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PublicationPost Covid-19 - Building a Resilient and More Sustainable Recovery in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras: Central America Competitiveness Report(Washington, DC : World Bank, 2022) World BankThe Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has had widespread negative effects in developing countries around the world, generating an unprecedented shock. Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) was a particularly affected region, recording a significant contraction in regional GDP and international trade in 2020. This report focuses on the impact of Covid-19 and recovery in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. These three Central American countries (CA3), albeit unique in their history and characteristics, share many similarities in their economic context and challenges for achieving sustained growth. The region includes one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, with low economic growth rates relative to other Latin American countries. PublicationCEMAC: Deepening Regional Integration to Advance Growth and Prosperity(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-06-29) World BankThe Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC), which consists of Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon, is one of the oldest regional groupings in Africa. The main objectives for achieving this are: (i) the creation of a fully functional and effective customs union, (ii) the establishment of a robust system of macroeconomic surveillance, and (iii) the harmonization of sectoral policies and legal frameworks that will create a common market for goods, capital, and services.Despite this ambitious vision, regional integration in the CEMAC zone remains shallow.The oil price shock of 2014-15 severely affected the six CEMAC economies and promoted re-commitment to deepening regional integration.At the regional level, the PREF also aims to: (i) improve the coordination of public financial management (PFM) and fiscal policy; (ii) accelerate regional integration through improvements to the regional economic plan; (iii) improve the business climate; (iv) increase economic diversification; (v) enhance monetary policy transmission mechanisms; and (vi) improve prudential banking supervision.CEMAC is right to focus on reforms to deepening regional integration as a driver of growth.The objective of this Regional Study on CEMAC is to support policy makers in CEMAC in efforts to strengthen regional integration to support economic growth and to reduce the need for economic adjustment. The Regional Study focuses mainly on what can be done at the regional level to support regional integration, macro-stability and long-term growth in the CEMAC area; as such, the Regional Study aims to complement country-specific policies and initiatives to support macro-stabilization, economic development and integration. PublicationInvestment Policy and Promotion Diagnostics and Tools: Maximizing the Potential Benefits of Foreign Direct Investment for Competitiveness and Development(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-07-13) World Bank GroupThis paper presents a bird’s eye overview of the investment policy and promotion (IPP) logical framework developed by the trade and competitiveness global practice of the WBG to address the challenge of how countries can use foreign direct investment (FDI) to advance their economic development. The report sets out three key propositions: i.e. (i) that investment policy should aim not to choose between but connect domestic and foreign investors, (ii) that investment policy making should be based on the whole investment cycle going beyond promotion and (iii) that not all FDI is the same nor has the same development impacts. This sets out the logical framework for a concrete investment policy and promotion intervention in a time of globalization that will yield measurable results. PublicationImpact of the Libya Crisis on the Tunisian Economy(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-02-01) World BankThis study assesses the main spillover effects of the Libyan crisis on the Tunisian economy and estimates the crisis’ overall social welfare and fiscal impacts on Tunisia. The authors consider four main effects on Tunisia: (i) the increased presence of Libyans in Tunisia (both short- and long-term), and the return of Tunisian workers from Libya; (ii) the level and dynamics of illicit informal trade and informal cash flows between the two countries; (iii) the deterioration of civil security in the region and its effects on private investment and tourism; and (iv) the increase in the Tunisian government’s security spending. The chapter is organized as follows. Section one describes the objectives of the investigation and methodology. Section two estimates the number of Libyans living in Tunisia (temporary and permanent) and their demographic characteristics. Section three analyzes the living conditions of Libyan households in Tunisia and provides an estimate of their poverty level. Section four analyzes the shocks to Libyan households, and those households’ adaptations and resilience in response to shocks. Section five discusses the migratory decisions of Libyan households, in particular their preference to either return to Libya or remain permanently in Tunisia. PublicationUruguay: Trade Competitiveness Diagnostic(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-10) Portugal, Alberto; Reyes, Jose-Daniel; Varela, GonzaloAs a small economy, Uruguay’s growth and poverty reduction prospects are closely related to its performance in international markets. This report analyzes export dynamics in Uruguay over the period 2000-2013, benchmarking them against relevant comparator countries. It looks at export outcomes through four different dimensions of export performance: (1) the evolution, composition, and growth orientation of the country’s export basket; (2) the degree of diversification across products and markets; (3) the level of sophistication and quality; and (4) the survival rate of export relationships. The report offers a number of hypotheses for an in-depth competitiveness diagnostic of Uruguay’s external sector, as well as policy recommendations to increase integration and to gain from it. In addition to the real depreciation of the peso that followed the crisis, the international prices of Uruguay’s main export products soared. This stimulated investment in technological improvements in the production of these natural-resource-intensive products. Section one analyzes the macroeconomic environment in which exporters operate in Uruguay during the period of analysis. Section two looks at level, growth, composition, and market share performance of Uruguay’s exports, as well as the country’s main trading destinations. Section three focuses on the diversification of products and markets, considering several measures of concentration, including the share of top five products and markets in exports, and the Hirschman-Herfindahl index for Uruguay’s export portfolio. Sections four and five address quality and sophistication and survival, respectively. PublicationIndonesia Current Account Assessment(World Bank