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Governance

An update on Bhutan’s economy

Yoichiro Ishihara's picture
Accelerating the reform momentum after the 2018 elections is key to consolidating and furthering Bhutan’s development
Accelerating the reform momentum after the 2018 elections is key to consolidating and furthering Bhutan’s development. Credit: World Bank

Bhutan is one of the smallest, but fastest-growing economies in the world.
 
Its annual average economic growth of 7.6 percent between 2007 and 2017 far exceeds the average global growth rate of 3.2 percent.
 
This high growth has contributed to reducing poverty: Extreme poverty was mostly eradicated and dwindled from 8 percent in 2007 to 1.5 percent in 2017, based on the international poverty line of $1.90 a day (at purchasing power parity).
 
Access to basic services such as health, education and asset ownership has also improved significantly.
 
The country has a total of 32 hospitals and 208 basic health units, with each district hospital including almost always three doctors.
 
The current national literacy rate is 71 percent and the youth literacy rate is 93 percent.
 
The recent statistics on lending, inflation, exchange rates and international reserves (Sources: RMA, NSB) confirm that Bhutan maintained robust growth and macroeconomic stability in the first half of 2018.  

Gross foreign reserves have been increasing since 2012 when the country experienced an Indian rupee shortage.
 
Reserves exceeded $1.1 billion, equivalent to 11 months of imports of goods and services, which makes the country more resilient to potential shocks.
 
The nominal exchange rate has been depreciating since early 2018 (with ngultrum reaching Nu. 73 against the US dollar in early November).

Doing better business to fight poverty

Duvindi Illankoon's picture
The new Doing Business ranking places Sri Lanka at 100 out of 190 economies, compared with 111 last year. This year Sri Lanka made it easier for businesses to register property, obtain permits, enforce contracts and pay taxes. Credit: World Bank

End Poverty Day fell on the 17th of October. Two weeks later, the new Doing Business rankings come out for this year.

If you’re wondering what the link is, here’s a quick summary: business-friendly regulations can be instrumental in lowering poverty at the national level.

This is one of those happy instances where economics, common sense and the data align.

A better regulatory environment encourages more businesses to register and expand, bringing more employers to the economy.

Then the market responds- not only do these employers create more jobs, but also going to offer better jobs to attract capable workers to their companies.

Ultimately, a reliable source of income is the catalyst to moving out of poverty.

Sounds too simple? Trust the numbers.

Afghanistan eases doing business

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: دری | پښتو
Doing Business Better in Afghanistan


Despite a volatile business environment, Afghanistan has made gains to improve the ease of doing business in the country.

These gains resulted in Afghanistan’s ranking in Doing Businessa World Bank report that measures business regulations across 190 economies—jumping from 183 in 2018 to 167 in the 2019 report, earning the country a coveted spot in this year’s global top improvers.

This is a first for Afghanistan and the upshot of the record five reforms was to improve the business environment for small and medium companies, increase shareholders’ rights and role in major corporate decisions, and strengthen access to credit.

With more than half of the Afghan population living below the national poverty line, Afghanistan needs to catalyze private investment and create jobs, helping entrepreneurs advance their business initiatives and helping established private businesses, small and large, to grow and create jobs.

There is a great deal of work to do in this regard, but the good news is that Afghanistan is serious about improving its investment climate. An overview of the key reforms Afghanistan has undertaken in the last year shows how the country is easing constraints faced by entrepreneurs and investors:

تسهیل هر بیشتر تجارت و کار در افغانستان

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: English | پښتو
چگونگه انجام تجارت در افغانستان بهبود یافته است
 

[tweetable]]علی الرغم دشواری های موجود برای پیشبرد تجارت و کسب و کار، دولت افغانستان اقدامات لازم را غرض تسهیل و بهبود شرایط برای  سرمایه گذاران رویدست گرفته است[[/tweetable]].
 
