Country Economic Memorandum

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  • Publication
    Papua New Guinea Country Economic Memorandum: Pathways to Faster and More Inclusive Growth
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-07-13) World Bank
    The Country Economic Memorandum (CEM) focuses on long-term growth, outlining the challenges Papua New Guinea (PNG) faces to achieve sufficient economic growth to expand the incomes of its rapidly growing population as well as what is required for PNG to make the transition to a higher, more stable, and more inclusive growth path. PNG’s modest headline economic growth has translated into limited per capita income growth in the past four decades. While the economy expanded by 3.2 percent on average during 1980-2021, per capita gross domestic product (GDP) recorded an average annual growth rate of only 0.9 percent. Moreover, the gap between PNG’s per capita income level and those of its peer countries has widened. Despite being at a similar level of development in the 1970s and having enormous natural wealth, PNG’s income level is diverging away from the East Asia and Pacific (EAP) region. This calls for a renewed policy focus on boosting economic growth, by addressing PNG’s excessive macroeconomic volatility, low productivity growth, and high reliance on natural capital as opposed to human and physical capital.
  • Publication
    Aiming High: Navigating the Next Stage of Malaysia’s Development
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-02-02) World Bank
    Malaysia is likely to make the transition from an upper-middle-income economy to a high-income economy within the next five years, despite thesetback of the COVID-19-induced recession in 2020. This transition represents an important milestone in Malaysia’s development, having transformed living standards in less than a generation, slashing the extreme poverty rate to less than one percent of the population, and ending the country’s long tenure in the “middle-income trap”. However, Malaysia has been severely affected by COVID-19 and it will take several years beforethe scars of the pandemic are fully erased. The country experienced a “triple shock”: the direct health impact of the virus; the economic impact of movement restrictions; and the growth impact of a global recession. With Malaysia on the verge of achieving this transition, it is an opportune time to address a number of questions regarding the speed of Malaysia’s growth, its quality, and its sustainability. Malaysia is growing slower thanmany countries that achieved high-income status in recent decades. In addition, compared to many other countries that have graduated from middle-income status, it has a lower share of employment at high skill levels and higher levels of inequality. And, compared to countries in the OECD, Malaysia collects less in taxes, spends less on social protection, and performs relatively poorly in terms of measures related to environmentalmanagement and the control of corruption. Many of these fault lines have become exposed during the pandemic. Most significantly, there is a growing sense that despite economic growth, the aspirations of Malaysia’s middle-class are not being met and that the economy hasn’t produced enough well-paying, high-quality jobs. There is a widespread sense that the proceeds of growth have not been equitably shared and that increases in the cost-of-living are outstripping incomes, especially in urban areas, where three-fourths of Malaysians reside. Policies and institutions that have worked in the past may no longer be appropriate for the next stage of Malaysia’s development, with a different set of policies and institutions required at higher levels of income and development. The policies that enabled Malaysia to successfully make the transition from low- to middle-income need to be adapted to meet the challenges it will face in the future. At an earlier stage of its development, factor accumulation was a key driver of Malaysia’s growth. As it makes the transition, it will increasingly need to depend upon more knowledge-intensive and productivity-driven growth, closer to the technological frontier and with a greater emphasis on achieving inclusive and sustainable development. As Malaysia positions itself for the next phase of its development and beyond the pandemic, many of the issues related to this transformation are being addressed and discussed, including through the 12th Malaysia Plan and the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030. With the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and its potential to depress growth into the future, issues related to Malaysia’s readiness for the future have become even more significant. The analysis in this report suggests that for Malaysia to fulfil its potential, to transition successfully to high-income and developed country status, and to sustain equitable growth beyond that point, reforms are needed in six broad and inter-linked areas: (i) revitalizing long-term growth; (ii) boosting competitiveness; (iii) creating jobs; (iv) modernizing institutions; (v) promoting inclusion; and (vi) financing shared prosperity.
