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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, 2019-06) Sofan, Sami AEscalating in March 2015, the conflict spanning across Yemen has resulted in massive casualties, a wave of internally displaced persons, substantial infrastructure damage, and hampered service delivery across both the economy and society. The business climate across Yemen has dramatically deteriorated as a result of the conflict, and businesses throughout the country experienced severe disruptions that for many firms constituted a force majeure situation, hindering their ability to either operate effectively or plan ahead for the future. Addressing these challenges requires substantial effort by the GoY and the international community to support the resilience of the private sector and prevent its further deterioration and losses. The loss of private sector wealth and activity of this magnitude is part and parcel to the food insecurity, poverty, public health issues, and defunct service provision that plagues the war-fatigued population. As such, both in the future post-conflict setting and at present, engaging and revitalizing the Yemeni private sector is a crucial and indispensable step towards the successful reconstruction and recovery of Yemen, and the long-term well-being of the population.
Publication(International Finance Corporation, Washington, DC, 2019-03-20) World Bank ; International Finance CorporationEthiopia has made impressive strides along its developmental path. Job creation is now the critical development challenge, raising the importance of the private sector agenda. After more than a decade of sustained public sector-led growth, the government is revising its growth strategy to allow for a much greater role for the private sector in driving growth and job creation. Broadening the base for job creation beyond light manufacturing toward a wider range of high productivity agricultural and services activities will help to overcome the uneven spatial distribution of manufacturing jobs across the country. Ethiopia has a number of advantages that it can leverage to attract the investment needed for job creation. These include rapidly improving transport and energy infrastructure, low labor costs, a large and growing domestic market, cheap power, an ideal climate, and preferential market access to the European Union, the United States, and other major markets. The purpose of the Ethiopia country private sector diagnostic (CPSD) is to support the transition to a private sector- driven growth model that advances the country’s development objectives and, in particular, delivers the necessary jobs. It identifies investment opportunities that can materialize in the short term, and the reforms that are needed to enable these opportunities to emerge. It also discusses how specific actions by the public sector, in collaboration with the private sector, in filling gaps in public investment, reforming business regulations and trade policy, addressing market failures, and enhancing the efficiency of key backbone services and sectors, while tackling gender inequalities, can fully unleash the potential of private sector investment.