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  • Publication
    MENA Economic Update, April 2024: Conflict and Debt in the Middle East and North Africa
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-04-15) Gatti, Roberta; Bennett, Federico; Assem, Hoda; Lotfi, Rana; Mele, Gianluca; Suvanov, Ilias; Islam, Asif M.
    The global economy is in its third year of deceleration amidst declining inflation and oil prices. The MENA region grew at 1.9 percent in 2023 and is forecasted to grow at 2.7 percent in 2024. And for the first time since the pandemic, MENA oil exporters and importers will grow at similar rates. The tragedy of the conflict in the Middle East has increased uncertainty. Rising debt leaves many countries in the region exposed. This report unpacks the nature of debt in the region. Oil importers have been unable to either inflate or grow out of debt. Exchange rate fluctuations, and particularly stock flow adjustments (SFA) play a sizeable role. The report highlights the need to address debt transparency. Extrabudgetary items, especially for developing oil importers, need to be accounted for. Primary balances are key, but only to the extent that they capture the true state of government finances.
  • Publication
    Yemen - Connecting the Yemeni Private Sector to the World
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-03-25) World Bank
    This Private Sector Assessment Report on the Republic of Yemen is delivered as part of the Private Sector Technical Assistance project. The goal of the project is to understand the dynamics of the country’s private sector during conflict; identify constraints to trade, investment, and finance; and propose recommendations for inclusive private sector entry, survival, and growth. The report also includes an overview of the financial sector’s impact on the private sector, especially on the latter’s resilience during conflict. Finally, the report provides structural and policy recommendations that, once implemented by the authorities on both national and subnational levels, would prepare the Yemeni private sector to participate in the country’s post-conflict recovery and reconstruction.
  • Publication
    Women, Business and the Law 2024
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-03-04) World Bank
    Women, Business and the Law 2024 is the 10th in a series of annual studies measuring the enabling conditions that affect women’s economic opportunity in 190 economies. To present a more complete picture of the global environment that enables women’s socioeconomic participation, this year Women, Business and the Law introduces two new indicators—Safety and Childcare—and presents findings on the implementation gap between laws (de jure) and how they function in practice (de facto). This study presents three indexes: (1) legal frameworks, (2) supportive frameworks (policies, institutions, services, data, budget, and access to justice), and (3) expert opinions on women’s rights in practice in the areas measured. The study’s 10 indicators—Safety, Mobility, Workplace, Pay, Marriage, Parenthood, Childcare, Entrepreneurship, Assets, and Pension—are structured around the different stages of a woman’s working life. Findings from this new research can inform policy discussions to ensure women’s full and equal participation in the economy. The indicators build evidence of the critical relationship between legal gender equality and women’s employment and entrepreneurship. Data in Women, Business and the Law 2024 are current as of October 1, 2023.
  • Publication
    Libya Economic Monitor, Fall 2023
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-02-12) World Bank
    Libya’s medium-term growth and development challenges are major and pressing. Key among these is to accelerate and stabilize growth: GDP per capita shrank by 54 percent between 2010 and 2022. Furthermore, Libya’s economy was among the most volatile during the past decade due to the conflict, instability, fragmentation, oil export blockades, and weak economic policies. Another challenge is to diversify the economy to make growth more job-rich, more inclusive to women and youth and less intensive in carbon. This could be achieved by strengthening human capital and rebuilding infrastructure. Building a wide, transparent, and effective cash transfer system could bea transformational approach to reform public finances and the public sector and rebuild trust between citizens and the state. Partly linked to the above is the challenge to address the transparency and equitable sharing of oil resources, including to address regional disparities to reduce risks of conflict and fragility in the interest of building a lasting peace. Lastly, the overall institutional and economic policy framework and capacity need to be strengthened to undertake such major transformation.
