This handy pocket guide is a quick reference for users interested in gender statistics. It presents gender-disaggregated data for more than 200 countries in an easy country-by-country reference on demography, education, health, labor force, political participation and the Millennium Development Goals. The book's summary pages cover regional and income group aggregates.
Despite social, and economic diversity within the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, social protection systems share common characteristics. This report develops a framework for a more integrated approach to social protection, and proposes general strategic lines of actions to guide the reform of social protection systems in the MENA region. It argues that, while during the 1970s and 1980s, economic growth rates outweighed growth rates in other regions, and social indicators improved dramatically, the model of development was not sustainable. It further, discusses key features, and major weaknesses of the social protection systems in the MENA countries, by defining an alternative framework for social protection. However, it also argues that traditional social protection schemes, cannot constitute the sole mechanism to protect vulnerable population groups, help the poor, or increase social welfare. Actions outside the traditional social protection system, suggest promoting prudent macroeconomic management, improving governance, rethinking regulatory institutions, and reforming education, and health systems. Concurrently, actions within the traditional social protection system, include improvements in the financial sustainability of social insurance systems, reforming training systems, and designing safety nets as developmental, and community-based, not just assistance, and centrally administered schemes.
This environment strategy outlines the current thinking in the World Bank Group Africa Region about priorities and actions for the institution in the environmental arena. The Africa Region Environment Strategy (ARES) outlines the Bank's commitment to help its clients achieve sustainable poverty reduction through better environmental management. It identifies the most urgent issues at the interface of environment and poverty and discusses targeted actions for addressing them. It reviews the lessons from experience to date and proposes new approaches. The strategic context in which the ARES has evolved and will be implemented is defined by the Bank's mission statement and operational policies, the World Bank Environment Strategy (WBES), and by the Bank's broader objectives, priorities, and strategies in the Africa Region. Like the WBES, the ARES approaches environment through a "poverty lens" and targets four main objectives: a) ensuring sustainable livelihoods, b) improving environmental health, c) reducing vulnerability to natural disasters, and d) maintaining local, regional, and global ecosystems and values. Key elements of the ARES include integrating environment into development and poverty reduction strategies; building an enabling environment and the institutional and human capacity for sustainable environmental management; promoting environmentally sustainable and equitable private sector-led economic development; improving governance; and encouraging decentralization.
From the legislative point of view, Poland has a relatively developed public procurement system, though, as recorded above, further improvements remain necessary. Since June 1994, when the Sejm passed the first public procurement law, the law has gone through several amendments with a view to incorporating the lessons learned by the OPP and procuring entities. The law has been revised again in order to make it compatible with the EU procurement directives. It is expected that this revision will further improve the transparency and competitiveness provided by the current law. Furthermore, during the last five years, procuring entities in Poland, especially at the national level, have acquired experience in implementing procurement according to the requirements of the public procurement law, and the Office of Public Procurement in supporting these entities in their responsibility of conducting public procurement and in supervising the system. However, it has been determined that in most cases the shortcomings relate to practice and only in a few cases to the deficiency of the procedures. Therefore, while it is important to make the law more transparent and competitive, to realize savings in public spending, improvement in procurement practices need an even sharper focus. The areas to be addressed are: Provide good quality standard bidding documents. Introduce unambiguous and neutral technical specifications. Introduce objective evaluation criteria. Separate evaluation of bidder's qualification from the bid evaluation. Require bid opening the same day as the deadline for bid submission. Allow adequate bid preparation time to bidders. Remove barriers to participation by foreign bidders. Require mandatory post-qualification in the absence of pre-qualification. Allow adequate time to procuring entities to spend budget allocations. Build procurement as a distinct profession. Introduce two-tier procurement decision making system. Introduce code of ethics for procurement professionals. Include provisions in the law suitable for procurement of consultant services. Prepare a training strategy and implement it. Improve bid dispute arbitration procedures. Introduce procedures for procurement under Euros 3,000 to minimize the use of Sole Sourcing. Introduce best practices to procuring entities through the Public Procurement Bulletin.
