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Public Sector and Governance

ASEAN meeting explores ways of professionalizing public procurement to meet development challenges

Adu-Gyamfi Abunyewa's picture
Construction of a sky train in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo: Seksan Pipattanatikanunt/World Bank
In the past, procurement (purchasing) was not considered to be a specialist function but one of the numerous duties that administrators performed in their respective government departments. However, today it is acknowledged that procurement has become an extremely complex and crucial undertaking coupled with the need to ensure value for money in the use of public resources to enhance the living conditions of its citizens.

The responsibilities have radically changed from that of an administrative service function to a proactive and strategic one. Unfortunately, in most jurisdictions the procurement function is still not considered a specific profession and consequently, building procurement professional expertise to meet development challenges remains an unfinished agenda.

How do we achieve sustained growth? Through human capital, and East Asia and the Pacific proves it

Michael Crawford's picture
Students at Beijing Bayi High School in China. Photo: World Bank

In 1950, the average working-age person in the world had  almost three years of education, but in East Asia and Pacific (EAP), the  average person had less than half that amount. Around this time, countries in  the EAP  region put themselves on a path that focused on growth  driven by human capital. They made significant and steady investments in  schooling to close the educational attainment gap with the rest of the world. While  improving their school systems, they also put their human capital to work in  labor markets. As a result, economic growth has been stellar: for four decades  EAP has grown at roughly twice the pace of the global average. What is more, no  slowdown is in sight for rising prosperity.

High economic growth and strong human capital accumulation  are deeply intertwined. In a recent paper, Daron Acemoglu and David Autor explore  the way skills and labor markets interact: Human capital is the central  determinant of economic growth and is the main—and very likely the only—means  to achieve shared growth when technology is changing quickly and raising the  demand for skills. Skills promote productivity and growth, but if there are not  enough skilled workers, growth soon chokes off. If, by contrast, skills are abundant and  average skill-levels keep rising, technological change can drive productivity  and growth without stoking inequality.

Making social accountability part of Mongolia’s DNA

Marcela Rozo's picture
Mongolia has made good progress in its economic and political transitions during the last two decades, but this growth has not been fully translated into improved quality of public services, particularly for the poor and vulnerable. Despite the government’s legal and regulatory reforms to improve transparency and citizen participation in the management of public funds, the pace of implementation is still lagging.  

As Mongolia suffers with economic instability due to external and internal circumstances, how can we improve performance of basic public services in a way that works well in the Mongolian context but also brings sustained outcomes?
Local champions for social accountability are building their vision for the project.
© SDC and World Bank Mongolia

Myanmar - Participating in change: Promoting public sector accountability to all

Shabih Ali Mohib's picture

Available in Myanmar

Successful development is about making a reality of aspirations and ambitious ideas through effective implementation – Myanmar can achieve just that for its people by instilling the values of transparency, accountability and public participation in its public sector.

Ideas and policies matter. They have the power to be transformative.  A strong and efficient, transparent and accountable public sector is crucial for translating inspiring ideas and policies into real development outcomes. If we liken Myanmar to a car, then the public sector – a collection of institutions, processes and people which together function as the machinery of government – has an important role to play. The people of Myanmar sit in the driver’s seat, the private sector is the engine which moves the economy forward – and the public sector acts as the car’s transmission and gearbox. If it’s running well, the car moves forward smoothly – but if it’s poorly maintained, people may be in for a bumpy ride. 

Transformasi struktural Indonesia beri petunjuk di mana lapangan kerja yang bagus

Maria Monica Wihardja's picture
Also available in: English

Pepatah mengatakan “Hidup bagaikan roda – kadang di atas, kadang di bawah”.

Era ‘booming komoditas’ ketika harga minyak mentah, kelapa sawit dan batu bara melambung tinggi sudah berakhir. Sudah seyogyanya hal ini ini menjadi lampu kuning bagi Indonesia, karena peralihan ekonomi ini telah mempengaruhi pertumbuhan lapangan kerja dalam beberapa tahun terakhir. Lalu, bagaimana Indonesia bisa terus menciptakan lapangan kerja baru untuk pencari tenaga kerjanya yang terus bertambah?

