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Ukraine Recovery and Reconstruction Needs Estimated $349 Billion

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A man photographs an apartment building that was heavily damaged during escalating conflict, in Kyiv, Ukraine. © UNICEF/Anton Skyba for The Globe and Mail

In a joint assessment released today, the Government of Ukraine, the European Commission, and the World Bank, in cooperation with partners, estimate that the current cost of reconstruction and recovery in Ukraine amounts to $349 billion (€349 Billion). This figure is expected to grow in the coming months as the war continues.

The Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment (RDNA) presents the first comprehensive evaluation of war impacts across twenty different sectors following the Russian invasion. It also lays out the financing needs for a resilient, inclusive, and sustainable recovery and reconstruction and provides a roadmap for planning.

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, said: “Ukraine is fighting for democracy and our common values. The EU cannot match the sacrifice Ukraine is enduring but we are mobilising all our instruments to address the most immediate needs, including for housing for internally displaced populations and to repair critical infrastructure. Since the start of Russia’s brutal and illegal war of aggression against Ukraine, the EU has mobilised 10 billion euro in financing, humanitarian, emergency and military assistance for Ukraine and another 5 billion euros in financing are in the pipeline. The EU will walk every step of the way with Ukraine to rebuild a democratic, independent and prosperous country on its path to the EU.”

“With joint efforts, we have already started reconstruction in the de-occupied Ukrainian territories, but reconstruction requires a comprehensive approach and the mobilization of joint resources of the Ukrainian government and international partners. The assessment of the destruction and the identification of reconstruction needs creates a solid basis for the national Reconstruction Plan and is a prerequisite for effective financing. After all, only for the first stage, rapid recovery, $17 billion is needed, of which Ukraine needs $3.4 billion already this year,” said Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal.

The assessment covers the impacts of the war sustained between February 24 and June 1, 2022, and found that physical damage from the war reached over $97 billion. It was particularly high in the housing, transport, commerce and industry sectors. The destruction was concentrated in the Chernihivska, Donetska, Luhanska, Kharkivska, Kyivska, and Zaporizka oblasts.

The RDNA results are preliminary, and damage and needs should be considered as minimums.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to exact a terrible toll, from significant civilian casualties and the displacement of millions of people to the widespread destruction of homes, businesses, social institutions, and economic activity,” said Anna Bjerde, World Bank Regional Vice President for Europe and Central Asia. The Government of Ukraine now faces the difficult task of balancing recovery with the country’s immediate needs, including core public services such as health, education and social protection, which are critical to preventing further deterioration in living conditions and poverty in Ukraine. The RDNA will help in identifying priorities for recovery while we continue to support the continuation of essential core services.”

The report found that recovery and reconstruction needs across social, productive, and infrastructure sectors total $349 billion, which is more than 1.5 times the 2021 GDP of Ukraine. Over the next 36 months the RDNA assesses that $105 billion is needed to address urgent needs such as restoring education and health systems and infrastructure, preparing for the upcoming winter through restoration of heating and energy to homes, support to agriculture, and repair of vital transport routes. The safe management of debris and explosives, including landmines, also pose a substantial cost.

The Government of Ukraine is looking at the specific needs across the different regions ahead of the winter. Based on the highest priorities, tailored recovery and reconstruction plans are being developed to guide a program in each area.

The World Bank and the European Commission confirmed their continued support for the Government of Ukraine. Given the ongoing war, there will be a need for future assessments of damage, loss and reconstruction/recovery needs in Ukraine.  The Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) has committed financial support for this purpose.

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YouTube for business: how to be successful and grow your audience

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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.

Work On Your Naming

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.

Improve Your Optimisation

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.

Investigate Audience’s Interests

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.

Nurture A Community

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.

Make Custom Thumbnails

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.

Authentic Visuals

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.

Remember Your Older Content

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.

Run A Contest

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.

Use Calls To Action

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.

Conclusion

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.

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Additional World Bank Financing to Strengthen Social Programs in Buenos Aires Province

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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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Economic Corridor to Boost Regional Trade and Growth through Lao PDR

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The Lao PDR Ministry of Public Works and Transport today launched an initiative to improve transport, connectivity, climate resilience, and east-west regional trade across the north of the country. The Southeast Asia Regional Economic Corridor and Connectivity Project is backed by World Bank financing and is designed to help people in the northern provinces benefit from expanding regional trade and transport connections.

The project was designed to complement the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Master Plan on Connectivity. The new project will upgrade Lao National Road 2 connecting Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, thus building an east-west corridor that links with existing north-south routes in mainland Southeast Asia. The upgraded road’s design will protect it from the storms, floods and landslides which are becoming more frequent because of climate change.

Other activities include the development of dry ports, marketplaces, trucking terminals, and locations where farmers can bring their produce for transport to national and foreign markets. A major aim is to improve the ability of local smallholders to market goods that can be traded via the new transport networks.

“We are seeing dramatic improvements in the transport infrastructure running from the north to the central part of the country,” said Mr. Viengsavath Siphandone, Minister of Public Works and Transport. “However, without local connections to these and other trade routes, most people in the provinces will not be able to take advantage of these new facilities. This is therefore an essential investment in our future”.

Alex Kremer, World Bank Lao PDR Country Manager, agreed with the minister, adding, “But while transport connectivity is important,it’s not enough. To benefit more from its strategic location Laos needs logistics services, a more competitive and efficient trucking industry and cross-border management, and better quality last-mile connectivity. This project will support government efforts in these areas”.

National Road 2 is a section of Asian Highway 13 and runs for almost 300 km from the Thai border at Huai Kone-Nam Ngeun to the Vietnamese border at Panghok-Tay Trang. It bisects the new Laos-China railway in Oudomxay province, creating the potential for transport connectivity among China, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. The project will improve and widen sections of the road to meet Asian highway standards, making the road safer and climate resilient.

Upgrades will also be made to connecting local roads in the provinces of Luang Namtha, Luang Prabang, Oudomxay, Phongsaly, and Xayaboury. At the same time, separate project components will focus on improving border crossing facilities — including digitization of cross-border business processes for border clearance efficiency, and strengthening institutional capacity and regulatory frameworks for agricultural trade, transport, and investment planning at national and provincial levels. At the same time, project teams will provide communities living along the roads with information on human trafficking; communicable diseases; road safety; and sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment.

The project, will be implemented by the Lao Ministry of Public Works and Transport, with support from provincial administrations and the Ministries of Finance, Agriculture and Forestry, and Investment and Commerce. Australia is to provide 10 million Australian dollars of parallel financing. The project is expected to be completed in May 2028.

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