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Now showing 1 - 10 of 224
  • Publication
    Planning Beyond the Next Harvest: Advancing Economic Stability and Agricultural Commercialization
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-12) World Bank
    The 16th edition of the Malawi Economic Monitor (MEM) calls for urgent actions to stabilize the economy and enhance growth. As in the previous MEM, this includes addressing three key areas: i) Stabilizing the economy: While some progress is being made, there remains an urgent need for theimplementation of the announced macroeconomic reforms, including building foreign reserves, achieving fiscal consolidation goals for the current fiscal year, returning debt to a sustainable path through restructuring, implementing key fiscal governance and public financial management (PFM) reforms, and continuing the shift toward a more flexible exchange rate regime. ii) Stimulating agricultural export competitiveness and market-driven growth in the economy: In the context of an ongoing macroeconomic crisis, it will be essential to focus on reforms to catalyze growth. This includes a sustained emphasis on advancing agricultural commercialization, improving the productivity of firms, and increasing and diversifying exports. It will also be important to deliver on the planned reform of expensive and poorly targeted subsidies, such as those for the Affordable Input Programme (AIP), and remove distortions that constrain firms’ growth. iii) Protecting the poor and strengthening resilience: As another difficult lean season approaches, including the heightened risk of extreme weather events, it will be essential to advance implementation of the significantly expanded Social Cash Transfer Program and other assistance programs. In the context of fiscal pressures, it will also be important to continue prioritizing the deliveryof essential services to the most vulnerable, while improving the efficiency and effectiveness of social sector expenditure.
  • 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
    Enhancing Links of Poor Farmers to Markets: A Practice Review for Economic Inclusion in Zambia
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-09-16) Sparkman, Tim; Sackett, Jill; Avalos, Jorge; Varghese Paul, Boban
    This report reviews the experiences of market linkage programs implemented globally, particularly those focused on poor smallholders, including women, as beneficiaries and farmers who participated in government social safety net schemes. The report highlights lessons learned by program implementers, governments, and other stakeholders related to efforts to link extremely poor households to productive markets. The research was commissioned to inform potential links between two World Bank projects that are currently supporting the economic inclusion of poor households in Zambia. The supporting women’s livelihood (SWL) program of the Girls’ Education and Women’s Empowerment and Livelihoods (GEWEL) Project provides a comprehensive package to promote economic inclusion among women from the poorest households. A second project, the Zambia Agribusiness and Trade Project (ZATP), enhances access to markets by linking producer organizations and high-growth small and medium-size enterprises to buyers (commercial off-takers) by facilitating productive alliances (commercial agreements between a producer organization and a commercial off-taker) and providing matching grants and technical support. A diagnostic of the status of and constraints facing SWL beneficiaries with respect to market linkages highlights the lack of upstream value chain linkages for them. The World Bank will provide technical assistance to the government of Zambia, through relevant ministries, to operationalize a mechanism, at scale, for forging market linkages by SWL households by linking them to ZATP beneficiaries. This report reviews and highlights the experiences of similar market linkages programs implemented globally, in an attempt to answer key questions raised by the program. This report describes operational considerations that may be relevant to the ZATP-GEWEL project context. It provides recommendations to guide the next steps in developing the ZATP-GEWEL pilot.
  • Publication
    Creating Markets in Eswatini : Strengthening the Private Sector to Grow Export Markets and Create Jobs - Country Private Sector Diagnostic
    (Washington, DC, 2022-09) International Finance Corporation
    Eswatini is facing multiple challenges. It was already experiencing weak economic growth before the COVID-19 pandemic, a reflection of longstanding, deeply rooted issues such as fiscal unsustainability, declining private investment, weakening productivity and competitiveness, and falling export diversification and complexity, compounded by the impact of climate shocks. It shifted from a private investment–led higher-growth model to a government spending–led lower-growth model after the end of apartheid in South Africa. With weak investment in productive sectors, Eswatini’s job market failed to keep pace with an expanding, younger labor force, leading to a large informal sector. Eswatini’s public sector–driven growth model is unsustainable under current fiscally constrained conditions, and there is a need to reduce and reprioritize public spending. An assessment of existing sectoral data and consultations with Eswatini’s private sector and policy makers suggest that four sectors can help drive the export-led private sector growth model. To return to an export-led growth model, Eswatini needs to increase export competitiveness by advancing regulatory reforms and improvements in trade logistics that include regional collaboration to address trade facilitation constraints. Finally, given the country’s vulnerability to climate risks, policies to foster economic resilience amid extreme weather events (mainly droughts that affect agriculture) and improve disaster preparedness need to be pursued. The private sector must adapt to this challenge and work with the government to improve climate resilience.
