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    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.
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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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    Cairo Traffic Congestion Study : Executive Note
    (Washington, DC, 2014-05) World Bank
    The Greater Cairo Metropolitan Area (GCMA), with more than 19 million inhabitants, is host to more than one-fifth of Egypt's population. The GCMA is also an important contributor to the Egyptian economy in terms of GDP and jobs. The population of the GCMA is expected to further increase to 24 million by 2027, and correspondingly its importance to the economy will also increase. Traffic congestion is a serious problem in the GCMA with large and adverse effects on both the quality of life and the economy. In addition to the time wasted standing still in traffic, time that could be put to more productive uses, congestion results in unnecessary fuel consumption, causes additional wear and tear on vehicles, increases harmful emissions lowering air quality, increases the costs of transport for business, and makes the GCMA an unattractive location for businesses and industry. These adverse effects have very real and large monetary and nonmonetary costs not only for the economy of the GCMA, but given its size, for the economy of Egypt as well. As the population of the GCMA continues to increase, traffic congestion is becoming worse and the need to address this congestion is becoming more urgent. This report documents the results of the study. The results of this study should be of interest to policy-makers and practitioners in the GCMA, the Egyptian Government, other cities facing similar problems, and international financial institutions.
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    Harnessing the Global Recovery, A Tough Road Ahead
    (Washington, DC, 2014-04) World Bank
    Many countries in Middle East and North Africa (MENA) will start to benefit from stronger external demand in the high-income economies, as the global economy is set for a rebound in 2014. After a marked slowdown in 2013, a recovery in high income economies is expected to boost global growth to 3.2 percent in 2014, an increase by 0.8 percentage points compared to 2013. Global output is expected to improve further in 2015 with real gross domestic product (GDP) accelerating to 3.4 percent in 2015. The World Bank estimates that growth in the United States (U.S.) will increase by 1 percentage point reaching 2.8 percent in 2014 and 2.9 percent in 2015; and the Euro Zone will improve to 1.1 percent and accelerate to 1.4 percent in 2014 and 2015 respectively, relative to negative 0.4 percent growth in 2013. The growth rebound in the Euro Zone is largely export led, with Germany and France continuing to expand at a solid pace, and Spain exiting recession. The world travel and tourism council estimates show that tourism revenues will increase by 7 percent in the MENA region in 2015 relative to 2014. To be sure, the global recovery is still fragile and downside risks, including continued low inflation in high-income economies, which can weaken demand and delay the economic recovery, and the escalation of conflict in Ukraine remain. This report presents the short-term, regional macroeconomic outlook, and economic challenges facing the countries in the MENA region. In this report, the MENA region is divided into three subgroups: the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) oil exporters, developing oil exporters, and oil importers.
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    West Bank and Gaza Investment Climate Assessment : Fragmentation and Uncertainty
    (Washington, DC, 2014-01) World Bank Group
    This 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.
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    West Bank and Gaza : Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability
    (Washington, DC, 2013-06-17) World Bank ; European Union ; Assistance Technique France ; U.N. Development Programme
    The purpose of the Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) assessment is to review the performance of the Palestinian Authority's (PA's) Public Financial Management (PFM) framework. The assessment examines progress since an informal PEFA assessment in 2007 and provides a baseline for supporting the PA in refining, where necessary, the current PFM reform strategy. The assessment has been undertaken following the PEFA performance measurement framework methodology as revised in January 2011. The assessment builds on previous reports by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on various aspects of the PA's PFM system. The assessment is based on publicly available documents and supplementary information provided by the PA and other stakeholders. These include annual budget documents, annual fiscal outturn reports, and specific reports produced by various stakeholders. The scope of the assessment includes the Public Financial Management of the central government, the subnational government (municipalities and community villages), and the autonomous public entities which are all under the umbrella of the Palestinian investment fund. The PA was established in 1994 following the 1993 Oslo agreement, with responsibility for the West Bank and Gaza (WBG) under Palestinian control. The PA has adopted a PFM model which broadly follows the Anglophone model, but in the years following its establishment, authority has increasingly become concentrated in the executive branch and the role of parliament has been reduced. The current PEFA assessment outlines a strong link between the various reforms that require a more integrated technical assistance approach. Many of these reforms are to be implemented together with other interconnected reforms in order to produce effective results. This underscores the challenging context, in which these reforms have to be implemented, but also the opportunity to create synergy and impetus between, and ownership of, the various components of the reform agenda.
