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PublicationMadagascar - Poverty and Socioeconomic Developments : 1993 - 1999(Washington, DC, 2002-09-20) World BankThe report provides a synthesis of the main results obtained on the evolution of poverty, and other indicators of well being over the 1990s, and is intended to facilitate debate on strategy options for poverty reduction in Madagascar. Section I provides the setting for study, and presents a synthesis of macroeconomic trends in the country during the last decade. Section II looks at the evolution of poverty, inequality, and other indicators over the 1993-1999 period. The analysis is developed both at the national, and regional level, and, when possible, international comparisons are presented. Section III further investigates which groups have been more vulnerable to economic changes during the 1990s, and which factors can help explain this evolution over time. Section IV examines developments in provision of health, and education services by reviewing the degree of program coverage, and progressiveness of services in the two sectors. Section V presents community perceptions of socioeconomic development priorities, namely physical infrastructure development, while Section VI examines the prospects for poverty reduction of different growth rates of the economy as a whole for the next twenty years, and by further investigating the potential impact of different sectoral patterns of growth. Further work should be focused on understanding the causes for geographic variations in poverty, and on the functioning of agricultural labor and land markets, to include a labor market analysis focused on off-farm employment, as a route out of poverty. Most importantly, a thorough understanding of the poverty impact of recent reforms is recommended, to build successful anti-poverty policies. PublicationSouth Africa - Constraints to Growth in Johannesburg's Black Informal Sector : Evidence from the 1999 Informal Sector Survey(Washington, DC, 2002-06) World BankThe report is the third in a series of reports that evolved from a collaboration between the local government of the City of Johannesburg, and the World Bank in 1999-2000 on the theme of local economic development. It presents the main findings of the 1999 World Bank informal sector survey, which covered a number of mostly black informal firm owners across manufacturing, and service sectors, based on firm owners responses, and firm level data. The objectives of the study are to a) examine the characteristics, and constraints facing informal firms in Johannesburg. The government has since 1994, rested its goal of poverty, and inequality-reduction in South Africa, on private sector-led job creation, and, has made a political commitment to black empowerment, allocating resources for credit, and training, as well as other small and medium scale enterprise (SMSE) promotion programs; and, b) explore the policy implications of government assistance to the informal sector, on grounds of poverty reduction, and job creation for the poor. The merit of supporting the sector on the basis of apartheid-created racial inequality, is also examined. Based on international experience, micro-finance should focus on outreach, quality of services, and measures of financial sustainability. Issues for further research, specific to South Africa, include fiscal feasibility of micro credit, and training programs, incorporating the element of firm growth, and prospects for graduation to formal SMSE, with credit availability being contingent on successful completion of small business training. PublicationGhana - International Competitiveness : Opportunities and Challenges Facing Non-Traditional Exports(Washington, DC, 2001-06-21) World BankThe report first reviews macroeconomic aspects in Ghana, identifying that much of the non-traditional exports' expansion, reflects sporadic foreign investments in key agro-processing activities - which enjoy preferential treatment in European markets - but, its value-added seems at best marginal, questioning its sustainability, should preferences be removed. Besides compliance with a growing number of European Union regulations on environmental, and food safety standards, Ghana will need to create a favorable business environment to attract foreign investment, and raise competitiveness of exporting firms. The study then analyzes microeconomic competitiveness, through four case studies on natural resource-based exports; efficient import substitution, and expansion into regional markets; labor-intensive, light manufactures and services; and, culture and arts manufactures. Constraints identified by exporters are industry specific, while, main cross-cutting issues, relate to the trade regime, and the provision of infrastructure. Findings of this report suggest that an export strategy for a country at Ghana's stage of development, should be based on two basic principles: maximizing the returns to current comparative advantage; and, over time, "catalizing" export diversification towards more sophisticated sources of advantage. PublicationSouth Africa - Constraints to Growth and Employment : Evidence of the Small, Medium and Micro Enterprise Firm Survey(Washington, DC, 2000-08-31) World BankThis report identifies several themes that cover both macroeconomic constraints as well as structural factors affecting small, medium, and micro enterprises (SMME) in South Africa. After the introduction, Chapter 2 continues to discuss firm demographics for the 800 SMME firms surveyed. Characteristics such as age, race, size, and legal status of the firm are presented along with a brief description of the entrepreneurs' motivations for starting their SMME. Chapter 3 provides information on the degree to which firms in this survey have been expanding or contracting employment and investment levels, followed by a discussion of factors limiting further expansion. This section of the report also contains ratings indicating the policies SMME firms would like local and national governments to implement or improve. The remaining chapters contain more detailed analyses of each of the main constraints identified. Chapter 4 discusses the skills shortage as well as the degree to which SMME firms are hindered by inflexible labor arrangements. Chapter 5 analyzes the capital constraints, but with regard to access and cost. Chapter 6 illustrates the insufficient progress made by government promotion and procurement programs. Chapter 7 discusses the business environment within which SMME firms must operate, paying particular attention to location ratings and crime. Finally Chapter 8 evaluates the extent to which the SMME tier is linked to the international economy.