  • Publication
    Creating Markets In Namibia : Creating Resilient and Inclusive Markets - Country Private Sector Diagnostic
    (Washington, DC, 2022-07) International Finance Corporation
    Since achieving independence in 1990, Namibia’s remarkable growth has been fueled by foreign direct investment and enabled by prudent economic management. Since 2016, however, growth has declined steadily and the economy fell into recession, exposing the vulnerability of Namibia’s economic growth model to external and climate shocks. These challenges were exacerbated by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, an economic slowdown in neighboring South Africa, worsening terms of trade on the back of declining global demand and commodity prices, a decline in Southern African Customs Union (SACU) revenues, and the effects of crippling droughts on agricultural and industrial production. Namibia has very high levels of poverty and inequality, which are largely driven by high levels of unemployment. The primary objective of this Country Private Sector Diagnostic (CPSD) is to identify near and medium-term reform opportunities to revitalize the private sector and help reposition Namibia’s growth on a green, resilient, and inclusive trajectory. This CPSD explores priority reform opportunities to address five cross-cutting bottlenecks: (1) enhancing the role and performance of the state-owned enterprise (SOE) sector through a more effective competition policy environment; (2) strengthening implementation of the public-private partnership (PPP) framework to expand private investments, especially in infrastructure; (3) leveraging the potential for digital transformation of the economy; (4) addressing inefficiencies in logistics and trade facilitation; and (5) tapping opportunities in the water sector for green and resilient growth. The diagnostic then looks in depth at three sectors prioritized by the Namibian government - renewable energy, climate-smart agribusiness, and housing, and provides recommendations for reducing sector-specific bottlenecks to stimulate growth potential.
  • Publication
    Creating Markets in Botswana - A Diamond in the Rough: Toward a New Strategy for Diversification and Private Sector Growth - Country Private Sector Diagnostic
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-06) International Finance Corporation
    Diamonds have been at the center of Botswana’s growth miracle for decade - but the urgency to diversify is stronger than ever. Although Botswana’s economy has undergone transformation over the past decades, the shift has been largely into non-tradable services, with limited gains in employment, income equality, and export diversification. In addition, Botswana’s high vulnerability to climate change, which affects all major sectors of the economy, underscores the need to strengthen Botswana’s response to climate factors as a basis for renewed, sustainable growth. A positive growth outlook and steps taken as part of the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis response should give the government new impetus to accelerate reforms. Success in diversifying the economy will depend on the decisive implementation of structural measures to increase private sector participation in nonmineral exports and transformative sectors. The dominant role that the government of Botswana still plays in large parts of the economy, particularly through its footprint as a shareholder in companies in the corporate sector, is a critical constraint that inhibits the entry and success of private sector participants. Gaps in infrastructure, access to finance, and skills are additional key constraints to employment and productivity growth. A coordinated approach to financing entrepreneurship and policies to increase uptake of digital finance can help close the gap. Trade barriers are another key cross-cutting constraint for the private sector, and a greener path for the economy can be unlocked by facilitating improved trade in environmental goods and services (EGS). Three key recommendations for the energy sector are as follows. The first recommendation is the fast tracking of instruments to facilitate investment in energy infrastructure development, including independent power producer (IPP) licensing, and procurement guidelines and processes. The second recommendation is the enhancement of the institutional capacity and governance model of the Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA). The third recommendation is the development of credit-enhancement and risk-mitigation strategies and supporting instruments to attract and mobilize private sector investment.
