Country Economic Memorandum

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  • Publication
    Growth, Trade, and Transformation: A Country Economic Memorandum for Uganda
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-12-31) World Bank
    Uganda has made significant progress in the last three decades; most importantly, Ugandans now live much longer and better lives than before. Since 1990, the life expectancy of a Ugandan baby has increased by almost half, from 43.8 years to 63.4 years. This progress was driven by rapid economic growth and enabled by good policies and favorable conditions. Between 2000 and 2011, Uganda’s real GDP grew by an impressive average of 7.9 percent annually. Since 2011, however, growth has slowed down, exposing major economic fault lines in the long run. To support Uganda’s search for new growth, this report analyzes: (i) Uganda’s structural transformation, (ii) the role of international trade, and (iii) future opportunities. The analysis first considers the drivers of economic growth in Uganda, with a special emphasis on structural transformation - that is, the reallocation of labor towards more productive activities. The analysis shows that, for Uganda, where nearly two thirds of the workforce is occupied in agriculture, which produces less than a quarter of the GDP, a more productive employment of labor would inevitably become a central element of a future growth strategy. Next, the analysis turns to analyzing the role of international trade in promoting such transformation. For many economies that suffer from small domestic markets and distortions, trade can help allocate productive factors to more efficient uses. Finally, the report takes a forward-looking approach to explore future opportunities and policies in Uganda, focusing specifically on five key areas: regional integration and trade, hydrocarbons, tourism, digital transformation, and climate change and the environment.
  • Publication
    Zimbabwe Country Economic Memorandum: Boosting Productivity and Quality Jobs
    (Washington, DC, 2022-10) World Bank
    Despite various economic setbacks, Zimbabwe regained lower middle-income country (LMIC) status in 2018 and aspires to become an upper middle-income country (UMIC) by 2030. The focus of this Country Economic Memorandum (CEM) is to identify options for structural reforms to help Zimbabwe accelerate economic growth and to achieve UMIC status. This is the first CEM for Zimbabwe since 1985 and it comes at a critical juncture along Zimbabwe’s development path. The objective of the report is to support and inform policy makers and stakeholders on policies to accelerate economic growth, boost productivity, and create high-quality jobs. In this regard, the CEM first establishes macroeconomic stability as a necessary condition for high and sustained growth. It then uses productivity as an overall framing to identify key structural bottlenecks, before providing deep-dives on informality and trade as priority areas to address in order to unleash productivity growth. Importantly, the report also aims to present data about Zimbabwe’s economic performance in a systematic fashion, focusing on the previous two decades and comparing Zimbabwe with its peers in the region, as well as aspirational peers globally.
  • Publication
    Ethiopia’s Great Transition: The Next Mile - A Country Economic Memorandum
    (Washington, DC : World Bank, 2022-06-17) World Bank
    Ethiopia’s rapid growth over the past two decades has resulted in a surge in income per capita levels, with the country approaching fast the middle-income milestone. Over the past decade, fast growth was driven by capital accumulation, but the extent to which this growth has been equally distributed is unclear. Public infrastructure spending accelerated dramatically in the first half of the 2010s, helping underpin fast economic growth. However, this approach seems to have had important shortcomings. Contrary to the findings of World Bank (2015) which examined an earlier period, total factor productivity (TFP) declined during 2011-2020, contributing negatively to growth. In addition, inequality at the household level increased between 2011 and 2016. Finally, macroeconomic imbalances have widened, a trend exacerbated by recent shocks. This report discusses the drivers of growth in Ethiopia and, in the absence of official subnational gross domestic product (GDP) figures, examines whether there has been convergence in economic activity at the subnational level.