This Financial Sector Assessment (FSA) is the joint IMF-World Bank work, based on the context of the Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP), intended to identify strengths, and vulnerabilities, as well as development needs of the financial sector. The report thus summarizes main findings, and policy recommendations as follows. Mauritius has been remarkably successful in achieving rapid growth, and substantial diversification of a formerly mono-agricultural economy. However, maintaining the past high rates of growth, and employment will pose a major challenge. The trade preferences on which two of the pillars of the economy are founded are being eroded, forcing the sugar and textile industries, to significantly improve their competitiveness, or lose market share to larger, lower-cost producers. In partnership with the private sector, the government is taking decisive measures to build a knowledge economy based on higher value-added services, notably in information and communication technologies. They have also adopted programs to modernize, and improve competitiveness in the sugar and textile industries, and, are investing heavily in education, in order to realign the labor force with the requirements of the new engines of growth. Mauritius has a relatively large and well-developed domestic financial system, and a growing offshore sector, however, the country needs to further diversify its financial sector, namely within the banking system. This includes continuing the strengthening of banking supervision, fostering the development of alternatives to bank lending to reduce portfolio concentrations, and increase competition. Additionally, there is the need to encourage sound international risk diversification, by strengthening provisioning levels, so as to enhance the resilience of the system to a downturn in economic activity, and, by reducing the government's implicit contingent liability in the banking system.
This report reviews the progress in implementing the key operational and policy directions set out in the Philippine Education Sector Study (PESS), and the Presidential Commission on Education Reform (PCER) and other education programs in the sector, such as the Education for All initiative. It also discusses factors related to the amount of progress achieved; the findings of the education sector performance review; gaps, constraints, and challenges confronting the sector. The paper discusses the thrust of education reforms, the main motivators and drivers of reform directions, the chief sources of influence, initiative and management the medium-term growth prospects; the Government plans for the sector; the priorities and view of key stakeholders; and lessons from programs and operational initiatives.
This Economic and Sector Work (ESW) is consistent with the objectives laid out for the transport sector in the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP), and the Country Assistance Strategy (CAS), with its two primary objectives focused on strengthening existing reforms, and, helping define a forthcoming reform program. The proposed transport sector strategy relies on three pillars to: 1) promote sustainable development of transport infrastructure, ensuring adequate allocation of financial, and human resources to infrastructure maintenance; 2) increase transport sector efficiency, through sound market, and fiscal policies that support the rapid modernization of Mali's transport companies; and, 3) support cross sectoral initiatives, primarily in the areas of economic competitiveness, road safety, rural poverty alleviation, and in addition, to support HIV/AIDS prevention, and health services accessibility. Since transport costs represent a significant share of the imported costs of intermediary goods used in building up Mali's export capacity, their reduction should have a positive impact on Mali's economic competitiveness. Accordingly, the already completed privatization of the railway, the current attempt at privatizing the airport system, as well as the proposed measures to increase the productivity of Mali's truck transport, should all support economic competitiveness. The Government however, should foresee that adequate regulatory oversight is in place, to ensure that these productivity gains are passed on to transport customers. Regarding road safety in Mali, it is not only a financial dimension, but also a health dimension, since it tends to challenge an already stretched health service. This would entail training law enforcement agents, towards creating a nationwide road accident database. It is stressed that the development of a rural road maintenance, and construction strategy by no later than the end of 2004, be conducted, with part of this strategy's investment priorities defined, based on poverty reduction criteria, such as increased accessibility to health care, linkage to local markets, and other potential accessible services. The report emphasizes it is now an established fact, that transport activities are an important vector to HIV/AIDS dissemination, where activities within the transport sector, designed to educate transport operators about the disease, and its mode of transmission would, contribute to the overall fight against the spread of the epidemic.
This report examines the evolution of the public procurement regime in Bangladesh, the development of the legal and regulatory framework, the volume and handling of public procurement, overviews the system's procedures and practices, pinpoints areas needing remediation, and makes recommendations for modification. The strategic approach the report recommends is one of gradual improvement to the existing procurement regime by a set of actions that it assesses as feasible and practical. These actions are prioritized from the point of view of the impact they will have on the present regime. Delays are the singe most important problem that can be solved easily, and hence, given the first priority. The quality of procurement is the next, but results will appear slowly. The procurement law is deferred until action on the urgently needed reforms is completed. The report suggests converting the agreed recommendations to a detailed action plan identifying the required resources, sources of funding, specific time frame for each action, the type of technical assistance to be supplied by the World Bank and other international financial institutions, and encouraging donor coordination.
