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The Untapped Potential of Mauritania’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: Lessons from the Entrepreneur's Marathon(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-08) World Bank GroupIn Mauritania – a country dominated by the Sahara Desert and defined by tradition – players from across society are coming together to encourage innovation and set a new path for the country's development. From the public sector to local and international businesses, as well as the donor community, entrepreneurship is beginning to emerge as a crucial element in any strategy to address Mauritania's greatest challenges: socio-economic inclusion, poverty reduction, youth employment, economic diversification and climate change. Since independence, the country has pursued a traditional state-driven model that has failed to catalyze the necessary investments and private sector-driven solutions to these problems. Due to structural limitations of competition in the economy, the country's private sector is a concentration of large business groups that dominate the trade, banking and procurement markets. New entrants are crowded out, with formal micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Mauritania numbering a mere 3,000. Informal self-employment and micro-businesses in agriculture, livestock and commerce currently make up the vast majority of jobs among the poorest households in Mauritania. Smaller independent firms continue to encounter obstacles, discouraging the emergence of local suppliers and directly impacting international investors who face higher operating costs. Poor quality in education and professional training reinforce these challenges, limiting job opportunities even in expanding sectors in the economy. A lack of expertise and practical skills are compounded by complex labor regulations, making it even harder for businesses to recruit and retain young job-seeking Mauritanians.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2017-11) World Bank GroupThe objective of the Ghana Country Private Sector Diagnostic (CPSD) is to identify the main opportunities for the private sector that will have a strong development impact in Ghana and to highlight the key constraints (both cross-cutting and sector-specific) hampering private sector growth. The CPSD consists of a systematic assessment of all of Ghana’s economic sectors along two dimensions: (a) desirability: how private investments in these sectors could help Ghana to address its development challenges; and (b) expected feasibility: how the constraints standing in the way could be removed. This sector scan led to identification seven priority sectors, of which, three were selected to conduct deep dive studies: namely agribusiness, ICT and education.Four main opportunities exist for the private sector to make a major contribution by creating markets in Ghana. First, the private sector can help to develop new high-value export markets, such as horticulture and ICT-enabled services, in which Ghana is already well positioned. Second, the private sector can leverage ICT to improve the performance of Ghana’s most important sectors, including for improving government activities and services. Third, the private sector can help to promote efficiency and innovation in the key social sectors of education and health. Fourth, the private sector can play an important role in helping to address the main cross-cutting constraints, such as facilitating trade, providing competitive green energy, opening rural land markets, developing technical skills, and financing promising small and medium enterprises (SMEs).There are fewer opportunities for transformative private sector investments in the other sectors (mining, tourism, retail, construction, water and sanitation, and manufacturing).Ghana can seize these opportunities through a mix of public and private interventions:The government should pursue essential economic reforms to resolve the energy crisis by reforming the regulatory framework for electricity tariffs; facilitating trade, through customs reforms and the Ghana Community Network Systems;These reforms would pave the way for the private sector to invest in projects with a high development impact, including through large firms. Such opportunities already exist in Ghana in the three priority sectors of ICT, agribusiness and education that are reviewed in this report.The government should also consider supporting the entry of ‘pioneer’ investors, which are often in the form of foreign direct investment (FDI).Supporting promising SMEs will also be critical, especially during their acceleration phase.This could be achieved through a combination of public financing and capacity building, technical support adapted to the sector in which they operate, and risk-sharing and mezzanine finance facilities. Similar to the pioneer investors, such support should be provided in an inclusive, transparent and competitive manner. Examples of promising SMEs were found in all three deep-dive sectors.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-04-01) World Bank GroupShifting Kenya’s private sector into higher gear: a trade and competitiveness agenda’ was born out of the World Bank’s Trade and Competitiveness (T&C) Global Practice recent stock taking of its work in Kenya. This was part of a Programmatic Approach that aimed to organize T&C’s knowledge, advisory, and convening services to address Kenya’s development challenges in the private sector space. By Sub-Saharan African standards, Kenya has a large private sector, which accounts for around 70 percent of total formal employment. As a result, the dynamics of the private sector are a key determinant of the trajectory of the Kenyan economy. The country’s product market regulations a restrictive for domestic competitors and foreign entrants, and the actions of cartels and behavior of dominant firms across sectors undermines competition and hurts consumers. The Kenyan Government recognizes these challenges and has invested significantly in unlocking these bottlenecks with impressive results so far and several important laws passed. Additional efforts to ease regulatory constraints and expedite important legislative changes could improve the investment climate at national and county levels.