براساس اخرین گزارش سالانه انجام تجارت، که توسط بانک جهانی به منظور مطالعه مقررات تجارتی در ۱۹۰ کشور تهیه میگردد، امسال افغانستان در رده بندی جهانی انجام تجارت، از جایگاه ۱۸۳ در سال گذشته به ۱۶۷مین کشور در گزارش متذکره صعود نموده است. بدین ترتیب این کشور در صدر آنعده کشورهای برتر قرار گرفته که بهبود قابل ملاحظه را در راستای فراهم آوری تسهیلات لازم غرض انجام تجارت فراهم نموده است. این بار نخست است که افغانستان با تطبیق اصلاحات در پنج ساحۀ مقرراتی نه تنها سبب بهبود محیط کسب و کار برای  سرمایه گذاری های کوچک و متوسط گردیده، بلکه در تقویت حقوق و نقش سهمداران در تصمیم گیری های بزرگ شرکت ها و فراهم آوری تسهیلات به منظور دسترسی به قرضه نیز پیشقدم  شده است.
 
با توجه به آن که بیشتر از نصف نفوس افغان ها زیر خط فقر زندگی میکنند، ضروریست تا دولت افغانستان روند تقویت سرمایه گذاری های خصوصی را که باعث ایجاد فرصتهای شغلی میشود، تسریع بخشیده و برای انکشاف تشبثات خصوصی و ابتکارات تجارتی متشبثین کوچک و متوسط  زمینه های تشویقی و حمایوی بیشتر را فراهم سازد تا دامنه فعالیت های آنها گسترش یافته و در ایجاد فرصت های کاریابی نقش کلیدی را ایفا نمایند.
 
به منظور تحقق اصلاحات در محیط تجارت و سرمایه گذاری لازم است تا به گونه مؤثر و متداوم تلاش صورت گیرد، که خوشبختانه دولت افغانستان بمنظور تطبیق برنامه های اصلاحاتی در سال گذشته  جدیت به خرچ داده است. نتایج تطبیق این اصلاحات در سال گذشته نشان میدهد که بعضی محدودیت ها و موانع فراروی تاجران و سرمایه گذاران در ساحات ذیل کاهش یافته است:

په افغانستان کې د تجارت او کار لا آسانېدل

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: English | دری
په افغانستان د سوداګری ښه ترسره کول
 

د تجارت او کار او کسب پر وړاندې د شته ستونزو سره سره، د افغانستان دولت د پانګه اچونې لپاره د شرایطو د آسانتیا په موخه پر ځینو اقداماتو باندې لاس پورې کړی.
 
د تجارت د ترسراوي د وروستي کلني راپور پر اساس چې په۱۹۰ هیوادونو کې د تجارتي مقرراتو د مطالعی په موخه د نړیوال بانک لخوا چمتو کیږي، سږ کال افغانستان د یاد راپور په نړیواله درجه بندۍ کې له ۱۸۳ درجې څخه ۱۶۷ درجې ته پورته شوی دی. نو پدې اساس افغانستان د هغو هیوادونو په لړ کې راغلی کوم چې د سوداګری د ښه والي لپاره یې د پام وړ آسانتیاوې رامینځته کړې دي. دا لومړی ځل دی چې افغانستان په پنځو مقرراتي څانګو کې د اصلاحاتو له راوستو سره نه یوازې دا چې د کوچنیو او منځنیو پانګه اچونکو لپاره د کار او کسب چاپېریال ښه کړی، بلکه په لویو پریکړو کې د سهم لرونکو یا ونډوالو د ونډه اخیستنې د حقوقو تقویه کول او همدارنګه پورونو ته د لاسرسي په موخه د آسانتیاوو د برابرولو په برخه کې هم پرمختګ لیدل کیږي.
 
دې حقیقت ته په پام سره چې له نیمایي ډیر افغانان د بېوزلۍ تر کرښې لاندې ژوند کوي، اړینه ده چې د افغانستان دولت د خصوصي پانګه اچونې بهیر چې د کاري فرصتونو د رامینځته کیدو  سبب کیږي، لا ګړندی او غښټلۍ کړي او د تشبثاتو د پراختیا په خاطر د کوچنیو او منځنیو خصوصي متشبثینو د ابتکارونو  لپاره لا ډیرې تشویقي او هڅوونکې زمینې برابرې کړي تر څو د هغوې د فعالیتونو  پراخیدل  د کاري فرصتونو په جوړولو کې اساسي ونډه ترسره کړي. 
 
