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Publication(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.
Publication(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.
Publication(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.