Economic Premise

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The Economic Premise series summarizes good practices and key policy findings on topics related to economic policy. They are produced by the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management (PREM) Network Vice-Presidency of the World Bank.

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    Can Trade Reduce Poverty in Africa?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-04) Le Goff, Maëlan ; Singh, Rajun Jan
    While most economists accept that, in the long run, open economies fare better in aggregate than closed ones, many fears that trade could harm the poor. African countries, for example, have realized significant improvements in trade liberalization in recent decades, yet Africa remains the poorest continent in the world. It seems that the large gains expected from opening up to international economic forces have been limited in Africa, especially for poor people. Drawing on the findings of a recently published working paper (Le Goff and Singh 2013), this note argues that the benefits of trade are not automatic, but rather depend on accompanying policies aimed at developing the financial sector, promoting primary education, and improving governance. This accompanying policy agenda allows people to take advantage of the opportunities offered by freer trade, by reallocating resources away from less productive activities to more promising ones. Trade liberalization therefore should not be implemented on its own, but with the necessary complementing policies.
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    Developing an African Offshoring Industry—The Case of Nigeria
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2010-10) Radwan, Ismail ; Strychacz, Nicholas
    The purpose of this note is to raise awareness of Nigeria's potential as an African offshoring hub, and it is aimed primarily toward policy makers, potential private sector investors, and development partners. This note addresses the following questions: what can Nigeria do to take advantage of the benefits of global trade in services; how can the country brand itself as an offshoring destination for international investors; and what government policies are required to ensure that Nigeria plays a role in the growing Information communication technology (ICT) offshoring sector.
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    Reform and Regional Integration of Professional Services in East Africa
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2010-09) Dihel, Nora ; Fernandes, Ana Margarida ; Mattoo, Aaditya ; Strychacz, Nicholas
    Professional services matter for development in East Africa. Business services, including professional services, are among the most dynamic services sectors; and are a key input for other sectors. Greater use of professional services by East African firms is associated with higher labor productivity. But there is a large gap between the potential contribution these services could make and the meager contribution they make today. National markets for professionals and professional services in East Africa remain underdeveloped, whereas regional markets are fragmented by restrictive policies and regulatory heterogeneity. An effective reform agenda will require policy action in four areas: education, regulation of professional services, trade policy, and labor mobility at both the national and international levels.