Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

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Posts Tagged ‘World Bank Group’

Europe and Central Asia Second to OECD in Implementing Good Business Regulatory Practices

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 29 ottobre 2013

Washington, D.C., A new World Bank Group report finds that the pace of regulatory reform in Europe and Central Asia remains strong, with 19 economies implementing 65 reforms to improve business regulation in the past year.Doing Business 2014: Understanding Regulations for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises shows that efforts to strengthen legal institutions and reduce the complexity and cost of regulatory processes have paid off for entrepreneurs in Europe and Central Asia. The region has overtaken East Asia and the Pacific as the second most business-friendly after the high-income economies in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).The report finds that since 2009, 92 percent of economies in Europe and Central Asia have improved their process for starting a business, a higher share than in any other region. Thanks to these efforts, today it is the easiest region for business entry, ahead of the OECD high-income economies. In response to the financial crisis, 73 percent of the region’s economies reformed insolvency proceedings over the same period, and 85 percent made it easier to pay taxes.“Joining the European Union (EU) in 2004 was a great motivator for some economies in the region,” said Augusto Lopez-Claros, Director, Global Indicators and Analysis, World Bank Group. “Our report finds that these economies have continued on a path of comprehensive and ambitious economic and institutional reform even after EU entry, ensuring that they could compete with their more developed high-income partners. Beyond that, the report finds that there is encouraging news across Europe and Central Asia. Of the 20 economies narrowing the gap with better business regulatory practices the most since 2009, nine are in the region: Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kosovo, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, the Russian Federation, and Ukraine.”The Russian Federation was among the global top 10 improvers in the past year, with reforms in five areas tracked by Doing Business. Builders dealing with the permitting process in Moscow now face fewer delays, more streamlined approvals, and lower fees thanks to the adoption of the national urban planning code and a time limit for registering new buildings.Poland continues to make regulations more business-friendly and in this year’s report is at 45 in the global ranking of 189 economies on the ease of doing business. In the past year the government simplified business registration and construction permitting.
Croatia improved in five areas. In the area of trading across borders, for example, the government invested in improvements at the port of Rijeka and streamlined export customs procedures in preparation for accession to the EU Common Transit Convention.Singapore tops the global ranking on the ease of doing business. Joining it on the list of the top 10 economies with the most business-friendly regulations are Hong Kong SAR, China; New Zealand; the United States; Denmark; Malaysia; the Republic of Korea; Georgia; Norway; and the United Kingdom.In addition to the global rankings, every year Doing Business reports the economies that have improved the most on the indicators since the previous year. The 10 economies topping that list this year are (in order of improvement) Ukraine, Rwanda, the Russian Federation, the Philippines, Kosovo, Djibouti, Côte d’Ivoire, Burundi, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Guatemala. Yet challenges persist: five of this year’s top improvers—Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, the Philippines, and Ukraine—are still in the bottom half of the global ranking on the ease of doing business.

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Jobs Wanted: Youth in Southeast Europe

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 22 ottobre 2013

The World Bank Group building in Washington, D.C.

The World Bank Group building in Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

