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PublicationBringing HOPE to Haiti's Apparel Industry : Improving Competitiveness through Factory-level(World Bank, 2009-11-01) World BankIn October 2008 the United States Congress enacted legislation that gave the Republic of Haiti expanded, flexible access to the U.S. market for its apparel exports. The Second Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement act of 2008 (HOPE II, updated from the original legislation passed in 2006) was welcomed for its potential to revitalize a decaying industry, attract new foreign investment, expand formal sector employment, and jumpstart growth and opportunity for Haiti's people. The purpose of the analysis of Haiti's apparel value-chain in this report is to provide a comprehensive view of the advantages and challenges of manufacturing in Haiti relative to manufacturing in the Caribbean and Central America and elsewhere. It situates Haiti's attributes and suggests priorities for improving its competitiveness relative to that of other suppliers. An apparel buyer in the United States today juggles an impressive list of potential suppliers from China and elsewhere in Asia and from Latin America and beyond. Each country offers a unique combination of workforce skills, business environment, costs, 'full-package' services, proximity to raw material or to end markets, preferential access to the U.S. market, and thus competitiveness. This report helps readers to see how Haiti fits into this ever-changing global apparel market kaleidoscope. PublicationCosta Rica : Competitiveness Diagnostic and Recommendations(World Bank, 2009-07-01) World BankCosta Rica is a clear success story. The country enjoys the highest standard of living in Central America and one of the highest in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Not surprisingly, poverty levels are among the lowest in LAC. Indeed in 2004, Costa Rica had the second lowest poverty headcount in LAC with just nine percent of households below the US$2 poverty line. This report is a contribution to those efforts. Based on multiple data sources, it assesses the main obstacles that affect private sector growth in Costa Rica and provides policy options and targeted interventions for improving the business environment and increasing competitiveness, with the goal of achieving sustained and broad-based growth. In this regard, the main focus of the report is on the long-term instead of on cyclical issues. This report outlines a program to address the critical bottlenecks that hamper Costa Rica in diverse fields including infrastructure, technological innovation and quality, human capital, red tape, and access to credit. The result is a rich and encompassing agenda. The rest of the report is structured in the following way. In section two, the report diagnoses the principal obstacles to export growth and of competitiveness in Costa Rica. The diagnostics reveal four areas most in need of reform: infrastructure, human capital and innovation, business regulation, and access to finance. Sections three to six cover each of these areas. Finally, the report closes with a section on conclusions and recommendations. PublicationOrganization of Eastern Caribbean States - Increasing Linkages of Tourism with the Agriculture, Manufacturing, and Service Sectors(Washington, DC, 2008-09) World BankTourism has become the leading economic sector of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) islands, thus expanding linkages with the local economy seems crucial going forward. Tourism has replaced agriculture as the main economic driver within all the islands comprising the OECS. In the early 1990s, agriculture contributed nearly 12 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) overall; however by 2007 its share dropped to only 5 percent of GDP. Conversely, in the same year the tourism sector of these islands accounted for an estimated 45 percent of GDP, and around 60 percent of foreign exchange earnings, as a result of the more than 2.6 million tourists that visited these islands. This study analyzes the purchasing patterns and demand for agriculture, manufacturing and services by the tourism industry, both directly and indirectly, through a structured survey and in-depth interviews. A detailed survey covering 70 hotels, marinas, and other tourism operators analyzed the current purchasing pattern of agricultural and food products (13 categories from fruits to canned goods), services (12 categories, from legal support to flower arrangements), and manufactured goods (8 categories). From the supply side, 16 small and medium enterprises were surveyed on the obstacles they were facing for their development, and on their revenue and cost structures. Three different missions covered the 6 largest OECS islands, conducted over 80 interviews and included experts from the agricultural sector including Food Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Private Sector Development (PSD). Additionally, a value chain analysis evaluated the economics of key products. This combined approach provided an extensive source of data and information on linkages that was not available in the islands, as well as insights to improve them going forward. Overall, there seem to be interesting opportunities to increase linkages between tourism and other sectors of the OECS economies. Most hospitality operators, particularly hotels, demonstrate high willingness to increase the share of products and services purchased from local origin; and in addition, local suppliers of goods and services are willing to focus more their offer on the needs of the tourism industry. This study intended to provide some initial