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  • Publication
    Global Waves of Debt: Causes and Consequences
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2021-03-02) Kose, M. Ayhan; Nagle, Peter; Ohnsorge, Franziska; Sugawara, Naotaka
    The global economy has experienced four waves of rapid debt accumulation over the past 50 years. The first three debt waves ended with financial crises in many emerging market and developing economies. During the current wave, which started in 2010, the increase in debt in these economies has already been larger, faster, and broader-based than in the previous three waves. Current low interest rates mitigate some of the risks associated with high debt. However, emerging market and developing economies are also confronted by weak growth prospects, mounting vulnerabilities, and elevated global risks. A menu of policy options is available to reduce the likelihood that the current debt wave will end in crisis and, if crises do take place, will alleviate their impact.
  • Publication
    The Africa Competitiveness Report 2015
    (Geneva: World Economic Forum, 2015-06-01) World Economic Forum; World Bank; African Development Bank; Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
    The Africa Competitiveness Report 2015 comes out at a promising time for the continent: for 15 years growth rates have averaged over 5 percent, and rapid population growth holds the promise of a large emerging consumer market as well as an unprecedented labor force that - if leveraged - can provide significant growth opportunities. Moreover, the expansion of innovative business models, such as mobile technology services, is indicative of the continents growth potential. However, Africa continues to be largely agrarian, with an economy that is underpinned by resource-driven growth and a large and expanding informal sector. Indeed, more than a decade of consistently high growth rates have not yet trickled down to significant parts of the population: nearly one out of two Africans continue to live in extreme poverty, and income inequality in the region remains among the highest in the world. What is more, across sectors - from agriculture to manufacturing and services - productivity levels remain low. It will be necessary to raise productivity across all sectors of the economy to achieve higher growth and create quality employment, and turn this progress into sustainable inclusive growth.
  • Publication
    Ascent after Decline : Regrowing Global Economies after the Great Recession
    (World Bank, 2012-01-09) Canuto, Otaviano
    This volume combines the analyses of leading experts on the various elements affecting economic growth and the policies required to spur that growth. Ascent after Decline: Regrowing Global Economies after the Great Recession identifies the main challenges to the economic recovery, such as rising debt levels, reduced trade prospects, and global imbalances, as well as the obstacles to growth posed by fiscal conundrums and lagging infrastructure. It also examines the way forward, beginning with the role of the state and then covering labor markets, information technology, and innovation. The common thread throughout the book is the view that economic re-growth will depend in large measure on smart policy choices and that the role of government has never been more crucial than at any time since the great depression. As members of the World Bank community, these issues are of particular importance to us, since without a resurrection of strong economic growth in major economies, the likelihood of rapid economic development in poorer developing countries is dampened. This is troubling because we have seen progress in many parts of the globe in the past decade, including in Africa, and these gains will be arrested as long as the global economy is in disarray. Donors will withdraw, investment will retrench, and prospects will dim. This immiserizing welfare outcome is to be avoided. The volume is intended to shed light on those areas of policy that reduce the prospects of a prolonged period of stress and decline by 'regrowing growth.'