د تجارت او پانګه اچونې په چاپېریال کې د اصلاحاتو د پلي کیدو په موخه باید اغیزناکه او دوامداره هلې ځلې وشي، چې له نیکه مرغه د افغانستان دولت په تیر کال کې د اصلاحي پروګرامونو په پلي کیدو کې پوره جدیت ښودلی دی. په تیر کال کې د دې اصلاحاتو د پلي کیدو په پایله کې د سوداګرو او پانګوالو پر وړاندې په لاندې برخو کې ځینې خنډونه او محدودیتونه را کم شوي دي:

Commitment to reforms improves business climate in South Asia

Hartwig Schafer's picture
 
Rikweda, an Afghan fruit processing company in the Kabul Province is well on its way to restoring Afghanistan as a raisin exporting powerhouse—a status the country held until the 1970s when it claimed about 20 percent of the global market. Credit World Bank


Imagine a state-of-the-art processing plant that harnesses laser-sorting technology to produce a whopping 15,000 tons of raisins a year, linking up thousands of local farmers to international markets and providing job opportunities to women.
 
To find such a world-class facility, look no further than Rikweda, an Afghan fruit processing company in the Kabul Province that’s well on its way to restoring Afghanistan as a raisin exporting powerhouse—a status the country held until the 1970s when it claimed about 20 percent of the global market.
 
In Afghanistan’s volatile business environment, let alone its deteriorating security, Rikweda’s story is an inspiration for budding entrepreneurs and investors.
 
It also is an illustration of the government’s reform efforts to create more opportunities for Afghan businesses to open and grow, which were reflected in the country’s record advancement in the Doing Business 2019 index, launched today by the World Bank.
 
Despite the increasing conflicts and growing fragility, and thanks to a record five reforms that have moved Afghanistan up to the rank of 167th from 183rd last year, the country became a top improver for the first time in the report’s history.
 
And Afghanistan is not the only South Asian country this year that took a prominent place among top 10 improvers globally.
 
India – which holds the title for the second consecutive year – is a striking example of how persistence pays off, and the high-level ownership and championship of reforms are critical for success. Its ranking has improved by 23 places this year and puts India ahead of all other countries in South Asia. This year, India is ranked 77th, up from 100th last year. 

Afghanistan: Learning from a decade of progress and loss

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: دری | پښتو
Afghanistan: Learning from a decade of progress and loss


In Afghanistan, the past decade saw remarkable progress, as well as reversals and lost opportunities.

The overall macroeconomic and security context in Afghanistan since 2007 can be broken into two distinct phases, pre- and post- the 2014 security transition, when international troops handed over security responsibilities to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).
 
The pre-transition phase was marked by higher economic growth (GDP per capita grew 63 percent relative to its 2007 value) and a relatively stable security situation.

Since 2014, growth has stagnated, falling below rates of population growth, and the security situation continues to deteriorate. With the withdrawal of most international troops and the steady decline in aid (both security and civilian aid) since 2012, the economy witnessed an enormous shock to demand, from which it is still struggling to recover.

Similarly, welfare can be characterized into two distinct phases.

چگونه از پیشرفت ها و ناتوانایی های یک دهه گذشته در افغانستان آموخت

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: English | پښتو
چگونه از پیشرفت ها و ناتوانایی های یک دهه گذشته در افغانستان آموخت


افغانستان در یک دهه یی گذشته شاهد پیشرفت های زیاد بوده اما در عین زمان با عقب گرد های نیز رو برو شده و فرصت های را نیز از دست داده است.
 
در کل، وضعیت اقتصاد بزرگ و امنیت افغانستان از سال ۲۰۰۷ میلادی به بعد را میتوان به دو مرحله متمایز تقسیم کرد: قبل و بعد از انتقال مسولیت های امنیتی در سال ۲۰۱۴، زمانیکه نیرو های بین المللی مسوولیت های امنیتی را به نیرو های امنیتی ملی افغانستان سپردند.
 
مرحله قبل ازانتقال مسولیت های امنیتی شاهد رشد بلندتر اقتصادی (در سال ۲۰۰۷ تولید ناخالص سرانه ۶۳ درصد رشد نمود) وضعیت امنیتی نسبتاً پایدارتر بود. از سال ۲۰۱۴ به بعد رشد اقتصادی رو به رکود بوده که پایین تر از میزان رشد جمعیت در این کشور است و همچنان وضعیت امنیتی با گذشت هر روز وخیمتر گردیده است. بعد از خروج بخش بزرگی از نیروهای بین المللی و کاهش دوامدار کمک ها در بخش امنیتی و ملکی بعد از سال ۲۰۱۲، وضعیت اقتصادی ضربه محکم و بزرگی را متحمل شد که  اکنون تلاش ها برای بیرون رفت از آن آدامه دارد.
 
