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PublicationPrinciples for Public Credit Guarantee Schemes for SMEs(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-12) World Bank GroupAccess to finance, particularly credit, is widely recognized as problematic for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), hampering their growth and development. To address this challenge, many governments around the world intervene in SME credit markets through credit guarantee schemes (CGSs). A CGS offers risk mitigation to lenders by taking a share of the lenders’ losses on SME loans in case of default. CGSs can contribute to expand access to finance for SMEs. Yet they may bring limited value added and prove costly if they are not designed and implemented well. There have been efforts in recent years to identify good practices for CGSs, but the international community still lacks a common set of principles or standards that can help governments establish, operate, and evaluate CGSs for SMEs. The Principles for Public Credit Guarantees for SMEs are filling this gap. The Principles provide a generally accepted set of good practices, which can serve as a global reference for the design, execution, and evaluation of public CGSs around the world. The Principles propose appropriate governance and risk management arrangements, as well as operational conduct rules for CGSs, which can lead to improved outreach and additionality along with financial sustainability. Developed through extensive consultations with stakeholders, the Principles draw from both the literature on good practices for CGSs and sound practices implemented by a number of successful CGSs around the world. PublicationEconomic Monitoring Report to the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee(Washington, DC, 2015-09-30) World BankPalestinians are getting poorer on average for the third year in a row. As evidenced in previous World Bank reports, the competitiveness of the Palestinian economy has been progressively eroding since the signing of the Oslo accords, in particular its industry and agriculture. Even though donor aid had increased government-funded services and fueled consumption-driven growth during 2007 to 2011, this growth model has proved unsustainable. Donor support has significantly declined in recent years and, in any case, aid cannot sustainably make up for inadequate private investment. Thus, growth has started to slow since 2012 and the Palestinian economy contracted in 2014 following the Gaza war. In early 2015, GDP was still lower than it was a year ago. Due to population growth, real GDP per capita has been shrinking since 2013. Unemployment remains high, particularly amongst Gaza’s youth where it exceeds 60 percent, and 25 percent of Palestinians currently live in poverty. Against the backdrop of weak economic growth, reduced donor aid, and temporary suspension of revenue payments by the Government of Israel (GoI), the Palestinian Authority’s reform efforts have not been able to prevent another year with a financing gap. The persistence of this situation could potentially lead to political and social unrest. In short, the status quo is not sustainable and downside risks of further conflict and social unrest are high. PublicationImproving the Quality of Financial Intermediation in the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries(Washington, DC, 2015-06) World Bank GroupThis engagement note provides a snapshot of financial development in the countries of the GulfCooperation Council (GCC), Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and identifies key areas of the financial sector reform agenda where the World Bank Group (WBG) through the Finance Markets Global Practice (FMGP) can provide its support, in particular through the provision of analytical services and advisory (ASA). A key challenge for GCC countries is to diversify their economic structures, increase the role of the private sector, improve the efficiency of the government and reform the educational system and the labor market. This is essential to create employment opportunities for a young and growing domestic population. In this context, the development of an efficient, stable and inclusive financial sector is a policy objective in itself and a necessary conduit to a more diversified and productive economic system. Against this backdrop, this engagement note suggests that improving the quality of financial intermediation in GCC economies is a balancing act between enhancing access and preserving stability. Accordingly, it detects and discusses several areas of engagement for WBG which are consistent with the financial sector reform agenda of the region. In particular, based on the expertise and delivery capacity of WBG, particularly of FMGP, this engagement note suggests that WBG target ASA in the following areas: (i) financial infrastructure, particularly insolvency regimes, creditor rights and payment and settlement systems; (ii) banking competition; (iii) government debt capital market development, including sukuk; (iv) credit guarantee schemes for SMEs; and (v) macro prudential supervision. PublicationThe Unfulfilled Promise of Oil and Growth : Poverty, Inclusion and Welfare in Iraq 2007-2012(Washington, DC, 2014-12-01) World BankIraq appears to have firmly entered the ranks of upper middle-income countries in 2012, having experienced strong economic growth following the establishment of a civilian elected government in 2005-06. In 2012 the years of growth culminated in a per capita GDP of 2472 constant 2005 US$. This three-volume poverty and inclusion assessment provides the first in-depth analysis of Iraq's economic and social development during the period of 2007 to 2012. Volume 1 is an overview of the economic climate in Iraq, providing brushstroke descriptions of its poverty reduction plans, labor markets, public health data, and education focal points. Volume 2 is a nine-chapter report on the years between 2007 and 2012, a period of relative stability in Iraq. 2007 marks the end of sectarian violence, which lasted until 2012, prior to the militancy and insurgency in the northern governorates of the summer of 2014. The country has been a nexus of conflict and fragility since the early 1980s, and has experienced