Foreign Trade, FDI, and Capital Flows Study

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  • Publication
    The Gambia - From Entrepot to Exporter and Eco-tourism : Diagnostic Trade Integration Study for the Integrated Framework for Trade-related Technical Assistance to Least Developed Countries
    (Washington, DC, 2007-07) World Bank
    For decades, Gambia has served as a regional entrepot, using the river as a transportation link to the hinterland. Relatively low import taxes, well-functioning port and customs services, and limited administrative barriers reinforced Gambia's position as a trading center. About 80 percent of Gambian merchandise exports consist of re-exports to the sub-region goods imported into Gambia are transported unofficially into Senegal and beyond. Gambian economy and especially its public finances are highly dependent on this trade because imported goods destined for re-export pay the normal import duties. Recently, however, re-exports have declined due to a combination of tensions with Senegal, harmonization of import and sales taxes in the region, and improved port and customs operations in Senegal and other neighboring countries. The current re-export trade is unlikely to be sustainable, calling for a strategy to build growth on a more secure foundation. The report identifies directions for establishing a more sustainable foundation for the country's position as a gateway to the region by improving the transport system and reinforcing its efficient trade facilitation services, while recognizing the limited potential for growth. The study makes detailed recommendations on strengthening and diversifying domestic production of goods and services in the areas of tourism, groundnuts, other agriculture, and fishing, by improving the business climate as well as implementing sector-specific reforms.
  • Publication
    Building Export Competitiveness in Laos : Summary Report
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2006-11) World Bank
    The basic framework for the background study on building export competitiveness in Laos is based on the National Growth and Poverty Eradication Strategy (NGPES), which appropriately stresses the need to: (i) improve the business climate by creating a predictable and transparent policy environment; (ii) streamline administrative procedures and regulations that are an obstacle to domestic and foreign private investment; and (iii) strengthen market institutions, including most notably those related to dispute resolution and contract enforcement. This paper focuses on three key priority areas: (a) Strengthening fiscal management is a first priority area. Progress in strengthening fiscal management is likely to require reforms to the broader framework of center-province fiscal relations; (b) Establishing a functioning banking system is a second priority area. Laos needs an efficient banking system to achieve the government's development goals and meet the competitive challenges of regional integration; and (3) Improving competitiveness is a third priority area. Conventional macroeconomic assessments of competitiveness using real effective exchange rates do not suggest any major competitiveness concerns. Other approaches, involving a more detailed assessment of the various elements that make up the investment climate, suggest that competitiveness is a major impediment to attracting investment to Laos. This study addresses the main elements of the reform agenda to strengthen Laos' competitiveness, placing special emphasis on trade facilitation and reforms to the business environment.