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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, 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.