multiple types of conflict: insurgency, international war, sectarian strife, persistent terrorism, regional fragmentation, and spillovers from conflict in other countries. What should have been a promising endowment of natural resources of land, oil and gas, as well of human capital, did not provide the foundation for poverty reduction and shared prosperity. The realization of potential was confounded by war and repression. A key priority of the Government of Iraq since 2005-06 has been to fill the huge knowledge gap in terms of a deeper understanding of the state of the economy and of a range of socioeconomic indicators of welfare with the objective of building a strong evidence base for effective policy making. The rich analyses presented in this report go well beyond counting the poor. It gives an incisive understanding of the multi-layered development challenges faced by the nation, which serves as a testament to the commitment of the Government of Iraq, the staff of the Central Statistics Office, and the Kurdistan Region Statistics Office. It will form the basis for a new strategy for Iraq's development and ensure broad-based welfare improvements for the population. Volume 3 consists of nine annexes and nine references in the forms of tables, boxes, and equations used in the methodologies. PublicationMauritania : Counting on Natural Wealth for a Sustainable Future(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2014-05) Mele, GianlucaA data set of key macro-sustainability indicators, constructed after several fact-finding missions, and World Bank methodologies on estimating wealth accounting are used to study Mauritania's wealth, which is estimated to be between USD50 and USD60 billion. The country's produced wealth represents roughly 12 percent of total wealth, much less than in lower-middle-income countries; by contrast, natural wealth represents approximately 45 percent of the total figure. Renewable resources account for slightly less than two-thirds of natural wealth, with fisheries alone equaling about one-fourth of natural wealth. This is good news for Mauritania, as sound management of these resources may ensure a constant flow of resources in the future and therefore -- with adequate policies -- the achievement of the same or higher levels of welfare for future generations. On the negative side, however, the ratio of net adjusted savings over gross national income is estimated to have been negative since 2006, meaning that the wealth of the country is being depleted. Mauritania has recently joined the ranks of lower-middle-income countries, largely thanks to its considerable natural resources endowment. Over time the mining sector's contribution to gross domestic product has grown significantly and important discoveries continue to be made. The overarching objective of this wealth accounting exercise is thus to support Mauritania to measure its assets better and achieve a more complete picture of the prospects for future income, with a view to better orienting public policies toward sustainable growth and shared prosperity. The paper concludes with several indicative policy recommendations. PublicationWest Bank and Gaza Investment Climate Assessment : Fragmentation and Uncertainty(Washington, DC, 2014-01) World Bank GroupThis Investment Climate Assessment (ICA) seeks to evaluate the conditions under which the Palestinian private sector currently operates in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza strip. This assessment is both an update and expansion on a similar assessment undertaken by the World Bank in 2006. As such, it provides both a snapshot of the investment climate in 2013, as well as a longitudinal view of what has changed in the intervening seven years and, just as importantly, what has not. Where relevant, it also compares indicators of the Palestinian investment climate with those of other countries in the region and beyond. The objective of this assessment is to provide the Palestinian business community, the Palestinian Authority (PA), and the international development community with an empirical analysis of the investment climate under which Palestinian businesses operate. The report describes the key constraints on business and investment and identifies reform priorities for those aspects of the investment climate and constraints which are within the PA's control, as well as some policy recommendations for areas outside of the PA's control, but within the domain of development partner assistance agendas and/or Israeli policies. This analysis is intended to inform Palestinian policy-maker actions to improve the business environment. It can also help inform the actions of other concerned parties, including the international development community, regional actors, and the Government of Israel regarding policies that affect Palestinian economic growth and sustainability. PublicationYemen Civil Society Organizations in Transition : A Mapping and Capacity Assessment of Development-Oriented Civil Society Organizations in Five Governorates(Washington, DC, 2013-06) World BankCivil society in Yemen is vibrant and diverse but highly fragmented. It includes independent registered and organized civic groups, less organized local self-help organizations, and charity oriented groups. The first period, from 1950 to 1963, saw a growth in associational activity in the modern enclave of late colonial Aden and within the protectorates of the northern imamate amidst heavy immigration and modernization. A second stage of development took place in the late 1970s and 1980s with very little central control but exceptional affluence thanks to remittances from citizens employed in the Gulf. As the political transition in Yemen continues, there is renewed interest in engaging local Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the process of service delivery, decentralization, institution building and in encouraging inclusion and greater citizen participation. The Government has requested that the World Bank update its earlier work on CSOs in Yemen to map and to assess the capacities of present-day, development-oriented CSOs in five governorates. Nearly all of the CSOs that participated in this study were formally registered, non-governmental organizations that were generally