World Bank Country Studies

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Country Studies are published with approval of the subject government to communicate the results of the Bank's work on the economic and related conditions of member countries to governments and to the development community. This series as been superseded by the World Bank Studies series.

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    Gender in Bolivian Production : Reducing Differences in Formality and Productivity of Firms
    (World Bank, 2009-07-01) World Bank
    A main goal of this study is to determine the variables responsible for the lower formality of women-owned businesses. The companion study (the World Bank 2007a) shows that Bolivia's informal sector is the largest in Latin America by many definitions and measures. It also provides a rationale for promoting formality given the many negative effects of a high rate of informality. These negative effects include a lower growth potential as informal firms tend to be less productive owing to limited access to physical, financial, and human capital, and a smaller scale of operations; negative fiscal impacts as informal firms "free ride" on services provided with fiscal resources; and negative social externalities, including weaker rule of law and public institutions, increased corruption, and weakened ability to enforce contracts. A second goal of this study is to identify gender-based productivity constraints that hinder the growth of female-owned businesses. First, author's analysis of the impact of formality on profitability shows that the gains of formalization for most female-owned businesses increase as the firms grow. Second, author's find that the smaller scale of operation of female-owned firms is one of the main causes of gender-based differences in productivity and profitability. However, most of the differences between male and female-owned firms diminish or disappear as firms grow.
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    Increasing Formality and Productivity of Bolivian Firms
    (World Bank, 2009-06-01) World Bank
    Bolivia's informal sector is the largest in Latin America, by many definitions and measures. Bolivia's high informality rate has been blamed on many factors including the burden of regulation, the weakness of public institutions, and the lack of perceived benefits to being formal. The high level of informality has a number of negative implications related to for low productivity, low growth, and low quality of jobs. This study presents fresh qualitative and quantitative analyses to better understand the reasons why firms are informal and the impact of formalization on their profitability, in order to inform policy actions appropriate to the reality of Bolivia. The crucial finding of the analysis is that the impact of tax registration on profitability depends on firm size and the ability to issue tax receipts. The smallest and the largest firms in the sample have lower profits as a result of tax registration because their cost of formalizing exceeds benefits. Firms in the middle range (two to five employees) benefit from tax registration in large part due to increasing the customer base by issuing tax receipts. The study presents a set of prioritized policy implications for policy makers. In the short term, the first priority should be to increase the benefits of formalization through training, access to credit and markets, and business support. The second priority is to increase information on how to formalize and its benefits. In the medium term, the priority is to simplify formalization, regulatory, and taxation procedures and to reduce their costs. Increasing even-handed enforcement of taxation and regulation is also important but not a priority for micro and small firms. Measures to boost the productivity of micro and small firms in general will help overall economic growth, employment, and formalization.
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    Strengthening Bolivian Competitiveness : Export Diversification and Inclusive Growth
    (World Bank, 2009-06-01) World Bank
    Bolivia's trade liberalization, launched in the mid-1980s, has resulted in a relatively open trade regime; but the results have been mixed. Bolivia's export to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio and export entrepreneurship index rating are among the highest in the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region and the country has achieved great success in making soya the major export crop in less than 10 years. At the same time, the country's share in world trade has stagnated and exports are increasingly dominated by gas and minerals. Reinvigorating the nontraditional export sector is important for the government of Bolivia as it implements its national development plan. As a resource-rich country, the Bolivian government's emphasis on export diversification is well-placed but the optimal nontraditional export strategy should build on successes in the traditional sector. This study investigates: (a) the role trade should play in Bolivia's development strategy considering the country's natural resource endowment; (b) the lessons of Bolivia's integration to the world economy; (c) the linkages between Bolivia's past trade and economy and a forward-looking analysis of the impact of different scenarios on growth, employment, trade flows, and poverty; (d) constraints to higher export competitiveness and weaknesses related to transport and logistics; and (e) the characteristics of exporting firms and the constraints affecting them. The main findings of the analysis are that preferential access to world markets is necessary but not sufficient for success in nontraditional exports; rather, success depends largely on increasing the competitiveness of exporting firms. Second, a neutral incentive regime is essential to the growth of nontraditional exports. Third, efficient backbone services are vital for reducing exporters' costs. Finally, the government should be proactive in addressing institutional impediments to cross-border trade. The study presents prioritized policy implications of the analysis related to: (i) trade policy and preferential access to markets; (ii) the incentives regime; (iii) backbone services; (iv) increasing the effectiveness of institutions to promote cross-border trade; and (v) setting the foundations for exports diversification.
