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 This series as been superseded by the World Bank Studies series.

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 19
  • Publication
    Accelerating Trade and Integration in the Caribbean : Policy Options for Sustained Growth, Job Creation, and Poverty Reduction
    (World Bank, 2009-06-01) Hamilton, Pamela Coke; Tsikata, Yvonne; Moreira, Emmanuel Pinto
    This volume builds on the foundation laid by the 2005 report by focusing on the factors affecting the region's competitiveness and the critical role that the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) has to play as a driver of integration and economic development. In addition it highlights the potential of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), if properly implemented, to significantly increase the region's competitiveness and to help it attain long-term sustained development. This potential, however, will only be realized if precise trade and competitiveness strategies are crafted to focus primarily on removing the constraints to competitiveness endemic in the region. In addition, and this is a critical element of any newly-devised strategy, is the necessity to revise regional institutional mechanisms and mandates to promote implementation and to take advantage of the market access opportunities presented by successive trade agreements such as the EPA. This report, while highlighting the need for immediate and concrete actions on the part of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states, also recognizes the responsibility of the donor community in helping to play a catalytic role in supporting trade reform and macroeconomic stability. The aid for trade agenda must seek to address the weaknesses inherent in the formulation and application of international aid policies and implement new frameworks aimed at enhancing the ability of these small nation states to meet and overcome the challenges of global competitiveness.
  • Publication
    School and Work in the Eastern Caribbean : Does the Education System Adequately Prepare Youth for the Global Economy?
    (Washington, DC : World Bank, 2008) Blom, Andreas; Hobbs, Cynthia
    This report comprises the first phase of analytical activities and focuses on the relevance of the education and training systems in the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). Its findings confirm the importance of strengthening the link between OECS education and training systems and employers' needs. Analytical findings have also informed the design of a project in St. Lucia to pilot a new market-driven training model requiring close partnership between the public and private sectors. The second phase has already been discussed with the OECS governments and is in the preparation stage. It will develop innovative approaches to expand, diversify and finance nurse training programs to efficiently reduce local shortages within the context of a growing global demand and migration of trained nurses from the Caribbean. The third phase is expected to investigate the factors contributing to learning outcomes, particularly at the primary and secondary levels. The study will inform policies and actions that could lead to improved education quality, which Caribbean stakeholders have identified as fundamental to ensuring a more competitive regional workforce in the longer run. This report's analyses and conclusions confirm many views expressed by government officials, educators, youth, students, teachers, labor union members, private sector representatives, and development partners who participated in two events: (i) the St. Lucia Industry Roundtable for Skills for the Tourism Industry, in November 2005, and (ii) the Caribbean Lifelong Learning Forum in May 2006.1 The report also was reviewed both internally at the World Bank by leading experts in education and training, and externally by OECS stakeholders, including government officials, the Caribbean Examinations Council(CXC), and University of the West Indies.
  • Publication
    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.
  • Publication
    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.
  • Publication
    Education in Ethiopia : Strengthening the Foundation for Sustainable Progress
    (Washington, DC, 2005) World Bank
    With the end of civil war in 1991, Ethiopia's government launched a New Education and Training Policy in 1994 which, by the early 2000s, had already produced remarkable results. The gross enrollment ratio rose from 20 to 62 percent in primary education between 1993-94 and 2001-02; and in secondary and higher education it climbed, respectively, from 8 to 12 percent and from 0.5 to 1.7 percent. Yet the government can hardly afford to rest on its laurels. Primary education is still not universal, and already there are concerns about plummeting educational quality and the growing pressures to expand post-primary education. Addressing these challenges will require more resources, both public and private. Yet money alone is insufficient. Focusing on primary and secondary education, this report argues for wise tradeoffs in the use of resources-a result that will often require reforming the arrangements for service delivery. These changes, in turn, need to be fostered by giving lower levels of government more leeway to adapt central standards-such as those for teacher recruitment and school construction-to local conditions, including local resource constraints; and by strengthening accountability for results at all levels of administration in the education system.
  • Publication
    The Road to Sustained Growth in Jamaica
    (Washington, DC, 2004-04) World Bank
    Jamaica's economic history is one of paradoxes, and potential - it has an English-speaking, and reasonably well-educated labor force, is close to the world's largest market, the United States, and, has an abundance of natural beauty, which has spurred tourism - and, many of its social, and governance indicators are strong, including near universal school enrollment. Poverty rates are below that of comparable countries. Yet, the Jamaican story is marked by the paradoxes of low growth in GDP and high employment, despite high investment, and important achievements in poverty reduction. This paper attempts to explain these paradoxes, and concludes that one possible explanation is that GDP has been understated. Amid these challenges, this report proposes that a "bandwagon" approach to reforms may be needed to improve prospects for sustained growth, with policy actions on several fronts, including measures to avert crisis, while continuing to strengthen social safety nets, as well as short- and long-term policies, such as reducing the growth of public expenditure, and tackling crime. Given that policy choices are likely to be difficult, it argues that an approach based on social dialogue, and consensus building is essential to create ownership for future reforms among all stakeholders.
