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Timor-Leste - Oecusse Economic and Trade Potential: Overview of Oecusse Today and Long Term Potential(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-05) World Bank GroupThis report responds to a request from the Government of Timor-Leste (GoTL) and Dr. Mari Alkatiri. The request was for World Bank assistance to collaborate on a range of studies relating to opportunities in the special economic zone, including community development, trade and competitiveness, and regional integration. The analysis builds on a situation analysis prepared by the Zona Especial de Economia Social de Mercado (ZEESM) authority in March 2014. The transfer of significant responsibility for Oecusse’s development to the ZEESM authority, reflects a political rapprochement and collaboration between Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao and Dr. Alkatiri. The report is in two volumes. Volume one presents an overview of Oecusse’s current state in chapter one with analysis of living standards, economic activity including trade, and current constraints. Chapter two analyzes Oecusse’s phased economic potential through a range of phase one development interventions focusing on agriculture, and considers the pre-requisites for developing an SEZ in Oecusse. Volume two contains more comprehensive background chapters with full analysis of living standards in chapter three, agriculture in chapter four, transport corridor in chapter five, and migration in chapter six.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-02) World Bank GroupThis report seeks to shed light on the ways in which the services sector has contributed to Lao PDR’s competitiveness and integration into the global marketplace. It focuses on two complementary roles that the services sector plays: first, as an avenue for export diversification and growth and, second,by providing inputs into other productive sectors of the economy, such as the manufacturing sector. As economies grow, the importance of the services sector generally increases, but its role as an enabler of other sectors of the economy in moving up the value chain is frequently overlooked. However, the services sector is critical in raising competitiveness of these other sectors to boost growth and create better quality jobs. The main policy recommendations that emerge from this report are aimed at increasing competition in the services sector, reducing distortive regulations, and opening up the sector to foreign participation, building up skills, both at the individual and at the firm level, and investing in hard and soft infrastructure to promote the development of the sector.
Publication(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.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-03-22) Bensassi, Sami ; Brockmeyer, Anne ; Pellerin, Matthieu ; Raballand, GaelThis paper estimates the volume of informal trade between Algeria and Mali and analyzes its determinants and mechanisms, using a multi-pronged methodology. First, the authors discuss how subsidy policies and the legal framework create incentives for informal trade across the Sahara. Second, the authors provide evidence of the importance of informal trade, drawing on satellite images and surveys with informal traders in Mali and Algeria. The authors estimate that the weekly turnover of informal trade fell from approximately United States (U.S.) 2 million dollars in 2011 to U.S. 0.74 million dollars in 2014, but continues to play a crucial role in the economies of northern Mali and southern Algeria. Profit margins of 20-30 percent on informal trade contribute to explaining the relative prosperity of northern Mali. The authors also show that official trade statistics are meaningless in this context, as they capture less than 3 percent of total trade. Finally, the authors provide qualitative evidence on informal trade actors and mechanisms for the most frequently traded products.