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    Decentralization, Democracy, and Development : Recent Experience from Sierra Leone
    (World Bank, 2009-06-01) Zhou, Yongmei ; Zhou, Yongmei
    In 2004, the government of Sierra Leone opted for a rethink of its national governance arrangement by embarking on the resuscitation of democratically elected local government after 32 years experimenting with central government appointed district and municipal governments. The decision by the government and the people of Sierra Leone was driven by a primary consideration to address the country's seeming nonperformance in the areas of citizens' participation in governance and responding to the needs of citizens as it relates to attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as well as ensuring poverty reduction in the country. This book is a retrospective of the decentralization reform process in Sierra Leone from 2003-07. During this period, the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) reestablished elected district and urban councils across the country, transferred certain responsibilities for primary services and local investment and some financial resources to the new councils, and invested heavily in building the administrative infrastructure and capacity of the local councils. The author is partners who were intimately involved in the reform. Through recording various aspects of the process and reflecting on the observations and learning during that time, the author hope to contribute to the debates on the merits and risks of decentralization in general and its desirability and viability in post-conflict countries.
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    Argentina : Income Support Policies toward the Bicentennial
    (Washington, DC, 2009) World Bank
    Argentina approaches its bicentennial as an independent republic; it has a window of opportunity in social protection policy. Following the most serious economic crisis in its history during 2001-02, the country mobilized an unprecedented effort to provide income support to the population in need. Now, as growth has returned and social indicators have recovered to pre-crisis levels, there is an opening to move from emergency income support programs to a more comprehensive, long-term, and sustainable strategy for social protection. The emergency response was effective, as it helped the country to overcome the worst of the crisis. The centerpiece of the strategy, plan Jefes y Jefas, provided benefits to nearly two million households during a period when poverty affected more than half the population and unemployment reached record levels. The number of beneficiaries slowly declined beginning in 2003, and was at nearly one-third of its maximum value by early 2008. This reduction was achieved by the reentry of beneficiaries into the formal labor market, the loss of eligibility, and the shift of beneficiaries to familias and seguro de capacitacion y empleo (Seguro), the successor programs to Jefes. Now that the crisis has passed, the policy debate has shifted toward the future of social protection over the longer term. The improvement in overall economic conditions since 2003 has resulted in a decline in unemployment, poverty, and inequality, and a recovery of formal employment and real salaries to pre-crisis levels. These positive trends have generated opportunities to consider longer-term and structural issues, including a debate over the future of whether this new type of noncontributory social policies, based on income transfers to households and individuals, should continue.
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    Tunisia's Global Integration : A Second Generation of Reforms to Boost Growth and Employment
    (Washington, DC : World Bank, 2009) World Bank
    This study on a world integration for Tunisia attempts to contribute to the achievement of the growth of the 11th development plan. It first takes stock of past integration policies, outlining policies implemented and assessing their impact on foreign direct investments (FDI), exports and employment. Then, it examines the current challenges of integration of Tunisia, which is both global and multisectoral pursuant to the actual creation of a free trade area with Europe for industrial products in January 2008. In the light of challenges expected, another generation of integration reform is identified to further improve the positioning of a competitive Tunisia and realize the potential growth in services. The report contains four chapters. Chapter one analyzes integration policies implemented since the early 70s and evaluates the impact thereof on the FDI, exports and employment. Chapter two examines the current challenges and major reforms necessary to correct the side-effects of past integration policies. Chapter three attempts to identify the reforms necessary to improve quality and lower prices of services. Finally, chapter four examines the prospects for export of professional services (accounting, auditing, legal services) and health by Tunisia, which showed a real capacity to compete in these areas in recent years.
