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  • Publication
    Latin America and the Caribbean Economic Review, April 2024 - Competition: The Missing Ingredient for Growth?
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-04-10) Maloney, William; Garriga, Pablo; Meléndez, Marcela; Morales, Raúl; Jooste, Charl; Sampi, James; Araujo, Jorge Thompson; Vostroknutova, Ekaterina
    Latin America and the Caribbean has made slow but consistent progress addressing the imbalances induced by the pandemic in an international environment that is just now showing signs of stabilizing. Despite favorable macroeconomic management, high interest rates and fiscal imbalances remain challenging while growth rates remain lackluster due to long-standing structural issues. Looking forward, an aging workforce and rising violence will increasingly complicate policy. This report focuses particularly on weak competitive forces as a source of low productivity, low growth, and low welfare in LAC. It emphasizes the need for effective competition institutions, pro-competition regulatory frameworks, complementary policies to improve the capabilities of workers and firms, and enhanced innovation systems, to prepare local industries to reach the technological frontier and face global competition. Furthermore, the report underscores the need for reforms to prevent large businesses from exerting undue political influence over policy decisions.
  • Publication
    Colombia Climate and Health Vulnerability Assessment, 2024
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-03-21) World Bank
    The objective of this Climate and Health Vulnerability Assessment (CHVA) is to assist decision-makers in Colombia with planning effective adaptation measures to deal with climate-related health risks. This assessment includes sub-national considerations for health-related climate action (see Annex A for the methodology). Sub-national considerations are given for Colombia’s 32 departments (see Figure 1). It also incorporates data from a Climate and Health Economic Valuation conducted by the World Bank to estimate of the potential economic costs of health impacts arising from projected changes in temperature and precipitation (see Annex B for the methodology). The findings from this CHVA are organized under four sections. Section I characterizes the climatology in Colombia, highlighting observed and projected climate exposures relevant to health. Section II describes key climate-related risks to health, including nutrition and food security, vector-borne diseases (VDBs), water-borne diseases, increasing temperatures, air quality, and zoonotic diseases. Section III analyzes the adaptive capacity and readiness of Colombia’s health system to prevent and manage climate-related health risks. Recommendations are discussed in Section IV.
  • Publication
    Challenges and Opportunities of the Economic Integration of the Venezuelan Population in the Peruvian Labor Market
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-03-08) World Bank
    This study demonstrates that although Venezuelans are more educated relative to Peruvians and most of them have successfully entered the Peruvian labor market, they are mostly employed in low-quality jobs and with a degree of skills mismatch. Most of them are overqualified and have transitioned to more elementary occupations. Furthermore, four out of five Venezuelan workers are employed informally and their returns to higher education are lower than those perceived by Peruvians despite working more hours per week. In addition, we find that they have a significant participation in the digital economy, mainly in delivery platforms, and that two-thirds of Venezuelan workers send remittances abroad. Finally, the report concludes that whether refugees and migrants have the right to work at the level of his or her qualifications and capabilities depends on: (i) the regulatory process to validate their educational degrees, (ii) the migration policy and status, and (iii) the local attitudes towards Venezuelan migration.
  • Publication
    Learning Can’t Wait: Lessons for Latin America and the Caribbean from PISA 2022
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-03-04) Arias Ortiz, Elena; Bos, Maria Soledad; Chen Peraza, Juliana; Giambruno, Cecilia; Levin, Victoria; Oubiña, Victoria; Pineda, Jasmine Anne; Zoido, Pablo
    This report explores the results of the latest round of PISA for countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), showcasing the results for the region, the differences within the region and between the region and the rest of the world. For this round of PISA, 14 countries of LAC participated in the assessment, representing the largest number of LAC countries in the assessment since its inception. The report covers three key insights: (1) learning is low and highly unequal in LAC, (2) for most countries trends in learning are not moving in the right direction; and (3) countries in LAC should ensure that all students acquire at least basic proficiency in foundational skills, by addressing disparities and focusing on the effective use of technology.
  • Publication
    Women, Business and the Law 2024
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-03-04) World Bank
    Women, Business and the Law 2024 is the 10th in a series of annual studies measuring the enabling conditions that affect women’s economic opportunity in 190 economies. To present a more complete picture of the global environment that enables women’s socioeconomic participation, this year Women, Business and the Law introduces two new indicators—Safety and Childcare—and presents findings on the implementation gap between laws (de jure) and how they function in practice (de facto). This study presents three indexes: (1) legal frameworks, (2) supportive frameworks (policies, institutions, services, data, budget, and access to justice), and (3) expert opinions on women’s rights in practice in the areas measured. The study’s 10 indicators—Safety, Mobility, Workplace, Pay, Marriage, Parenthood, Childcare, Entrepreneurship, Assets, and Pension—are structured around the different stages of a woman’s working life. Findings from this new research can inform policy discussions to ensure women’s full and equal participation in the economy. The indicators build evidence of the critical relationship between legal gender equality and women’s employment and entrepreneurship. Data in Women, Business and the Law 2024 are current as of October 1, 2023.