VIENNA. The World Bank, in collaboration with the Austrian Ministry of Finance, the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, and the Global Development Network, held a high-level policy dialogue on ‘Youth Employment in Southeast Europe’.Ministers of Labor, Social Policy, and Youth, and senior officials from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, FYR Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Serbia gathered with representatives of international organizations, think tanks, and youth representatives to discuss ways to improve youth employment prospects in the region and unlock the potential of the younger generation.The conference highlighted the persistent and high rate of youth unemployment in Southeast Europe relative to other countries in the world. In many countries, one in two youth are unemployed. Moreover, the conference called attention to the number of youth who are not only out of work, but also out of school. One in four youth in SEE is not working, not searching for work, and not studying. When young people find employment, they are often left with precarious jobs, part-time or temporary jobs, or informal employment, leaving them excluded from the benefit system and society more generally.A video on youth employment shown at the conference emphasized the pressing situation. “I am not overly ambitious career wise. I would be very satisfied if my job would make it possible for me to support myself and my family,” said Dušan Nikoliæ (21), Student at the University of Belgrade, in the video. Gazmend Januzi (24), a construction technician from Sarajevo, said, “What would be good for me is to have a permanent job and insurance.”Policy makers and experts alike agreed that countries are severely constrained by fiscal and foreign debt. Declining consumption and investments, and limited access to finance are exacerbating the current situation with dramatic impacts for the labor markets. Beyond job creation, issues related to labor regulations, taxation, and skills mismatches disproportionately affect the youth, particularly young women as well as youth from disadvantaged backgrounds, overall making it more difficult to fulfill their aspirations for good jobs.“Employment rates among the young people are particularly low. Moreover, a significant share of young people who are out of work are not seeking employment nor studying. This pattern has been compounded by the ongoing economic downturn. As part of recovery efforts, it will be critical to lay the foundation for a more inclusive growth path in which youth are central to socio-economic development,” said Vladimir Gligorov, Senior Economist at the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (wiiw).The Policy Dialogue encouraged a very open discussion and allowed participants to take stock, and to discuss policies both successful and failed ones. The discussion touched upon macroeconomic policies, markets and incentives, as well as skills. Areas that needed further analysis, policy development, and action were outlined.“Addressing youth employment calls for a multi-sectoral agenda. What works, of course, depends on the country context, but we can learn a lot from the experience in the region and elsewhere. And we ought to be acting now in order not to miss out on the enormous potential of Southeast Europe’s workforce. The job challenge requires an improved environment for firms in order to thrive and create jobs. We also need to ensure, however, that workers are adequately prepared in order to be able to take advantage job opportunities. Reforms require persistence, but they pay off,” said Ellen Goldstein, World Bank Country Director for Southeast Europe.Addressing the participants of the Policy Dialogue, Harald Waiglein, Director-General in the Austrian Ministry of Finance, said, “We welcome today’s high-level forum on ‘Youth Employment in Southeast Europe’ with politicians from the region and international experts to discuss how to make progress on one of the greatest challenges of our times. Knowledge exchange and best practices must aim at the delivery of solutions for youth unemployment. We expect that the World Bank Group Vienna office will serve as a platform for intensive dialogue among practitioners, scientists, national, and international experts alike.”

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Many Societies Gradually Moving to Dismantle Gender Discrimination, Yet More Can Be Done, Says World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 25 settembre 2013