  • Publication
    Inequality and Economic Development in Brazil
    (Washington, DC, 2004) World Bank
    This study addresses three questions : why do inequalities matter for Brazil's development? Why does Brazil occupy a position of very high inequality in the international community? And, What should public policy do about it? Excessive income inequality is unfair, and undesirable on ethical grounds, and can bring adverse effects on economic growth, health outcomes, social cohesion, and crime. Brazil's excessive income inequality is associated to regressive public transfers, less equitable distribution of education, and higher wage differentials. It is thus suggested that Brazil's strategy to fight inequality should focus on four areas that are good for reducing inequality, good for reducing poverty, and good for increasing efficiency, competitiveness, and growth: raising the level, and reducing the inequities of educational attainment, reducing the wage skill premium of post-secondary education, reallocating public expenditure away from excessive, and regressive transfers, and taking advantage of the opportunity to implement an indirect tax reform, that can reduce the inequity of indirect taxation. Despite the absence of explicit tradeoffs between equity, and efficiency, these policies do not benefit everyone, and they do involve inevitable political choices.
  • Publication
    Poverty in Guatemala
    (Washington, DC, 2004) World Bank
    Poverty in Guatemala is high and deep. In 2000, over half of all Guatemalans lived in poverty. About 16 percent lived in extreme poverty. Available evidence suggests that poverty in Guatemala is higher than in other Central American countries. Although poverty has fallen over the past decade, its trend recently declined due to a series of economic shocks during 2001 and 2002. The drop of poverty incidence since 1990 is slightly slower than what would have been predicted given Guatemala's growth rates, suggesting that growth has not been particularly pro-poor. This pattern arises largely because growth in the rural sectors-where the poor are largely concentrated-has been slower than in other areas. Poverty and vulnerability are mainly chronic whereas only a fifth were transient poor. Likewise, while 64 percent of the population could be considered vulnerable to poverty, the majority of these are vulnerable due to low overall expected consumption rather than high volatility of consumption. The chronic nature of poverty and vulnerability highlights the importance of building the assets of the poor, rather than focusing primarily on the expansion of public safety nets or social insurance. Nonetheless, some public transfers (social assistance) could indeed be desirable to alleviate the poverty and suffering of the extreme poor, particularly when linked to participation in health and education activities. The Peace Accords represented a turning point for Guatemala's development path, paving the way for a transformation to a more prosperous and inclusive nation. Key areas related to economic development and poverty reduction include: a focus on human development, productive and sustainable development, modernization of the democratic state, and strengthening and promoting participation. The rights of the indigenous and women were also highlighted as cross-cutting themes throughout the accords, in an attempt to reverse the historical exclusion of these groups.
  • Publication
    Public Expenditure Review for Armenia
    (Washington, DC, 2003-08) World Bank
    This is the first full-scale World Bank Public Expenditure Review for Armenia, which reviews the main fiscal trends in the country for the period 1997-2001, and develops recommendations with respect to further fiscal adjustment, expenditure prioritization, and budget consolidation. The analysis focuses on core issues, i.e., sustainability of fiscal adjustment, fiscal transparency, expenditure priorities, and short-term expenditure management, given the existing economy-wide institutional constraints. The study covers extra-budgetary funds, in-kind external grants, subsidies provided by the state-owned companies in the energy, and utility sectors, and operations of the Social Insurance Fund, as well as regular spending. It suggests a medium-term action plan to address identified weaknesses. Sectoral chapters review health, education, and social protection and insurance. The study also analyzes budget support for core public infrastructure, and the country's public investment program.
  • Publication
    Caribbean Youth Development : Issues and Policy Directions
    (Washington, DC, 2003-05) World Bank
    This report examines youth development in the Caribbean today. The objectives of the report are threefold, it aims to 1) identify the risk and protective factor and determinats of youth behaviors and development, 2) demonstrate that the negative behaviors of youth are costly, not only to the youth themselves but to society as a whole, and 3) identifies key intervention points for youth development, taking into account identified risk and protective factors for the Caribbean. For the purpose of the study, youth is defined as spanning the adolescent period from 10 to 24 years of age. Youth or adolescent development thus refers to the physical, social, and emotional processes of maturation from childhood to adulthood, with biological processes riving the initiation of adolescence and social factors largely determining the initiation of adulthood. The study uses an "ecological" framework to demonstrate the linkages between a) the under-lying risk and protective factors of youth behaviors, b) youth outcomes, and c) subsequent adult outcomes. It is termed "ecological" because the framework shows the relationship between the individual adolescent and his or her environment. Risk factors are those factors that increase the likelihood of experiencing negative outcomes. Protective factors counterbalance the risk factors.