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    New Approaches to Closing the Fiscal Gap
    (Washington, DC : World Bank, 2022-10-04) World Bank
    As the COVID‐19 crisis recedes, Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is back to work and looking forward. Reported deaths related to the pandemic are low and have plausibly converged to global levels. Yet low vaccination rates in some countries leave them vulnerable to new variants. In most countries, gross domestic product (GDP) and employment have fully recovered their 2019 levels, although forecasted growth rates might be said to be “resiliently mediocre”: banking systems appear sound, and rising debt burdens are manageable so far, but growth is not expected to exceed the low levels of the 2010 decade. Poverty in terms of income (monetary poverty) has largely receded with the economic recovery, but the longer‐term scars of the pandemic in terms of education and health have planted deep seeds of future inequality. Redressing these problems and undertaking the structural reforms needed to reach higher levels of growth and reduce poverty remain central on the policy agenda. The new and unwelcome entrant in the policy space is inflation. While comparable to advanced country levels and well managed by regional monetary authorities, inflation nonetheless is being propelled by forces that may give it more staying power than originally hoped. Finally, public deficits induced by the pandemic and the need to finance critical government programs and directions have opened a fiscal gap and led to constrained fiscal space. The need to close the fiscal gap, put debt on a sustainable footing, and generate fiscal space to finance necessary physical and social investments has led to a search for new revenues and in particular to pressure to increase income taxes. In looking at any tax hike, concerns center on the possible depressive effects on growth, overall progressivity, and possible incentives for informality. This report presents new evidence on these effects for value added taxes (VAT) and income taxes. It also advocates for steps to cut wasteful government spending and increase government efficiency - both to generate substantial resources and as an entry point to a broader agenda of state modernization and generating public trust.
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    World Development Report 2022: Finance for an Equitable Recovery
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-02-15) World Bank
    World Development Report 2022: Finance for an Equitable Recovery examines the central role of finance in the economic recovery from COVID-19. Based on an in-depth look at the consequences of the crisis most likely to affect low- and middle-income economies, it advocates a set of policies and measures to mitigate the interconnected economic risks stemming from the pandemic—risks that may become more acute as stimulus measures are withdrawn at both the domestic and global levels. Those policies include the efficient and transparent management of nonperforming loans to mitigate threats to financial stability, insolvency reforms to allow for the orderly reduction of unsustainable debts, innovations in risk management and lending models to ensure continued access to credit for households and businesses, and improvements in sovereign debt management to preserve the ability of governments to support an equitable recovery.
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    Renewing with Growth
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2021-03-29) World Bank
    Latin America and the Caribbean suffered the largest death toll from Covid‐19 across developing regions and the sharpest decline in economic activity. With fewer school days and lower employment rates, with higher public debt and more firms under stress, the effects could be long‐lasting. The crisis also triggered large‐scale economic restructuring, with productivity higher in the expanding than in the contracting sectors. Accelerated digitization could instill dynamism in finance, trade and labor markets, but it may amplify inequality within and across the countries in the region. Technology could transform the energy sector as well. Latin America and the Caribbean has the cleanest and potentially cheapest electricity generation matrix of all developing regions. But its electricity is the most expensive, due mainly to inefficiencies. Distributed generation within countries and electricity trade across countries, could make energy greener and cheaper, provided that the pricing is right.