  • Publication
    Libya Storm and Flooding 2023: Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2024-02-12) World Bank
    The objective of the RDNA is to estimate the impact of the storm and floods on physical assets and service delivery in the most affected areas and take stock of the ensuing recovery needs. The RDNA covers 20 municipalities and provides indepth analysis of the five most affected cities (Derna, Soussa, Al-Bayda, Al-Marj, and Shahhat) The RDNA employs an assessment methodology developed by the WB, EU and UN that has been successfully applied in numerous disaster-affected countries around the World. The RDNA relies largely on satellite imagery based data, social media analytics and other means of remote data collection. Despite extensive efforts to maximize the accuracy and reliability of the data collected and utilized for the RDNA, the recovery planning and implementation phases will provide an opportunity to further improve upon the RDNA data through more comprehensive ground damage surveys. The RDNA provides sector specific strategies for green, resilient, inclusive, and sustainable recovery. Based on these sector-specific strategies, it identifies and quantifies needs for several sectors, distributed, and sequenced across the short-term (0–12 months) and medium-term (1–3 years). These sectors encompass Social Sectors (Housing, Education, Health, Poverty, and Social Protection, and Jobs), Productive Sectors (Agriculture and Financial), Infrastructure Sectors (Energy, Transport, Telecommunications and Digital Development, Water and Sanitation, and Water Resource Management, and Municipal Services), as well as Cross-Cutting Sectors (Environment, Impact on Women and Men, Governance and Public Institutions, Disaster and Climate Risk Management, and Social Sustainability and Inclusion). The RDNA also analyses macroeconomic and socioeconomic impacts of the floods to anticipate how these are affecting the population’s well-being. Although the scope of the RDNA is limited to damages, losses and needs caused by the flood, the recommended recovery measures attempt to contribute to longer term stability and improved governance of the disaster affected region.
  • Publication
    Jordan Economic Monitor, Fall 2023 - Building Success, Breaking Barriers: Unlocking the Economic Power of Women in Jordan
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-12-21) World Bank
    Jordan’s real growth registered 2.4 percent in 2022 and has accelerated to 2.7 percent in H1-2023, compared to a pre-COVID-19 (2012-2019) average of 2.4 percent. Growth was supported by the services sector, agriculture sector, in addition to a robust contribution from agriculture. Inflation decelerated significantly in 2023, supported by favorable base effect, monetary policy tightening and lower global commodity prices. External imbalances have narrowed, supported by a string recovery in tourism activity and travel receipts. Central government fiscal balance was supported by economic growth and revenue-enhancing reforms, whereas total expenditure grew at a slower pace. Despite these positive developments, entrenched structural constraints weigh on labor market outcomes, as labor force participation continues its gradual decline driven by a fall in both male and female participation. Jordanian female labor participation remains among the lowest in the world. Debt-to-GDP ratios continues to rise from already elevated levels with persisting pressures from the electricity and water sectors. The global and regional environments remain challenging. In particular, the conflict in the Middle East has the potential for material economic spillovers on the Jordanian economy, including through its impact on tourism activity. The “In Focus” section highlights the role of women and their increased economic participation as central to Jordan’s development agenda. The piece takes a life cycle approach and follows the journey of girls and women from birth through education and into the labor market. It sheds light on two of the main barriers to women’s increased participation in the economy: childcare and public transportation. A comprehensive institutional renovation, together with enabling policies and a clear signal regarding the role of women, are all crucial in removing barriers and facilitate the integration of women into the labor force.