conclusions about specific economic activities and particular ways to increase such linkages in the agricultural and food, manufacturing, and services sectors. PublicationHow to Revitalize Infrastructure Investments in Brazil : Public Policies for Better Private Participation, Volume 2. Background Report(Washington, DC, 2007-01) World BankAmid a shifting policymaking environment from private to public, volume one of this report discusses how public policies could attract more and better private investments. In attracting back private capital, this report argues that Brazil must do three things. First, it must eliminate remaining regulatory bottlenecks and policy uncertainties in selected sectors. Secondly, design infrastructure concessions to avoid "excessive" renegotiations while simultaneously guaranteeing an adequate rate of return for investors and protecting consumers' welfare. And finally, strengthen the quality of the regulators for technically sound and coherent decision-making processes. Volume two is the background report and looks at infrastructure statistics in Brazil and international benchmarks, regulatory policy issues, contract negotiations, and gives conclusions and policy implications on these topics. PublicationHow to Revitalize Infrastructure Investments in Brazil : Public Policies for Better Private Participation, Volume 1. Main Report(Washington, DC, 2007-01) World BankAmid a shifting policymaking environment from private to public, volume one of this report discusses how public policies could attract more and better private investments. In attracting back private capital, this report argues that Brazil must do three things. First, it must eliminate remaining regulatory bottlenecks and policy uncertainties in selected sectors. Secondly, design infrastructure concessions to avoid "excessive" renegotiations while simultaneously guaranteeing an adequate rate of return for investors and protecting consumers' welfare. And finally, strengthen the quality of the regulators for technically sound and coherent decision-making processes. Volume two is the background report and looks at infrastructure statistics in Brazil and international benchmarks, regulatory policy issues, contract negotiations, and gives conclusions and policy implications on these topics. PublicationPeru - Microeconomic Constraints to Growth: The Evidence from the Manufacturing Sector(Washington, DC, 2004-06-15) World BankThis study looks at the investment climate in Peru using a unique database of manufacturing firms. Through detailed analysis, it establishes four key areas that pose constraints to investment and growth in Peru and proposes solutions. The four main areas are: 1) an uncertain legal and regulatory framework, 2) low level of market integration and high logistics costs; 3) low levels of investment and activity in innovation and technology absorption and, 4) difficulties in accessing finance. The main findings and the full set of policy recommendations center on reducing uncertainty by more clearly articulating the Government legislative agenda; continuing and intensifying efforts to improve court processes; facilitating the registration and operational regulation of firms by further reducing red tape; reducing corruption awarding public goods and services contracts through a revision of public procurement at the central, regional and municipal levels; increasing the focus on quality and exports; and reforming moveable asset registries. PublicationArgentina - Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in Argentina : A Potential Engine for Economic Growth and Employment(Washington, DC, 2002-08) World BankThe convertibility law, and economic liberalization in the early 1990s in Argentina, brought about dramatic changes in economic performance. To adjust to increasing globalization, and a series of external shocks, small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) were confronted with the task of developing business strategies to secure their niches in the new arena. However, such strategies were obstructed by constraints in the legal, and economic framework, weak information and technology aspects, and insufficient access to finance. The report builds on the following issues: 1) the critical aspect of the SME sector to the Argentine economy, both from a growth/efficiency, and equity standpoint; yet on average, SMEs have failed to attain their potential; 2) the highly heterogeneous configuration, particular organizational, and technological characteristics of SMEs; 3) the high degree of institutional rigidity of the country's business environment; 4) the need to develop policy actions to deepen financial markets for SMEs; 5) the significant knowledge constraints - by and large, no training nor technical assistance services are available, mainly because of high costs; 6) the striking multiplicity of SME programs, yet with uncertain impact; and, 7) the need to overhaul SME policies, and programs to prod more incentive- and demand-driven approaches. Elements for effective SMEs assistance programs include the development of a standard set of metrics to measure performance of SMEs, and, entrepreneurial management, deemed of critical importance. As well, cost recovery growth should be targeted, extensively using follow-up techniques, and leveraging their effectiveness through the use of information, and communications technology. Most importantly, the policy challenge lies in taking initiatives to develop institutions at the national, and local levels, to encourage transition from inward-looking firms, narrow search routines, and information-poor markets, to learning-oriented firms, and mature, information-rich markets.