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    Tunisia Economic Monitor, Winter 2021: Economic Reforms to Navigate Out of the Crisis
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2022-01-20) World Bank
    The Economic Monitor examines four possible factors behind Tunisia’s slow recovery. First, the drop in mobility related to the pandemic may have been more harmful in Tunisia. However, mobility in Tunisia has dropped to a similar extent as other countries and it has now returned to pre-pandemic levels following the acceleration in the vaccination campaign since July. If anything, the mobility drop in Tunisia has resulted in a lower reduction in economic activity than in comparator countries as Algeria and Egypt. Second, it could be that the level of public support to the ailing firms and households may have been particularly low. However, at 2.3 percent of GDP, the Covid-19 stimulus package in 2020 was in the same ballpark as other comparators in the region. Third, the structure of the Tunisian economy, particularly its reliance on tourism, may have exposed it to the negative demand shock more than other countries. Indeed hotels, cafe and restaurant and transport are the sectors which have contracted the most since the start of the pandemic. The losses of these sectors explain a significant portion of the negative effects of the crisis in Tunisia, although they do not fully account for such slow recovery.
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    An Exposition of the New Strategy, 'Promoting Peace and Stability in the Middle East and North Africa'
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-01) Devarajan, Shantayanan
    The Middle East and North Africa region is in turmoil. Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen are in civil war, causing untold damage to human lives and physical infrastructure. Fifteen million people have fled their homes, many to fragile or economically strapped countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, Djibouti and Tunisia, giving rise to the biggest refugee crisis since World War II. Palestinians are reeling from deadly attacks and blockades. With recruits from all over the world, radicalized terrorist groups and sectarian factions like Daesh are spreading violence around the globe, threatening some governments' ability to perform basic functions. Countries undergoing political transitions, such as Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and Jordan, face periodic attacks and political unrest, leading them to address security concerns over inclusive growth. Even relatively peaceful oil exporters, such as Algeria, Iran and the GCC, are grappling with youth unemployment and poor-quality public services, the same problems that contributed to the Arab Spring, alongside low oil prices. Finally, the author will develop and monitor input indicators that are consistent with the theory of change associated with the new strategy. We will have indicators that show whether our interventions are helping to renew the social contract (the use of citizen engagement in projects is an example). Household surveys can tell us whether the welfare of refugees and host communities is improving. Preparedness indicators can be used to inform progress on the recovery and reconstruction pillar. And standard indicators such as the share of electricity production that is traded will be used for the regional integration pillar.
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    Principles for Public Credit Guarantee Schemes for SMEs
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-12) World Bank Group
    Access 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.
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    Jordan Economic Monitor, Fall 2015: A Hiccup Amidst Sustained Resilience and Committed Reforms
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-10-01) World Bank
    The Jordan economic monitor provides an update on key economic developments and policies over the past six months. It also presents findings from recent World Bank work on Jordan. It places them in a longer-term and global context, and assesses the implications of these developments and other changes in policy for the outlook for the country. Its coverage ranges from the macro-economy to financial markets to indicators of human welfare and development. It is intended for a wide audience, including policy makers, business leaders, financial market participants, and the community of analysts and professionals engaged in Jordan.
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    Economic Monitoring Report to the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee
    (Washington, DC, 2015-09-30) World Bank
    Palestinians 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.
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    Financial Inclusion in Tunisia: Low-Income Households and Micro-Enterprises Snapshot
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-09) Chehade, Nadine
    This snapshot provides an overview of financial inclusion trends and challenges in Tunisia. It follows the recent expiration of the Coordinated Vision for the Development of Microfinance in Tunisia 2011-2014, national strategy published in 2011.
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    Improving the Quality of Financial Intermediation in the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries
    (Washington, DC, 2015-06) World Bank Group
    This 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.
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    Mauritania : Counting on Natural Wealth for a Sustainable Future
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2014-05) Mele, Gianluca
    A 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.
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    Implementing Consumer Protection in Emerging Markets and Developing Economies: A Technical Guide for Bank Supervisors
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-08-16) Dias, Denise
    Financial consumer protection regulation reflects the regulator's and policy makers' concerns with the relationship between financial institutions and their clients. Most emerging markets and developing economies (EMDEs) researched for this guide have regulated at least one financial consumer protection topic. Each detail in the regulatory requirements impacts how the supervisor enforces them in practice and which tools and techniques will work best. For example, a rule simply requiring disclosure of an item will be checked by the field supervisor differently than a rule requiring the item to be disclosed at a specific moment and in a specified format. Ignoring the time dimension of this rule can jeopardize its core goal. This guide is an attempt to help bank supervisors enforce such regulations. It is divided into following sections: section one gives introduction. Section two details guidance points in eight areas of interest for supervisory staff and agencies, while section three suggests a prioritization framework for supervisors - particularly those in low-income countries with resource and capacity constraints - that adopt a gradual approach when implementing the guidance.
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    Microcredit Interest Rates and Their Determinants, 2004-2011
    (CGAP, Washington, DC, 2013-06) Rosenberg, Richard ; Gaul, Scott ; Ford, William ; Tomilova, Olga
    From the beginning of modern microcredit, its most controversial dimension has been the interest rates charged by micro lenders, often referred to as microfinance institutions (MFIs). These rates are higher, often much higher, than normal bank rates, mainly because it inevitably costs more to lend and collect a given amount through thousands of tiny loans than to lend and collect the same amount in a few large loans. Higher administrative costs have to be covered by higher interest rates. Many people worry that poor borrowers are being exploited by excessive interest rates, given that those borrowers have little bargaining power, and that an ever-larger proportion of microcredit is moving into for-profit organizations where higher interest rates could, as the story goes, mean higher returns for the shareholders. Section one looks at the level and trend of micro lenders' interest rates worldwide, and breaks them out among different types of institutions (peer groups). Section two examines the cost of funds that micro lenders borrow to fund their loan portfolio. Section three reports on loan losses, including, worrisome recent developments in two large markets. Section four presents trends in operating expenses, and touches on the closely related issue of loan size. Section five looks at micro lenders' profits, the most controversial component of microcredit interest rates. A reader without time to read the whole paper may wish to skip to section six, which provides a graphic overview of the movement of interest rates and their components over the period and a summary of the main findings. The annex describes our database and methodology, including the reasons for dropping four large microlenders6 from the analysis.