Eritrean women

Eritrean women (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

London, September 24, 2013 —A new World Bank and IFC report finds legal and regulatory barriers to women’s economic inclusion have decreased over the past 50 years globally, but many laws still hinder women’s participation in the economy. Laws restricting women’s economic activity are currently most prevalent in the Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.The third in a series, Women, Business and the Law 2014: Removing Restrictions to Enhance Gender Equality monitors regulations affecting women entrepreneurs and employees in 143 economies. This edition highlights reforms carried out over the past two years, examines the evolution of women’s property rights and legal decision making ability since 1960 and expands coverage to examine legal protections addressing violence against women.“Our latest edition of Women, Business and the Law shows that many societies have made progress, gradually moving to dismantle ingrained forms of discrimination against women,” said Kim. “Yet a great deal remains to be done.”This report finds 44 economies have made 48 legal changes, thus increasing women’s economic opportunities over the past two years. Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, the Philippines and the Slovak Republic had the most reforms. Among the reforms, husbands can no longer unilaterally stop their wives from working in Côte d’Ivoire and Mali, the Philippines has lifted restrictions on night work for women, and the Slovak Republic increased the percentage of wages paid during maternity leave.The report finds economies in Eastern Europe and Central Asia have the most extensive lists of jobs women cannot do. For example, in the Russian Federation women cannot drive trucks in the agricultural sector, in Belarus they cannot be carpenters and in Kazakhstan they cannot be welders. These restrictions may have arisen from a desire to protect women, but can limit their employment options. The report shows economies with the most job restrictions on women have lower female participation in the formal labor force.
Between 1960 and 2010, more than half the restrictions on women’s property rights and ability to conduct legal transactions were removed in the 100 economies examined. Restrictions in three regions – Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and East Asia and the Pacific – were cut in half. While some restrictions were removed in South Asia and in the Middle East and North Africa, these two regions reformed the least.Another major innovation in the report is new data on the existence and scope of laws on two areas of violence against women: sexual harassment and domestic violence. Covering 100 economies, the data show that prohibitions against sexual harassment in the workplace are widespread – 78 economies have legislation and over half of these criminalize the behavior. Legislation on domestic violence is also widespread –76 economies have laws prohibiting domestic violence. The region with the fewest laws on domestic violence is the Middle East and North Africa.
The report shows lower gender legal parity is associated with fewer women participating in firm ownership, while policies encouraging women to join and remain in the labor force are associated with greater income equality. Even though the report offers signs of improvement for women’s economic opportunities globally, it shows economies can do more to ensure women’s participation in economic life.
Women, Business and the Law measures how laws, regulations and institutions differentiate between women and men in ways that may affect women’s incentives or capacity to work or to set up and run a business. It analyzes legal differences on the basis of gender in 143 economies, covering six areas: gaining access to institutions, using property, getting a job, providing incentives to work, building credit, and going to court. The project provides a clear picture of gender gaps based on legal differences in each economy, but it does not capture the full extent of the gender gap, nor does it indicate the relative importance of each aspect covered. This year’s report was published by Bloomsbury Publishing.
The World Bank Group is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and development expertise for developing countries. It comprises five closely associated institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), which together form the World Bank; the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Each institution plays a distinct role in pursuing the World Bank Group’s mission to fight poverty and improve living standards for people in the developing world.

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World Bank Group to Invest $700 Million by 2015 to Improve Women and Children’s Health in Poor Countries

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 24 settembre 2013

The World Bank Group building in Washington, D.C.

The World Bank Group building in Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NEW YORK CITY. The United Nations, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim will announce that the Bank Group projects at least $700 million in financing through the end of 2015 to help developing countries reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for women and children’s health. This new funding comes from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries, and will enable national scale-ups of successful pilot reproductive, maternal, and child health projects that were made possible by support from the Bank Group’s Health Results Innovation Trust Fund (HRITF) and IDA. This announcement follows President Kim’s September 2012 commitment to help scale up funding for MDGs 4 and 5 as part of the UN Secretary General’s Every Woman Every Child global partnership.Today’s $700 million announcement comes on top of a September 2010 World Bank pledge to provide $600 million in IDA results-based financing for MDGs 4 and 5 by 2015; the World Bank has delivered on that pledge two years ahead of schedule. This support has contributed to global declines in maternal and child mortality and expanded access to health care for poor women and children.Through results-based financing, the World Bank Group is working with countries to shift the focus from paying for inputs to paying for results. Payment to health service providers is explicitly tied to the successful delivery and independent verification of pre-agreed results.
In Afghanistan, the number of women delivering their babies with the support of skilled birth attendants more than doubled from April 2010 to December 2012 in treatment facilities.
In Argentina, improved health services and accessibility for poor pregnant women and children led to a decrease in low birth weight and in-hospital deaths of babies in the first 28 days of life for program beneficiaries.
In Burundi, over just one year, births at health facilities rose by 25 percent, prenatal consultations went up by 20 percent, and the number of children fully vaccinated increased by 10 percent.
Further progress on women and children’s health will require a comprehensive approach to strengthening health systems, including investments beyond the health sector in critical areas such as water and sanitation, education systems, and labor markets. IDA’s country-based approach reinforces national health strategies and priorities while building on the World Bank Group’s areas of comparative advantage in providing a multi-sectoral and systems-based approach to improving health. The HRITF, supported by the Governments of Norway and the United Kingdom, in turn reinforces this by providing countries with incentives to scale up their investments through IDA.During the past decade from 2003 to 2013, financing support through IDA has led to:
Nearly 600 million children immunized
More than 194 million pregnant women provided with antenatal care
More than 29 million births attended by skilled health personnel
More than 210 million pregnant/lactating women, adolescent girls, and/or children under age five reached by basic nutrition services
The World Bank Group and Health, Nutrition and Population
The World Bank Group is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world, with the goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. Improving health is integral to achieving these goals. The World Bank Group provides financing, state-of-the-art analysis, and policy advice to help countries expand access to quality, affordable health care; protect people from falling into poverty or worsening poverty due to illness; and promote investments in all sectors that form the foundation of healthy societies.