  • Publication
    Nonfinancial Defined Contribution Pension Schemes in a Changing Pension World : Volume 1. Progress, Lessons, and Implementation
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2012) Holzmann, Robert; Palmer, Edward; Robalino, David
    Pensions and social insurance programs are an integral part of any social protection system. Their dual objectives are to prevent a sharp decline in income and protect against poverty resulting from old age, disability, or death. The critical role of pensions for protection, prevention, and promotion was reiterated and expanded in the new World Bank 2012-2022 social protection strategy. This new strategy reviews the success and challenges of the past decade or more, during which time the World Bank became a main player in the area of pensions. But more importantly, the strategy takes the three key objectives for pensions under the World Bank's conceptual framework coverage, adequacy, and sustainability and asks how these objectives and the inevitable difficult balance between them can best be achieved. The ongoing focus on closing the coverage gap with social pensions and the new outreach to explore the role of matching contributions to address coverage and/or adequacy is part of this strategy. This comprehensive anthology on nonfinancial defined contribution (NDC) pension schemes is part and parcel of the effort to explore and document the working of this new system or reform option and its ability to balance these three key objectives. This innovative, unfunded individual accounts scheme provides a promising option at a time when the world seems locked into a stalemate between piecemeal reform of ailing traditional defined benefit plans or their replacement with prefunded financial account schemes. The current financial crisis, with its focus on sovereign debt, has enhanced the attraction of NDC as a pension scheme that aims for intra and intergenerational fairness, offers a transparent framework to distribute economic and demographic risks, and, if well designed, promises long-term financial stability. Supplemented with a basic minimum pension guarantee, explicit noncontributory rights, and a funded pillar, the NDC approach provides an efficient framework for addressing poverty and risk diversification concerns.
  • Publication
    A Guide to the World Bank : Third Edition
    (World Bank, 2011-06-29) World Bank
    This guide introduces the reader to the conceptual work of the World Bank Group. Its goal is to serve as a starting point for more in-depth inquiries into subjects of particular interest. It provides a glimpse into the wide array of activities in which the Bank Group institutions are involved, and it directs the reader toward other resources and websites that have more detailed information. This new, updated third edition of a guide to the World Bank provides readers with an accessible and straightforward overview of the Bank Group's history, organization, mission, and work. It highlights the numerous activities and an organizational challenge faced by the institution, and explains how the Bank Group is reforming itself to meet the needs of a multipolar world. The book then chronicles the Bank Group's work in such areas as climate change, financial and food crises, conflict prevention and fragile states, combating corruption, and education. For those wishing to delve further into areas of particular interest, the book guides readers to sources containing more detailed information, including websites, electronic products, and even mobile phone applications.
  • Publication
    Entrepreneurship Snapshots 2010 : Measuring the Impact of the Financial Crisis on New Business Registration
    (World Bank, 2011) World Bank
    New businesses are likely to have been even more severely affected by the crisis than mature businesses, even in non crisis times, new and young firms tend to be more constrained than older firms which often have established reputations and enjoy easier access to finance. Given the sudden scarcity of credit and the uncertain economic outlook, it is reasonable to assume that entrepreneurs wanting to start a new business or register an existing informal business were hit especially hard by the downturn. Until now, however there has been a lack of comprehensive evidence to support this assumption. The impact of the 2008-09 financial crises on new business creation should be of special interest given the importance of entrepreneurs and young firms to the continued dynamism of the modern market economy; it is well established that a robust entry rate of new business can foster competition and economic growth. This report hypothesizes that although economies with more developed financial markets were hit harder by the crisis, they will enjoy stronger and quicker recoveries in new firm creation.
  • Publication
    Two Dragon Heads : Contrasting Development Paths for Beijing and Shanghai
    (World Bank, 2010) Yusuf, Shahid; Nabeshima, Kaoru
    In broad terms, the sources of economic growth are well understood, but relatively few countries have succeeded in effectively harnessing this knowledge for policy purposes so as to sustain high rates of growth over an extended period of time. Among the ones that have done so, China stands out. Its gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate, which averaged almost 10 percent between 1978 and 2008, is unmatched. Even more remarkable is the performance of China's three leading industrial regions: the Bohai region, the Pearl River Delta, and the Yangtze River (Changjiang) delta area. These regions have averaged growth rates well above 11 percent since 1985. Shanghai is the urban axis of the Yangtze River Delta's thriving economy; Beijing is the hinge of the Bohai region. Their performance and that of a handful of other urban regions will determine China's economic fortunes and innovativeness in the coming decades. The balance of this volume is divided into five chapters. Chapter two encapsulates the sources of China's growth and the current and future role of urban regions in China. The case for the continuing substantial presence of manufacturing industry for growth and innovation in the two urban centers is made in chapter three. Chapter four briefly examines the economic transformation of four global cities and distills stylized trends that can inform future development in Beijing and Shanghai. Chapter five describes the industrial structure of the two cities, identifies promising industrial areas, and analyzes the resource base that would underpin growth fueled by innovation. Finally, chapter six suggests how strategy could be reoriented on the basis of the lessons delineated in chapter four and the economic capabilities presented in chapter five.
