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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Changing for the Better: The Path to Upper-Middle-Income Status in Uzbekistan

2013-06, Trushin, Eskender, Carneiro, Francisco G.

As a low-middle-income country with a gross domestic product (GDP) per capita of US$1,715 and a population of 30 million (nearly half of all of the Central Asian population), Uzbekistan has seen stable economic progress since the mid-2000s, both in terms of growth and poverty reduction. Growth has averaged 8 percent per year since 2004 and extreme poverty has declined from 27 percent in 2000 to 15 percent in 2012. Encouraged by this outstanding growth performance, the Uzbek authorities have set an ambitious goal for the country, to join the group of upper-middle-income countries by 2030. This note discusses the main challenges that the government is likely to face and the structural transformations that the economy will have to undergo to achieve this objective.

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South East Europe Six : From Double-Dip Recession to Accelerated Reforms

2013-01, World Bank

This note discusses the external environment, economic outlook, and key policy challenges for the six South East European Countries (SEE6)-Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH), Kosovo, the former Yugoslav Republic (FYR) of Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia-as they seek to reignite economic recovery. After two years of fragile recovery from the global recession, as a group, SEE6 countries experienced a double-dip recession in 2012. Deteriorating external conditions, the impact of the severe winter on economic activity, and a continuing rise in unemployment early in the year took a toll on consumption, investments, and exports. The rise in unemployment continues to threaten the social fabric. Credit recovery and fiscal consolidation are under threat. Nonperforming loans (NPLs)-thought to be stabilizing only a few months ago-are again on the rise. As a result, both within and outside the region, the environment has become much more difficult to navigate, and the policy trade-offs necessary to stabilize economies and reignite growth have become more difficult to make. To overcome these challenges, SEE6 countries need more intensive policy reform to reduce public debt and accelerate structural reforms, especially in fiscal consolidation and the financial sector, labor markets, and business environment. Additional external financing from International Financial Institutions (IFIs) for growth and jobs could prove effective, but only if accompanied by intensified fiscal and structural reforms.