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World Bank Supports Efficient Public Finance Management in Russia

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 15 settembre 2013

WASHINGTON D.C. The World Bank’s Board of Directors today approved a US$50 million loan to co-finance with the Russian Federation a US$133.571 million Public Finance Management Technical Assistance Project in Russia. The project will assist the Ministry of Finance, as well as the Federal Tax Service, the Federal Treasury, the Ministry of Economic Development, and Rosfinnadzor to improve transparency and results focus in public financial management and build institutional foundations for improved budget efficiency, effectiveness and accountability.“The project directly supports one of the main themes of the Bank’s Country Partnership Strategy for the Russian Federation of improving governance and transparency,” said Michal Rutkowski, World Bank Country Director for Russia. “It will also help ensure that public investments and service delivery are more efficient and fiscally sustainable, in turn fostering income growth for the bottom 40 percent of the population. Taxpayers should benefit as a result of changes in the Federal Tax Service’s approach to taxpayer service and improved dispute resolution processes, and businesses can benefit from changes in tax policy and administration that contribute towards a better climate for business and investment.” The project’s strategic objectives will be achieved through support to the following four main areas of activity:
Enhancing the economic efficiency of Russia’s tax system through changes in key areas of tax policy and improving the services provided to taxpayers by the Federal Tax Service, Streamlining methods of financing the country’s sub-national governments, strengthening their focus on results at all stages of the budget cycle, and building their capacity to manage public finances, Enhancing the quality, flow and accessibility of budget information through implementation of an integrated financial management information system ( E-budget), contributing to improved transparency and accountability, and Strengthening budget preparation, control and monitoring processes to ensure greater focus on expenditure efficiency, effectiveness and results. The project is designed to help achieve the following results:
Reduced time spent by small and medium sized enterprises on tax calculation and payment, as measured by the Doing Business Indicators,
Increased number of regions with satisfactory performance in public finance management, Improved budget transparency scores for Russia, as measured by the Open Budget Index, and Increased use of performance measures in the federal budget, to depict the goals and results of government spending programs. The project builds on a long history of cooperation between Russia and the Bank in the areas of budgeting, tax policy and tax administration. This includes the Regional Fiscal Technical Assistance Project, Fiscal Federalism and Regional Fiscal Reform Project, two Tax Administration Modernization Projects, and the Treasury Development Project. The new project will support the strategic directions for change that have already been laid out by the Government in policy documents on tax policy and administration, budget efficiency and inter-budgetary relations, and E-budget.Over the past few years, the Russian Federation has undertaken significant public financial management and institutional reforms, incorporating good international practice and laying the foundations for a modern public finance management system. The most notable achievements include:The successful implementation of a modern Treasury Accounting System and a single treasury account,The regulation of the overall budget process and introduction of three-year federal budgets,The creation of the Oil Stabilization Fund, The reform of regional fiscal relations and the establishment of fiscal rules for the sub-national governments, andThe modernization of the tax administration, leading to a cultural shift from the traditional command-and-control approach to a modern service-oriented approach.“Notwithstanding these reforms, revenue shortfalls across all government levels, inefficient budget spending, weak investment in public infrastructure modernization, and rigid financial management models in public institutions hamper the government’s ability to pursue an effective fiscal and economic policy,” said John Ivor Beazley, World Bank Lead Public Sector Specialist and Team Leader for the Project. “These problems are especially acute at the regional and local levels, where they are exacerbated by a weak revenue base, under-funding and widely different degrees of public finance management capacity. Also, the challenges of improving the efficiency of revenue and expenditure management are not new but they have been exposed and aggravated by the global financial crisis.”The project will be financed by a Technical Assistance Loan on IBRD terms, with project implementation over a four-year period. Most of the financing will be for technical assistance. US$3.275 million has been allocated for the purchase of hardware and software to create the infrastructure of information and reference services to taxpayers in the local tax offices.Russia joined the World Bank (IBRD-member and IDA-donor country) in 1992. Today, IBRD is financing 9 investment projects in Russia for the total amount of US$596 million.Given Russia’s size and strong financial position, engagement with the World Bank Group has been selective and strategic. Over the last 20 years, the Bank has worked with Russia on maintaining prudent macroeconomic policies, making public administration more efficient, restructuring the health sector and educating children starting from kindergarten age. IFC’s strategy in Russia is to support private sector development and encourage economic growth.