independent of tribal or religious affiliation. There is an important opening in Yemen at present to encourage greater social accountability among CSOs and through CSO-Government partnerships. Social accountability includes a growing emphasis on beneficiary engagement in monitoring and assessing government performance as well as service providers, particularly in providing feedback on, and voicing demand for, improved service delivery. Based on this study's findings, it is recommended that the Government reform CSOs-related procedures, including registration, re-licensing, and decentralize avenues for CSO-ministry collaboration on service delivery and standards development to the governorate-level branches of the respective Ministries. Finally, it is recommended that training be made available for Yemeni journalists that cover the work of the country's civic sector or development issues in general. PublicationFiscal Crisis, Economic Prospects: The Imperative for Economic Cohesion in the Palestinian Territories, Economic Monitoring Report to the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-09-23) World BankEconomic growth in West Bank and Gaza (WB&G) slowed in the first quarter (Q1) of 2012. The real growth rate is estimated to have reached 5.6 percent, more than three percentage points lower than the Q1 2011 growth figure and almost one percent lower than the growth forecast contained in the Palestinian Authority's (PA's) budget. This decline is attributed to a major slowdown in Gaza, where real growth decreased from 21.3 percent to 6 percent on a year-on-year basis. The slowdown in Gaza during Q1 of 2012 was mainly attributed to a major decline in the agriculture and fishing sector, which offset much of the growth witnessed in other sectors. This sector shrank by 43 percent in Q1 2012 due to frequent power outages resulting from the lack of fuel in Gaza. Nevertheless, other sectors in Gaza expanded and the highest growth levels were witnessed in the construction, and hotels and restaurants sectors. In the West Bank, growth in Q1 2012 was broadly unchanged from its 2011 level. Most of the growth was from an expansion of services, which contributed around 2.2 percentage points of the 5.4 percent total growth in Q1 2012. The recent slowdown in economic growth is also reflected in higher unemployment levels. Overall unemployment in WB&G was 20.9 percent in the second quarter of 2012 compared to 18.7 percent during the same period in 2011. A serious concern in WB&G is the high level of youth unemployment that is accompanied by low youth participation in the labor force. Publication2012 Information and Communications for Development : Maximizing Mobile(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2012-08-15) World BankWith some 6 billion mobile subscriptions in use worldwide, around three-quarters of the world's inhabitants now have access to a mobile phone. Mobiles are arguably the most ubiquitous modern technology: in some developing countries, more people have access to a mobile phone than to a bank account, electricity, or even clean water. Mobile communications now offer major opportunities to advance human development from providing basic access to education or health information to making cash payments to stimulating citizen involvement in democratic processes. The developing world is 'more mobile' than the developed world. In the developed world, mobile communications have added value to legacy communication systems and have supplemented and expanded existing information flows. However, the developing world is following a different, 'mobile first' development trajectory. Many mobile innovations such as multi-SIM card phones, low-value recharges, and mobile payments have originated in poorer countries and are spreading from there. New mobile applications that are designed locally and rooted in the realities of the developing world will be much better suited to addressing development challenges than applications transplanted from elsewhere. In particular, locally developed applications can address developing-country concerns such as digital literacy and affordability. This 2012 edition of the World Bank's information and communications for development report analyzes the growth and evolution of mobile telephony, and the rise of data-based services delivered to handheld devices, including apps. The report explores the consequences for development of the emerging 'app economy.' It summarizes current thinking and seeks to inform the debate on the use of mobile phones for development. This report looks at key ecosystem-based applications in agriculture, health, financial services, employment, and government, with chapters devoted to each. PublicationHashemite Kingdom of Jordan - Development Policy Review : Improving Institutions, Fiscal Policies and Structural Reforms for Greater Growth Resilience and Sustained Job Creation (Vol. 2 of 2)(Washington, DC, 2012-06) World BankJordan's quest for long-term, inclusive and sustainable growth has remained largely elusive. By the Growth and Development Commission's measure of success, namely, an average growth rate of 7 percent over 30 years, Jordan's growth record cannot be dubbed 'successful'. This Development Policy Review (DPR) shows that sustaining growth and reducing unemployment is possible: Jordan has a strong human capital base, a large endowment in engineers, doctors, accountants, Information Technology (IT) specialists and a substantial highly-skilled diaspora (500,000 educated Jordanians abroad, 8 percent of the population). Furthermore, the market-oriented reforms of the early 2000s have made Jordan one of the most open economies in the Middle East and North Africa Region and have led to the emergence of dynamic non-traditional sectors (e.g., information and communication technologies, health tourism and business services). What is missing are: (i) an adequate and stable institutional framework for policymaking and long-term business development; (ii) good fiscal policies to manage shocks and maintain macroeconomic stability; good institutions and macroeconomic stability were identified by the growth commission as two of the five common characteristics of successful growth experiences; and (iii) further growth-enhancing structural reforms.