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  • Publication
    Egypt Economic Monitor, December 2022: Strengthening Resilience through Fiscal and Education Sector Reforms
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-12) World Bank
    Amidst repercussions from the Russia-Ukraine conflict, lingering supply chain disruptions, and tightening global financial conditions, Egypt is experiencing a spike in inflation and has suffered abrupt large-scale portfolio outflows; adding pressures to the country’s already stretched public finances and external accounts. The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) has undertaken exchange rate and monetary policy adjustments since March 2022 by allowing the exchange rate to depreciate and by raising key policy rates, in order to contain the widening trade deficit, capital reversal and the ensuing drop in foreign exchange buffers. In tandem, the government announced social mitigation packages. The authorities’ efforts to restore macroeconomic stability, rebuild reserves, and push ahead with structural reforms is supported by the 46-month International Monetary Fund (IMF) program, along with other multilateral and bilateral financing and investments. This report provides an update on the recent economic developments and outlook of the Egyptian economy, while embedding the analysis in long-standing challenges. It also features a Special Focus on Education Sector reforms that draws on the World Bank Egypt Public Expenditure Review for Human Development Sectors. A key message is that education spending, its efficiency, and the overall learning outcomes require improvements in order to meet the needs for robust human development, poverty reduction, improved equity, and long-term growth. According to the report, there are three key (inter-connected) priorities going forward: (1) establishing sustained macroeconomic stability and enhancing the competitiveness of Egyptian economy to ensure resilient sources of foreign income activities (exports and FDI). This requires continuing to push ahead with business environment reforms; (2) streamlining budgetary and off-budget expenditures and increasing revenues to create the fiscal space required to allocate more resources for priority areas (such as the education sector); and (3) unleashing the private sector’s potential in higher value-added and export-oriented activities to create jobs and improve living standards.
  • Publication
    Lebanon Economic Monitor, Fall 2022: Time for an Equitable Banking Resolution
    (Washington, DC, 2022-11) World Bank
    The economy continues to contract, albeit at a somewhat slower pace. Public finances improved in 2021, but only because spending collapsed faster than revenue generation. Testament to the continued atrophy of Lebanon’s economy, the Lebanese Pound continues to depreciate sharply. The sharp deterioration in the currency continues to drive surging inflation, in triple digits since July 2020, impacting the poor and vulnerable the most. An unprecedented institutional vacuum will likely further delay any agreement on crisis resolution and much needed reforms; this includes prior actions as part of the April 2022 International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff-level agreement (SLA). Divergent views among key stakeholders on how to distribute the financial losses remains the main bottleneck for reaching an agreement on a comprehensive reform agenda. Lebanon needs to urgently adopt a domestic, equitable, and comprehensive solution that is predicated on: (i) addressing upfront the balance sheet impairments, (ii) restoring liquidity, and (iii) adhering to sound global practices of bail-in solutions based on a hierarchy of creditors (starting with banks’ shareholders) that protects small depositors.
  • Publication
    A New State of Mind: Greater Transparency and Accountability in the Middle East and North Africa
    (Washington, DC : World Bank, 2022-10-05) Belhaj, Ferid; Gatti, Roberta; Lederman, Daniel; Sergenti, Ernest John; Assem, Hoda; Lotfi, Rana; Mousa, Mennatallah Emam
    The MENA region is facing important vulnerabilities, which the current crises—first the pandemic, then the war in Ukraine—have exacerbated. Prices of food and energy are higher, hurting the most vulnerable, and rising interest rates from the global tightening of monetary policy are making debt service more burdensome. Part I explores some of the resulting vulnerabilities for MENA. MENA countries are facing diverging paths for future growth. Oil Exporters have seen windfall increases in state revenues from the rise in hydrocarbon prices, while oil importers face heightened stress and risk—from higher import bills, especially for food and energy, and the depreciation of local currencies in some countries. Part II of this report argues that poor governance, and, in particular, the lack of government transparency and accountability, is at the root of the region’s development failings—including low growth, exclusion of the most disadvantaged and women, and overuse of such precious natural resources as land and water.
  • Publication
    Morocco Country Climate and Development Report
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-10) World Bank Group
    Climate change poses a serious threat to Morocco’s economic growth and human potential but with the right investments and policies in place, a more sustainable future is possible. A new World Bank diagnostic tool, The Country Climate and Development Report explores the linkages between climate and development and identifies priority actions to build resilience and reduce carbon emissions, while supporting economic growth and reducing poverty. The Morocco climate report identifies three priority areas – tackling water scarcity and droughts; enhancing resilience to floods; and decarbonizing the economy. The report also looks at the cross-cutting issues of financing, governance, and equity. The underlying message in the report is that if Morocco invests in climate action now and takes the appropriate policy measures, the benefits will be immense. Ambitious climate actions will help to revitalize rural areas, create new jobs and position the Kingdom as a green industrial hub, while also helping Morocco to reach its broader development goals. The report identifies key pathways to decarbonize the economy, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and massively deploying solar and wind power. The report estimates that total investment needed to put Morocco firmly on a resilient and low carbon pathway by the 2050s would be around $78 billion in present dollar value. The good news is that these investments could be gradual and that with the appropriate policies in place, the private sector could shoulder much of the cost.