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World Bank Group Launches New Country Partnership Strategy for the Republic of Moldova

Posted by fidest press agency su venerdì, 6 settembre 2013

WASHINGTON.A new Country Partnership Strategy for the Republic of Moldova for 2014-17 was discussed today by the World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors. The four-year strategy will guide the World Bank Group’s support to the country.The new strategy foresees total financial support by the World Bank Group of US$570 million, with access to the International Development Association (IDA), International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and International Finance Corporation (IFC) funding. The strategy is fully aligned with the country’s development goals and will help address key challenges to unlock the potential for sustainable economic development, shared prosperity, and poverty reduction.The strategy will support Moldova across three main pillars:
Increasing competitiveness by: i) improving the business environment and infrastructure for business operation; and ii) boosting competitiveness in agriculture;Enhancing human capital and minimizing social risks by: i) improving quality of access to health and education services; and ii) strengthening a fiscally sustainable and equitable pension and social assistance system; andPromoting a green, clean and resilient Moldova by: i) enhancing adaptation and resilience to climate change; ii) improving natural resources management, and iii) increasing energy efficiency and security.IFC’s operations in Moldova will continue to focus on investment and advisory activities that enable private sector growth and diversification in support of the main strategy pillars.A major focus of the strategy will be to address governance issues that affect public sector performance and accountability, and business environment. A gender focus will aim to increase the number of female beneficiaries of World Bank Group projects.Since Moldova joined the World Bank in 1992, over US$1 billion has been allocated to 49 operations in the country. Currently, the World Bank portfolio includes 11 active projects with total commitments of US$205.7 million. Areas of support include regulatory reform and business development, education, social assistance, e-governance, healthcare, water and sanitation, agriculture, and others. The International Finance Corporation has provided total investments in the amount of US$191 million and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency has provided guarantees totaling US$95 million. Both institutions are members of the World Bank Group.

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Rising Chronic Disease and a Gender Gap in Health Take a Growing Toll in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 5 settembre 2013

