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PublicationStructural Adjustment in the Transition : Case Studies from Albania, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyz Republic, and Moldova(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2002-01) Siegelbaum, Paul J.; Sherif, Khaled; Borish, Michael; Clarke, GeorgeThe study reviews the performance of four transition countries - Albania, Azerbaijan, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Moldova - in the areas of private, and financial sector development, identifying both their achievements, and challenges, to extract beneficial reform efforts, and alternative approaches, setting the pace for sustainable growth. These countries were selected because they are among the poorest in the region, whose problems are seemingly intractable, and have been largely detached from the international marketplace until the transition began. Thus, in terms of history, resource endowment, and proximity to markets they are viewed as "late reformers" in economic development, and competitiveness, despite policy reforms. Enterprise arrears, and soft budget constraints have been a significant problem in many transition economies, more often than not, manifested as some fiscal tightening occurred to offset budget constraints. Hence, a core challenge of the transition is to reduce the role of government from all encompassing presence, towards a professionally managed model, and one which provides high service delivery, strengthens civil institutions, and plays an effective regulatory role in a market economy. This requires improved financial discipline, reasonable fiscal policy, and structural adjustment, while privatization that promotes concentrated outsider ownership, and foreign participation, should be favored. PublicationPoverty in Albania : A Qualitative Assessment(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2002) De Soto, Hermine; Gordon, Peter; Gedeshi, Ilir; Sinoimeri, ZamiraThis qualitative assessment of poverty in Albania seeks to deepen the understanding of poverty in the country, first, by involving poor Albanians in a process of exploring the causes, nature, extent of poverty, and how it affects their livelihoods. Second, it is intended to support the Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP). Third, it supports preparation of the Country Assistance Strategy (CAS), and the Living Standards Measurement Survey (LSMS) process. Fourth, it supports ongoing research on formal and informal institutions in the country that are relevant to poverty, and it identifies as well, emerging areas of concern. Findings suggest that poverty in the study sites, developed as a result of a weak economic base at the beginning of reform (as of 1990), worsened as the reforms continued and accelerated during the 1997 financial crisis. From household interviews, it is perceived that the causes of poverty are a result of unemployment, insufficient and low quality of land, absence of formal institutions, and marketing mechanisms to support industrial and agricultural development, and the government's inability to respond to infrastructure and basic needs. The study further examines the factors depressing and/or precluding (sector wide) the potential to compete, sustain livelihoods, attain employment, and receive economic and social assistance.