Europe and Central Asia Knowledge Brief

67 items available

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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.

Items in this collection

Now showing 1 - 10 of 12
  • 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
    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
    FYR Macedonia Policy-Based Guarantee : Supporting the Development Agenda and Strengthening Access to Capital Markets
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-01) Najdov, Evgenij
    The ongoing global economic turmoil is seriously impeding client countries access to capital markets, with relatively little regard for the fundamentals of the countries involved. Growing risk aversion among investors has triggered a flight-to-quality that is affecting all but the safest assets (AAA-rated). Small, open, and developing economies in Europe and Central Asia, including FYR Macedonia, are being exceptionally hurt. Despite its history of prudent macroeconomic policies and progress on structural reforms, FYR Macedonia s access to capital markets has been virtually closed or available only on very unfavorable terms. Policy-Based Guarantees (PBG) help well-performing clients with a track record of macro stability and structural reforms mitigate market access risks while advancing a country s development policy dialogue. PBGs also have the added benefit of catalyzing private capital flows by alleviating critical risks. The PBG extended by the World Bank to FYR Macedonia ensured the country s access to markets in a virtually closed market environment and at highly competitive terms.
  • 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
    Accountability in State Noncommercial Organizations in Armenia : An Approach
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-09) Vatyan, Arman
    A World Bank-supported project in Armenia was successful in developing a control framework that balances the need to increase the transparency and accountability of the country s state noncommercial organizations (SNCOs), while also recognizing their financial, administrative, and managerial independence. An innovative approach involving the use of earlier results to guide later ones was used to address the dire need for SNCOs, which account for 70 percent of the total number of state organizations, to make greater efforts to responsibly administer and safeguard the government s assets. The aim was to reduce the market distortions caused by SNCOs that are engaged in significant commercial activities by addressing SNCOs heterogeneity and the need for specific fiduciary control requirements for distinct groups.
  • Publication
    Diamond Production and Processing : What Armenia can Learn from an Intra-Regional Exchange on the Diamond Trade
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-04) Grigorian, Karén
    There is a growing gap worldwide between the rising demand and stagnating supply of diamonds, producing new opportunities for diamond processing countries such as Armenia. Building productive capacity through skills development and technological progress is of central importance to achieving sustainable growth in diamond manufacturing countries. Secondary diamond industries are successful where economic and social conditions are optimal and supportive. To develop or maintain a competitive edge in diamond cutting and jewelry manufacture, all countries in the diamond trade need to constantly develop their human resources. For diamond producers as well as processors like Armenia, investment in product branding is worthwhile, and the promotion of a diamond-based tourism may also be viable.
  • Publication
    Securing Property Rights and Increasing Real Estate Productivity in FYR Macedonia
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2011-03) Stanley, Victoria; Boskovski, Denis; De Martino, Samantha
    Before 2005, FYR Macedonia did not have a well-functioning property registration system and citizens did not have secure property rights. Since the start of the World Bank-funded Real Estate Cadastre and Registration Project (RECRP) in Macedonia in 2005, registered property transactions in the country have increased by 121 percent; there were 93,240 registered transactions in 2009 compared with 42,116 in 2005. Annual mortgages registered in the land administration system doubled from 3,000 in 2005 to more than 6,000 in 2009, demonstrating a substantial increase in the use of ownership rights as collateral. Over 30,000 mortgages have been registered since the commencement of the RECRP in FYR Macedonia. In 90 percent of registration offices in the country, the project helped reduce the time to register a sale transaction to five days or less, down from 60 days in 2004. At the end of 2009, there were 248 accredited private surveyors and 100 registered surveying companies providing services directly to citizens in FYR Macedonia, up from 14 private surveyors and no registered surveying companies at project commencement.
  • Publication
    Country Studies Provide Powerful Lessons in Financial Consumer Protection
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2010-07) Rutledge, Sue
    Until the financial crisis of 2007, the global economy was adding an estimated 150 million new consumers of financial services each year. Rates of increase have since slowed but the growth continues. Most new consumers are in developing countries where consumer protection and financial literacy are still in their infancy. This is particularly true in countries that have moved from central planning to market economies where protecting consumers is necessary to ensure stable and competitive financial markets and give new consumers confidence in the formal financial systems. The global financial crisis has highlighted the importance of consumer protection and financial literacy for the stability of the financial sector. In the US, the rapid growth of complex residential mortgage products, combined with securitized instruments which were sold to poorly informed parties, has caused much turmoil. Financial institutions worldwide have been obliged to write off trillions of dollars of assets. In Europe and Central Asia (ECA) too, damage to the financial sector was serious.
  • Publication
    Public Financial Support for Commercial Innovation in ECA Countries
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2010-05) Goldberg, Itzhak; Jaffe, Adam; Muller, Thomas; Sunderland, Julie; Blanco Armas, Enrique
    Key factors driving self-sustained, long-term economic growth are innovation and technology absorption; these factors are generated from within the economic system, responding to economic incentives. This conceptual framework molds analysis: on the one hand, the view of the centrality of innovation and knowledge creation in the growth process and, on the other hand, the understanding that these are economic factors that may be shaped and influenced by properly designed economic policies. For the purpose of this knowledge brief, innovation can be defined as the development and commercialization of new unproven technologies and untested processes and products, and absorption as the application of existing technologies, processes, and products. The ability of an economy to research and develop new technologies increases its ability to understand and apply existing technologies. Vice versa, the absorption of cutting-edge technology inspires new ideas and innovations.