Washington, Men in Eastern Europe and Central Asia are more likely to die prematurely than women, a trend driven by rising levels of chronic diseases connected to alcohol use, poor diets, and smoking.In the region, the number of years of healthy life lost because of ischemic heart disease, or coronary artery disease, increased 18% between 1990 and 2010, cirrhosis 82%, and diabetes 11%. Alcohol use disorders also increased by 11% and cause more early deaths and disability than two decades ago.While women saw their mortality rates decline over four decades, men in some age groups have experienced increases in mortality and others have seen little or no progress. For men aged 25 to 29, mortality rates were nearly the same in 2010 as they were in 1970, despite improvements for men globally in this age group. For men aged 45 to 59, mortality rose between 1970 and 2010, and researchers attribute this in large part to rising levels of alcohol use.
Although communicable, newborn, nutritional, and maternal causes have decreased in number, health loss from these diseases still persists in certain countries across the region, such as in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. “The rapid shifts in disease burden place poor people in low- and middle-income countries at high risk of not having access to appropriate services and incurring payments for health care that push them deeper into poverty,” said Timothy Evans, Director of Health, Nutrition and Population at the World Bank Group. “The data in these new reports are critical inputs to the efforts of policymakers in countries towards universal health coverage that aim to improve the health of their people, communities, and economies.”
The World Bank commissioned the first GBD analysis as part of its World Development Report 1993. Earlier this year, IHME presented GBD 2010 findings in meetings hosted by the World Bank. Bank officials saw how the GBD analysis could be applied to the Bank’s work in specific countries and began working with IHME on six regional reports.
The report also identifies the leading causes of disability in the region. Mental disorders such as depression and anxiety as well as low back pain, neck pain, and other musculoskeletal disorders contributed most to increasing levels of disability throughout Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Murray and his co-authors also call on countries to address the leading risk factors that cause the most disability and premature death. Dietary risks, high blood pressure, alcohol use, smoking, high BMI, and physical inactivity were all leading risk factors that contributed to increasing levels of mortality between 1990 and 2010. Household air pollution, iron deficiency, and suboptimal breast feeding caused the most illness in children.“Each country in Eastern Europe and Central Asia faces unique challenges brought on by changing risk factors,” said Heidi Larson, IHME’s Director of European Initiatives. “For policymakers, it will be critical to use these local data to develop solutions that work for each country while improving health in the region as a whole.”

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World Bank Group Supports Poland in Boosting Shared Prosperity

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 7 agosto 2013

The World Bank & Inspection Panel's headquarte...

The World Bank & Inspection Panel’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON. The World Bank Group’s Board of Directors discussed today a Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Poland for 2014-2017. The new strategy is a four-year business plan that sets out the framework of cooperation between the Government of Poland and the World Bank Group.Under the new strategy, the World Bank Group will support the Government’s shared prosperity agenda and help foster sustainable income growth for the 40 percent of the population with the lowest income. This work will include activities that improve competitiveness (business environment, innovation support, public finance), equity and inclusion (labor market, reduction of regional disparities, health and aging), and sustainability (climate change policy, flood protection, resource-efficient infrastructure). The new strategy program is aligned with the Government’s own priorities as well as with the EU2020 agenda of smart, sustainable, and inclusive growth.“Poland’s partnership with the World Bank Group is based on mutual trust and on the recognition that the Bank Group can add value to Poland’s reform efforts,” said Ms. Mamta Murthi, Director for Central Europe and the Baltic Countries. “Our program is increasingly based on knowledge services, to share global experience with the authorities.”“The Government very much values our partnership with the World Bank Group”, responded Jacek Dominik, Deputy Minister of Finance. “With the new strategy we have access to expert knowledge and to the lessons learned in other countries, which is often critical to inform our own reform process.”Under the new strategy, the World Bank Group intends to provide support through a combination of analytical and advisory services. The World Bank Group is also planning to continue to provide financial support – with a planned lending envelope of US$3.2 billion. The financial support may be adjusted throughout the new strategy period to reflect the country’s economic circumstances, the speed of the government’s reforms, as well as the availability of IBRD resources. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), which focuses on private sector development, will seek to strengthen Poland’s private sector through development of critical infrastructure, including via public private partnerships, as well as through climate-friendly investments, and support to Polish companies investing in other emerging markets.This new strategy coincides with Poland’s emergence as a global development partner that can contribute to the development of other countries. Poland adopted a law on development cooperation in 2011 and is developing a bilateral aid program. Efforts during the new strategy will aim to seek and leverage synergies between these programs and that of the World Bank Group.“Poland’s achievements have been impressive over the last two decades. There are important lessons to be learned from Poland’s experience that can help other countries,” said Xavier Devictor, World Bank Country Manager for Poland and the Baltic Countries. “We’re eager to help Poland share its experiences and inform debate in other countries.”Over the last two decades, Poland has made remarkable progress on the economic and social front, with GDP per capita rising from slightly above US$2,000 in the early 1990’s to more than US$12,500 in 2012 (adjusted for price differences). Between 2008 and 2011, Poland’s performance was strong by regional standards. Yet, the economy is now going through a slowdown with economic growth expected at around 1 percent in 2013, unemployment on the rise, and the lowest-earning 40 percent of the population disproportionately affected.According to Marek Belka, Governor of the National Bank of Poland, “Poland’s relationship with the World Bank is a partnership of choice. We are looking forward to a further close cooperation – for the Bank to share with Poland the lessons of international experience, and for Poland to share with the Bank the lessons of its own experience. This is not a donor-recipient relationship, but a two-way knowledge partnership, based on mutual trust and on the recognition that such a partnership can bring value to both parties.”