Slovak financial accountability systems are strongly influenced by the Communist past but must meet the needs of a European future. Fortunately, Slovakia has the benefit of laws and institutions pre-dating communism, easing the transition from one system to the other. Past influences are still strong: centralization, strong controls, and a uniform system of accounting based on a chart of accounts. In the future, Slovakia will need improved public financial management, fiscal decentralization, a more competitive economy, an effective capital market, and harmonization of standards with those of the European Union. A good start has been made on many fronts. But there is still tension between the culture of control and a more flexible policy based on standards, quality performance, accountability, and competition. Among the specific, required financial management actions, the report recommends ratifying the European Convention on money laundering, establishing a public procurement office and procurement monitoring procedures, completing the legislative framework for internal and external financial control, strengthening the Supreme Audit Office and extending its audit mandate to cover public funds in general, and publishing consolidated financial management data relating to general government.
This paper discusses the role of the postal network in expanding access to financial services in Vietnam. It reviews the public postal operator within the postal sector and within the broader context of the communications sector. The roles of the Vietnam postal network and post bank are also reviewed from the perspective of the financial sector development, with particular focus on payments systems development and micro finance. While this country case on Vietnam can stand alone, it is an integral part of this large study of the potential of postal networks to coordinate with financial service providers in 7 countries (Egypt, Kazakhstan, Namibia, Romania, Sri Lanka, Uganda, and Vietnam) and 5 regions (Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Middle East and Northern Africa). Five years after its introduction, the Vietnamese Postal Savings Corporation (VPSC) can look back on an impressive record of successes. With its 920 post offices (of 3,000), VPSC operates the second-largest financial service network in the country. It developed as a channel for mobilizing small household deposits, nearly 400,000 individuals keep accounts with the VPSC, and it has mobilized about 1 percent of the nation's savings. It has also pioneered modern cashless payment services, and provides payroll and card-based services. The next step in its development is the integration of the postal payment services into its operations. However, after an initially fast growth track, VPSC currently faces increasing stagnation in its growth, mainly due to government limitations on its institutional and regulatory framework. Changes are required to enable sustainable growth of VPSC and including the post offices in its provision of low-threshold access to basic financial services.
This Financial Sector Assessment (FSA) is a summary of some of the findings of the Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) report for the Russian Federation, which was prepared jointly by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Bank in close cooperation with the Russian authorities. Given the small size of the financial sector, the effects of a potential financial sector distress on the macro-economy would be relatively small. However, there are serious weaknesses in the financial sector per se, hampering the development of the sector, and its ability to allocate resources in the Russian economy. A few interlinked issues cut across the banking, capital markets, and the insurance sectors. In spite of recent improvements, the lack of transparency in the ownership structures, and poor corporate governance, including banks, slowed down the development of the sector, and hindered financial decisions, and prudential supervision. There has been progress in implementing structural reforms in key areas, e.g., the agricultural land market, pension funds, and small business taxation - but other reforms, including in the financial sector, have lagged behind. While banks in Russia appear to be well capitalized, the quality of capital is questionable, even under the Russian Accounting Standards (RAS), and, loan provisioning does not fully reflect the banks' credit risks. Thus, banking sector reform is a matter of the highest priority, if Russia is to achieve its growth potential in the coming years. Reform efforts should be concentrated on strengthening the supervisory framework; enhancing the transparency of ownership, governance, and financial reporting; and, facilitating the consolidation of the fragmented private banks, as well as leveling the playing field between private, and state banks. Most importantly, any strategy for promoting the development of the banking sector, will need to carefully consider the role of Sberbank. The legal infrastructure for the banking sector is generally well developed, but supporting legislation and regulation for banking supervision and implementation practices needs to be improved.
The report is a joint International Monetary Fund IMF-World Bank Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP), which examined Gabon's macroeconomic and financial context, and identified its financial soundness, as well as vulnerabilities. The country's financial sector is overall, profitable and stable, though still relatively underdeveloped. Banks - which dominate the financial sector - find their activities and growth potential, limited by the size of the non-oil economy, given that financing of the oil sector is largely undertaken outside the country. While the government retains a strong role in the financial sector, as owner and as client, through public enterprises, solvency levels in some of the banks are close to the forthcoming regulatory minimum of eight percent (effective in 2004).This risk is enhanced by the banking sector's portfolio concentration. Moreover, fiscal problems have in the past had direct, and indirect negative repercussions on the performance of the financial sector. The report further analyzes the legal, regulatory and supervisory issues, stating the judicial system is deficient, enhancing risks and costs of doing business, including for the financial sector, while the insurance market is for the most part, stagnant, and lacking product innovation. Recommendations for legal and judicial issues include a strengthened framework that enables transparency, including predictability in the disposition of financial sector litigation; and, recommendations for the financial sector development suggest pursuing adequate risk diversification strategies; merging with regional stock exchanges; and, identifying financial mechanisms to establish a micro-finance sector.