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    Mozambique Economic Update, February 2021: Setting the Stage for Recovery
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2021-02) World Bank
    The global pandemic has taken a heavy toll on Mozambique’s economy. In 2020, the country experienced its first economic contraction in nearly three decades. COVID-19 (coronavirus) hit the economy as it was attempting to recover from the slowdown triggered by the hidden debt crisis and the tropical cyclones in 2019. Real gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 1.3 percent in 2020, compared to a pre-Covid estimate of 4.3 percent, as external demand declined, domestic lockdown measures disrupted supply chains and depressed domestic demand, and liquified natural gas (LNG) investments were delayed. COVID-19 has caused a sudden income loss for enterprises and households, worsening living conditions, especially for the urban poor largely engaged in the informal sector. According to the National Institute of Statistics, as of June 2020, about 120,000 jobs were lost and 63,000 employment contracts suspended, with women being the most affected. Around 3 percent of the firms affected were forced to cease their activity. Services activities are the hardest hit. The tourism and hospitality industries have particularly suffered a steep decline in revenues. COVID-19 has jeopardized years of hard-won development gains, with about one million people estimated to have slipped into poverty in 2020 (as measured by the international poverty line of 1.90 US Dollars per day). While there is great uncertainty about the path of the pandemic, the economy is expected to gradually recover from 2021 as aggregate demand rebounds and LNG investments and extractive production gain momentum. Despite the expected recovery, the widespread deployment of COVID-19 vaccines will be at the core of a resilient recovery. This Economic Update explores the implications of COVID-19 for the economy, businesses and households. It makes recommendations for moving forward—in the short-term relief phase, as well as over the medium and longer term in order to 'build back better'.
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    The Cost of Staying Healthy
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2020-10-09) World Bank
    Latin America and the Caribbean was hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, which arrived on the back of years of disappointing economic growth and limited social progress, and after a wave of social unrest. This report reviews the impacts of the crisis as well as the policy responses by countries, which often involved sizeable social transfers. It also presents growth forecasts, and quarterly growth estimates based on satellite imagery. With countries experiencing a diverse mix of health costs and economic costs, the report analyzes how the effectiveness of containment policies, and their impact on economic activity, differ between richer and poorer countries. It also assesses the cost of staying healthy in normal times, showing how it is affected by the structure of the domestic pharmaceutical sector and by the effectiveness of public procurement of medicines. As the region may have to live with the virus for a while, four policy directions are proposed for discussion.
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    The Economy in the Time of Covid-19
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2020-04-12) World Bank
    After a period of rapid economic growth associated with high commodity prices, the region had entered a phase of lackluster performance. Recent developments, including a new oil price shock, and the outbreak of the Covid-19 epidemic will push the region into recession. Many countries are struggling to contain the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic while avoiding a dramatic decline in economic activity. The report analyzes how to think about this tradeoff. It estimates the potential health costs, assesses the effectiveness of diverse containment strategies, and discusses how large the economic cost could be. The current crisis is unprecedented because it combines a fall in global demand, tighter financial conditions and a major supply shock. The response needs to consider how to socialize the losses, how to prevent a collapse of the financial sector, how to protect jobs and livelihoods, and how to manage and divest the assets that will inevitably end up in the hands of the state.
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    The World Bank Annual Report 2011: Year in Review
    (Washington, DC, 2011) World Bank
    Executive Directors continued to play an important role as the World Bank faced many challenges in a global post crisis economy. The Board considered a number of key documents in preparation for the committee on development effectiveness meetings. These included the World Development Report 2011, which focuses on conflict, security, and development, and responding to global food price volatility and its impact on food security, which examines the Bank's responses to food price increases and climate change risks. The Board approved more than $42 billion in financial assistance in fiscal 2011, comprising about $26 billion in International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) lending and $16 billion in International Development Association (IDA) support. During fiscal 2011 the Bank Group committed $57.3 billion in loans, grants, equity investments, and guarantees to its members and to private businesses. IBRD commitments totaled $26.7 billion compared with $44.2billion in 2010, but still above pre crisis levels. The World Bank Group continues to operate under a real flat budget, for the seventh consecutive year.
