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Jobs or Privileges : Unleashing the Employment Potential of the Middle East and North Africa

2015, Schiffbauer, Marc, Hussain, Sahar, Sahnoun, Hania

This report shows that in MENA, policies that lower competition and create an unleveled playing field abound and constrain private sector job creation. These policies take different forms across countries and sectors but share several common features: they limit free-entry in the domestic market, exclude certain firms from government programs, increase regulatory burden and uncertainty on non-privileged firms, insulate certain firms and sectors from foreign competition, and create incentives that discourage domestic firms from competing in international markets. The report shows that such policies are often captured by a few privileged firms with deep political connections, and that these policies persist despite their apparent cost to society. The millions of workers, consumers, and the majority of entrepreneurs who bear the brunt of that cost are often unaware of the adverse impact of these policies on the jobs and economic opportunities to which they aspire. This limits the scope for internal country debate and curtails the policy dialogue necessary for reform. Thus, Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries face a critical choice in their quest for higher private sector growth and more jobs: promote competition, equal opportunities for all entrepreneurs and dismantle existing privileges to specific firms or risk perpetuating the current equilibrium of low job creation.

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Determinants of Agricultural Extension Services : The Case of Haiti

2013-05-24, Arias, Diego, Leguía, Juan José, Sy, Abdoulaye

The Haitian population is among the poorest in the world, with over 78 percent living on less than United States (U.S.) 2 dollar a day and over 50 percent living on less than U.S. 1 dollar a day. This paper extracts relevant lessons from historical data on factors influencing the receipt of extension services in Haiti, taking stock of the use of agricultural extension services prior to the 2010 earthquake. The goal is to influence future policies and development projects involving the provision of extension services as well as the type of extension services offered. This paper uses data from the 2010 agricultural census and examines the characteristics of farmers in Haiti receiving extension services by gender, education, agricultural training, farm size, and type of crop. Through in-depth study of each variable and a review of trends in the receipt of agricultural extension services, the study analyzes the equilibrium between the demand for and supply of extension services to particular farmer groups. The study draws the following nine key conclusions: (1) the proportion of households receiving agricultural extension services in Haiti is non-negligible; (2) location is an important determinant of the recipients of agricultural extension services; (3) there are no statistical differences between men and women in terms of receipt of extension services; however, the impact of agricultural training and farm size change when the head of household is a woman; (4) education level has a positive, yet small, effect on receiving extension services; (5) prior agricultural training is a major determinant of the recipients of extension services; (6) rehabilitation of the Ecoles Moyennes Agricoles (EMAs) for vocational and farmer field education on a nationwide scale will increase the demand for extension services, especially among small farmers; (7) farmers with larger farms receive more agricultural extension services; (8) coffee producers make more use of extension services than other farmers; and (9) promoting a hybrid system of extension may be more efficient than supporting only public or Non-governmental organizations (NGO) provided extension services.

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Managing Agricultural Weather Risks in the State of Santa Catarina, Brazil

2013-03, Arias Carballo, Diego, Leiva, Juan Jose, Sy, Abdoulaye, Traore, Nouhoum, Manfredi, Federico

Agriculture plays an important role in the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil. Most of its production depends on small family-owned farms, which are greatly exposed to climatic and price shocks. In order to help small farmers to manage risks, the federal and state governments have been carrying out several programs and measures to reduce and transfer agricultural risks. Santa Catarina ranks seventh out of 26 Brazilian states in terms of agricultural production. The states most important perennial crops are corn, soybean, tobacco, rice, beans, onions, and wheat. About 20 percent of the population lives in rural areas, of which some 90 percent are farmers. The most prominent climatic challenges are floods in the coastal region and droughts in the western plateau. Of these extreme weather events, floods are the most visible, because they receive widespread media coverage and sometimes cause deaths. However, drought poses a much more significant challenge to agricultural productivity. Given that most farms in Santa Catarina are small and that agricultural production is mainly rain fed, weather risks play a key role in the production variability and farmers income. In addition to government-funded preventive measures, farmers take other actions to protect themselves from weather risks. One traditional method is the diversification of income. Farmers in Santa Catarina often cultivate several crops with different growth and harvest cycles. When drought does occur it may damage some crops but it is unlikely to last long enough to affect all crops. Moreover, many farmers also farm animals, especially cows, pigs, chickens, and turkeys as a savings mechanism against the whims of the weather.