Development Policy Review

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  • Publication
    Vietnam Development Report 2019: Connecting Vietnam for Growth and Shared Prosperity
    (Hanoi: Hong Duc Publishing, 2019-12) World Bank Group
    Globally, Vietnam is among the most open economies with a trade-to-GDP ratio of 190 percent in 2018. Through the removal of both tariff and non-tariff barriers and fulfilling its commitment in several regional trade agreements, the country has made remarkable achievements in trade liberalization. Vietnam’s major trade partners located in East Asia, North America, and Europe are reached mostly by sea or air. Trade with bordering neighbors is limited and thus trade across border-crossing points is minimal except for northern borders with China, which has seen growth in recent years. The country’s trade flows are concentrated at twelve of its 48 border gates—two airports, five seaports and five border crossing points—which collectively handled 86 percent of total trade value in 2016.1 As the trade grows, congestion at and near these international gateways and border-crossing points has also increased. In addition to the current major trade partners, various regional trade relations and connectivity initiatives are relevant to Vietnam, including with Southeast Asian neighbors, and South Asia—particularly India—over land, given the rapidly growing trade relationships. In the meantime, Vietnam’s transport network has undergone a significant expansion over the past decades. The most remarkable development in network expansion has occurred in the road sector. As of 2016 the total length of the road network, excluding village roads, reached over 300,000 km, including about 1,000 km of expressways—a fully access-controlled toll road system. Vietnam is endowed with an extensive network of natural waterways, including nearly 16,000 km of managed navigable routes carrying significant traffic around the Red River Delta and Mekong Delta areas. However, only about 2,600 km of the waterways can reliably handle barges greater than 300 deadweight tons, with rudimentary terminal infrastructure at most of its numerous river ports. Vietnam's century-old railway system is mostly single-tracked and non-electrified, which has remained unchanged over the past decades with very limited capital investments
  • Publication
    Pacific Possible: Long-term Economic Opportunities and Challenges for Pacific Island Countries
    (Washington, DC, 2017-08) World Bank
    Pacific Possible is a program of research and dialogue focusing on long term economic growth perspectives of Pacific Island Countries. It analyzes the major transformational economic opportunities and challenges which include tourism, labor mobility, ICT, oceanic tuna fisheries, deep sea minerals, climate change and natural disasters, and non-communicable diseases. This report summarizes and synthesizes research undertaken on these topics. Detailed background papers on these topics are also available as part of the Pacific Possible series.
  • Publication
    Indonesia : Avoiding the Trap
    (Jakarta, 2014-05) World Bank
    Within the next two decades Indonesia aspires to generate prosperity, avoid a middle-income trap and leave no one behind as it tries to catch up with high-income economies. These are ambitious goals. Realizing them requires sustained high growth and job creation, as well as reduced inequality. Can Indonesia achieve them? This report argues that the country has the potential to rise and become more prosperous and equitable. But the risk of 'floating in the middle' is real. Which pathway the economy will take depends on: (i) the adoption of a growth strategy that unleashes the productivity potential of the economy; and (ii) consistent implementation of a few, long-standing, high-priority structural reforms to boost growth and share prosperity more widely. Indonesia is fortunate to have options in financing these reforms without threatening its long-term fiscal outlook. The difficulties lie in getting the reforms implemented in a complex institutional and decentralized framework. But Indonesia cannot afford hard to not try harder. The costs of complacency, and the rewards for action, are too high.
  • Publication
    Indonesia - Avoiding the Trap : Development Policy Review 2014
    (Washington, DC, 2014-03) World Bank
    Within the next two decades Indonesia aspires to generate prosperity, avoid a middle-income trap, and leave no one behind as it tries to catch up with high-income economies. Can Indonesia achieve them? This report argues that the country has the potential to rise and become more prosperous and equitable. But the risk of floating in the middle is real. Which pathway the economy will take depends on: (i) the adoption of a growth strategy that unleashes the productivity potential of the economy; and (ii) consistent implementation of a few, long-standing, high-priority structural reforms to boost growth and share prosperity more widely. Indonesia is fortunate to have options in financing these reforms without threatening its long-term fiscal outlook. The difficulties lie in getting the reforms implemented in a complex institutional and decentralized framework. The report identifies the reforms of institutions and processes that govern the functioning of the state as critical for unleashing the country's development potential. The report provides an analytical underpinning for the Bank's country partnership strategy 2009-14 and shapes the Bank's support to the government's rencana pembangunan jangka menengah nasional (RPJMN) 2010-2014.