  • Publication
    Mongolia - Sources of Growth : Country Economic Report
    (Washington, DC, 2007-07-26) World Bank
    This economic report aims to inform the ongoing debate on the Government's long term development priorities in Mongolia. It discusses the key facts and potential implications the government would need to consider when determining its public spending, public investment program, fiscal space, and borrowing strategy going forward. The report begins by reviewing the Mongolian growth experience over the 1990s as a pre-requisite to understand the present endowments, and the circumstances under which one needs to think about the future. Chapter 2 applies the "growth diagnostics" approach to identify those factors that are "binding" constraints to growth and are areas in need of immediate policy interventions by the government. Chapter 3 discusses the issues that will need to be addressed in order to develop non-mining sector activities with the aim of economic and export diversification and suggests policies to encourage firm innovation'' and private sector growth. Chapter 4 discusses policies to relax infrastructure bottlenecks in the context of regional development and Mongolia's unique geography. Chapter 5 presents a menu of policies tailored to address the mismatch of skills workers bring to the market and those demanded by the market. Chapter 6 discusses issues related to appropriate management and development of its mineral wealth, as well as those arising from present practices in the livestock sector. Finally, in Chapter 7, the possibilities of governance failure, policy and other risks are analyzed to demonstrate their inhibiting effects on the achievement of much higher long-term growth rates in this natural resource dependant economy during a commodity price boom.
  • Publication
    Country Economic Memorandum : Realizing the Development Potential of Lao PDR, Volume 1. Summary Overview
    (Washington, DC, 2004-12-23) World Bank
    To sustain or exceed the 1990s annual average growth rate of 6.3 percent, Lao will need to promote agricultural and manufactured exports, and increase the contribution of natural resources to development. This will require another round of reforms, and supportive public spending. These reforms should seek to create a more enabling environment for the private sector, and for exports, to raise revenue and maintain macroeconomic stability, as well as to improve the transparency, accountability and efficiency of public expenditure management, and public service delivery. To develop natural resources and mineral reserves, Lao will need to attract substantial international and domestic capital to meet the heavy front-end capital costs required to exploit mineral deposits. To bring in that investment, however, requires improvement in governance of the mining sector, particularly in regard to partnerships with the private sector. Looking specifically at growth and poverty reduction, three scenarios for growth - base, base plus and high - show aggregate GDP growth up to 2015, rising roughly by an annual average of 4-5 percent, 5-6 percent, and 6-8 percent respectively. These indicate that this long-term growth will be driven largely by manufacturing (industry) and services, with growth from agriculture though important in the initial years, its contribution declining in the long-term. These growth scenarios depend very much on the pace and depth of reforms the country implements. Additionally, rising government revenues from natural resources alone will not suffice to meet social needs. On current trends, for example, per capita recurrent expenditures in health hardly increase until 2015. The country will need to take additional revenue measures and reallocate expenditures to increase recurrent expenditures on social sectors. To be effective, such revenue and expenditure measures must also be accompanied by efficient improvements in the service delivery mechanisms, i.e., increasing the participation of the poor.
  • Publication
    Country Economic Memorandum : Realizing the Development Potential of Lao PDR, Volume 2. Main Report
    (Washington, DC, 2004-12-23) World Bank
    To sustain or exceed the 1990s annual average growth rate of 6.3 percent, Lao will need to promote agricultural and manufactured exports, and increase the contribution of natural resources to development. This will require another round of reforms, and supportive public spending. These reforms should seek to create a more enabling environment for the private sector, and for exports, to raise revenue and maintain macroeconomic stability, as well as to improve the transparency, accountability and efficiency of public expenditure management, and public service delivery. To develop natural resources and mineral reserves, Lao will need to attract substantial international and domestic capital to meet the heavy front-end capital costs required to exploit mineral deposits. To bring in that investment, however, requires improvement in governance of the mining sector, particularly in regard to partnerships with the private sector. Looking specifically at growth and poverty reduction, three scenarios for growth - base, base plus and high - show aggregate GDP growth up to 2015, rising roughly by an annual average of 4-5 percent, 5-6 percent, and 6-8 percent respectively. These indicate that this long-term growth will be driven largely by manufacturing (industry) and services, with growth from agriculture though important in the initial years, its contribution declining in the long-term. These growth scenarios depend very much on the pace and depth of reforms the country implements. Additionally, rising government revenues from natural resources alone will not suffice to meet social needs. On current trends, for example, per capita recurrent expenditures in health hardly increase until 2015. The country will need to take additional revenue measures and reallocate expenditures to increase recurrent expenditures on social sectors. To be effective, such revenue and expenditure measures must also be accompanied by efficient improvements in the service delivery mechanisms, i.e., increasing the participation of the poor.