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    Putting Tanzania's Hidden Economy to Work : Reform, Management, and Protection of its Natural Resource Sector
    (Washington, DC : World Bank, 2008) World Bank
    This paper tells a story about conditions in Tanzania's hidden economy, the parts of the natural resource sector often ignored in conventional economic analyses and studies, and makes recommendations for future policy actions. The paper draws primarily from extensive background studies undertaken of the forestry, fishery, wildlife, mining, and tourism sub sectors (COWI 2005) as well as a wide range of complementary studies undertaken by the World Bank and others. It de-emphasizes those sectors with factors of production that are not readily traded or exported (such as land and water), although some examples are given relating to soil quality and water management based on extensive studies undertaken within the agriculture and water sectors. The story is relatively simple: pricing distortions, coupled with institutional weakness and the lack of rule of law, have created an environment that undermines economic growth. This paper also acknowledges that Tanzania has already taken positive steps to making some of the needed corrections to protect its natural resources. In recent analyses of corruption indicators world-wide (World Bank Institute 2006), Tanzanian stands out among those nations as having made significant progress towards improving accountability and reducing economic leakages. Anti-corruption legislation was drafted for parliament attention in early 2007. Revisions to the Deep Sea Fishing Authority Act were passed into law in early 2007. Moreover, changes in institutional arrangements, taxation, and general management of the resource sector show promise and have contributed positively to general economic growth. Yet, the sector remains fragile and vulnerable in other respects: perceptions of unequal income distribution, impacts of climate change, and other external influences must also be addressed to build on past successes.
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    Haiti : Public Expenditure Management and Financial Accountability Review
    (Washington, DC : World Bank, 2008) World Bank
    Haiti made good progress over the past three years but major challenges remain to accelerating growth and reducing poverty. After the lost decade 1994-2004, marked by political instability and economic decline, Haiti reformed significantly and revived growth, especially in the past three years. Macroeconomic policies implemented since mid-2004 helped restart economic growth, reestablish fiscal discipline, reduce inflation and increase international reserves. Financial sector stability has been maintained though weaknesses have emerged. Significant progress was also achieved in the implementation of economic governance measures, mainly in the area of legal framework, core public institutions and financial management processes and procedures. Notably, basic budget procedures were restored, the public procurement system strengthened, and anti-corruption efforts stepped up. Efforts were also made to improve efficiency and transparency in the management of public enterprises. This wave of reforms led to renewed confidence and translated into higher growth. Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is estimated to have grown by 2.3 percent in FY2006, implying an increase of about 0.6 percent in per capita GDP, compared to -0.2 percent in FY2005. The successful implementation of its stabilization program helped Haiti benefit from a three year International Monetary Fund (IMF) - Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) supported program. In addition, in November 2006, Haiti qualified for debt relief under the Enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative by reaching the decision point under the initiative.
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    Angola : Oil, Broad-Based Growth, and Equity
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2007) World Bank
    This book points out that the main issues confronting the Angolan authorities in their efforts to consolidate macroeconomic stability on a sustainable basis and in promoting an improvement in the welfare of the Angolan citizens do not seem to differ significantly from those addressed in the 1990 report. Therefore, in the current Country Economic Memorandum, the Bank reassesses some of the key issues that remain relevant nowadays and that should help the Angolan economy reach a path of sustainable economic development. The analysis in this report centers around the following four core issues: (i) taking stock of socio-economic realities; (ii) the options available for the management of the country's mineral wealth without deleterious macroeconomic consequences; (iii) the main constraints to economic diversification away from the mineral sectors; and (iv) the challenges and opportunities to improve the welfare of the population. Each of these core issues forms the building blocks that provide an overview of the current situation and a possible solution to Angola's structural problems in the short to the medium term. The report thus plays an informative role and offers policy recommendations. In Chapter 1, the analysis starts with a brief discussion of socio-economic realities in the country. In Chapter 2, a comprehensive macroeconomic assessment is presented highlighting major past features, the country's constant search for stability, and recent successes in the macroeconomic front. In Chapter 3, the report discusses the structure of the petroleum sector, the future production profile, the size of the oil wealth, and policy options to manage the revenue windfall. Chapter 4 focuses on the diamond sector, its structure, legal and fiscal framework, and explores ways in which the sector can improve its contribution to social development. In Chapter 5, the report assesses the quality of the business environment and the opportunities to improve the investment climate. Chapter 6 discusses alternatives to unleash the potential of the agricultural sector in generating employment outside of the mineral sectors. Finally in Chapter 7, the analysis focuses on how to improve the livelihoods of the poor and of the vulnerable with recommendations on how to use the mineral wealth to improve public service delivery targeted to the poor.
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    Fostering Higher Growth and Employment in the Kingdom of Morocco
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2006) World Bank
    This book identifies the binding constraints to growth of Morocco. It applies an innovative procedure known as "growth diagnostic" and has a central finding. The Moroccan economy suffers from a too slow process of structural transformation for achieving higher growth, especially for its exports that face unfavorable external shocks arising from competitor countries in the main markets for Moroccan exports. This process of so-called "productive diversification" requires that Morocco enhance its competitiveness.