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    World Development Report 2011: Conflict, Security, and Development
    (World Bank, 2011) World Bank
    The 2011 World development report looks across disciplines and experiences drawn from around the world to offer some ideas and practical recommendations on how to move beyond conflict and fragility and secure development. The key messages are important for all countries-low, middle, and high income-as well as for regional and global institutions: first, institutional legitimacy is the key to stability. When state institutions do not adequately protect citizens, guard against corruption, or provide access to justice; when markets do not provide job opportunities; or when communities have lost social cohesion-the likelihood of violent conflict increases. Second, investing in citizen security, justice, and jobs is essential to reducing violence. But there are major structural gaps in our collective capabilities to support these areas. Third, confronting this challenge effectively means that institutions need to change. International agencies and partners from other countries must adapt procedures so they can respond with agility and speed, a longer-term perspective, and greater staying power. Fourth, need to adopt a layered approach. Some problems can be addressed at the country level, but others need to be addressed at a regional level, such as developing markets that integrate insecure areas and pooling resources for building capacity Fifth, in adopting these approaches, need to be aware that the global landscape is changing. Regional institutions and middle income countries are playing a larger role. This means should pay more attention to south-south and south-north exchanges, and to the recent transition experiences of middle income countries.
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    World Development Report 2010: Development and Climate Change
    (Washington, DC, 2010) World Bank
    Thirty years ago, half the developing world lived in extreme poverty today, a quarter. Now, a much smaller share of children are malnourished and at risk of early death. And access to modern infrastructure is much more widespread. Critical to the progress: rapid economic growth driven by technological innovation and institutional reform, particularly in today's middle- income countries, where per capita incomes have doubled. Yet the needs remain enormous, with the number of hungry people having passed the billion marks this year for the first time in history. With so many still in poverty and hunger, growth and poverty alleviation remain the overarching priority for developing countries. Climate change only makes the challenge more complicated. First, the impacts of a changing climate are already being felt, with more droughts, more floods, more strong storms, and more heat waves-taxing individuals, firms, and governments, drawing resources away from development. Second, continuing climate change, at current rates, will pose increasingly severe challenges to development. By century's end, it could lead to warming of 5°C or more compared with preindustrial times and to a vastly different world from today, with more extreme weather events, most ecosystems stressed and changing, many species doomed to extinction, and whole island nations threatened by inundation. Even our best efforts are unlikely to stabilize temperatures at anything less than 2°C above preindustrial temperatures, warming that will require substantial adaptation. High income countries can and must reduce their carbon footprints. They cannot continue to fill up an unfair and unsustainable share of the atmospheric commons. But developing countries whose average per capita emissions are a third those of high income countries need massive expansions in energy, transport, urban systems, and agricultural production. If pursued using traditional technologies and carbon intensities, these much-needed expansions will produce more greenhouse gases and, hence, more climate change. The question, then, is not just how to make development more resilient to climate change. It is how to pursue growth and prosperity without causing "dangerous" climate change.
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    Environmental Licensing for Hydroelectric Projects in Brazil : A Contribution to the Debate
    (Washington, DC, 2008-03-28) World Bank
    This study points out that hydroelectric plants will continue to play a prominent role in the Brazilian electric matrix. A significant portion of the potential hydroelectric plants of the country is located in the Amazon, environmentally sensitive region. The licensing of hydroelectric projects in Brazil is considered a major obstacle for the expanding the capacity of generating electricity. The non-expansion, in turn, represents a serious threat to economic growth. This study, designed as a contribution to the debate in progress about the subject, examines the legal and institutional milestones of the environmental licensing of hydroelectric ventures, including studies of selected cases, an assessment of transaction costs of the processes and a comparison with international practices. Two conclusions emerge from this study. The first is that the costs of dealing with environmental issues and social development of enterprises hydroelectric in Brazil represent 12 percent of the total cost of the work. And the second is that costs of taxes, in general, the contractual and regulatory uncertainty, excluding the licensing environmental, represent about 7.5 percent of the total cost. In other words, the conclusion is clear: the environmental and social costs can be easily integrated. This study does not suggest radical changes to the system of environmental licensing. Any reform of the Brazilian environmental licensing can not be dealt with based on a single, simple solution. Rather, the system is complex and multifaceted, with a long legal and institutional history. A process of broad national discussion on the energy issue and its implications for environmental goods of the country is essential and is already in progress.