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Global Economy

Boon or bane: Trade agreements in Malaysia

Smita Kuriakose's picture

In the past several decades Malaysia has witnessed strong economic growth and has become one of Asia’s newly industrialized countries. In one generation it transitioned successfully from low to upper-middle-income status, due in large part to outward looking policies, trade, and foreign direct investments (FDI) — which contributed to the successful diversification of the economy. Today, Malaysia faces the challenge of escaping the middle-income trap as its productivity slows and it becomes less competitive.
Free trade agreements (FTAs) such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Malaysia EU-FTA bring the potential for greater market access for Malaysia. This new generation of free trade agreements offers opportunities for Malaysia to strengthen reforms beyond tariff reduction, covering commitments such as competition and investment policies, non-tariff measures, intellectual property rights, labour standards, and opening up government procurement for competition.  With a market-friendly government and a strong track record of reforms, there are new opportunities for reinvigorating structural reforms to support private sector-led economic growth. Accelerating productivity growth is a key element of the 11th Malaysia Plan, which aims to bring Malaysia to high income status by 2020.

Cambodia is now a lower-middle income economy: What does this mean?

Sodeth Ly's picture
Also available in: Cambodian
Two decades of economic growth have helped make Cambodia a global leader in reducing poverty.
The success story means the Southeast Asian nation that overcame a vicious civil war now is classified as a lower-middle income economy by the World Bank Group (WBG).
The new classification this year is based on thresholds set by the WBG in a system with roots in a 1989 paper that outlined the methodology. The table below shows the different levels of classification based on Gross National Income (GNI): 
Threshold GNI in July 2016
Low-income <$1,025
Lower-middle income $1,026 - $4,035
Upper-middle income $4,036 - $12,475
High-income > $12,476

Supporting inclusive growth in Cambodia

Victoria Kwakwa's picture
A Cambodian farmer. photo by the World Bank
A Cambodian farmer. Photo: The World Bank

Today, Cambodia is among the world’s fastest growing economies. Its gross national income per capita increased by more than threefold in two decades, from $300 in 1994 to $1,070 in 2015.

Strong economic growth has helped lift millions of people out of poverty.

The Cambodian people have benefited as the economy diversified from subsistence farming into manufacturing, tourism and agricultural exports. Poverty fell to 10% in 2013, from 50% in 2004. Cambodians enjoy better school enrollment, literacy, life expectancy, immunization and access to water and sanitation.

Firing up Myanmar’s economy through private sector growth

Sjamsu Rahardja's picture
Workers at a garment factory
Myanmar’s reintegration into the global economy presents it with a unique opportunity to leverage private sector growth to reduce poverty, share prosperity and sustain the nationwide peace process.
For much of its post-independence period, Myanmar’s once vibrant entrepreneurialism and private sector was stifled by economic isolation, state control, and a system which promoted crony capitalism in the form of preferential access to markets and goods, especially in the exploitation of natural resources. Reflecting this legacy, private sector firms are still burdened with onerous regulations and high costs, dragging down their competitiveness and reducing growth prospects.

2008: Нийтлэг зорилгоо тодорхойлох нь

Erdene-Ochir Badarch's picture
Also available in: English

Албан бус орчуулга.

Дэлхийн Банк болон Монгол улсын хамтын ажиллагааны 25 жилийн түүхийг бид жил жилээр эргэн харж байгаа. Өнөөдөр бид 2008 оныг авч үзье. 2008 он монголчуудын хувьд хар, цагаан аль алинаар нь дурсагдан үлдэх он болсон. Хар гэдэг нь 2008 оны парламентын сонгуулиас үүдэлтэй хэрэг явдал байлаа. Жирийн таван иргэн амиа алдаж, нийслэл Улаанбаатар хотод хоёр өдөр, гурван шөнө онц байдал тогтоосон. 1990 онд Монгол улс нэг тогтолцооноос нөгөө рүү тайван замаар шилжсэнээрээ бахархаж байсан бол 2008 оны хэрэг явдал нь ардчиллын 25 жилийн түүхэн дэх хамгийн хар цаг үе байлаа.

2008 энэхүү хар хэрэг явдлын дараахан Найдангийн Түвшинбаяр Бээжингийн олимпоос Монголын анхны олимпийн алтан медалийг хүртсэн юм. Төв талбайдаа цуглан Монголынхоо далбааг намируулж, алга ташин баяр хүргэж байсан хүмүүсиййн царайг би хэзээ ч мартахгүй. Дэлхийн Банкны Монголыг хариуцсан захирал Дэвид Доллар энэ түүхэн үйл явдлын гэрч бөгөөд “Энэ үйл явдал нь өрсөлдөгч улс төрийн намынхан хоорондоо гар барьж, бахархлаа хуваалцахаар ач холбогдолтой байсан юм” гэж бичсэн байдаг.