  • Publication
    LAC Digital Economy Country Diagnostic: Ecuador
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-02-12) World Bank
    Ecuador has made significant progress on the adoption of digital technologies over the past decade. Despite these advances, millions of Ecuadorians, particularly those in rural areas, continue to be excluded from the digital economy because of affordability constraints, uneven infrastructure, and gaps in digital skills. Accelerating the adoption of digital technologies and addressing inequities in digital access can help Ecuador achieve its development goals. This report provides recommendations to support the effective implementation of Ecuador’s Digital Transformation Agenda 2022–2025. Universal internet access and digital transformation can help the country promote productivity and competitiveness in the non-extractive sectors, foster sustainable growth, create better jobs, and bridge inequalities, particularly the urban-rural divide as concerns the indigenous populations. The government’s commitment to digital transformation to address its development challenges is evident in the newly passed agenda, which includes digital infrastructure as axis number one. This report provides Ecuadorian authorities with recommendations for implementing the agenda across six pillars: digital infrastructure, digital public platforms, digital financial services, digital businesses, digital skills, and the trust environment. Key recommendations include legal and regulatory reforms to address affordability barriers to internet access, foster fintech and e-commerce ecosystems, and enhance cybersecurity. Ecuador’s digital transformation will also require investments in fixed and mobile infrastructure and international bandwidth, as well as in digital public platforms, to improve user experience and interoperability. Guiding student progress in digital skills from primary to higher education and digitizing government payments are also key reform areas.
  • Publication
    Feasibility Study - Disaster Risk Finance and Insurance (DRFI) Solutions for Family Farmers in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (January 2024)
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-01-25) World Bank
    The objective of this feasibility study is to identify disaster risk finance and insurance (DRFI) solutions for up to 1.9 million family farmers in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. This study is motivated by an emerging consensus on the need to design and implement large-scale DRFI solutions to improve the financial resilience of family farmers in North Central America (NCA) and reduce their vulnerability to extreme weather events and climate risks. The feasibility study provides an initial assessment of the technical, operational, financial, and policy considerations for developing and implementing DRFI solutions for family farmers in NCA. The feasibility study considers lessons learned from existing large-scale DRFI solutions in peer countries as well as ongoing programs and pilots in NCA.
  • Publication
    The Evolving Geography of Productivity and Employment: Ideas for Inclusive Growth through a Territorial Lens in Latin America and the Caribbean
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-01-25) Ianchovichina, Elena
    The Evolving Geography of Productivity and Employment: Ideas for Inclusive Growth through a Territorial Lens in Latin America and the Caribbean employs a territorial lens to understand the persistently low economic growth rates in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Using new data and methods, it shows that deindustrialization, distance, and divisions offer intertwined explanations for an urban productivity paradox in the LAC region: its highly dense cities should be among the world’s most productive, yet they are not. LAC cities have been held back by lack of dynamism, poor connectivity, and divisions into disconnected poor and affluent neighborhoods. Deindustrialization has shifted urban employment, especially in the largest LAC cities, away from manufacturing and toward less dynamic, low-productivity nontradable activities, such as retail trade and personal and other services, that profit less from agglomeration, especially in highly congested cities. Although employment in urban tradable services has risen, the increase has not been strong enough to offset the decline in manufacturing employment. Meanwhile, intercity connectivity issues have undermined the performance of the region’s network of cities by restricting market access and firms’ ability to benefit from specialization in smaller cities. Within cities, poor connectivity and residential labor market segregation have limited the gains from agglomeration to neighborhoods in central business districts where formal firms operate. Informality has persisted in low-income neighborhoods, where residents face multiple deprivations. By contrast, many agricultural and mining areas have benefited from the strong demand for commodities by China and other fast-growing economies, particularly during the Golden Decade (2003–13), leading to a decline in territorial inequality in most countries in the region. The report concludes that to encourage inclusive growth, countries must more efficiently transform natural wealth into human capital, infrastructure, and institutions and improve the competitiveness of the urban economy. It then sketches out the contours of such a development strategy, identifying policy priorities at the national, regional, and local levels.
  • Publication
    Dominican Republic Gender Assessment
    (Washington, DC, 2024-01-17) World Bank
    Achieving inclusive growth and maximizing poverty reduction in the Dominican Republic requires closing existing gender gaps: from early childhood to working age, and further still into old age. Using a lifecycle approach, this gender Assessment attempts to uncover, better understand, and deliver some policy recommendations for the main challenges in this area, with a focus on the three main dimensions of endowments, economic opportunity, and agency.
  • Publication
    CEMAC Economic Barometer, December 2023, Vol.5
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-01-09) World Bank
    The CEMAC Economic Barometer is a World Bank publication that presents a snapshot of recent developments in and the economic outlook of the CEMAC region, followed by a brief assessment at the country level. The Economic Barometer also includes a focused technical section on a theme of regional relevance. This edition’s special topic provides policy options for the CEMAC countries to take better advantage of future commodity price booms.