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World Bank Group Continues Strong Partnership with the Russian Federation

Posted by fidest press agency su giovedì, 22 dicembre 2011


Image by didkovskaya via Flickr

Washington, The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors today discussed a new Country Partnership Strategy (Strategy) for the Russian Federation for the period 2012 – 2016. The Strategy serves as the business plan of the World Bank Group in support of Russia’s own development agenda. Following the previous Strategy, it also continues the shift to innovative modalities of engagement at the global, regional (i.e., less developed countries in ECA), and national (federal and sub-national) levels. It aligns the World Bank Group’s program with the emerging Russia’s “Strategy 2020” update and other strategic documents, which have already made progress towards a consensus view in the country. It has been designed to be a demand-driven and flexible document to enable the World Bank Group to provide a timely and sustainable response to changes in Russia’s economic priorities. A Country Partnership Strategy Progress Report in 2014 will take stock of implementation and will allow the World Bank Group, in consultation with the authorities and other partners, to make mid-term adjustments in the strategy to ensure continued alignment with government priorities.
The Strategy was prepared in close dialogue with the Government of Russia and in consultation with the representatives of federal and local governments, civil society and business communities, think-tanks, academia, and other stakeholders. The main purpose of the consultations was to discuss progress achieved during the last Country Partnership Strategy period, to identify existing successful approaches to socio-economic development in Russia’s regions, and to learn in which areas or sectors the authorities would desire the most support. The 2012 – 2016 Country Partnership Strategy will support Russia’s efforts to:
1. Increase growth and diversification through better management of public finances, improved investment climate and innovation, a stronger financial sector, better infrastructure, and more effective protection of the environment;
2. Expand human potential by strengthening skills and social services through improvements in education, health, and social protection;
3. Deepen Russia’s global and regional role related to its aspirations as a donor and the provision of global public goods; and
4. Improve governance and transparency through more accountability and better service standards in public administration, procurement, and financial management (as a cross-cutting theme).
Russia is an extremely important partner for the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), and is a country where MIGA has a long history of providing guarantees for private sector projects. Looking ahead, MIGA remains committed to encouraging developmentally sound foreign investments in Russia. It will also keep providing investment guarantees to Russian companies going to invest overseas.

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Global Food Prices Remain High and Volatile Affecting Poorest Countries the Most

Posted by fidest press agency su mercoledì, 2 novembre 2011

The World Bank Group building in Washington, D.C.

