A More Accurate Pulse on Sustainability

For the last decade, Sudan’s oil exports helped create strong economic growth for the strife-torn country of 11 million in north-east Africa. 

But by the time South Sudan was created in 2011, the economy was in recession. When the World Bank undertook an economic analysis of South Sudan in 2012, it found that the country’s gross national savings were high. But, using an indicator called adjusted net savings (ANS) that captures investments in human capital, depletion of natural resources, and damage from pollution a fuller picture emerged. It became clear that the new country needed to invest more of its oil revenues in education and physical infrastructure like roads and water supply to secure long-term sustainable growth.

Similar analysis using adjusted net savings is helping resource-rich countries like countries such as Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mauritania, Mozambique, and Sierra Leone, among others.

Today, the World Bank published the ANS indicator for more than 200 countries in the Little Green Data Book, the World Bank’s annual compilation of environment data. Also known as genuine savings, ANS monitors whether depletion of natural capital, such as minerals or forests, is compensated for by investment in other assets, such as human capital or infrastructure. 

Read full text at worldbank.org