The transition from a centrally planned economy to a "socialist oriented market economy" in Vietnam has called for comprehensive changes in the legal framework of the State. The last ten years have witnessed great progress in the development of the Vietnamese legal system, both in substantive and procedural matters. A number of important legal instruments have been promulgated, such as the Constitution in 1992; the Land Law in 1993; and the Civil Code in 1996. More recent normative instruments include the Commercial Law of 1997 and various Ordinances and Regulations on matters such as foreign investment, management of investment and construction, national bidding procedures, conduct of public employees, control of corruption and thrift in the use of public funds. Procurement in the public sector in Vietnam was governed mainly by Decrees issued by the Government. The key existing legal instruments governing public procurement are summarized in Table 1. In addition, there are other Decrees and Inter-Ministerial circulars, which contain provisions concerning public procurement and use of public funds. The report discusses key issues such as the legal and regulatory framework; procurement procedures and practices; institutional framework; human resources and procurement capacity; state-owned enterprises and gives recommendations. Annexes include: (a) A Review of the 5th Draft of Vietnam Public Procurement Ordinance; (b) A: Legal Framework; (c) Trade Practices; (d) Financial Framework; (e) Public Sector Procurement of Goods/Works; (f) Public Sector Selection of Consultants; (g) Procurement Performance ; (h) Private Sector Procurement; (ix) Checklist Comparing NCB Procedures and World Bank Policy; (i) Classification of Investment Projects; (j) : Available Methods for the Selection of Bidders (k) Construction Industry Reform - Summary Report; (l) Summary of Pertinent Laws and regulations; and (m) NCB Acceptability - Proposed Provisions for Bank legal agreements.
Unequal land distribution and the negative social and economic implications resulting from such polarization in Colombia have long been of concern to policymakers. A 1950 World Bank mission identified unequal land distribution as a key impediment to economic and social development in the country. Since then, a wide range of policies has been adopted to deal with this issue and its consequences. Numerous studies show that the success of these policies was often limited by a combination of an inappropriate policy environment, limited financial resources, cumbersome processes loaded with bureaucratic obstacles, drug money, and violence. This report uses new empirical evidence to describe the dimensions and impact of the problem of land access and land distribution and past policies to deal with this issue, and to identify possible avenues to address land issues in an integrated manner in future interventions. It complements contemporaneous studies by the Bank on rural finance and agricultural competitiveness,' and past and ongoing work on Afro-Colombian land issues in the Pacific Coast and improved land access for the indigenous population. Among the issues discusses are the role of land in confronting the challenges of transition in Colombia's rural sector, the extent and consequences of land inequality, the role of land policy in dealing with involuntary displacement, the use of land markets to facilitate productivity-enhancing land transfers to small producers, improving land access and productivity through redistributive land reform, and improving agricultural competitiveness in a way that benefits the poor.
This study is to provide the Government of Chile with a review of the portfolio of small and medium enterprise (SMEs) development programs and the institutions that provide them, leading to recommendations to improve the effectiveness of a streamlined portfolio. This emphasis is important for economic reasons, given the sectors role in employment, and the possibility of improving its integration into the national economy and export-oriented production and marketing chains. However, this analysis also identifies areas where SMEs can more effectively leverage government programs to become more productive, efficient, and innovative. The analysis is based on interviews with key policymakers, managers and other staff of the government institutions responsible for most of the programs secondary reports, and discussions with small business managers, business association leaders, academicians and financial intermediaries. The report is organized as follows: The first chapter reviews the evolution of the macroeconomic and business environment in Chile, and provides the theoretical arguments upon which the governments intervention in favor of SMEs has been based; second chapter examines the characteristics of the SME sector, as well as key determinants of SME productivity and growth; third chapter describes the obstacles to SME development, such as constraints to financial resources; fourth chapter recommends a streamlined portfolio of private sector assistance projects and provides an institutional analysis of Production Development Corporation (Corporacion de Fomento de la Produccion) (CORFO), Agricultural Development Institute (Instituto de Desarrollo Agropecuario) (INDAP) and Technical Cooperation Service of Chile (Servicio de Cooperacion Tecnica de Chile) (SERCOTEC); fifth chapter focuses on programs that promote innovation, technology and networks, and finally sixth chapter offers strategic and operational recommendations to improve the effectiveness of the Governments investment in SME programs.