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    Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan : Options for Immediate Fiscal Adjustment and Longer Term Consolidation
    (Washington, DC, 2012-11) World Bank
    This report aims to provide options for immediate fiscal adjustment to the government of Jordan and to set the foundations for longer term consolidation. To that effect, an analysis of the dynamics of revenues and expenditures over the years 2000-2011 is undertaken. Specifically, this report attempts to provide options to stop and reverse the declining trend in revenues observed since 2007. Indeed, domestic revenues declined by 9.4 percentage points of GDP between 2007 and 2011. This steady and structural decline in revenues increased the vulnerability of Jordan s public finances to any exogenous shock. Hence, the strong fiscal stress at the eve of the Arab Awakening, due to the pressures to finance widening power sector deficit following the disruption of Egyptian gas supply, and to meet popular demand for additional spending and subsidies. The report also examines: 1) potential sources of savings from current and capital spending, 2) scenarios to reduce power sector deficit including tariff simulations, 3) options to reduce consumer subsidies and target them more efficiently to the poor, and 4) options to reduce the financial deficit of the water sector. The report ranks the measures according to a rating mechanism that takes into account the magnitude of savings, the efficiency improvements in the use of public resources, the distributional impact, previous dynamic of the spending or revenue item in question, the poverty and social impact, and the growth impact. Finally, the report proposes a matrix of policy objectives and actions that identifies areas of policy reform, policy objectives, actions needed to reach this objective, and time horizon.
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    Fiscal 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 Bank
    Economic 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.
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    Inclusion and Resilience : The Way Forward for Social Safety Nets in the Middle East and North Africa, OVERVIEW
    (Washington, DC, 2012-09) Morgandi, Matteo ; Silva, Joana ; Levin, Victoria
    The report aims to meet two broad objectives: (a) enhance knowledge about the current state of existing social safety nets (SSNs) and assess their effectiveness in responding to new and emerging challenges to the poor and vulnerable in the region by bringing together new evidence, data, and country-specific analysis; and (b) open up and inform a debate on feasible policy options to make SSNs in the Middle East and North Africa more effective and innovative. First chapter, 'a framework for SSN reform,' describes and illustrates the reasons for the region's growing need for SSN reform and establishes the framework for renewed SSNs. It identifies key goals for SSNs (promoting social inclusion, livelihood, and resilience) and illustrates how these goals have been achieved in some parts of the region and elsewhere. Second chapter, 'key challenges that call for renewed SSNs,' analyzes the challenges facing the region's poor and vulnerable households, which SSNs could focus on as a priority. Two large groups are at higher-than-average poverty risk: children and those who live in rural or lagging areas. The chapter examines factors such as inequality of opportunities and lack of access to services that can perpetuate the lower human development outcomes among the poor in these groups. It also describes the challenge of vulnerability. Finally, it identifies particular social groups that are at a higher risk of exclusion from access to services and employment. Third chapter, 'the current state of SSNs in the Middle East and North Africa,' analyzes SSN spending and assesses different aspects of the SSN systems' performance. Fourth chapter, 'the political economy of SSN reforms in the Middle East and North Africa: what do citizens want?' presents new evidence on citizens' preferences concerning redistribution and SSN design, using newly collected data. It also discusses how political economy considerations could be taken into account in designing renewed SSNs in the region. Fifth chapter, 'the way forward: how to make safety nets in the Middle East and North Africa more effective and innovative,' proposes an agenda for reform and the path for moving forward, using global experience and the evidence presented in the preceding chapters.