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PublicationDigitalizing SMEs to Boost Competitiveness(Washington, DC, 2022-10) World BankWhile Malaysia’s digital economy had already been growing rapidly over the past decade, the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has further accelerated this trend. In particular, increased access to digital platforms has enabled businesses of all sizes to mitigate the crisis’ adverse impacts. At the same time, the depth and breadth of small and medium enterprise (SME) digitalization has remained limited, suggesting a growing risk of digital divide in the country. This report analyzes opportunities and challenges for Malaysian SMEs to better leverage digital tools and platforms to increase their productivity and competitiveness. It is structured around three complementary analytical pillars: (i) a digital business landscape diagnostic presenting the extent of digitalization and use of digital platforms among SMEs in traditional sectors, and the constraints that SMEs still face to digitalize; (ii) an institutional and policy mapping reviewing the government of Malaysia’s efforts to foster SME digitalization; and (iii) a digital market regulations assessment evaluating the adequacy of Malaysia’s digital regulatory environment, to identify shortcomings that may undermine SMEs’ capacity to access and benefit from the use of digital platforms. The analysis has been undertaken with a view to inform the implementation of the Malaysia Digital Blueprint (MyDIGITAL). PublicationSectoral Approach to the Drivers of Productivity Growth in Poland: A Firm-Level Perspective on Technology Adoption and Firm Capabilities(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022) World BankThe report presents the main structural characteristics of the sectors included in the Technology Adoption Survey (TAS) implemented in Poland and provides sectoral TAS results for general and sector-specific business functions, comparing Poland to a peer country, Korea. Nine sectors analyzed within TAS include agriculture, food processing, wearing apparel, motor vehicles, pharmaceuticals, basic metals, wholesale and retail trade, financial services, and land transport. These form a selection of the most important economic industries in agriculture, manufacturing, and services. The same sectors were chosen in all countries where TAS was implemented because of their important contributions to the national economies as well as their diversity, which allowed us to identify the different natures of their technological needs and the barriers to technology adoption. Sectors in Poland differ in technology sophistication in both general business and sector-specific functions but, to a large extent, those differences are driven by the sectors’ structural differences, such as the number of large firms, the share of exporters, and the number foreign-owned enterprises. Firms in different sectors face different economic conditions and are exposed to a different balance of regulatory, environmental, and geopolitical risks and challenges. Understanding those sectoral differences, especially as they affect the use of sector-specific technologies, is of utmost importance, because productivity improvements historically have been driven primarily by capital-intensive investment, which often involves sector-specific technologies. In the context of sector-specific technologies, it is worth noting that the level of sophistication differs between sectors. Comparing technology trends across sectors is beyond the scope of this report, however; rather, here we closely follow the methodology described in Bridging the Technological Divide: Technology Adoption by Firms in Developing Countries. PublicationGeorgia Beyond Arrivals: Emerging Opportunities for Georgian Firms in Tourism Value Chains(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-12-27) World Bank GroupGeorgia’s current tourism offering is oriented toward low-spending neighboring markets and,although there is growth in high-spend global markets, the share is still very small. The majority of international visitor trips are from Georgia’s neighboring countries—Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey. This strong regional footprint is partly attributable to Georgia’s reputation during Soviet times as a recreational destination. Proximity, low prices, familiarity and language have contributed to this strong position. However, of Georgia’s top 15 source markets, tourists from Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey have the lowest average total trip expenditure and make the shortest trips. Although Georgia has seen very strong growth from China and India, arrivals to Georgia from the top global tourism source markets1 in 2018 represented only 7.3 percent of arrivals to the country. Georgia’s government is targeting high-growth, high-spend source markets. In 2015, the Government of Georgia (GoG) launched “Georgia Tourism 2025”; a 10-year vision and strategic plan for increasing the value and importance of tourism for the benefit of the country’s economy and ultimately its citizens. The plan—developed with support from the World Bank Group—included infrastructure development, country promotion, service quality improvement and tourism product diversification. Building on this plan, in 2018, GoG developed a marketing, branding and promotional strategy to communicate Georgia’s brand positioning, visual and verbal identity guidelines, and promotional objectives and target high growth, high-spend source markets. As Georgia’s source markets evolve, new GVC structures necessary to serve those markets will alsoemerge. GoG has identified 26 key source markets based on accessibility, economic factors, culturalrelations, and other factors such as the size of diaspora, historical ties and language barriers. A shift towards these new markets will also correspond to changes in consumer behavioral trends and tastes. This, coupled with global industry trends will see new value chain structures emerge, emphasizing activities with differing competitive forces, and presenting differing opportunities to create and retain value. Georgian firms may need support to respond to changes in emerging tourism GVCs and compete for higher-value-added activities. The report asks and answers two questions: i) How are emerging trends changing the structure of Tourism GVCs and how can Georgian firms benefit from these changes? ii) What policy reforms, capital investment or skills development is needed to increase Georgia’s value chain competitiveness in each of these key tourism offerings? PublicationFacilitating Trade and Logistics for E-Commerce: Building Blocks, Challenges, and Ways Forward(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-12) Huria, AnkurThe objective of this note is to identify the key issues in trade facilitation and logistics that affect the e-commerce landscape, with a focus on cross border (trade facilitation) domestic delivery (logistics); highlight key challenges and opportunities, particularly for developing countries and small and medium enterprises (SMEs); and provide a roadmap for potential areas of World Bank (WB) support in that landscape. This work has broadly covered areas such as customs and border management; information and communications technology for trade; logistics services, including competition issues; and trade-related infrastructure (ports, inland ports, airports, and so on). This note identifies the various issues and challenges relating to e-commerce from a facilitation and logistics point of view and identifies potential solutions, particularly those in which the WBG can play a role in helping developing countries. The note draws from a wide array of developments and literature and from work done by the WBG more generally in trade facilitation and logistics in assisting countries to improve their trade environment. The note explores the required building blocks for facilitating cross-border e-commerce as to address the challenges raised and consist of: (a) improvement programs for creating a more conducive legal environment for automation; (b) improving automation and interconnectivity between agencies; (c) implementing simplified procedures to trade, including for e-commerce; and (d) implementing fully the World Trade Organizations (WTO’s) trade facilitation agreement. The note concludes with the summation that e-commerce offers new challenges and opportunities for governments and firms, but to maximize its benefits requires significant reform. This note has set out a path for countries to continuing the reform and modernization route with recommendations and an action matrix of specific improvements to the trade facilitation and logistics environment that will better position countries and firms to take advantage of the enormous potential that cross border e-commerce offers.