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LAC Digital Economy Country Diagnostic: Ecuador

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.

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CEMAC Economic Barometer, December 2023, Vol.5

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.

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Adaptation of the Calculator of Social and Environmental Impacts from Small-Scale Gold Mining in the Amazon: Application in Frontier Regions between Brazil, Colombia and Peru

2023-11-09, World Bank

Over the past decade, illegal gold extraction has increased significantly in the Amazon region, partly due to the high international prices of this mineral, the less stringent attitude of some countries in relation to the environment and the pursuit of immediate economic opportunities. Furthermore, this illicit activity is closely intertwined with other illegal practices, such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, and the trafficking of endangered species. This has repercussions not just for the region's ecological wealth, but also for the physical well-being of those safeguarding their lands and the health of communities living in proximity to the extraction zones due to the contamination of their rivers and, consequently, their primary sources of food, such as fish. Despite the international effort to recognize the socio-environmental repercussions of this activity, there are still gaps on this issue, mainly due to the economic losses that this activity represents.

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Dominican Republic Poverty Assessment 2023: Fast Tracking Poverty Reduction and Prosperity for All

2023-11-08, World Bank

In recent decades, economic growth in the Dominican Republic (DR) has been steady. However, growth has not occurred in such a way as to make the benefits widely and evenly available. In fact, although the DR economy grew faster than that of other LAC countries before the Covid-19 pandemic, its poverty rates and social outcomes remain broadly similar to them. This report seeks to explain this conundrum, as well as to expand the knowledge base to improve the effectiveness of ongoing poverty reduction policies in the DR. The Poverty Assessment draws primarily on new analytical work conducted in the DR, structured around four background notes on: (i) trends in monetary poverty and inequality, as well as the key drivers of those changes; (ii) nonmonetary poverty and its spatial dimensions; (iii) social assistance programs and their role in mitigating poverty; and (iv) climate change and its interaction with poverty. By helping to reduce the evidence gap in each of these areas, our analysis hopes to inform government policies and the national dialogue on poverty reduction. In addition, the note integrates existing analytical work and evidence produced inside and outside the Bank, including from its operations in the country.

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Feasibility Study - Disaster Risk Finance and Insurance (DRFI) Solutions for Family Farmers in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras (January 2024)

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.

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Dominican Republic Country Climate and Development Report

2023-11-30, World Bank Group

The Dominican Republic has made significant progress in boosting economic growth and reducing poverty, but it still faces challenges to achieve inclusive and equitable development, increase productivity, and improve the competitiveness and sustainability of primary sectors like agriculture, water, tourism, and energy. The National Development Strategy (NDS) and the National Multi‑Year Public Sector Plan (NPSP) aim to address development and climate challenges and promote a green, inclusive and resilient future. The DR is highly vulnerable to climate change, which is likely to compound existing development challenges. By 2050, climate change impacts are expected to decrease labor productivity and affect health, crop yields, tourism, infrastructure capital, and natural ecosystems such as forests and coastal areas. Climate change also poses risks to the financial system such as the banking sector's heightened credit exposure to tropical cyclones and droughts. Although the DR has a small carbon footprint, the country's GHG emissions have been rising, mainly in the energy, waste, and agricultural sectors. Fostering a low‑carbon growth path can support the country's climate change goals while bringing important development co‑benefits. The Dominican Republic CCDR employs a version of the MANAGE model. This CCDR further extends the model to incorporate the path of emissions from key sectors (transport, energy, AFOLU), and to incorporate DR‑specific climate damage functions to introduce the impact of climate change on the economy.

