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PublicationCEMAC Economic Barometer, December 2023, Vol.5(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-01-09) World BankThe 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. PublicationPoverty and Distributional Impact of Fiscal Policy in Dominican Republic(Washington, DC, 2023-11-28) World BankThis 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. PublicationLatin America and the Caribbean Economic Review, October 2023 - Wired: Digital Connectivity for Inclusion and Growth(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-10-04) Beylis, Guillermo; Maloney, William; Vuletin, GuillermoLatin America and the Caribbean continues to face adverse global headwinds: high interest rates, modest G-7 growth, soft commodity prices and uncertain prospects in China will all depress growth. Well-grounded policy responses have led to largely recovering employment and income losses from the pandemic and falling rates of inflation. However, the region faces the mutually reinforcing triple challenges of low growth, limited fiscal space, and citizen dissatisfaction. Expanding digital connectivity offers a possibility to make progress on all three fronts. To maximize the social benefits of connectivity as well as to ensure that it does not exacerbate spatial, educational, gender or racial inequalities, three challenges are important to address: first, expanding coverage to the remaining unconnected areas as well as improving the quality of service; second, increasing the productive use of existing infrastructure, and; third, as with any other infrastructure "hardware," investments in "software" - such as digital and traditional skills, managerial capabilities, supportive regulatory frameworks, and deeper financial markets are critical. PublicationUnlocking Blue Carbon Development: Investment Readiness Framework for Governments(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-09-11) World BankThe purpose of this paper is to provide a practical framework to guide governments in catalyzing and scaling up public and private investment in Blue Carbon as part of their blue economy development. It does this by describing in detail a Blue Carbon Readiness Framework, a step-by-step, well-illustrated guide with simple checklists. Client countries can use the illustrations and checklists to determine their readiness to catalyze and scale up investment in blue carbon credit finance. The Blue Carbon Readiness Framework consists of three pillars: 1. Data and Analytics; 2. Policy and Institutions; 3. Finance. PublicationCosta Rica SCD Update (June 2023)(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-08-11) World BankThis note provides an update on the World Bank’s 2015 Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD) of Costa Rica. The SCD is a core analytical product of the World Bank and a key input underlying the World Bank partnership framework with client countries. This SCD update is based on consultations with counterparts in Costa Rica and with World Bank sectoral leads and on data analysis and a literature review. The update examines the main development challenges in the country, and it describes high-level outcomes that, if achieved, will contribute sustainably to reducing poverty and promoting shared prosperity. Annex A provides background on the process of preparing this SCD update. Annex B offers a schematic overview of key developments since the publication of the original SCD, developments that underlay the narrative of the update. Annex C outlines some of the data and evidence gaps that the team encountered while drafting the SCD update. PublicationArgentina Country Climate and Development Report(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-11) World Bank GroupThe Argentina Country Climate and Development Report (CCDR) explores opportunities and identifies trade-offs for aligning Argentina’s growth and poverty reduction policies with its commitments on, and its ability to withstand, climate change. It assesses how the country can: reduce its vulnerability to climate shocks through targeted public and private investments and adequation of social protection. The report also shows how Argentina can seize the benefits of a global decarbonization path to sustain a more robust economic growth through further development of Argentina’s potential for renewable energy, energy efficiency actions, the lithium value chain, as well as climate-smart agriculture (and land use) options. Given Argentina’s context, this CCDR focuses on win-win policies and investments, which have large co-benefits or can contribute to raising the country’s growth while helping to adapt the economy, also considering how human capital actions can accompany a just transition. PublicationPeru Country Climate and Development Report(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-11) World Bank GroupThe Peru Country Climate and Development Report (CCDR) provides analysis and recommendations on integrating the country’s efforts to achieve economic development with the pursuit of emission reduction and climate resilience. The CCDR explores opportunities and trade-offs for aligning Peru’s development path with its recent commitments on climate change. Peru is highly vulnerable to climate change and needs urgent adaptation action. Peru can benefit from decarbonization policies, thanks to its mining, forestry and agriculture, and renewable energy resources. Peru has many opportunities to develop and implement comprehensive climate policies that also increase productivity and reduce poverty. A low-carbon, resilient development for Peru would require substantial institutional reforms, in addition to public and private investments. PublicationRemarks by World Bank Group President David Malpass at World Bank Group 2022 Spring Meetings Ministerial Roundtable for Support to Ukraine(World Bank, World Bank, 2022-04-21) Malpass, DavidThese remarks were delivered by World Bank Group President David Malpass at World Bank Group 2022 Spring Meetings Ministerial Roundtable for Support to Ukraine on April 21, 2022. He said that he has been deeply horrified and shocked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the atrocities committed against the civilian population, and the loss of life and livelihoods for millions of Ukrainians. He mentioned that since the invasion, the World Bank Group has provided fast-disbursing financial support to help the government provide critical services, pay wages for hospital workers, public servants, and the elderly. He insisted that It will be important for all partners to continue coordinating their support for Ukraine’s budget needs. He described that the World Bank Group is working toward three phases of the recovery effort of relief, recovery, and resilience. He said that as the war continues, the World Bank Group will work to build confidence in Ukraine’s financial, monetary, and fiscal institutions, fostering currency stability as they go forward. He mentioned that rebuilding will take hard work, determination, and struggle, but he remains optimistic. He concluded by saying that with our collective support, Ukraine can achieve a brighter future. PublicationEl Salvador Systematic Country Diagnostic: Addressing Vulnerabilities to Sustain Poverty Reduction and Inclusive Growth(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-03-31) Robayo-Abril, Monica; Barroso, RafaelThe 2015 Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD) concluded that El Salvador was “trapped” in vicious cycles of low poverty reduction and growth and argued for a “big push” in six priority areas. Three mutually reinforcing cycles hampered growth and shared prosperity: (i) low growth and violence, (ii) low growth and migration, and (iii) low growth, savings, and investments. The SCD concluded that a big reform push in six priority areas was needed to break these cycles. Despite progress in some of these areas, previous governments have not built consensus for the “big push” of simultaneous reforms to break the cycles. This SCD Update (the Update) builds on the SCD as follows: (i) updating the country context and assessing progress in poverty and growth, (ii) broadening the analysis to include a vulnerability lens, and (iii) rerunning the prioritization framework to confirm or update priorities. PublicationWorld Development Report 2022: Finance for an Equitable Recovery(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-02-15) World BankWorld Development Report 2022: Finance for an Equitable Recovery examines the central role of finance in the economic recovery from COVID-19. Based on an in-depth look at the consequences of the crisis most likely to affect low- and middle-income economies, it advocates a set of policies and measures to mitigate the interconnected economic risks stemming from the pandemic—risks that may become more acute as stimulus measures are withdrawn at both the domestic and global levels. Those policies include the efficient and transparent management of nonperforming loans to mitigate threats to financial stability, insolvency reforms to allow for the orderly reduction of unsustainable debts, innovations in risk management and lending models to ensure continued access to credit for households and businesses, and improvements in sovereign debt management to preserve the ability of governments to support an equitable recovery.