Group, Washington, DC, 2015-07-01) Nedeljkovic, Milan; Varela, Gonzalo; Savini Zangrandi, MicheleThe analysis presented in this report suggests that Indonesia’s recent current account deficit results from the interaction of short, medium and long run factors that can be grouped into four blocks: external shocks, domestic policies, international integration, and stage of development and demographics. PublicationThe Gambia -- Policies to Foster Growth: Volume 2. Macroeconomy, Finance, Trade and Energy(Washington, DC, 2015-05-19) World BankWhile mixed, there has also been progress in the areas of public sector, economic and fiscal management, civil service and justice reform, anti-corruption and public procurement reform. However, The Gambia remains vulnerable to external shocks as the main sources of domestically generated foreign exchange come from tourism and re-export trade whose fate depend largely on exogenous factors. In addition, a major part of the labor force is engaged in farming, and agriculture is vulnerable to weather conditions. PublicationThe Impact of the Syrian Conflict on Lebanese Trade(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-04) Calì, Massimiliano; Harake, Wissam; Hassan, Fadi; Struck, ClemensThe devastating civil war in Syria is arguably one of the major civil conflicts in recent times. The conflict started with protests in March 2011 and soon after escalated to a violent internal war with no end in sight to this date. The conflict has by the end of 2014 caused well in excess of 150,000 fatalities, and 6 million internally displaced people (UN), and led 3 million refugees to move out of the country (UNHCR). Beyond the human tragedy, the conflict has disrupted the functioning of the economy in many ways. It has destroyed infrastructure, prevented children from going to school, closed factories and deterred investments and trade. The economic effects of the war extend beyond the country’s borders affecting also the neighboring countries. In particular trade is one of the main channels through which the effects of the crisis are transmitted to neighboring countries. For example, the demand for goods and services in Syria is likely to have fallen thus affecting the many exporters to Syria in neighboring countries. Moreover, to the extent that Syria has become harder to cross, the war may have made trade through Syria more difficult. At the same time producers in neighboring countries may have replaced Syrian producers in Syria and in other markets as their productive assets in Syria were destroyed. This report examines the effects of the Syrian war on the Lebanese economy via one of the most important channels through which the economic impact of the war occurs, i.e. the trade channel. In doing so, it partly updates and extends the previous economic assessment of World Bank (2013b) carried out last year. Focusing specifically on trade allows us to examine in more depth the trade effects than that report was able to do. Indeed, we go beyond the effects on aggregate and sectoral imports and exports to also examine the effects on exports at firms’ level, comparing the effects in Lebanon with those in other neighboring countries, including Jordan, Turkey and Iraq. PublicationCambodia Services Trade : Performance and Regulatory Framework Assessment(Phnom Penh, 2014-07) World Bank GroupAs a result of a determined regulatory reform process and an economic modernization process over the past two decades, Cambodia has experienced extraordinary economic growth. In 2004, Cambodia became the first low-income country to join the World Trade Organization (WTO). Since then, Cambodia has grown to become one of East Asia s most open economies, especially in the services sector. Cambodia s impressive economic growth owes much of its driving force to the boom in services trade. Services exports grew more than 20 percent a year for most of the past decade led by a rapid expansion in tourism. Foreign direct investment (FDI) particularly in tourism, construction, infrastructure, agro-processing, and telecommunications also supported the expansion of services trade, not only by attracting foreign capital and expanding employment into Cambodia, but also by improving domestic technology and enhancing domestic skills. Cambodia is quickly becoming a sophisticated economy that needs to move beyond the pillars of textiles and tourism exports by diversifying into the export of modern services. Cambodian firms are already tentatively exporting some niche services such as computer-based animation. Modern services exports to other East Asian countries, including information technology (IT)-related services, are likely to play a more important role in Cambodia as a source of employment, revenue, and investment. In the regional context, Cambodia stands to benefit from its chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), by showcasing its economic reform and modernization process, and increasing the potential to attract investments from services firms interested in serving the region as whole. Cambodia should act quickly to address potential competition from other least-developed (LDC) and developing countries across the regions that are also expanding their services industries. PublicationCosta Rica : Five Years after CAFTA-DR, Assessing Early Results for the Costa Rican Economy(Washington, DC, 2014-06-13) World BankThe Dominican Republic - Central America - United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) has been fundamental in creating a stable framework for Costa Rica's trade with the United States. For Costa Rica, CAFTA-DR is more than a trade agreement. Besides eliminating tariffs and reducing non-tariff barriers between member countries, CAFTA-DR also introduced major changes to the legal framework of member countries, reducing barriers to services, promoting transparency, and ensuring a secure and predictable environment for investors. This report analyses how CAFTA-DR has impacted the Costa Rican economy in the five years after ratification, both on a macro level and in key specific sectors. The report shows that CAFTA-DR is yielding benefits to the Costa Rican economy, but it is too early to provide a complete account just after five years. The agreement has succeeded to further trade integration between Costa Rica, the US, and other CAFTA-DR countries. Exports to the US began increasing several years before the agreement, but CAFTA-DR accelerated the trend. Costa Rica continues attracting FDI above levels observed in other CAFTA-DR countries, with an increasing share from US investors and a focus on medical devices and business services. Online survey and interviews of high-tech firms in free trade zones found that CAFTA-DR was an important factor in the investment decisions. CAFTA-DR ignited an explosion of changes in the telecom and insurance sectors, bringing new regulatory frameworks, competition, product innovations, and price reductions. Consumers are reaping the benefits of improved telecom and insurance services. But some issues remain for those markets to mature. Finally, the concern regarding the potential negative impact on the Costa Rican Social Security Administration's finances due to the intellectual property rights measures have not been observed.