  • Publication
    China - Promoting Growth with Equity : Country Economic Memorandum
    (Washington, DC, 2003-09-15) World Bank
    International experience suggests that the effect of globalization on economic growth, poverty and income distribution can vary significantly among countries, and that its impact depends crucially on national policies. This report assesses the possible patterns of inequality in China in the future, and outlines policy options that could help accomplish China's objective of growth with equity. For sustaining growth, the report emphasizes the freer flow of resources and goods and services in the economy, to be achieved by domestic market integration and flexibility. The report suggests that the cost of market fragmentation and rigidities is high, and highlights measures to reduce local protectionism, facilitate migration, and commercialize the banking sector. To optimize the results of domestic market integration and promote growth with equity, the report proposes a package of policy actions that would promote new job opportunities, especially in the less developed regions, and raise returns on farm labor and land. Among these, the report highlights investing in people, promoting the diffusion of technology, facilitating urban agglomeration, expanding services and enhancing farmers' prospects. Finally, the report tackles the social, economic and fiscal risks that may threaten future growth and distributional performance. In particular, it suggests extending different types of formal social security in both urban and rural areas, for fixing the inter- government fiscal system in order to facilitate the provision of public services, and for managing fiscal risk beyond the government budget and officially recognized debt.
  • Publication
    East Timor : Policy Challenges for a New Nation
    (Washington, DC, 2002-03-28) World Bank
    The main challenge facing East Timor, is how to reconcile a simultaneous existence of acute poverty and severe shortage of human management skills, with solid prospects of future flows from the country's natural resource wealth. Policies to meet these two priorities - sustained poverty and sound management of natural resources - are the focus of this report. It looks at the pressing concerns of managing the economic transition from the United Nationals Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) within the next two years; at the issue of wealth creation and the need to enhance the private investment climate; at the need to devise a framework for saving the oil and gas revenues; at the importance of raising human development standards; at the limited number of qualified personnel able to formulate high priority development objectives, compounded by the need to build effective governance; and, at the overwhelming incidence of poverty in rural areas, and the strong correlation between consumption poverty, and low levels of education. In setting a strategy for growth and poverty reduction, the report highlights the importance of maintaining the prevailing efforts at raising farm incomes, and productivity, while improving the quality of rural education, and health facilities, including a tax policy vision that can play a role to avoid exacerbating urban bias. On improving the business environment, there is need for capacity building, and micro-finance programs, but within an adequate legal framework, and prudential regulations. The administrative priorities would require enhanced citizen monitoring on government performance, with an input in public services to improve transparency - which would emerge from an assessment of cost, effectiveness, and capacity.
  • Publication
    Indonesia : Public Spending in a Time of Change
    (Washington, DC, 2000-03-30) World Bank
    The study identifies strategic priorities for restoring sound public finances, emphasizing the need to maintain fiscal sustainability, under a constrained budget, and the need to improve the processes for making budgetary allocations, and budget implementation, towards greater fiscal transparency. It reviews Indonesia's public spending during the crisis, and the unavoidable build-up of fiscal pressure, its indebtedness, and fiscal risks, coupled with policy implications. Improvements to the budget allocation process are examined, focusing on budgetary management processes, across levels of government, and on the impact of decentralization - which could possibly reinforce civil society participation. A shift in the fiscal policy focus, towards maintaining fiscal sustainability, and ensuring economic recovery is recommended. Nonetheless, risks may threaten fiscal sustainability, namely, macroeconomic fluctuations, contingent liabilities, and decentralization. To minimize risks, the study suggests a combination of domestic revenue generation efforts, spending cuts, accelerated privatization, aggressive asset recovery, and external finance.