  • Publication
    Bridging the Development Gap: ASEAN Equitable Development Monitor 2014
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2014) World Bank; ASEAN
    Since the Asian Financial Crisis in the late 1990s and through the Global Financial Crisis of the last decade, commendable progress has been made by the member states of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in improving economic and human development outcomes both within each country and across countries. Since 1997, the economies of the poorest countries in the ASEAN, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam, have generally grown faster than the richer economies, which has reduced gaps in per capita incomes. Overall, child mortality rates have been cut by two-thirds across the ASEAN. And significant reductions have occurred even in some of the poorer member countries such as Cambodia and Lao PDR. However, this report The ASEAN Equitable Development Monitor (henceforth referred to as The Monitor), also shows that much remains to be done to ensure that the poorest members of the ASEAN community, within countries and across countries, are not left behind as the countries of the ASEAN integrate further. In both policies and development outcomes, differences across the countries of the ASEAN remain large. In this context, the monitor is designed to facilitate further discussion on policies and programs that can promote inclusive growth within ASEAN member countries and across the ASEAN community. It presents a number of indicators that are intended to provide a summary of development outcomes across and within the ten ASEAN countries and over time. On this basis, the monitor is intended to help policymakers in ASEAN member states to identify areas of concerns and prioritize national and regional interventions. The monitor tracks indicators across two broad sets of development outcomes and policies: (i) economic development; and (ii) human development.
  • Publication
    Vietnam Development Report 2010 : Modern Institutions
    (World Bank, 2009-12-04) World Bank
    Institutions are not buildings or organizations, they are the rules by which citizens, firms, and the state interact. The photographs that grace the cover of this Vietnam Development Report (VDR) 2010 epitomize modern institutions. The settings may not appear modern, but the activities they represent are cutting edge, and are transforming Vietnam. Local level planning with the active engagement of citizens. Monitoring of public works by citizens groups. Efficient administrative services with the citizen as the client. Legal advice being provided to citizens. Professional media coverage of important events. These are the roots which feed the growth of a modern, open, and high-performing society. This VDR focuses on devolution and accountability, two aspects of modern institutions that are the essence of Vietnam's experience in the past two decades. At the risk of over-simplifying, this VDR distinguishes between two types of accountability, upward accountability focusing on compliance with rules, dictates, and instructions coming from within the hierarchy, and downward accountability focusing on the results that the person or body is entrusted to deliver. A person or body concerned with upward accountability emphasizes adherence to rules. Those concerned with downward accountability serve their clients. Both forms of accountability are needed. Vietnam's devolution has shown many positive results. Competition among the provinces is driving them to improve their business environments. Eased entry for non-state providers of services and greater autonomy for the management of state facilities are supporting innovation and increasing the variety of services.
  • Publication
    China : Mid-Term Evaluation of China's Eleventh Five-Year
    (World Bank, 2009-01-01) World Bank
    This mid-term review has been undertaken to assess progress in the implementation of the Eleventh Five-Year Plan (11th 5YP) during its first two years and a half, draw preliminary lessons, and make recommendations for policy adjustments. The review examines the following strategic objectives: ensuring the stable operation of the macro economy and improving living standards; optimizing and upgrading of industrial structure; increasing energy efficiency; coordinating urban and rural development; improving basic public services; and enhancing sustainable development. Domestically, natural disasters-the severe storms, winter and the massive earthquake in Sichuan-took a heavy toll. Externally, global demand has slowed owing to the slump in the United States (U.S.) housing market and the related credit crisis and increased risk aversion. International oil, food, and other commodity prices have soared. These developments pose new challenges. But they also reinforce the appropriateness of the policy priorities of the 11th 5YP to increase the economy's resilience and ensure sustainable growth. The objectives and tasks set out in the 5YP are consistent with China's development challenges and government priorities Moreover, the quantitative indicators generally accord well with the overall guiding principles, orientations, and objectives, suggesting that these have been successfully put into operation.
