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 18
  • 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
    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
    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
    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
    Fiscal Consolidation and Recovery in Armenia
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-02) Coulibaly, Souleymane
    Armenia's strong economic growth from 2001-2008, when real gross domestic product (GDP) grew 12.6 percent per year on average, boosted living standards and created the fiscal headroom necessary for the Government to respond to the 2009 financial crisis with a large fiscal stimulus. As a result, the fiscal deficit reached 7.6 percent in 2009 and helped limit the contraction in real GDP to 14 percent. With the economy growing again, the stimulus has to be gradually withdrawn. However, the retrenchment will need to be designed carefully to limit negative impact on growth. Improving the efficiency of all aspects of public finances - tax policy, tax administration, and public expenditures - will be crucial to the planned fiscal adjustment. With the ratio of tax revenues to GDP lower than that of comparator countries with similar levels of income per capita, the brunt of the fiscal consolidation should be borne by an increase in tax revenues (the lower bound estimated to be between 2.3 and 5.8 percent of GDP).