Europe and Central Asia Knowledge Brief

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This is a regular series of notes highlighting recent analyses, good practices, and lessons learned from the development work program of the World Bank’s Europe and Central Asia Region.

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 25
  • Publication
    Mainstreaming Governance in Tajikistan through its Energy, Extractives, and Public Procurement Sectors
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2014-07) Mikulova, Kristina; Johns, Kimberly; Kunicova, Jana
    The governance partnership facility (GPF) supported program mainstreaming governance in Tajikistan portfolio (FY2010-14) was a landmark achievement in applying governance analysis and looking for entry points to improve transparency and accountability in key sectors in Tajikistan. This brief provides recommendations from its energy-efficiency audit, the extractive industries sector, and public procurement authority pilot program. In the long run, the government's goal is to use procurement performance measurement framework (PPMF) generated procurement performance assessments and annual procurement performance reports (APPRs) as feedback that inform policy design. If the reform momentum can be sustained, Tajikistan has a potential to gradually converge to good practices in public procurement and improve its good governance ratings over time.
  • Publication
    Capital Expenditures : Making Public Investment Work for Competitiveness and Inclusive Growth in Moldova
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2014-06) Coulibaly, Karen Stephanie; Diagne, Mame Fatou
    Moldova faces the challenge of meeting considerable public investment needs while preserving fiscal sustainability. With a rapidly aging population, high emigration, structural imbalances, and vulnerability to external shocks, Moldova will need to raise investment, productivity, and exports in order to achieve sustained growth and competitiveness. The World Bank's recently published Moldova public expenditure review (PER) focuses on capital expenditures and recommends reforms in public investment management and sector policies to raise cost effectiveness and allocative efficiency. Analyses for the PER were conducted using the BOOST public expenditure database developed by the World Bank. It provides recommendations for improving effectiveness and to enhance Moldova's competitiveness and achieve sustained inclusive economic growth.
  • Publication
    Empowering Communities : The Local Initiatives Support Program in Russia
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2014-06) Shulga, Ivan; Sukhova, Anna; Khachatryan, Gagik
    Prosperity from economic growth is not shared evenly among Russia's population and regions. Local communities and rural territories face serious development challenges: including poor living conditions, infrastructure, and services and lack of citizens' participation in decision-making processes. The Russian Federation Local Initiatives Support Program (RF LISP) aims to address community challenges by introducing a participatory approach to the development and rehabilitation of local-level social infrastructure. Specifically, LISP channels funds from regional budgets to finance participatory projects in poorer local communities. For the period 2009-14, LISP has been implemented in six regions and has resulted in more than 1,200 projects with over 1 million beneficiaries. Key factors for LISP success are the following: (i) mainstreaming of LISP into the national administrative system and budget process, and (ii) providing the Bank's technical assistance at all stages of project implementation to share international experience in community-driven development (CDD) projects, and ensuring transparency and quality of LISP procedures.
  • Publication
    Tajikistan : Reinvigorating Growth in Khatlon Oblast
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2014-06) Carneiro, Francisco
    This report supports a joint World Bank-IFC initiative to review and evaluate economic growth prospects for Khatlon oblast in order to develop a private sector-driven strategy for accelerating the region's growth over the medium term.
  • Publication
    Employment Recovery Stalls in Europe and Central Asia
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-04) Koettl, Johannes; Saiovici, Gady; Santos, Indhira
    Employment recovery stalls in Europe and Central Asia (ECA) and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) continues to recover in most ECA countries, but the recovery remains fragile. Growth prospects remain poor in a number of countries where GDP continues to decline. This slowdown in the economic recovery is also evident at the sub-regional level. Unemployment has stabilized, with an average unemployment rate of 12 percent across the ECA region. Since the start of the crisis, men have been disproportionally hit by unemployment. The recent pace of job creation has not been sufficient to absorb the large pool of unemployed, resulting in growing long-term unemployment. Despite the rise in long-term unemployment, activity rates have increased or remained constant in most countries since 2008. ECA labor markets adjusted to the crisis not only through higher unemployment, but also through fewer work hours. Given the already low levels of employment in the region and a bleak demographic outlook, avoiding labor market detachment among the long-term unemployed, the inactive, and youth is the main challenge for policy makers in the near term.