  • Publication
    Philippines : Invigorating Growth, Enhancing Its Impact
    (Washington, DC, 2007-05) World Bank
    Major fiscal adjustment during 2005-06, aided by abundant global liquidity, has turned around market sentiment on the Philippines. Stocks, the peso and reserves have all risen significantly, as have foreign direct investment and portfolio inflows, while interest costs and spreads for government borrowing have fallen along with inflation. Real GDP grew by 5.4 percent in 2006 and real GNP by 6.2 percent, marking the first time that three consecutive years of growth of 5 or more percent was recorded since the 1970s. Strong growth in business process outsourcing, electronics exports and remittance-driven consumption served as important props for higher growth. This paper includes the following headings: recent economic developments; how robust is present growth; invigorating growth, enhancing its impact; and maximizing the benefits of growth for the poor.
  • Publication
    Vietnam Business : Vietnam Development Report 2006
    (Washington, DC, 2005-11) World Bank
    Business development has been one of the main forces behind rapid poverty reduction in Vietnam. Together with the redistribution of agricultural land, and the broad coverage of social services, it allowed a large fraction of the population to engage in more productive occupations and raise their living standards. But businesses are still struggling with important constraints. Insufficient availability of finance, difficulties in accessing land and continuous gaps in infrastructure services (in spite of enormous investment efforts) are among the most important obstacles identified by entrepreneurs. In a booming labor market, retaining qualified personnel and finding the skills required to move up the ladder are also perceived as barriers to business development. As a result of these constraints, the domestic private sector remains dominated by small enterprises. In between a myriad household businesses and a few thousand large state-owned enterprises (SOES) and foreign companies, there are not many small and medium enterprises, and only a handful of domestic private firms have made it to the top. Sustaining business development in Vietnam requires the completion of the structural reform agenda. Fully developing the land market, restructuring the financial sector, managing state assets in a more efficient and transparent manner, mobilizing resources for infrastructure development, are the key priorities in this respect. Further integration with the world economy, especially through the accession to the World Trade Organization, is bound to lock-in some of these changes, and level the playing field between domestic and foreign enterprises. But there i s also a complementary reform agenda, aimed at leveling the playing field between the domestic private sector and SOEs and mobilizing capital (both public and private) in an efficient way. Global integration and domestic reforms are needed to sustain rapid economic growth while avoiding the accumulation of large contingent liabilities for the government. For Vietnam to become a middle-income country will entail going beyond structural reforms and laying the foundations of a modern market economy, introducing competition and proper regulation in infrastructure services, modernizing tax administration, reforming the legal and judiciary systems, reducing corruption, improving governance at local levels, are all part of a second generation of reforms that need to be put on track for Vietnam to move up to the next phase.
  • Publication
    Philippines : From Short-Term Growth to Sustained Development
    (Washington, DC, 2005-04) World Bank
    After reviewing the more promising recent developments, this report examines the nature of growth and development in the Philippines from a longer-term perspective and the factors that may have inhibited performance. It concludes that political instability has undermined the beneficial impact of the reforms implemented, and that such instability itself has been rooted in governance failures. Moreover, weaknesses in public institutions and corruption have also directly undermined a range of development objectives. Reconstructing the social contract in the Philippines is a challenge. Key pillars of this strategy discussed in the report include: reducing fiscal vulnerabilities; improving the climate for private investment; and improving public sector performance and governance. The interdependence of these elements as part of a strategy to rebuild the social contract is discussed and the report elaborates on improving the delivery of basic services.