  • Publication
    Vibrant Cities - On the Bedrock of Stability, Prosperity, and Sustainability
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-12-07) Lall, Somik V.; Kaw, Jon Kher; Shilpi, Forhad; Murray, Sally Beth
    How will the world’s developing cities become vibrant—capable of meeting the climate, social, and economic challenges of tomorrow? Vibrant cities offer firms and households high expectations for good returns on investments, for a sustainable and resilient future, and for dynamic and inclusive growth. Cities thrive not only by increasing incomes and wealth for a select few but by improving common welfare through the equitable provision of basic services and opportu¬nities. To do this, tomorrow’s vibrant cities will be: 1.Resilient and low carbon—Limiting greenhouse gas emissions, reducing vulnerability to climate related hazards, and rebounding from disasters and pandemics. 2.Inclusive—Meeting basic needs for all residents, while enabling all to aspire realistically to a bet¬ter life through investment in skills and through equitable access to job opportunities. 3.Productive—Driving economic growth, creating jobs, boosting incomes, and financing critical social and infrastructure investments. The report provides new evidence, analysis, and policy insights to advance green, resilient, and inclusive urban development—drawing on the latest thinking in spatial urban development and public economics. While spotlighting the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA), it offers general insights for city and country leaders around the world. In doing so, it lays the foundations to shore up our technical assistance and policy engagements for urban development in MENA and elsewhere through a new policy framework—inform, support, and protect.
  • Publication
    Tunisia Economic Monitor, Fall 2023: Migration Amid a Challenging Economic Context
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-12-04) World Bank
    Migration will likely become increasingly important for Tunisia in terms of both inflows and outflows, given the demographic transition in both Tunisia and Europe. As such Tunisia can work (also with partner countries) to maximize the benefits of migration. As a country of mainly emigration, Tunisia could help strengthen the match of its emigrants with the demand abroad, including through enhanced cooperation with destination countries. Such cooperation should include focusing international assistance towards development objectives in Tunisia. Based on available evidence, increasing household incomes will contribute to reducing the propensity to consider emigrating through irregular channels. As its importance as a destination country (hence migrants who want to settle in Tunisia) is likely to increase, Tunisia can also enhance the economic benefits from immigrants by facilitating migrants’ regular status and streamlining the recognition of their qualifications, which has been identified as one of the key aspects for the successful implementation of bilateral mobility agreements involving skill partnerships.
  • Publication
    Morocco Economic Monitor, Fall 2023: From Resilience to Shared Prosperity
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-11-20) World Bank
    The Moroccan economy is recovering. Following a sharp deceleration in 2022 caused by various overlapping commodity and climatic shocks, economic growth increased to 2.9 percent in the first semester of 2023, driven primarily by services and net exports. Inflation has halved between February and August 2023, but food inflation remains high. Lower commodity prices havealso contributed to a temporary narrowing of the current account deficit. The response to recent crises and the unfolding reform of the health and social protection systems are exerting pressures on public spending. However, the government is managing to gradually reduce the budget deficit.
  • Publication
    Making Teacher Policy Work
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-11-08) World Bank
    This report zooms into what lies behind the success or failure of teacher policies: how teachers experience these policies, and how systems scale and sustain these policies. The report argues that for policies to be successful, they need to be designed and implemented with careful consideration of the barriers that could hinder teachers’ take-up of the policy (individual-level barriers), and the barriers that could hinder the implementation and sustainability of policies at scale (system-level barriers). Teacher polices too often fail to yield meaningful changes in teaching and learning because both their design and implementation overlook how teachers perceive, understand, and act in response to the policy and because they miss what is needed at a system level to achieve and sustain change. To avoid this, policymakers need to go beyond what works in teacher policy to how to support teachers in different contexts to adopt what works, while making sure it is implementable at scale and can be sustained over time. This requires unpacking teacher policies to consider the barriers that might hinder success at both the individual and system levels, and then putting in place strategies to overcome these barriers. The report proposes a practical framework to uncover the black box of effective teacher policy and discusses the factors that enable their scalability and sustainability. The framework distills insights from behavioral science to identify the barriers that stand in the way of the changes targeted by the policy and to develop strategies to overcome them. The framework is used to examine questions such as: What changes are required at an individual level to achieve the specific goals of a given teacher policy What barriers constrain the adoption of these changes How can the policy be better designed and implemented to tackle these barriers Moreover, the report draws on evidence from quantitative and qualitative studies on successful and failed teacher policies to examine the factors that make teacher policy operationally and politically feasible such that it can work at scale and be sustained over time.