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 This series as been superseded by the World Bank Studies series.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 13
  • Publication
    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.
  • 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
    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.
  • Publication
    Public Expenditure Management and Financial Accountability in Niger
    (Washington, DC, 2005) World Bank
    This study shows how difficult it is for Niger to significantly change its expenditure composition in a short time span. A narrow and volatile domestic resource base, heavy dependence on aid, and a large share of pre-determined expenditures such as external debt payments are important factors behind this lack of flexibility. There are ways, though, to create space in the budget for increasing public spending on priority sectors. The study identifies a number of measures in this regard, such as increasing domestic revenues, more realistic and conservative budgeting, strengthening cash management, controlling the wage bill, prudent borrowing and attracting higher external financing for recurrent costs in priority sectors. The study also shows that enhancing the efficiency and transparency of public spending is as important as increasing spending for PRS priority sectors. It thoroughly assesses public management systems in Niger and presents an action plan, jointly elaborated by the Government and its main external partners, to address the main challenges in this area. This action plan contains a priority set of measures to improve budget preparation, execution as well as internal and external oversight.
  • Publication
    Creating Fiscal Space for Poverty Reduction in Ecuador : A Fiscal Management and Public - Expenditure Review
    (Washington, DC: World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank, 2005) World Bank
    This report consists of two volumes. Volume I examines whether, and how, the core goals of public expenditure management, i.e., balanced fiscal aggregates, resource allocations to strategic sectors, and equity and microeconomic efficiency of public spending are met in Ecuador. Volume II presents sector studies on fiscal sustainability, the fiscal rules, education, health, pensions, the results of a national teachers tracking survey, water and sanitation, electricity, telecommunications and oil. Volume II deals with sectoral policies, and their link to fiscal management. It identifies the most efficient and cost-effective interventions in the social sectors, while making an optimal use of the reduced and available fiscal space. The study also recognizes the importance of political constraints, and the difficulties of setting steady rules in a non-cooperative game among national political actors that are particularly reflected in budget allocations.
  • Publication
    Zambia : Public Expenditure Management and Financial Accountability Review
    (Washington, DC, 2004-10-12) World Bank
    Zambia's economy is not growing fast. Poverty is on the rise. The quality of economic governance is on the decline. And public resources are not well spent. The badly needed first steps to reverse all this are to start getting the budgetary allocations right and to make sure those allocations go where they re intended. That requires making the public aware of the government s budgetary decisions and holding the government accountable for better performance. Budgets, now not credible, have to become credible. Spending rules, where they exist, must be strengthened and enforced. Where rules are missing, they must be created and once again enforced to remove today s pernicious discretion. Addressing the longstanding challenges that Zambia faces in public expenditure management will require strong political will. For Zambia to assure that public accountability is enduring and not dependent on the government of the day, it must strengthen budget processes and institutions that can provide public oversight and promote basic checks and balances. This report provides an analysis of how Zambia can strengthen budgetary processes and institutions for accountability and effective service delivery to its citizens.
  • Publication
    Slovak Republic--Joining the EU : A Development Policy Review
    (Washington, DC, 2003-06) World Bank
    The Slovak Republic's external current account and fiscal deficits (net of privatization receipts) are unsustainably high (at about 8 percent of GDP in 2002), despite some recent declines. With a capital account surplus of perhaps 20 percent of GDP this year, the Slovak Republic may not find it particularly difficult to finance these deficits, but this favorable situation will not last. Furthermore, through its impact on the real exchange rate, this policy mix is undermining the employability of large segments of the population (particularly those with low skill levels) and will ultimately choke growth (projected at 4 percent for 2002). While much policy attention has gone to stimulating investment, future growth will also depend on raising the employment rate, currently one of the lowest among the Central and East European Countries (CEECs). This report lays out the broad thrust of a policy strategy to bolster the recovery and bring the economy towards convergence with the EU. This strategy consists of three key elements: (a) Continued trade, finance, and enterprise reform to complete the structural transformation of the economy and align it with the EU framework (b) Fiscal consolidation, focusing on cutting back expenditure and stabilizing revenues, while redirecting revenue and expenditure policies to become more fully supportive of growth and employment objectives (c) Labor market reform, directed at enhancing labor market flexibility by relaxing legal provisions on working arrangements (such as part-time work, self-employment, and fixed term contracts), by decentralizing collective bargaining, and discarding the minimum wage as an instrument of incomes policy, and by reforming the social assistance system. The ultimate success of the policy reforms outlined in this report will depend to a great extent on the government's capacity to strengthen the institutional framework in which those policies are conceived, decided upon, and executed. Three priorities have been highlighted: (i) the reform of public expenditure management systems and practices needed to support a growth-oriented fiscal strategy; (ii) the consolidation of the recent decentralization moves as a prerequisite for further devolution, and (iii) a much overdue overhaul of the judiciary system.
  • Publication
    Bangladesh : Financial Accountability for Good Governance
    (Washington, DC, 2002-05) World Bank
    This document assesses the quality of financial accountability and transparency in Bangladesh, and makes recommendations for improvement. With respect to public funds, it compares the financial management standards, and practices of agencies using such funds against and international, or "best practice" standard, and also the standards, and practices of the external "oversight" agencies - nine Audit Directorates of the Comptroller and Auditor General's Office, parliamentary committees concerned with public expenditure, donor agencies, and the media. It assesses what it would take to qualify the country for programmatic, or sector lending in replacement of all individual project lending. With respect to private funds in the hands of companies, commercial banks, insurance companies, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), it examines the regulatory activities of the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the two Stock Exchanges, Bangladesh Bank, NGO Affairs Bureau, and the accounting and auditing profession that serves both public, and private sectors.
  • Publication
    Regaining Fiscal Sustainability and Enhancing Effectiveness in Croatia : A Public Expenditure and Institutional Review
    (Washington, DC, 2002-03) World Bank
    The report presents the macroeconomic setting, and fiscal developments in the 1990s in Croatia, a country facing an unparalleled opportunity towards sustainable growth, and integration into the European Union. Nonetheless, the country needs to sustain macroeconomic stabilization, and improve the investment climate. To this effect, public sector reform needs to be oriented to diminish the size of the state, and reduce the fiscal deficit to sustain macroeconomic stability in the medium term. Yet, the scope for reducing the deficit through revenue increases is limited, even though a decrease in the tax burden would be highly desirable. This means that most of the adjustment will need to be made in public expenditures, particularly by identifying, and implementing policies that will reduce the level of expenditures, while improving their effectiveness; thus, budgetary management improvement will be critical to this effort. The report analysis indicates that the current budget in Croatia is not a comprehensive measure of all fiscal activity, namely that five extra-budgetary funds are not included in the budget; that off-budget revenues, outside of the extra-budgetary funds, still exist; that the cash budgeting system leads to the accumulation of arrears that do not appear in budget presentations; and, that laws outside of the budget law, lead to mandatory spending that falls outside of the budget process.