Image via Wikipedia

Washington. Global food prices remain high and volatile, hitting the poorest countries hardest and adding to the strains facing the global economy, according to the World Bank Group’s new Food Price Watch released ahead of the G-20 Summit in Cannes, France. While the Bank’s food price index has dropped 5 percent from its February 2011 peak and dipped marginally in September by one percent, it remains 19 percent above its September 2010 levels.
The Group of 20 heads of government, who are meeting in Cannes Nov. 3– 4 to discuss the global economy, are expected to endorse a package of concrete actions to improve transparency and policy coordination to detect and correct problems early; to help countries manage price volatility using sound risk management tools; to promote more productive and resilient agriculture; and to get food to the needy fast through emergency regional humanitarian food reserves and agreement not to ban exports of food for World Food Programme. As the world population reaches a staggering 7 billion people, it is more important than ever for the global community to galvanize around actions to improve food security.According to Food Price Watch, a quarterly report, recent floods in Thailand−the worst in 50 years−may add uncertainty in the short run following estimated production losses of between 16 to 24 percent of total production. In the meantime, the food crisis in the Horn of Africa continues, affecting over 13.3 million people in the region–an additional million since August, and the outlook remains frightening.The report said prices of grains rose 30 percent (September 2010–September 2011), with maize increasing by 43 percent, rice by 26 percent and wheat 16 percent. Soybean oil went up by 26 percent. Over the last quarter, however, an increase of 3 percent in the price of grains was roughly offset by a 3 percent decline in the prices of fats and oils. Volatility, which is higher in low income countries, is expected to persist in the medium term due to multiple global and domestic factors. Structural factors contributing to the volatility include rising populations and changing diets, increasingly intertwined relations between food and energy prices, and increasing production of biofuels.How the World Bank Group is helping to put food first
· In the Horn of Africa, the World Bank Group is providing $1.88 billion to save lives, improve social protection, and foster economic recovery and drought resilience. More than 13 million people are affected by the crisis.
· A first-of-its-kind World Bank Group risk management product, provided by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), will enable up to $4 billion in protection from volatile food prices for farmers, food producers, and consumers in developing countries.
· The Global Food Crisis Response Program (GFRP) is helping some 40 million people through $1.5 billion in support.
· The World Bank Group is boosting its spending on agriculture to some $6 to $8 billion a year from $4.1 billion in 2008.
· Supporting the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), set up by the World Bank Group in April 2010 at G-20’s request, to assist country-led agriculture and food security plans and help promote investments in smallholder farmers. To date, six countries and the Gates Foundation have pledged about $971.5 million over the next three years, with $571 million received.
· The World Bank Group is coordinating with UN agencies through the High-Level task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis and with NGOs.
· The World Bank Group supports the Consultative Group for International Agriculture Research (CGIAR), which it helped to establish in 1971. In 2008, the CGIAR with the support of the World Bank and other donors launched a reform process, which culminated in the adoption of a comprehensive strategy that determines the new global research programs and a new funding model that prepares CGIAR to absorb and attract vastly more program funding, with a target annual budget of $1 billion by 2013, to which the World Bank contributes some $50 million per year. With agriculture production needing to rise some 70 percent by 2050, and with a five- to ten-year window to develop new varieties and get them to farmers, increased funding from the international community for global research is critical.

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CIGI experts available for comment on IMF and World Bank Group meetings

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 24 settembre 2011

Nicholas Stern, Chief Economist and Senior Vic...

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Washington, D.C., and Waterloo, Canada Looking for expert commentary on the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group? The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) will have the following experts in Washington from Sept. 23-25 and available for media interviews:
• Thomas A. Bernes, CIGI Executive Director and former director of the IMF’s Independent Evaluation Office, and former executive secretary of the joint IMF-World Bank Development Committee
• Bessma Momani, CIGI Senior Fellow and associate professor of political science at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, author of IMF-Egyptian Debt Negotiations (American University of Cairo Press, 2006)
• Susan M. Schadler, CIGI Senior Visiting Fellow and former deputy director of the IMF’s European Department
CIGI will also have a number of its other experts available for phone or video link-up interviews via the CIGI Broadcast Studio in Waterloo, Ontario. This list of experts includes:
• Manmohan Agarwal, CIGI Senior Visiting Fellow and former senior economist at the IMF and former strategist for the World Bank’s Latin American department
• Paul Heinbecker, CIGI Distinguished Fellow and former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations
• Eric Helleiner, CIGI Chair in International Political Economy at the Balsillie School of International Affairs and co-editor of Global Finance in Crisis: The Politics of International Regulatory Change (Routledge, 2010)
• Daniel Schwanen, CIGI Senior Fellow and associate vice president of trade and international policy at the C.D. Howe Institute
• Simon Zadek, CIGI Senior Visiting Fellow and senior adviser on sustainability to the World Economic Forum

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