هم  زمان با این، رفاه عامه را نیز میتوان به دو بخش متمایز دسته بندی  کرد.

څنګه په افغانستان کې د تیر یوه لسیزی د لاسته راوړنې او تللې فرصتونو څخه زدکړو

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: English | دری
څنګه په افغانستان کې د تیر یوه لسیزی د لاسته راوړنې او تللې فرصتونو څخه زدکړو


افغانستان په تېره یوه لسيزه کې د پرمختګونو شاهد و خو په ورته مهال د شاتګ ځيني موارد يې هم درلودل او فرصتونو يې هم له لاسه ورکړي دي.
 
په ټوله کې، کولاۍ شو د افغانستان ستر اقتصادي او امنیتی وضعیت له ۲۰۰۷ کال راهيسې پر دوو پړاوونو و ویشو:  ۲۰۱۴ کال کې د امنیتي مسوولیتونو له لېږد څخه وړاندې او وروسته، کله چې نړیوالو ځواکونو په افغانستان کې امنیتي مسوولیتونه افغان ځواکونو ته وسپارل.
 
د امنيتي مسوولیتونو له لېږد وړاندې پړاو کې د لوړې اقتصادي ودې شاهدان وو (۲۰۰۷ کال کې د يو کس ناخالص عاید ۶۳ سلنه وده وکړه) امنیتي وضعیت په نسبي ډول پایدار و. خو له ۲۰۱۴ کال نه راهيسې اقتصادي وده مخ پر ځوړ وه چې د دغه هېواد د وګړو د ودې له کچې څخه هم ټيټه ده او همداراز د هرې ورځې په تېرېدو امنيتي وضعیت ترینګلی کېږي.
 
له افغانستان څخه په زیاته کچه د بهرنيو نړیوالو ځواکونو وتل او ۲۰۱۲ کال کې په پوځي او ملکي برخو کې په دوامداره توګه د مرستو کمښت،  اقتصادي وضعیت له سخت حالت سره مخ کړ چې تر اوسه يې د ژغورولو لپاره هڅې روانې دي.
 
په ورته مهال، عامه سوکالي هم کولی شو چې پر دوو جلا برخو یې ډلبندي کړو.

Investing in people of South Asia for prosperity and quality of life

Hartwig Schafer's picture
A little girl in Balochistan, Pakistan, who now receives a quality education thanks to World Bank support. 
A little girl in Balochistan, Pakistan, who now receives a quality education thanks to World Bank support. Credit: World Bank 

Human capital – the potential of individuals – is going to be the most important long-term investment any country can make for its people’s future prosperity and quality of life.

Just look around the world: Technology is reshaping every industry and setting new demands for skills in every profession. The frontier for skills is moving faster than ever before.

To meet that challenge and be able to compete in the global economy, countries need to prepare their workforces now for the tremendous challenges and opportunities driven by technological change.  

To that end, the World Bank will launch next week its highly anticipated Human Capital Index to measure countries’ contribution of health and education to the productivity of the next generation of their workers.

The Index will be released on October 11 at the Bank’s Annual Meetings in Bali as part of the Human Capital Project, a global effort led by the Bank to accelerate investments in people for greater equity and economic growth.

No doubt, any country ranking gets high visibility and, sometimes, meets controversy. But I hope it triggers a dialogue about policies to promote investments in people.

To be clear, the important purpose of the Human Capital Index is to measure the distance of each country to the highest standard of complete education and full health—or the “frontier”.

The index, irrespective of whether it is high or low, is not an indication of a country’s current policies or initiatives, but rather reflects where it has emerged over years and decades.

Put simply, the index measures what the productivity of a generation is, compared to what it could be, if they had benefitted from complete education and good health.

The index ranges from 0 to 1 and takes the highest value of 1 only if a child born today can expect to achieve full health (defined as no stunting and survival up to at least age 60) and complete her education potential (defined as 14 years of high-quality school by age 18).

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