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Promoviendo competencia en mercados locales en el Perú: Una aplicación subnacional de la herramienta de análisis de mercados y política de competencia del Banco Mundial - Piloto en Piura

2023-11-08, World Bank

Este informe utiliza la herramienta de Análisis de Mercados y Políticas de Competencia (MCPAT, por sus siglas en inglés), desarrollada por el Banco Mundial, para evaluar los mercados y las políticas de competencia en el departamento de Piura. Mediante este análisis, el informe busca proporcionar información sobre cómo mejorar las regulaciones para promover un entorno de mercado más competitivo, impulsando así el desarrollo económico y la productividad en Piura. La eliminación de barreras burocráticas es un componente fundamental para el desarrollo de una política de competencia en el Perú. Una política de competencia efectiva debe (i) promover regulaciones y otras intervenciones que faciliten la entrada de nuevas empresas y fomenten la rivalidad en el mercado; (ii) garantizar la neutralidad competitiva y (iii) asegurar la aplicación efectiva de las leyes de competencia. Al eliminar las barreras burocráticas, se crea un entorno propicio para la competencia, lo que a su vez impulsa el crecimiento económico y promueve la innovación en el sector privado del país.

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Dominican Republic Gender Assessment

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.

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Poverty and Distributional Impact of Fiscal Policy in Dominican Republic

2023-11-28, World Bank

This report assesses the impact of fiscal policy, both revenue and expenditure, on inequality and poverty in the Dominican Republic. On the revenue side, the analysis focuses on the personal income tax, the value added tax (tax on the transfer of industrialized goods and services, known as ITBIS in the Dominican Republic for its initials in Spanish) and excise taxes on alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, fuel products and telecommunication services. These taxes combined accounted for 7.8 percent of GDP in 2018, equivalent to 60 percent of total tax revenues. On the expenditure side, the analysis focuses on social protection benefits like direct cash and near-cash transfers (e.g., the school food-program and the school uniforms and supplies program), indirect subsidies (energy, water, and public transport), and in-kind benefits on education and health, which together account for 39.2 percent of total government expenditures and 85.9 percent of social expenditures. The remainder of this report is organized as follows: Section II describes the Dominican Republic’s tax systems and government spending in 2018 and compares them with those of selected Latin American countries. Section III includes a description of the data, methodology and assumptions made in carrying out the analysis in this report. The main results are provided in Section IV, starting with fiscal policy’s net impact on inequality, followed by its impact on poverty incidence. A comparison with other countries is then provided. Section IV also includes a detailed analysis of the distributional impact of taxes, social spending, and subsidies, to demonstrate their impact on the welfare of the poor. The report’s main conclusions are presented in Section V.

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Making Teacher Policy Work

2023-11-08, World Bank

This report zooms into what lies behind the success or failure of teacher policies: how teachers experience these policies, and how systems scale and sustain these policies. The report argues that for policies to be successful, they need to be designed and implemented with careful consideration of the barriers that could hinder teachers’ take-up of the policy (individual-level barriers), and the barriers that could hinder the implementation and sustainability of policies at scale (system-level barriers). Teacher polices too often fail to yield meaningful changes in teaching and learning because both their design and implementation overlook how teachers perceive, understand, and act in response to the policy and because they miss what is needed at a system level to achieve and sustain change. To avoid this, policymakers need to go beyond what works in teacher policy to how to support teachers in different contexts to adopt what works, while making sure it is implementable at scale and can be sustained over time. This requires unpacking teacher policies to consider the barriers that might hinder success at both the individual and system levels, and then putting in place strategies to overcome these barriers. The report proposes a practical framework to uncover the black box of effective teacher policy and discusses the factors that enable their scalability and sustainability. The framework distills insights from behavioral science to identify the barriers that stand in the way of the changes targeted by the policy and to develop strategies to overcome them. The framework is used to examine questions such as: What changes are required at an individual level to achieve the specific goals of a given teacher policy What barriers constrain the adoption of these changes How can the policy be better designed and implemented to tackle these barriers Moreover, the report draws on evidence from quantitative and qualitative studies on successful and failed teacher policies to examine the factors that make teacher policy operationally and politically feasible such that it can work at scale and be sustained over time.