2008: Defining common goals through deliberation

Erdene-Ochir Badarch's picture
Also available in: Mongolian

Continuing with our series looking at the 25 year partnership between Mongolia and the World Bank, today we look at 2008, a year that will be remembered by many Mongolians for events both high and low. The low point was the riot that followed parliamentary elections on 1st July, 2008. Five innocent lives were lost and Ulaanbaatar city was under a state emergency for two days and three nights. While Mongolia is rightfully praised for its peaceful transition from one regime to another in 1990, this incident of 2008 will be remembered as the darkest time in the 25 years of democracy.

The high of 2008 occurred after this riot when Mr. Tuvshinbayr Naidan brought home Mongolia’s 1st ever gold medal from the Beijing summer Olympics. I will never forget the sight of people waving our national flag, gathering in the Central Square and cheering with exhilaration.   The World Bank’s Country Director, David Dollar, also celebrated this historic occasion, noting that “The event was important enough to get rival political parties to shake hands and share the pride.”

Malnutrition denies children opportunity and stunts economic development

Axel van Trotsenburg's picture

Nearly 50 years ago, books such as Asian Drama: An Inquiry Into The Poverty Of Nations, by the Swedish economist and Nobel laureate Gunnar Myrdal, offered a dire prediction of famine and poverty for the region in coming decades.

Malaysia’s long race to competitiveness

Laura Altinger's picture
Have you ever felt like you are in a race and each time you pass another competitor, more keep showing up ahead on the race track in an endless marathon? Well, countries striving to be competitive face a similar predicament. No matter how hard they try to improve their competitiveness, cut the red tape and reduce burdensome regulations, other countries are doing the same, but even quicker.

Malaysia is already a very competitive country. Today it ranks 18 out of 189 economies in the World Bank Group’s Doing Business Index. Yet, its ambition is to become more competitive. And it wants to overtake some countries on the way up. Malaysia has long recognized that a concerted cross-ministerial and public-private collaboration is needed to do just that.

Malaysia’s Special Task Force to Facilitate Business (PEMUDAH), was established in 2007 to improve the ease of doing business in Malaysia. Testament to its success was Malaysia’s surge to 6th position in the 2014 Doing Business, up from 12th place in 2013 and 18th in 2012, placing it in the same league as Singapore, Hong Kong, and the United States. But since then, Malaysia has been challenged to keep up with the rapid pace of business reforms across the globe.

Taxes and budget 2016: On the road to a developed country

Faris Hadad-Zervos's picture
This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly

MALAYSIA has travelled far on the road to economic growth and shared prosperity. Using its natural resources, the country not only eliminated absolute poverty from 49% in 1970 to less than 1% in 2014, but also lifted the incomes of households at the bottom 40% of the income bracket. The Gini Coefficient — a measure of income inequality in an economy — dropped from 55.7 to 42.1 over the same period, implying that gaps in incomes were narrowing. This road is now leading towards a developed country, with a vibrant and growing middle class where aspirational households have access to relevant education and training, higher income opportunities, more savings for retirement and a safety net to protect the vulnerable from shocks.

Underlying this journey to developed country status is a series of structural reforms that have formed the bulk of the national development plans, most recently the 11th Malaysia Plan. The quest moving forward is therefore to sustain and finance this process. The 11th Malaysia Plan is budgeted to cost RM246 million between now and 2020. Taxation choices will matter a great deal for Malaysia’s prospects in this journey, more so in an environment of low or volatile oil and commodity prices and a global and regional economic slowdown.

Монголын шилжилт: Байхгүйгээс байгаа руу

Jim Anderson's picture
Also available in: English

Албан бус орчуулга.

Зарим үед огт санаандгүй газраас шинэ санаа төрдөг. Хэдэн сарын өмнө  Монголд буцаж ирсэнийхээ дараа би 1990-ээд онд энд амьдарч байснаас хойш Монголд ямар их зүйл өөрчлөгдсөнийг ажигласан. Олон өөрчлөлтийг  шууд хараад мэдэхээр байсан, тухайлбал, өндөр байшингууд, кафенуудыг шинэ гэдгийг анх удаа Монголд ирсэн гадаадын хүн ч хараад мэдэхээр байлаа. Энэ өөрчлөлт хэрхэн явагдсан нь нутаг руугаа буцах гэж байгаа гадаадын хүнтэй ярилцах сэдэв байсан юм.
Mongolia's black market in 1994
Монголын "хар зах" 1994 онд
фото: James H. Anderson
1993 онд Монголд би анх ирсэнийхээ дараа, энд ирсэн гадаадын хүний хамгийн түрүүн сурдаг үг нь “байхгүй” гэдэг үг гэдгийг мэдсэн. “Тийм юм байхгүй, бидэнд байхгүй, алга байна”. Эдгээр хэдэн үгийг зүгээр л толгойгоо сэгсрэх хөдөлгөөнөөр мөн орлож болдог байлаа.

“Танайд талх байна уу”
“Будаа байна уу”
“Ус /эсвэл цахилгаан, халаалт/ яагаад байхгүй байгаа юм бол”