  • Publication
    Government Support to Agricultural Insurance : Challenges and Options for Developing Countries
    (World Bank, 2010) Mahul, Olivier; Stutley, Charles J.
    Governments in developing countries have been increasingly involved in the support of commercial agricultural (crop and livestock) insurance programs in recent years. A striking example is China, where, with support (and premium subsidies) from the central and provincial governments, the agricultural insurance market grew dramatically to become the second largest market in the world (after the United States) in 2008. In India and Mexico, weather-based crop insurance has been developed on a large scale to protect farmers against the vagaries of the weather. Many other countries have investigated the feasibility of agricultural insurance, and some have implemented pilot programs. This book aims to inform and update public and private decision makers involved in promoting agricultural insurance about recent developments in agriculture insurance. The literature is heavily biased toward the practice and experience of a few very large public-private programs in Northern America and Europe, which are driven by large public financial subsidies. This book provides decision makers with a framework for developing agricultural insurance. It is based on an analytical review of the rationale for public intervention in agricultural insurance and a detailed comparative analysis of crop and livestock insurance programs provided with and without government support in more than 65 developed and developing countries. The comparative analysis is based on a survey conducted by the World Bank's agricultural insurance team in 2008. Drawing on the survey results, the book identifies some key roles governments can play to support the development of sustainable, affordable, and cost-effective agricultural insurance programs.
  • Publication
    The Crisis Hits Home : Stress-Testing Households in Europe and Central Asia
    (World Bank, 2010) Tiongson, Erwin R.; Sugawara, Naotaka; Sulla, Victor; Taylor, Ashley; Gueorguieva, Anna I.; Levin, Victoria; Subbarao, Kalanidhi
    The Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region has been hit by a crisis on multiple fronts. Countries in ECA are facing major, interrelated, external macro-financial shocks. The first is the global growth slowdown leading to falling export market demand. In addition, the prospects for inflows of remittances to low-income countries have been downgraded as economic activity in migrant host countries has declined. The second is the financial deleveraging by major banks and other financial institutions in developed economies, which has markedly reduced the availability, and increased the cost, of external finance across public, corporate, and financial sectors. The third is the recent commodity price changes, which have involved a reversal of much of the commodity price boom of 2007 and 2008. The main objective of the study is to understand the impact of these macroeconomic shocks on household well-being. In particular, it seeks to understand the key macroeconomic shocks confronted by the region and the impact of such shocks on household welfare, including the effect on household income flows, consumption levels, and liabilities. It will also assess possible strategies to cope with the crisis and manage the adverse social impact.
  • Publication
    The Global Opportunity in IT-Based Services : Assessing and Enhancing Country Competitiveness
    (World Bank, 2010) Sudan, Randeep; Ayers, Seth; Dongier, Philippe; Muente-Kunigami, Arturo; Qiang, Christine Zhen-Wei
    This book aims to help policy makers take advantage of the opportunities presented by increased cross-border trade in information technology (IT) services and IT-enabled services (ITES). It begins by defining the two industries and estimating the potential global market opportunities for trade in each. Then it discusses economic and other benefits for countries that succeed in these areas, along with factors crucial to the competitiveness of a country or location, including skills, cost advantages, infrastructure, and a hospitable business environment, and examines the potential competitiveness of small countries and of least developed countries specifically. The volume also discusses policy options for enabling growth in the IT services and ITES industries. Appendix A introduces the Location Readiness Index (LRI), a modeling tool to help countries assess their IT and ITES industries. Finally, appendix B presents an analysis of the IT and ITES industries in Indonesia and Kenya as an illustrative application of the LRI.