  • Publication
    Directions for Reform: A Country Economic Memorandum for Recovery and Resilience in South Sudan
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-06-10) World Bank
    South Sudan is at a crossroads in its recovery, reconstruction, and development. Having gained independence in 2011 after two protracted civil wars, the country twice relapsed into conflict: first in 2013 and again in 2016. While the economy began to recover following the 2018 peace deal, progress has stalled amidst a multitude of crises – including the COVID-19 pandemic, climate shocks, and dwindling oil production. At the same time, the broad-based rise in commodity prices due to the war in Ukraine have on balance affected South Sudan adversely. A decade after independence, South Sudan remains caught in a web of fragility and economic stagnation, with weak institutions, recurring cycles of violence, and ubiquitous poverty. Overall, the conflict is estimated to have cost South Sudan an accumulated loss in aggregate GDP of some US$81 billion during 2012 – 2018, equivalent to $11.6 billion per year on average (80 percent of 2010 GDP). Consequently, South Sudan’s real GDP per capita in 2018 was estimated at being one third of the counterfactual estimated for a non-conflict scenario. With the fragile peace deal largely holding despite challenges in implementation, the authorities initiated an ambitious reform program aimed at macroeconomic stabilization and modernization of the young country’s public financial management systems. This report discusses South Sudan’s economic performance since independence, with a focus on leveraging the country’s endowments of natural capital – oil and arable land – to support recovery and resilience. Three messages emerge from this report. First, there is a peace dividend in South Sudan. South Sudan’s real GDP per capita in 2018 was estimated at one third of the counterfactual estimated for a non-conflict scenario. Thus, maintaining peace can by itself be a strong driver of growth. Second, with better governance and accountability, South Sudan’s oil resources can drive transformation. Third, South Sudan’s chronic food insecurity could be reversed with targeted investments to improve the resilience of the agricultural sector.
  • Publication
    Georgia Country Economic Memorandum: Charting Georgia’s Future
    (Washington, DC, 2022-06) World Bank
    From the Coronavirus (COVID) pandemic to the war in Ukraine, the world and Georgia are experiencing more uncertainty and accelerating disruption. As a small open economy looking to integrate with the global economy, Georgia must carefully navigate these trends by being prepared for the risks and on the lookout for emerging opportunities. A more capable, competitive and connected Georgia will be better placed to navigate these trends. This Country Economic Memorandum (CEM) aims to inform the policies that could offset these headwinds. To sustain productivity growth, Georgia needs to facilitate its structural transformation and the corresponding spatial adjustment (Chapters 1 and 2). Furthermore, growth will increasingly need to come from improvements in total factor productivity (TFP) in Georgia’s firms (Chapter 3) and advancement in their ability to exploit opportunities in external markets (Chapter 4). Finally, more active and better-skilled labor (Chapter 5) can help offset existing demographic trends and augment productivity. Progress in these areas, supported by higher savings, will make Georgia’s economy more competitive, connected, and capable, help sustain robust GDP growth over the long-term and turn Georgia’s aspirations into reality.
  • Publication
    Gabon Country Economic Memorandum: Toward More Inclusive and Greener Growth
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-05) World Bank
    Over-reliance on natural resources has held back diversification of Gabon’s economy, as growth, exports, and fiscal revenues are still largely dependent on extractives. Despite Gabon’s abundant natural resources, growth has been slow to reduce poverty. In the context of dual shocks from low oil prices and the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, government authorities committed to fiscal consolidation, structural reforms, and economic diversification as part of the Accelerated Transformation Plan (PAT). In addition, at their exceptional summit in August 2021, the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) heads of state provided a strong political endorsement for structural reforms, with emphasis on improved management of public funds and governance, business environment reforms, and regional integration of human capital. This Country Economic Memorandum (CEM) is framed along the new reforms supported by the CEMAC heads of state to achieve faster, more inclusive, and sustainable growth. In this CEM, the green economy is viewed as an opportunity for Gabon to position itself as a champion. Economic transformation is necessary to find a better, sustainable model for job creation: reinforcing labor supply through better skills and job-search training, and creating economic opportunities in a more conducive environment for investment and trade. This CEM aims at supporting policy makers in their reform efforts. Their goal is to help Gabon, a small economy of 2.3 million people, break free from its resource-dependent growth model and create the conditions to move people into jobs in promising green sectors.
