 114,000 people.
Additionally, this financing will mitigate the impact of the measure to reduce energy subsidies nationwide on 1.6 million vulnerable users and 189,000 households in informal settlements connected through community meters. The program will also support the province in improving the management of the electricity social tariff scheme.
The additional financing for the Social Safety Nets for Vulnerable Populations in the Province of Buenos Aires is a variable spread loan, with a maturity period of 17 years and a five-year grace period.
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