  • Publication
    Croatia : A Strategy for Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-02) Madzarevic-Sujster, Sanja
    Croatia`s current economic challenges include sluggish growth, excessive public spending, high unemployment, and a deteriorating external environment. Croatian economy was making a fragile recovery and dealing with slow export growth, low investment, and persistent unemployment. At the end of 2011, Croatia gross domestic product (GDP) per capita (in purchasing power terms) declined to 61 percent average, a loss of 2 percentage points since 2008.The country incomplete structural reform agenda needs attention and action to promote greater competitiveness and a shift to productivity-based, private sector-led growth. It also faces the strategic challenge of maximizing the benefits of European Union (EU) membership, especially in terms of access to markets and the use of EU structural funds, requiring structural changes in the social sectors, education system, and business environment. Accelerating economic recovery requires Croatia to complete its currently unfinished structural reform agenda and shift to productivity-based, private sector-led growth. The government could also do more to: (i) reform product market regulation; (ii) remove administrative barriers to investments; (iii) reduce the logistics costs in trade; (iv) make the bankruptcy process more efficient; and (v) modernize contract enforcement and property rights.
  • Publication
    Serbia Country Economic Memorandum : Productivity and Exports
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-01) Sestovic, Lazar; Miovic, Peter
    In order to have both dynamic and better balanced growth, Serbia needs to rely more on exports. In the last decade, Serbia's growth has depended primarily on demand that was fueled by excessive debt finance. In the future, the Serbian economy would be better served by increasing its reliance on exports as a new, potentially powerful source of growth. Serbia's export share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is currently 25 percent, but that figure should be closer to 50-75 percent, considering that all European Union (EU) comparator countries1 have export shares of GDP of 60-80 percent. Some sectors of the economy are already better positioned than others to export. For example, sectors in the traditional export base of Serbia, such as food and some chemical products still have vast potential for growth. Agriculture is widely considered to have significant potential for improvement. Although Serbia has recently become a net food exporter, these exports could be substantially higher. The Serbian government's number one task is to accelerate reforms to create an environment that is highly conducive to export-led growth. Serbia will need to fundamentally alter its growth model in order to compete effectively in world markets. The past model of relying on excessive inflows of capital and credit coupled with a consumption boom has run its course in all European countries, including Serbia.
  • Publication
    Reforming Corporate Financial Reporting : Lessons from REPARIS for Other Technical Assistance Programs
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-12) Owen, James; Sekiguchi, Juri
    The recent financial crisis brought to light the importance of transparent and effective corporate financial reporting to a country s economic recovery and subsequent growth. The Road to Europe: Program of Accounting Reform and Institutional Strengthening (REPARIS) program, supported with technical assistance from the World Bank, was designed to assist its eight participating member countries in improving their institutional frameworks for corporate financial reporting and fostering the adoption of European Union (EU) standards for business reporting and auditing. This program has been used to build the kind of broad stakeholder support, both public and private, that is vital for the successful implementation of financial reporting reforms. The emphasis on peer learning, through such tools as communities of practice, helps promote the effective implementation of reforms. In-country engagement is also critical to ensure that changes are implemented on the ground.
  • Publication
    A New Jobs Data Tool : Introducing BuDDy--A Business Diagnostics and Dynamics Tool
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-10) Merotto, Dino; Boccardo, Jessica
    The Business Diagnostics and Dynamics Tool (BuDDy) tool uses formal sector business data that governments already collect to analyze patterns and trends in employment and diagnose constraints to growth and job creation. BuDDy gives governments the understanding of business dynamics needed to develop policies that help businesses create jobs. BuDDy quickly and robustly identifies the types of firms that are growing, hiring, investing, raising productivity, and raising real wages, and does this at the national or regional level, or by product. BuDDy is simple and adaptable; it has been developed with varying data sets, and can been linked to spatial information, trade data, and household data sets.
  • Publication
    Addressing the Gender Gap in Europe and Central Asia
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-06) Sattar, Sarosh
    The Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region's relative advantage in gender equality compared to other regions eroded in the 1999-2009 period. As a result, the region now looks more similar to the rest of the world in terms of women's education and labor force participation. Moreover, gender gaps continue to exist in some minority communities and in poor rural areas. Structural changes in the economies of the region have both opened up economic and employment opportunities for women and reduced some avenues of prosperity for men. However, women's gains from such opportunities are limited as occupational segregation and wage gaps persist, despite comparable human capital endowments. The dramatic demographic changes affecting the ECA region, such as aging, have different implications for men and women. In particular, (i) old age poverty will especially affect women, and (ii) the shrinking labor force will make it necessary to stimulate the labor participation rate of women.