Jawabannya ada di sektor manufaktur dan jasa, seperti yang sudah terindikasi oleh pola sejarah yang ada.

Dalam waktu 20 tahun terakhir (di luar era krisis ekonomi di tahun 1997-1999), sektor manufaktur dan jasa menjadi sumber penting lapangan kerja baru di tengah menurunnya jumlah pekerjaan di sektor pertanian. Dari tahun 1999-2015, proporsi pekerjaan di bidang pertanian turun menjadi 34% dari 56%, dari total lapangan kerja, sedangkan sektor jasa mengalami kenaikan menjadi 54% dari 34% dan sektor manufaktur naik dari 10% menjadi 13%. 

Indonesia’s structural transformation offers clues on where to find good jobs

Maria Monica Wihardja's picture
Also available in: Bahasa Indonesia

What goes up must come down.

The end of the commodities boom is a wake-up call for Indonesia, as the reversal in economic transformation has adversely impacted employment growth in recent years. How can Indonesia continue to create jobs for its growing labor force?

Jobs in manufacturing and services offer a solution, as historical patterns of job creation have shown.

In the past 20 years (excluding the economic crisis of 1997-1999), manufacturing and services have been important sources of job creation, while employment in agriculture continues to decline. From 1990 to 2015, jobs in agriculture fell to 34% from 56% of all employment, while service sector work has surged to 53% from 34%, and manufacturing jobs have increased from 10% to 13%.


Wanli Fang's picture
Also available in: English
新加坡Marina海湾的再开发项目将河道的一部分改造成水库。摄影: 10 FACE/Shutterstock


What can Chinese cities learn from Singapore?

Wanli Fang's picture
Also available in: 中文
One of Singapore’s latest redevelopment projects included the construction of a freshwater reservoir. Photo: 10 FACE/Shutterstock

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the Singapore Urban Week along with other colleagues from the World Bank Beijing office, as well as delegates from China’s national government and participating cities. For all of us, this trip to Singapore was an eye-opening experience that highlighted the essential role of integrated urban planning in building sustainable cities, and provided practical solutions that can be readily adapted to help achieve each city’s own development vision. A couple of key lessons learned:

Putting people at the center of development strategies

This is only possible when planners always keep in mind people’s daily experience of urban space and invite them as part of decision-making process through citizen engagement.

For instance, in many cities, public transit has been perceived as a low-end, unattractive option of travel, causing ridership to stagnate despite severe traffic congestion. But in Singapore, public transit accounts for 2/3 of the total travel modal share in 2014. Moving around the city by metro is comfortable and efficient because transfers between different modes and lines are easy, with clear signage of directions, air-conditioned connecting corridors, and considerate spatial designs and facilities for the elderly and physically-challenged users. In addition, metro stations are co-located with major retail and commercial activities and other urban amenities, significantly reducing last-mile connectivity issues.

What can Laos teach us about organizational learning?

Naazneen Barma's picture
A collection of photos in the Champassak provincial office of Électricité du Laos shows the blue-shirted employees in action. Photo: Naazneen Barma/The World Bank
The hallways of the Électricité du Laos (EDL) provincial offices in Champassak Province are filled with posters bearing bar charts and diagrams illustrating the public utility’s remarkable success in delivering electricity to the country’s still heavily rural population.

It is easy to see that data is crucial to the agency’s operations. Sitting down with EDL’s employees and managers—all wearing the agency’s signature blue-shirt uniform with pride—it also becomes apparent that the science of numbers and the art of managing people have gone hand in hand at this agency. This combination has enabled EDL to make organizational learning a central pillar of the agency’s success.

Institutions Taking Root, a recent report of which I’m a co-author,  looked at nine successful institutions in fragile and conflict-affected states that share a core set of internal operational strategies. 


Bingjie Hu's picture
Also available in: English