  • Publication
    Engagement of Micro and Small Enterprises in Workplace-based Learning in South Africa
    (Washington, DC : World Bank, 2022-04) Franz, Jutta; Dulvy, Elizabeth Ninan; Marock, Carmel
    Workplace-based learning (WBL) increases the labor market relevance of skills development programs and the employability of their graduates. The advantages of WBL for enriching the learning experience and improving the outcomes of skills development, and enhancing the employability of graduates, have always been recognized in South Africa. Engaging in WBL can help micro and small enterprises (MSEs) secure skilled labor and increase their productivity. Against this background, the World Bank and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) agreed to conduct a study about the involvement of MSEs in WBL in South Africa. The study intends to shed light on the constraints and opportunities for expanding WBL engagement among MSEs in South Africa, by taking stock of the current situation of MSE participation in WBL, identifying constraints, potential and key enablers, and outlining possible strategies to better engage and support MSEs in WBL. The study reviews the concept of WBL in a wider sense than is often applied in skills development debates in South Africa. Unlocking the vast potential of WBL and work experience opportunities to be offered to young South Africans by small and very small (micro) enterprises will be an important contribution to the fight against youth unemployment.
  • Publication
    Fit for Purpose: Dam Rehabilitation Prioritization Tool in Zimbabwe
    (Washington, DC, 2022) World Bank
    As a nation with highly variable and limited availability of water resources, Zimbabwe relies on a vast and aging water infrastructure stock that requires prompt rehabilitation to better support the water, food, and energy sectors. The country has limited water resources, with much of its area classified as semi-arid with highly variable rainfall. Zimbabwe relies on dams to store water to ensure irrigation for food security, water supply, and hydropower production. It has the second highest water storage capacity per capita in Southern Africa. There are about 10,000 dams, from large to small, and more publicly owned dams than private dams.
  • Publication
    Malawi Economic Monitor, June 2021: Investing in Digital Transformation
    (World Bank, Lilongwe, 2021-06-23) World Bank
    Malawi was affected by a severe second wave of COVID-19 (coronavirus) cases starting in the last weeks of 2020. As a result, the Government declared a second 'State of National Disaster' and announced increased social distancing measures. Case numbers peaked in January and gradually subsided through April, when restrictions were relaxed. Malawi received its first consignment of vaccination doses from COVAX in March, but uptake has been low, with around 400,000 doses administered to about 2 percent of the population as of mid-June. Growth in 2020 was strongly affected by the pandemic, falling to an estimated 0.8 percent, down from pre-pandemic projections of 4.8 percent. The pandemic’s impact on the services and industry sectors was partially offset by a strong agricultural harvest. Services and industry slumped amid the ongoing disruptions caused by the pandemic to global value chains and trade and logistics, decreases in tourism and remittances, and dampened demand due to social distancing measures. The accommodation and food services subsectors were the most affected, while information and communication services, and utilities performed well. Agricultural production estimates for 2021 are strong, but the pandemic will still weigh on economic activity. Maize production is expected to increase to 4.5 million tons, a 17 percent increase over 2020’s bumper harvest. Business sentiment is showing some improvement in early 2021 but is still below pre-pandemic levels. Some 46 percent of firms surveyed in February 2021 by the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) expect a positive performance for the year. This is an improvement from 31 percent in 2020 but remains short of pre-pandemic levels.
  • Publication
    Zambia's Farmer Input Support Program and Recommendations for Re-designing the Program
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-06-21) World Bank
    This note provides recommendations for redesigning Zambia’s Farmer Input Support Program (FISP) in the context of international experience with other similar programs, especially those in Africa. The objective of this note is to provide recommendations that can help in improving the current programs providing subsidized inputs to farmers, through enhancing the efficiency of the program, targeting the right beneficiaries, value perceived by beneficiary farmers, and probably bringing in savings. The note is a key deliverable under the Advisory Services work carried out by the Bank on strategies for food security in Zambia and Zimbabwe. This note has three sections following the summary: (i) a brief review of the evidence generated on input subsidy programs; (ii) specific recommendations for Zambia’s Farmers Input Support Program, and (iii) recommendations on complementary investments.