  • Publication
    Tunisia - Systematic Country Diagnostic: Rebuilding Trust and Meeting Aspirations for a More Prosperous and Inclusive Tunisia
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-09-30) World Bank
    This Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD) comes at critical moment in Tunisia. Since the 2011 revolution and the promulgation of a new constitution in 2014, Tunisia has been navigating a difficult political transition. While there have been gains in poverty reduction, public trust in government has declined sharply, and the economy has stalled. The COVID-19 pandemic and more recently the effects of the war in Ukraine also exacerbated stresses on the economy, the public finances, and public trust in government. Partly as result of these trends, recent political events since July 25 2021 have marked a break with the 2014 constitutional model, and created great uncertainty regarding the future direction of Tunisia’s transition. At the time of writing, it is still uncertain what form Tunisia’s new political and constitutional model will take in coming years. The Tunisia SCD takes a ten-year view of trends in Tunisia since 2011, drawing comparisons with other comparable countries, and suggesting possible future pathways. The World Bank Group undertakes SCDs as a diagnostic exercise to identify key challenges and opportunities to accelerate progress towards rebuilding trust and meeting citizen aspirations, and ultimately to contribute to the World Bank Group’s twin goals of ending absolute poverty and boosting shared prosperity in a sustainable manner. It is intended to become a reference point for consultations on priorities for World Bank Group country engagement. It is also intended as a contribution to the public debate about Tunisia’s path forward. This longer term perspective means that the Tunisia SCD does not place a heavy emphasis on recent events, but rather seeks to situate them in the broader context of trends in equitable growth, poverty reduction, and state capability.
  • Publication
    Egypt Public Expenditure Review for the Human Development Sectors
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-09) World Bank Group
    This Public Expenditure Review (PER) aims at informing government efforts to pursue its commitment to enhancing socioeconomic outcomes through more and better spending on human capital. To achieve this important objective, the Government of Egypt (GoE) aims at creating the fiscal space needed to increase growth-enhancing spending in a way that reflects positively on socioeconomic outcomes. This PER analyzes the adequacy, efficiency, and equity of public spending on the human development sectors. It examines options to create fiscal space by reducing inefficient and wasteful spending within this sector and increasing the impact of existing resources. From an equity perspective, the PER examines how public resources are distributed within the sector, and across income groups and/or geographical regions, and how system-wide reforms can reduce inequality in spending and outcomes. Drawing on a fiscal incidence analysis jointly carried out with the MOF, the distributional impact of potential fiscal measures and other policy changes is simulated to inform the reforms agenda. The first part of the review (Volume I) presents the macro-fiscal context and its constraints. It also presents an analysis of the social protection system in place to mitigate the effects of the challenging macroeconomic environment. The second part of the review (Volume II) focuses on the most difficult challenges facing the core human development sectors, namely health, education and higher education.
  • Publication
    Lebanon Public Finance Review: Ponzi Finance?
    (Washington, DC, 2022-07) World Bank
    The Public Finance Review (PFR) analyzes Lebanon’s public finances over a long horizon, to understand the roots of the fiscal profligacy and its eventual insolvency. To do so, the PFR links three critical elements in three Sections. Section I: Fiscal Policy in the Second Republic; Section II: Macro-Financial Restructuring; Section III: Public Service Non-Delivery. A fourth critical element is geopolitics, which is beyond the scope of the PFR. Taken together, these form critical determinants of the outcomes for any future socio-political-economic re-configuration.
  • Publication
    Tunisia Economic Monitor, Summer 2022: Navigating the Crisis during Uncertain Times
    (Washington, DC, 2022-07) World Bank
    The war in Ukraine and rising commodity prices have exacerbated the vulnerabilities of the Tunisian economy in the first months of 2022. The impact of the war began to be felt as the trade deficit widened by 56 percent in the first six months of 2022 reaching 8.1 percent of GDP. Lower oil and gas production and increased demand for energy and agricultural products have exacerbated the vulnerability of the trade balance to the vagaries of international markets. With a challenging global environment, the economic recovery appears weaker than previously forecast.
  • Publication
    Remarks by World Bank Group President David Malpass at World Bank Group 2022 Spring Meetings Ministerial Roundtable for Support to Ukraine
    (World Bank, World Bank, 2022-04-21) Malpass, David
    These remarks were delivered by World Bank Group President David Malpass at World Bank Group 2022 Spring Meetings Ministerial Roundtable for Support to Ukraine on April 21, 2022. He said that he has been deeply horrified and shocked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the atrocities committed against the civilian population, and the loss of life and livelihoods for millions of Ukrainians. He mentioned that since the invasion, the World Bank Group has provided fast-disbursing financial support to help the government provide critical services, pay wages for hospital workers, public servants, and the elderly. He insisted that It will be important for all partners to continue coordinating their support for Ukraine’s budget needs. He described that the World Bank Group is working toward three phases of the recovery effort of relief, recovery, and resilience. He said that as the war continues, the World Bank Group will work to build confidence in Ukraine’s financial, monetary, and fiscal institutions, fostering currency stability as they go forward. He mentioned that rebuilding will take hard work, determination, and struggle, but he remains optimistic. He concluded by saying that with our collective support, Ukraine can achieve a brighter future.
  • Publication
    World Development Report 2022: Finance for an Equitable Recovery
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-02-15) World Bank
    World Development Report 2022: Finance for an Equitable Recovery examines the central role of finance in the economic recovery from COVID-19. Based on an in-depth look at the consequences of the crisis most likely to affect low- and middle-income economies, it advocates a set of policies and measures to mitigate the interconnected economic risks stemming from the pandemic—risks that may become more acute as stimulus measures are withdrawn at both the domestic and global levels. Those policies include the efficient and transparent management of nonperforming loans to mitigate threats to financial stability, insolvency reforms to allow for the orderly reduction of unsustainable debts, innovations in risk management and lending models to ensure continued access to credit for households and businesses, and improvements in sovereign debt management to preserve the ability of governments to support an equitable recovery.