  • Publication
    Leveraging Global Value Chains for growth in Turkey: A Turkey Country Economic Memorandum
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-03-02) World Bank
    Turkey saw phenomenal growth in the 2000s as economic reforms ushered in FDI, GVCs expanded, and productivity increased. The early 2000s saw Turkey exit from major economic crisis with a strengthened fiscal framework, a strengthened, inflation-targeting mandate for the Central Bank, the establishment of an independent bank regulator, and importantly, a recently agreed Customs Union agreement with the EU. From 2001 to 2017, incomes per capita in Turkey doubled in real terms and tripled in current dollar terms. Turkey transformed from a lower-middle-income country (LMIC) at the start of the 2000s to very nearly reaching high-income status by 2014. This drove a rapid fall in poverty from above 30 percent to just 9 percent1. Very few other countries matched Turkey’s growth over this period, and almost all of them were new EU member states.
  • Publication
    Nigeria Country Economic Memorandum : Charting a New Course: Synthesis Report
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022) World Bank
    Nigeria has vast potential, but development has stagnated over the past decade. The country is characterized by strong spatial inequalities and a large north-south divide. Creating better jobs is a necessary condition for accelerating poverty reduction and economic transformation. A combination of limited job creation, booming demographics, and unfulfilled aspirations is pushing young Nigerians to emigrate abroad in search of gainful employment. As a result, Nigeria is at a critical historical juncture, with a choice to make. To chart a new and inclusive growth path, Nigeria needs macroeconomic and institutional enablers and investment accelerators. To catalyze private investment and offer more opportunities to the youth, the priority is to restore and preserve macroeconomic stability. To do so, it will be critical to improve the availability of FX, and the predictability and credibility of the exchange rate system to ensure a level playing field across all firms and individuals. While there is no silver bullet to accelerate growth, Nigeria can become a rising growth star again if it implements a comprehensive set of bold reforms in a timely manner. To implement this set of prioritized reforms, the authorities need to walk the talk and shift their focus from the “what” to the “how”.
  • Publication
    Poland Country Economic Memorandum: The Green Transformation in Poland – Opportunities and Challenges for Economic Growth
    (Washington, DC, 2022) World Bank
    Poland’s economic development story is one of success: since the early 1990s, the country has transitioned to a market economy, integrated into the European Union economy and global supply chains and sustained robust growth, avoiding the middle-income trap and increasing the resilience of its economy. Poland has sustained strong growth over the past three decades, making substantial advances in converging towards the European Union (EU-27) average per capita income, although there is still a considerable gap in both productivity and income convergence when compared with aspirational peers. Poland successfully transitioned to an EU-integrated market economy, moving from upper middle-income to high-income status in less than a decade and a half. Its economy underwent a deep structural transformation, supported by cost-competitiveness, and is now well-diversified and more resilient to shocks. Long-term growth has been supported by increased total factor productivity (TFP), grounded in efficiency gains, although capital accumulation has remained the main contributor to growth. While capital deepening did occur, investments in Information Communication and Technology (ICT) and in intangible assets that have high growth potential lagged those of peers. A skilled labor force has contributed more to growth in the case of Poland than it did in peer countries. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has resulted in important learning losses, as observed throughout the world, and together with reversals in education reforms in recent years could weigh down on labor quality and productivity in the future.COVID-19
  • Publication
    Pathways to Sustainable Growth in Niger: A World Bank Group Country Economic Memorandum
    (Washington, DC, 2022) World Bank
    This country economic memorandum aims to support Niger’s efforts to walk on a path conducive to a resilient and sustainable economic growth. It does so by attempting to answer the following five questions, each of which constitutes a separate chapter: (i) what were the salient structural characteristics of Niger’s growth performance in the last 20 years; (ii) what are the margins to accelerate growth in the medium to long term; (iii) how can technology be a vehicle for private sector development; (iv) how can the country’s large natural resource endowments be managed in a transparent way that benefits the whole population; and (v) how can the current disaster management framework be strengthened to increase resilience to natural shocks